Splash! It’s that time of year again – Songkran is here

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With the national Songkran festivities all but finished, expect an influx of tourists, both Thai and international, to “invade” Pattaya this weekend as we celebrate our version of Songkran April 18 in Naklua and April 19 here in Pattaya.

Police are issuing the usual warnings that road blocks will be set up during the period to check for drunken drivers; they are warning people to not use powder and high powered water cannons (PVC pipes will be confiscated), refrain from throwing ice water, and no public consumption of alcohol will be permitted.

It’s that time of year again, when the streets turn to rivers, water throwing madness rules and general mayhem ensues.  Yes, Songkran is here, Thai New Year, the annual water festival.  Drive carefully and be prepared to get wet unexpectedly at any time whilst walking, especially in and around the entertainment areas. Also expect traffic to be at a standstill, especially on April 19 in Pattaya, similar to this situation on 3rd Road last year. (Pattaya Mail photo courtesy of Tom Brown) It’s that time of year again, when the streets turn to rivers, water throwing madness rules and general mayhem ensues.  Yes, Songkran is here, Thai New Year, the annual water festival.  Drive carefully and be prepared to get wet unexpectedly at any time whilst walking, especially in and around the entertainment areas. Also expect traffic to be at a standstill, especially on April 19 in Pattaya, similar to this situation on 3rd Road last year. (Pattaya Mail photo courtesy of Tom Brown)

Pattaya police superintendent Pol. Col. Nanthawut Suwanla-Ong also announced that security will be tightened throughout the entire Songkran week.  He said police will focus on searching for lethal weapons, drugs, robbery, and physical assaults. Police and volunteers will be stationed at different stop points around town and on the highway to aid people with trouble around the clock.  He also said that anyone who plans to leave for an extended period during the holidays can contact police to keep an eye on their home while they are gone.

The Transport Ministry is providing motorists with free access to Expressways Number 7, or the Bangkok-Chonburi Motorway, and Number 9, or the East Outer Ring Road, during this year’s Songkran Festival from 16.00 hrs of April 8 to 12.00 hrs of April 18.

Pattaya officials, water pistols at the ready, announce this year’s itinerary for the local Songkran Festival April 19. Pattaya officials, water pistols at the ready, announce this year’s itinerary for the local Songkran Festival April 19.

Sales of water pistols have been brisk this year, and there is a large variety to choose from, as anyone who has been to practically any store can see.  Flowery shirts are also big sellers this year.

Stages will be set up on the beach side of Beach Road at nearly every intersection, and will feature music and various entertainment from 9 a.m. until late, all day Tuesday, April 19. (For the entertainment schedule).

Traffic will most likely once again come to a complete standstill throughout Pattaya and Jomtien.  Police, along with Pattaya Mail and most everyone in the city, are urging people to avoid unnecessary travel, and if you do need to venture out, please use extreme caution, especially if you travel by motorcycle.  Wear a helmet, too.  There is no excuse not to.  And by all means, do not drive under the influence of intoxicants.

Remember, be prepared to get drenched unexpectedly and at any time whilst walking from now until wan lai activities are over on Wednesday April 20, especially in and around the entertainment areas.

Plenty of activities are on the schedule, in addition to the “wan lai” or water throwing, and the general mayhem that is both a local custom and a tourist attraction.

The following is an outline of activities being held locally:

April 13-19

Traditional Koh Si Chang Songkran will be held in front of Koh Si Chang District office and Wat Juthathisthamsapharam Worawiharn, Si Chang district.

Activities: merit-making in the morning, pouring water on monks, pouring water on the hands of revered elders and asking for their blessing, water splashing, sand castle building, Koh Si Chang traditional folk games such as Muay Tab Jak (blind boxing), Pai Rue Ka Ta (pan boat competition) and many activities till evening when the Kong Khao tradition (feeding the spirits) will be observed and a Pong Lang music show will be performed.

April 16-17

The Kor Pra Sai tradition (Bang Saen Songkran Festival) will be held on Bang Sean Beach.

Activities: merit-making in the morning, pouring water on monks, pouring water on the hands of revered elders and asking for their blessing, water splashing, a spectacular sand art competition, concert and seafood booths.

April 18-19

Wan Lai Pattaya-Naklua: Naklua Songkran Festival (April 18) and Pattaya Songkran Festival (April 19).

Pattaya activities: On Tuesday April 19 at 7.30 a.m., alms giving to monks at Wat Chaimongkol in South Pattaya. At 10 a.m. pouring water on the hands of revered elders and asking for their blessing, and traditional games. In the afternoon flower decorated vehicles and Buddha statues will parade from Wat Chaimongkol to Pattaya Second Road to Pattaya Central Road and turn left to go down to Beach Road and return to the temple.

April 19-21

Songkran Sri Maha Racha and Kong Khao Tradition (Sriracha Songkran Festival), held in Sriracha municipality’s health park.

Activities: merit-making in the morning, pouring water on monks, pouring water on the hands of revered elders and asking for their blessing, water splashing, Songkran parade and festival, cultural shows such as Thai music, Thai dance, Khon including traditional folk activities such as Muay Tab Jak (blind boxing), oiled pole climbing competition, Takraw Lod Haung (rattan ball competition), Kong Khao tradition and concert in evening.

April 20

Kong Khao Naklua (Naklua Rice Festival), held at Larn Pho Public Park.

Activities: Kong Khao Tradition in the evening will be preceded by fun activities all day, such as slingshot competitions, greased pole climbing, Takraw Lod Haung (rattan ball competition), and Muay Talay (sea boxing).  The Kong Khao ceremony will commence at 6.30 p.m. with a parade of respected gods, goddesses and ghosts consuming donated food. The day will end with a country song concert from Mike Piromporn.

A similar Kong Khao ceremony will take place at Wat Nong Yai on Sukhumvit Highway from 6.30 p.m. onwards.

Further information can attained by calling the Pattaya public relations department on 038 410 200 ext. 191-2.