Songkran in Phuket - April 13th 2007
We first drove way up to the north of Phuket, to Mai Khao beach, an area which is still quite "traditional" although there is the JW Marriott Resort somewhere along the beach. There is a turtle project at Mai Khao (see www.maikhaoturtles.com), and a yearly turtle release ceremony held on April 13th. The mayor gave a speech, all the local gentry attended, and then the lucky few who had known to book their turtles in advance (doh!) got a turtle to release into the sea.
From Mai Khao (via a lunch break) we drove to Patong (the main tourist beach), only 10km from home, but as I had guessed the traffic was heavy and it took 45 minutes to reach Patong. The world and his brother were heading there for some watery fun. What struck me most was the sense of happiness all around. The water rituals used to be limited to sprinkling Buddha images (like in Mai Khao, see photo above) or splashing a little water on friends or family as a way of ritually cleansing the body and making way for a new year free from any past worries. It has gone a bit mad, with drinking, water fights and way too many road accidents due in part to alcohol, and in part to the dangerous way people throw water at moving vehicles. We did take a walk around Patong and the kids loved it, carrying their water pistols and being splashed and being able to shoot back! I really must get a waterproof housing for the camera...
Photos below taken from the safety of our car!
• Hope to see you next year for Songkran 2008!
Updated - in 2009 we "did" Songkran at Patong Beach, driving round in our truck and throwing water. Sanook!