Monday, April 14, 2014

Songkran Part 2

A Songkran reveler uses a large squirt gun in a water fight on Khao San Road

After photographing the sublime for the start of Songkran (the procession for the Phra Buddha Sihing and a mass merit making ceremony), I ventured down to Khao San Road, the backpacker ghetto section of Bangkok, to photograph the ridiculous aspect of Songkran. 

This is what Songkran is most famous for, the no-holds barred all out water fights that can break out with no warning almost anywhere in Bangkok during the holiday period. April is the hottest month of the year and people are ready to cut loose. The water fights cool things down, even if you can't go out in public without worrying about finding yourself as collateral damage between rival gangs of bucket wielding children (and occasionally adults). 
Thais walk through a water battle on Khao San Road. The mist in the background is not rain. It's water fights.

The water fights are nonstop in the touristy parts of town: along Khao San Road, along Silom Road, along Rama I in front of Siam Paragon Mall and Nana, the "entertainment" / red light district on Sukhumvit. The reality though is that a water fight can break out almost anywhere at almost anytime. You'll be walking down the street and a pickup truck full of teenagers come up from behind you and throw buckets of water at you or shoot you with giant squirt guns. 
"Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war" Or something like that. A running water fight on Khao San Road

In general, Thais are very respectful of people on the street during Songkran. Walking around Bangkok with my cameras I try to avoid water fights. Children run up to me laughing and ask if they squirt me or, if they don't ask, they squirt my legs or back. There's always the risk that I'll get caught between rival gangs of  bucket wielding mods and rockers. Tourists though are not respectful of people on Songkran. They will hunt you down and deliberately soak you, whether you're minding your own business and trying to stay dry or on the front line of a water fight. It's just another reason to avoid the touristy parts of town. 

There are more photos of Songkran 2014 in my archive or available from ZUMA Press
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