In less than 24 hours we’ll be high up in the sky making our way to London as our travels fade in the distance. But right now we are back in Bangkok, ringing in the (Thai) New Year, Songkran, with water fights and street food galore!
When we planned the remainder of our travels just over a month ago, we wanted to create a relaxed ending where we could begin to apply for jobs but also enjoy some final adventures. After discovering Songkran was celebrated by massive street water fights and confirming that we could make it back to Bangkok in time for the festivities, it was settled; we had our final destination. So after nine hours on a bus from Siem Reap and one final border crossing into Thailand (this time we actually walked the 200 meters from the Cambodia exit immigration to the Thailand entrance immigration), we made it to Bangkok just in time to purchase our own super soakers before the celebrations began on Saturday.
After a morning run through Lumphini Park (the magical one where I joined an aerobics class during our previous Bangkok stay), we quickly realized we were under-prepared for Songkran. Everyone around us were dressed in Hawaiian t-shirts and carrying their belongings in water proof pouches. Shit was about to get real. So we scoured the streets until we found Hawaiian t-shirts of our own to purchase along with said water proof pouches. We were ready.
After some googling we decided to head over to Silom Street; all 5 kilometers of the street are pedestrianized during Songkran and it is listed as the best place for water fights during the festivities in Bangkok. I wasn’t quite sure exactly what to expect; would the water fights consume every street corner? How would we refill our water guns? Was everyone fair game? There’s nothing like answering one’s questions through complete (water) immersion!
After passing through light security (I hate to think of the security that would be needed for this in the US), we joined thousands of people parading down the street while shooting our water guns in all directions. The experience was much more organized than I anticipated—each side of the street was uni-directional and the sidewalks were packed with people selling cold water gun refills for 10 baht (about 30 cents) along with snacks and even more water guns. We were pleased to see more locals than tourists and individuals of all ages joining in the celebration. Dom took a particular liking to spraying his super soaker on the passing children…
Sufficiently soaked, we wandered over to Lumphini Park for lunch. The park was all decked out for Songkran, full of food stalls, children’s rides, music stages and festive lights. Little children continued to squirt passerbys with their water guns and laughter and familial chatter filled the air. Songkran is a wonderful festival reminding me most of Fourth of July, probably due to their shared piping-hot weather and daytime outdoor celebrations full of music and food. Obviously a New Year’s water fight would not work for the US climate (also what is this I see about it snowing in Chicago right now?!), but I really do think Thailand is on to something. This is by far my favorite New Year’s celebration to date!
Besides donning our Hawaiian t-shirts every time we leave our Airbnb for food, the remainder of our time has been spent hunkering down applying for jobs and reminiscing about all of the amazing moments we’ve shared over the past four and a half months. (One of those is clearly a lot more exciting than the other.)
I may do some additional retrospective blog round-ups of our travels, but in case I don’t get around to it, I’d just like to say this: World, I’m going to miss hopping across your beautiful surface with such frequency. Thank you for everything you’ve shown me, shared with me and taught me. I’ll be back.