Song Kran according to Wikipedia:The Songkran celebration is rich with symbolic traditions. Mornings begins with merit-making. Visiting local temples and offering food to the Buddhist monks is commonly practiced. On this specific occasion, performing water pouring on Buddha statues is considered an iconic ritual for this holiday. It represents purification and the washing away one’s sins and bad luck. As a festival of unity, people who have moved away usually return home to their loved ones and elders. As a way to show respect, younger people often practice water pouring over the palms of elders’ hands. Paying reverence to ancestors is also an important part of Songkran tradition.
Song Kran (Today in Thailand): A crazy Buddhist New Year that welcomes anyone from all paths to celebrate and get SOAKED. There is no mercy. Everyone is fair game if you are walking on the streets that forewarn the celebration will be held there. Yes foreigners are welcomed. BEWARE! You may be hit in the Eyes, Ears or Mouth. NO- Water is typically not the cleanest. In Chiang Mai most is collected from the mote. Is it fun? Yes! Would I do it again: Sure. Any lows? -The fact that Thailand is still celebrating regardless of the horrible drought they’re having with many farmers suffering and losing money AND the fact that the death rate of the celebration increased due to drunk driving.
After a long over night bus ride from Laos we finally made it to Chiang Mai to start the Song Kran craze. We began to be nervous as we realized how Big of an even this was going to be and were simply hoping for the best.
After taking a deep breathe and settling in we went to venture into the water war. We were looking at guns and decided we’ll just get wet. That didn’t last too long before we decided we needed armor and amo; a gun and water. I only have 1 photo because technology and water really aren’t friends.
Description: Crowded! Pick up trucks filled with people with ice cold water with water guns throwing it and shooting it at the pedestrians. Pedestrians with water guns shooting one another and the people in the pick up trucks. There is a lot of Thai music in the background and it is HOT! Children everywhere with guns aiming at your stomachs. You may be mid sentence and then BAM ice cold water down your back or in your mouth. Some of us accepted our fate. Others were cringing and scowling on how it’s such an annoying holiday. I was part of the first crowd. I accepted and realized that once I booked a room in the Old City of Chiang Mai meant I was a fair target for Anyone.
The first day was seriously just walking and getting wet, then walking, shooting, more wet, and repeat. VERY tiring.
Numero Dos: Mimi, Michele and I decided to hike Doi Suthep in morning rather than Song Towing (pick up truck with 2 benches on the back) like most tourists. At 8:30 we started. Started the hike? No …we started roaming. We were following a blog or many for this ‘back road’ we had to take and Google maps was telling us to go through the Chiang Mai Zoo. *Sigh* After two hours we finally figured out to get a song tow to another side of the Chiang Mai University. Finally we were on the right path starting at around 10:30. Oh boy… My body felt weak already from the heat and we were just starting? Well after 30 mins we hiked to the first temple (only two on the hike but the second one being 1hr and a half away from the starting point).
By the 30 minute point I was done. It was hot and ridiculous and said bye to Michele and Mimi. I hopped on a song tow to the top. At the top I got to so Wat Doi Suthep and the view. From here I was a bit SOL with communication. I hadn’t brought my phone thinking I was going to be accompanied and because of the Song Kran Festival. After I walked around the temple I talked to the song tow driver waiting for the couple who originally was riding before I interrupted. He told me I’d be free of charge and dropped me off at the Chiang Mai Zoo.
At the Ching Mai Zoo there were: PANDAS!!! I got to see other animals and felt really bad for it being so hot and there being a lack of water supply it seemed. I was mostly there for one thing though and spent a good 30 minutes just taking pictures and big smiling like a weirdo in the panda pen.
After I hoped on a song tow back home. Still without a key and phone or map I made it back and was okay. Was I ever not okay? No but apparently they were all worried about me… Well at least Ia and Crystal were haha.
We then made our way to the famous Wat Chedi Luang
Numero tres: It was the last day of Song Kran, and no matter how tired we all were we decided to pack 9 of us to go to the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon, which is totally fun and worth it.
THAI SECRET COOKING SCHOOL!: The highlight to my Chiang Mai trip had to be the cooking school. I went alone because 2 of the other people had already done it and they rest wanted to go to Chiang Rai which I had already been.
First I was picked up and then taken to a market and got shown the ingredients. Then a 30 minute trip to the owners house. There we got our hats and baskets and picked our ingredients. From there we were given the rest of our ingredients and started cooking. I first did the Pad Thai, and the chicken in coconut soup; then we sat and ate. Next was preparing and actually making the curry paste for my green curry. Once the paste was done I made my favorite: papaya salad. I observed other make spring rolls then we said bye to the mid day group. There were only three for curry and desert but it was still a lot of fun. I made my green curry and made my favorite dessert mango sticky rice. At the end my stomach was very happy and am now able to make awesome Thai food at Home! I was also gifted a personalized cook book! All for 1,100 baht (32usd) GREAT deal.
Well that was my time in Chiang Mai and now am currently in Pai taking a day off just to recoup.
Gonna start planning for South Korea April 24-May 1st!