Join a citywide water fight in Bangkok at Thailand's colourful Songkran Festival.
Come April - Thailand's warmest month - Bangkok is hotter than a jalapeño in a sauna. Luckily locals have come up with an ingenious plan to beat the heat - a nation-wide water fight. Though celebrated across the country, Songkran Festival is at its most vibrant in Bangkok, with a week's worth of festivities, fancy dress and street parties throughout the capital.
Traditionally, the celebrations open with the Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual (National Day of the Elderly) when young Thais ask for blessings from older members of the community. The following day is devoted to spending time with family - you may also see Buddhists bathing statues of Buddha or performing religious ceremonies. The religious element to Songkran Festival plays a key role throughout - many Thais follow the idea of 'making merit' which involves visiting nine sacred temples.
As for the water fights - what started out as a simple tradition of pouring a small bowl of water over family members has evolved into something far more raucous. The water symbolically represents cleansing away the previous years' misfortunes and while the sentiment is still there, the 'small bowl' has today been replaced by buckets, hosepipes and waterguns. It's not just family members either; neighbours, guests and passers-by are guaranteed to get drenched - if you're out and about, prepare to get soaked.
Though the Sangkron festivities occur city-wide, Bangkok's best party (and water-fight) action can be found along the 5km stretch of Silom Road. Here, young, beer-fuelled Thais cavort with water guns; join in or watch from the second level walkway. In the evenings festival-goers carry on the celebration, as the city's clubs turn up the heat into the small hours.
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