TweetNext week we are going to be charging around Chiang Mai armed with the biggest, baddest water guns available to humanity. This won’t be the first time we’ve run amok around a Southeast Asian town squirting people in the face with water. Ten years ago we celebrated our first Songkran in Luang Prabang, though in Laos the event is called Pbeemai Lao.
The celebrations started gently enough on the border in neighbouring Thailand when a small, old lady politely apologised to Deirdre as she sprinkled a few fingertips of water in her direction. By the time we were deposited from our slow river boat along the Mekong two days later in Luang Prabang, the festivities were beginning to get under way in earnest.
Songkran has its origins in renewal and evolved from respectfully pouring water over the shoulder into the free for all it is today. For foreigners it is the chance to enjoy the world’s biggest water fight with local children and youths and an excuse to soak monks and old ladies. Other activities in Luang Prabang include sculpting sand stupas and a beauty pageant called Miss Pbeemai Lao (Miss Lao New Year).
Songkran runs from April 13 to 15, but the festivities usually run unofficially a couple of days before and after.