Wet and Wild

Food and Travel (Singapore) - - Special Feature - WORDS

Join in the world’s largest wa­ter fes­ti­val in Thai­land

With its bustling night bazaars, huge shop­ping malls, vi­brant nightlife, and an ar­ray of stun­ning restau­rants and cafes, it is no won­der Thai­land is one of the most pop­u­lar travel desti­na­tions in Asia. Apart from at­tract­ing food­ies and shopa­holics alike, Thai­land is also rapidly gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity among cul­ture en­thu­si­asts seek­ing new and unique ex­pe­ri­ences.

For trav­ellers who are in search of a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion that can im­merse them in cul­ture, Thai­land is the place to be, as there are nu­mer­ous ex­cit­ing and vi­brant fes­ti­vals held through­out the year that trav­ellers can per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing their visit.

One of the big­gest fes­ti­vals in the Thai cal­en­dar is none other than Songkran Fes­ti­val, which is held an­nu­ally from the 13th-15th April. Songkran Fes­ti­val, also known as the Thai New Year, is a Bud­dhist Fes­ti­val, and dur­ing this fes­ti­val, Thais would roam the streets throw­ing buck­ets of wa­ter onto each other, sym­bol­is­ing the wash­ing away of bad luck. Not just a cel­e­bra­tion ded­i­cated to the lo­cals, tourists from all over the world also join in the fun and seize the op­por­tu­nity to shoot wa­ter guns or sim­ply en­joy this jovial fes­tiv­ity. Apart from wild wa­ter bat­tles, Songkran is also a time when replica sand stu­pas are built in the court­yards of monas­ter­ies, and birds and fish are also set free – tourists can pur­chase caged birds at tem­ples or along the streets. Lo­cals be­lieve that by set­ting the birds free, one is gain­ing merit, while re­leas­ing the fish from their bowls to swim freely in the river or canal sym­bol­ises a wish for the fish to mul­ti­ply in the rice pad­dies dur­ing the monsoon sea­son.

For those who are un­able to at­tend the pa­rade, they can still pour wa­ter on the highly revered Phra Phut­tha Si­hing Buddha im­age at Sanam Luang, op­po­site the Grand Palace. The sa­cred im­age will be pa­raded along the streets on the first day of Songkran, and then left there for three days. It is be­lieved that do­ing this will bring good luck and pros­per­ity for the New Year. Other high­lights here in­clude danc­ing flash mobs, car­ni­val floats and cul­tural shows.

While Bangkok is a hot favourite among tourists, the largest wa­ter fes­ti­val pa­rade is ac­tu­ally held fur­ther up north in Chi­ang Mai, where the cel­e­bra­tions take on a more

Songkran Fes­ti­val in Lam­pang

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