Get wet and wild

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 - 7:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

On the lines of the Indian festival of colours, Holi, Bangkok's annual Songkran festival, which marks the end of the dry season, is a must-visit

Bangkok is known for its historical temples like the Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Suthat and Wat Arun. However, apart from its rich culture and heritage, Bangkok is also known for the famous Songkran festival which witnesses a huge influx of tourists. Touted as Thailand's most popular festival, it marks the beginning of the new solar year and the summer season. This year, the festival officially started on April 13 (though some cities celebrated it a couple of days earlier) and lasted for three to five days. Traditionally, families and friends celebrate the Songkran festival by visiting temples and splashing water on each other. Songkran is also a time to visit and pay respect to elders, including family members, friends, neighbours and monks.

Say a little prayer
More than just having fun, the festival is also about worshiping Buddha. For someone who wishes a good karma for the present year, washing Buddha images, visiting temples and cleaning the house are things to be done. For visitors who have no idea of the locations to find temples, Bangkok police has already fixed with the passage to Wat Pho where in you will receive a stamp along with a souvenir.

Fight it out:
Over the years, the holiday has evolved into a nationwide water fight and provides a fantastic reason for tourists to travel to Bangkok. Thais roam around the streets with containers filled with water and armed with water guns. In addition, many Thais carry small bowls of beige-coloured talc mixed with water which they smear on friends and families as a sign of blessing for the New Year. It's a common sight to spot groups of Thais who stand at the side of roads or corners of intersections with garden hoses in their hand and large trash cans filled with water (typically ice cold) to drench people.

Thailand protests:
Anti-government march in Bangkok. Thousands of anti-government protesters resumed demonstrations in Thailand demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Large crowds carrying Thai flags marched along several routes from the main park in the capital of Bangkok. It was the first major protest rally to take place since a Thai court ruled the February 2 general election invalid. Until recently, Thailand had seen an ease in tensions since anti-government demonstrations began four months ago. Anti-government activists want Yingluck to step down and a reform in the political system to be introduced. At the height of the demonstrations, which began in November, protesters shut down key road junctions in Bangkok and blockaded government ministries.

A word of advise:
Songkran is a nationwide water fight which shouldn't be missed. Tourists, who are planning to attend the festival next year, must carry waterproof cameras and sealable plastic bags.

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