Despite the long list of places we have visited over the past seven months it is always nice to have somewhere to go that feels like you’re returning to the familiar. Bangkok has certainly been our adopted hometown whilst we have been away and it was nice to see the bright lights and tall towers of our crazy, extroverted travel hub looming on the smoggy Asian horizon.
We were returning to visit friends and celebrate Songkran – Thai new year which turned our fourth visit to Bangkok into an aqueous blur of brightly coloured plastic, screaming children, plastered faces and slippery pavements – we absolutely loved it. For those in the dark, the entire city turns out for a full three day water fight and no one is exempt from getting completely soaked. We saw a few new-comers trekking around town with their backpacks, wet through, trying figure out what type of place this is where it’s socially acceptable to walk up to a complete stranger and spray them in the face with a comically oversized water gun.
We spent our first day enjoying being back at Phiman guesthouse, relaxing by the river and re-acquainting ourselves with owner Jane and old friends Rene and Lorent who had also returned for Songkran. That evening we had ourselves a brilliant mini water fight in the guesthouse, nothing was safe, in the end we had to put a stop to proceedings as the exposed electrics in the kitchen were in danger.
The next day was the real thing, having lounged around all day we secured ourselves matching Doraemon soakers (a robotic cat cartoon that’s all the rage) for me and Sarah. Rene checked all the guns through thoroughly making adjustments for improved soaking capability and with the go-pro mounted we were good to roll out for a watery tear up. Our spot was on Rambutri Road just north of Khoa San and having secured a favourable position on the street; outside 7 eleven (for cheap beers) and next to a bar (for free water refills) we set about completely assaulting the thousands of passers by, but don’t worry, they were giving it back, although our group of seven strong was formidable. Eventually as the hours passed by we got cold, the white paste that had been smeared on our faces by countless Thais began to dry and crack, and we called it a night well past midnight.
The third and final day of the Songkran water festival we were determined to venture out and head out of the bubble that is Banglamphu to get some jobs out of the way. As is customary with a visit to MBK shopping centre we visited the cinemas, more just to go to the cinema rather than wanting to see any specific film (we watched fast and furious 7 to prove that point.) We took the scenic route back walking all the way from downtown to Samsen, a good 90 minute walk but it was lovely to walk through the city as day passed to night and the final hours of Songkram played out for another year leaving behind a very wet city, and a lasting impression upon those of us lucky enough to have been here to experience it. It’s never boring in the land of smiles!
Now we venture up into the north of Thailand for the first time since our first arrival into the country over four months ago. How long ago it now seems since we boarded that flight in Chennai!
Until next time.
P.s. Big thanks to our good friend Rene for his excellent action shots.
Photos here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/127744759@N08/1Z2133