While I did get drenched on April 12, the day of my trip to Phuping Palace and Wat Doi Duthep, there was no comparison to what was about to go down in Chiang Mai.
I’ve never seen anything like this in my life, and I never will again. It makes me want to go to every great cultural festival in the place where it’s most famous.
I think a video can show you more than more words would ever be able to, so I made one of the Songkran experience in Chiang Mai (available in HD for your viewing pleasure). Enjoy & comment if you like it!
Here are some highlights (and lows) of Songkran in Chiang Mai, not shown in the video:
– Continuing to get splashed after showering, resting, and heading out for what was supposed to be a dry supper.
– Realizing why the water from Chiang Mai’s moat never seemed depleted, despite everyone and their mom taking water from it for splashing: the water from the street goes back into the moat. Ick. (Adam, to me: “Jordan, don’t you just want to go swimming in there?” Me: “Uh, no. Not really.” And then I turned my head and the next thing I knew, Adam had gone into the moat.)
– Having a lot of that moat water end up in my mouth.
-Making friends with strangers. I thought I might have a hard time throwing buckets of water on complete strangers, but it’s far easier and as much fun as you could ever possibly think it would be.
– Adam falling into a hole and banging his knee up after trying to throw water on children.
– Eating so much khao soi (post to come soon).
– Getting smeared with white paste. It’s almost like a Songkran badge of pride:
– Enjoying quiet night walks without too much interruption from the nighttime splashers.
– Speaking of night walks, check out this insanely beautiful Lanna-style temple architecture. It haunted my dreams that night:
– Of course, because it’s Chiang Mai (and Chiang Mai is, in my opinion, the best city for shopping in Thailand), we hit hit up the night bazaars and walking streets.
The city of Chiang Mai is so, so great and offers something completely different from Bangkok and Isaan, where I have spent my time living in Thailand. I had a wonderful time celebrating Songkran there. We spent a lot of time talking about how such a festival would be impossible back home. People are too afraid of interacting with strangers and American people are far too litigious to be able to fully enjoy something that includes drinking polluted moat water and assaulting strangers. And that’s why I’m glad I decided to spend time learning lessons from another culture.