10 places to enjoy Songkran in Thailand

Songkran, Thailand--s New Year and the time to indulge in the famous --water fights--, will be held from April 13-15
10 places to enjoy Songkran in Thailand

The splashing of water on everyone was actually part of a very traditional Thai New Year ritual. People splashed water on each other to wash away the previous year&rsquos misfortunes and make a fresh start. But today, this has become a popular public entertainment. So be prepared not only to be doused with water by complete strangers but also smeared with white talcum powder. A few words of caution waterproof your purse, cameras, etc. if you cannot leave them behind that day the roads can be slippery and so be careful as you walk or run be wary of drunken revellers and drivers. For more festival details www.tourismthailand.org

Silom, Bangkok  The crowd simply goes berserk on this five-km stretch in Bangkok. Armed with water sprayers of every possible size and shape, the people attack each other. The BTS skywalk makes for a great vantage point to watch the riotous scene below.

Khao San Road, Bangkok Another place where the local people and foreigners break into a raucous celebration.

Phra Athit Road, Bangkok Enjoy the local cultural programmes and merit making functions

Sanam Luang, Bangkok The sacred Buddha image from the National Museum is taken out in a procession for the people to sprinkle water on it. The image is then kept in the square, opposite the Grand Palace, for people to pay their respects.

Rattanokosin Square, Bangkok The temples here are thronged by the devout as part of their &lsquomerit making&rsquo efforts. Stupas are made of sand and decorated with flags and flowers.

Wisut Krasat, Bangkok Usually, a Miss Songkran beauty pageant is held here along with other fun events.

Ayutthaya Elephants join the fun at the celebrations held here. Their trunkful of water easily beats the biggest water sprayers and is a great source of enjoyment to visitors. A merit-making ceremony is held at Viharn Phra Mongkolborpit.

Chiang Mai The Prapeni Pi Mai Mueang lasts five days. The Pae Gate and the Moat area are the places to go to join the water fights. Building sand stupas and other merit making activities happen at Wat Phra Sing. Visitors can join opening of the festival.

Pattaya The touristy areas such as Pattaya and Jomtien beaches are thronged by the water fighters with the sea acting as the most favourite splashing arena. And then you can accumulate merits by giving donations to monks, washing Buddha images with perfumed water and making sand stupas. Holding of cultural programmes is common.

Hat Yai Here you can join the mid-night water-splashing celebrations held in the city&rsquos downtown area.

Look out for special Songkran offers from the leading hotels and restaurants Sunday brunch at Novotel Bangkok Ploenchit Sukhumvit&rsquos The Square, on April 12 (www.novotel.com) Thai dinner buffet at Dream Bangkok&rsquos Flava Restaurant from April 13-15 (www.dreambkk.com) Pullman Bangkok King Power will have a special Thai buffet, fun activities like traditional sand castle building, and a special wellness package at Le Spa (www.pullmanbangkokkingpower.com) etc.

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