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12/04/2011 - Come to Phuket, Thailand and get soaked to the skin - No, it's not raining it's Songkran

12/04/2011 - Come to Phuket, Thailand and get soaked to the skin - No, it's not raining it's Songkran

If you’ve ever been to Phuket in Thailand during Songkran, you'll know if you want to stay dry you will have to barricade yourself in your hotel room for the next three days.

But, who'd be such a poor sport to do that?

If you don't already know, Songkran is New Year in Thailand.

Today, if you walk down the street you'll be ambushed by Thai's young and old and lots of foreigners too, armed with huge water pistols called super-soakers.

They started early in Phuket today.

The streets of Patong were lined with assailants wielding super-soakers and buckets of water - even the fire brigade were getting in on the act with their truck parked on Soi Bangla.

The preferred targets are people on motorbikes or pedestrians who are gleefully drowned with water, accompanied by the delighted screams of the eager soakers.

One poor guy on a motorbike was thrown so much off balance he crashed into the back of my car - fortunately he was ok as I was reluctant to get out and help.

Tomorrow, 13th April, is the big day.

If you go out, prepare well.

Here's my handy check-list:

1. Buy a plastic mac (try the 7-Elevens – there are loads of them)

2. Wear your old clothes if possible

3. Put your mobile phone in a plastic bag or it will get wet

But, if you really want to enjoy Songkran, buy yourself a super-soaker and join the fun!

Thai New Year is celebrated in April each year.

Thailand adopted this tradition from the ancient Brahmins in India who believed that the sun re-entered Aries and finished its orbit round the earth on April 13.

In Thailand, this festival is celebrated for three days every year from April 13 to April 15.

Before the celebrations, people will clean their houses in the hope of throwing away bad luck from the past year.

The festival always begins with food being presented to Buddhist monks.

The water-throwing antics you see on the streets of Thailand stem from the tradition of water being gently poured over Buddha images and then collected as 'blessed' water, which was used to cleanse people from evil.

Today, younger people convey their best wishes to their elders by pouring water onto them or their palms in the same way.

After this, it’s time for them to take to the streets and drown as many people as possible.

Don’t expect to escape a soaking if you go out; every street in Phuket will have an army of snipers and bucketeers waiting for you.

It can be a welcome relief to the heat, but if you want to stay dry it’s best to stay indoors.





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