Show must go on-Songkran Festival 2010

Few days ago, I blogged about the Songkran Festival in Thailand as canceled according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority as published in various newspaper and website. However, Songkran being the happiest and most highly anticipated festival in Thailand, the recent bloody political clash did not dampen the spirit of the festival as many Bangkokians and even foreigners enjoy this festival specifically in Silom Road.

My friend said she saw in the news that Songkran is also held in Khaosan but there are less people especially since many of the backpackers decided to flee the area during the onslaught of the clashes near the area. Me and a few friends trooped to Silom around 4pm. The people are just starting to flock the area that time but you can see the happiness in everyone’s face unlike few days ago which you can see a worried look in most people especially with what’s happening in the local scene.

Songkran is known for water splashing using toy water guns or putting powder like substance in the people’s faces. One good thing about the festival is that everyone is game and no one gets mad even if cold water is used or if you are hit directly in the face. Majority of the crowd are teenagers while some children do not mind being soaked and walking the narrow streets. Because the streets are made literally into a playground, only few vehicles can pass. Only one lane is open for cars, buses or motorcycles while the rest are occupied by revelers. It was really fun when at one point several young ladies are screaming on top of their lungs just to gain attention. Some guys followed suit.

In another corner in Patpong, a fire hose is used to splash liters and liters of water. Loud speaker are placed outside the bars playing danceable tunes so everyone danced while drenching in water. We truly enjoyed this spot. Unfortunately, even I sealed my phones and belonging in ziploc bags, water still went inside it probably because of the big volume of water coming from the hose so at the end one of my celfone got busted. : (

We went home feeling very tired with several hours of walking and soaking in water and faces hardened by the powder. However, it is such an enjoyable experience. We are actually maximizing the 3 days holiday so surely we will come back again tomorrow.

As they say, the show must go on even during Songkran.

Songkran in Khaosan cancelled

Quoting an article from Bangkok Post saying that the Songkran activities on April 13-15 which is traditionally held in Khaosan and Silom Road is canceled due to ongoing political unrest in Bangkok according to the Bangkok Governor, Sukhumbhand Paribatra.

The ongoing protests along Phan Fa Bridge which is very near Khaosan Road makes it too risky to hold the celebration, according to him.

Songkran Festival which is the Thai New Year is the happiest and most popular festival in Thailand. The city is literally almost empty as many Bangkokians would go upcountry to visit their relatives or troop to the beach because of the long weekend holidays.  However, many people join the water splashing or putting powder on the faces along the streets of Khaosan and Silom. This is really such an enjoyable experience. Many foreigners visiting Thailand participate in the activities.

Last year there was a similar political protests before Songkran. The BMA also announced Songkran was canceled. However on the second day of Songkran (if I remembered correctly), the military troops were able to disperse the protesters and at the last minute it was announced that the activities will resume. My friends and I trooped to Khaosan and boy, did I truly enjoy the experience of splashing water till night time.

Well I do am hoping the Songkran Festival will be celebrated happily as usual and the differences of belief and ideologies be put to a halt even for this short period only. I am likewise wishing together with many Thai people– for this ongoing conflict be resolved very soon and peacefully for that matter.

(Belated) Happy New Year!

Last December 31 New Year’s Eve, me and my friends decided to dine out to celebrate New Year instead of staying at home and preparing food which is what we’ve done for Christmas. We trooped to Siam and had a big dinner in Sizzler’s Restaurant.  After filling our tummies with good food, we headed off to Khaosan Road to wait for the coming year 2010.

Khaosan was teeming with New Year revelers, foreigners and locals alike. Many foreigners (mostly Caucasians) prefer Khaosan due to numerous bars and restaurants to choose from and because the crowd here is very lively. This is actually an understatement…Even before Midnight, there are several short commotions due to some action brought about by small fights of drunkards (mostly Westerners). We were not spared of these drunkards as well. One time (after midnight), me and a friend went to 7-11 to buy some water since it’s very hot due to the big crowd turnout in the street and probably because of dancing and celebrating too much. While we are just standing in front of 7-11, we see a lot of policemen moving forward. Less than a minute passed, they are guiding a Tall, shirtless White guy to the police station. Following them is a bloody Westerner as well. It seems that this guy was hit by a bottle in the head and blood is flowing freely down his body, his white shirt turned red.  This is the first incident we’ve witnessed. While this was happening, another thing is simultaneously happening in the bar we were staying. One drunk White guy just suddenly stormed our table and toppled our Heineken beer tower. Two of my friends who were left in our table that time was caught by surprise because it happened so fast and one tried to grab the white guy so he can pay for the damage. Unfortunately, the intruder was very fast and had escaped before he was made to pay for his “crime”. This incident spoilt our supposedly fun drinking session a bit.

It was almost 1:30 am and the night is still young. The freak accident surely did not dampen our spirits and so my group decided to hangout to another venue. We then went to Silk Bar which is not more than 50 meters away from our first spot. The ground floor was still full so we went to the 2nd floor which is a bit quieter as there are some empty tables because most of the people decided to party in the streets. This gave us a good idea to make it our own dance floor since the sounds are quite good. Our group danced like crazy. We did many dance steps- sometimes serious, sometimes funny, sometimes weird. Since you will have to pass our “dance floor” before you are able to go to the restrooms, many passersby are actually being entertained by our dance moves. One British guy even approached and danced with us because he finds us so lively and happy. This was even caught on video.

Around 3AM, some more friends joined us so we decided to move to another place near the balcony of the bar (also on the 2nd floor). This spot actually gives you a good view of the ground floor of the bar and the streets where revelers are still very much alive. Many people are still walking or dancing in the street and a lot of them are holding large beer bottles so it means many are getting drunk. Because alcohol is really not good if it gets into your brain, true enough, less than 30 minutes that we were seated in the balcony, another commotion happened…Another Western guy just went to a table in the Ground Floor of our bar and punched one guy. The group tried to help the victim so this caused their table turn upside down and a lady was even hurt. The Thai employee of the bar upon seeing the damage tried to fight and punch the guy who first attacked. Fortunately, cool heads prevailed and they tried to stop the punching before it escalates into a full-blown street war.

As for our group, we just enjoyed the night (or dawn) and finished our drinks before deciding to call it a day. We left the place and headed back home around 5:30 AM.  Overall, it was an unforgettable experience full of fun and action. I’m glad everyone in our group are easy to be with and loves to party so it made the celebration even more memorable.

With this, I am definitely looking forward to a good year. 2009 has been a good year but it could have been better. I am wishing 2010 will be perfect.