After three dry years, Pattaya officially will get drenched for Songkran in 2023.
Deputy City Manager Siwat Boonkerd chaired a Feb. 26 meeting at city hall to announce that “wan lai”, the water-throwing free-for-all that caps Songkran in Pattaya, will return this year after a three-year pandemic hiatus.
Despite the fact that the Covid-19 outbreak was all but over in Thailand last spring, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul canceled all Songkran celebrations nationwide on March 29 last year, claiming water would spread Covid-19, despite no evidence to support it.
He turned out to be wrong, of course. The pandemic petered out quickly after.
This year, nothing will stop the water mayhem, with official Pattaya “wan lai” events will be held on April 18 in Naklua and April 19 in Pattaya and Jomtien Beach.
In addition to water guns and buckets of ice water, there will be cultural events such as bathing and sprinkling water on Buddha images and giving alms to monks, as well as a parade of flower-adorned trucks and musical performances.
The meeting covered planning for all the usual concerns, from road closures to security to first aid.
Officials conceded that Songkran water wars in Pattaya aren’t only held on “wan lai”, but the water throwing mania begins 10 days before. This year, however, there will be plenty of tourists, some of whom will be suspected of bringing Covid-19 from their virus-ravaged homelands to Pattaya.
Strangely, there is no warning from the health ministry this year about water spreading the disease.