Songkran is the Thai New Year festival and as it approaches many expats plan their escape, myself included. Put the traditional Songkran festival to one side, the carnage that now goes on through many of the streets throughout Thailand day and night make it a death trap.
Think I am joking? A total of 390 people were killed in road accidents during the seven-day monitoring period for the Songkran holiday last year, which was an 11% improvement on the year before. Most of these deaths are motorcycle related. It is not only the fatalities but an increase in youth violence and sexual assaults that are reported each year. How can this still be acceptable in a modern world?
video insert: Hollywood movie ‘The Purge’
But is Songkran fun?
Yes it can be super fun, it is a release from modern regulation and rules. You can get away with most things. Four people on a motorbike with no crash helmets and drinking beer – the authorities largely have to turn a blind eye, they have no choice as, drawing short of cancelling the celebrations, it is just too many people to regulate. You just need to be careful especially if you have young kids.
The fun stops when you don’t want to play and you just want to walk to 7-11 to get some shopping; if you are near party goers in the street chances are you will get a bucket of water poured on you. Like I said, if you are in the mood to play – it is great fun don’t get me wrong.
However Songkran celebrations you see in the party areas would never be allowed in countries like the UK and USA.
What is Songkran?
A festival celebrating the traditional Thai New Year, held in April and marked by the throwing and sprinkling of water.