Travel

The 5 Things You Need to Survive Songkran on Khao San Road

Although this is late and it’s the last day of Songkran, I thought I’d write a list of things I wish I knew last year.

 

1) You are going to get wet. 

Absolutely every stall on Khao San Road celebrates Songkran. No matter where you go someone will dump a bucket of water on you, spray you with a water gun or get you wet by whatever means necessary. Even if you try and dodge buckets of water eventually one will get you – trust me, I tried. We took a break from the celebration and sat at one of the restaurants… a little kid still sprayed us with water. Luckily, the Thai sun is so strong you’ll be dry in no time.

2) Random people will touch your face with chalk.

It took a while to get used to random Thai men caressing my face – especially when I didn’t understand what was going on at first. Don’t worry, they’re harmless and just giving you their blessings.

3) Waterproof absolutely everything

Bring ziplog bags, buy cell phone cases, or just leave it all at home. I brought my passport in an under the pants fanny pack and it got completely soaked. If you’re planning on bringing valuables make sure they’re either waterproof or wrapped away. Stalls all over Khao San Road sell plastic phone cases that look like this:

4) Waterguns and water are available everywhere. 

Don’t worry about not finding a water gun. There are so many available you can bargain and find the cheapest one. Unfortunately I bought mine earlier and found cheaper ones along the way. Stalls also provide buckets of water for your water gun refill needs. Depending on where you get your water gun, sometimes these places will charge a couple of bhats. Try and find a water gun stall that will let you refill for free.

5) Even if you’re not on Khao San Road, you’ll still get wet. 

After we were done celebrating on Khao San Road, we hopped on the (free) public bus and headed back to our hostel. Unfortunately for us we didn’t realize Songkran celebrations occur absolutely everywhere in the city. All dry and with electronics in hand, we continued to get soaked with water until we were in the safety of our hostel. We even got chased by a little boy…

Bonus Tip: 6) Have the best time ever. 

Songkran is a lot of fun and a very unique experience. Not a lot of public spaces will allow you to dump buckets of waters on strangers without apology.

Is this real life? (📹: @jtrian)

A post shared by Deb Lam (@adventurelam) on

 

Do you have any Songkran stories? Share below!

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Travel

DAY TWO & THREE

Day 2

So the reason why this post contains two days is because April 13th was entirely spent on an airplane and at an airport, but since this is by day, I felt it was also important to include. After our first full day of travelling, we landed at Shanghai Pudong Airport.

11329722_10152741849742493_1283667126_nThe Shanghai airport was an interesting one, mostly because of the giant panda store – and every other store that sold pandas. You’d think China was famous for pandas or something. In China, or at least at Pudong Airport, there are no water fountains. Instead, there are hot and warm water coolers that happened to be out of order yet made weird robot noises. The line-ups for boarding are non-existent and instead are just crowds of tourists waiting to board.

Luckily our layover wasn’t too long and we didn’t have to spend too time at the airport. We had pretty much gone stir crazy from flying more than 14 hours in a metal tube (see photo above).

After another 4 hours of flying we finally made it to Bangkok – let’s call that Day 3.

Day 3

After clearing customs at Bangkok International Airport we were all pretty nervous to get our backpacks. Apparently a bunch of Chinese tourists have ruined it for the rest of the world and airport staff decided to take matters into their own hand – take every single baggage off of the carousel and cross-reference every single piece of luggage with baggage tags. Lesson learned here: ALWAYS KEEP YOUR BAGGAGE TAGS. Of course to add to the stress, I ended up having Jenn’s and she ended up having mine. After collecting our bags we had read online to head downstairs to the public taxi area (a cheaper way to travel, less touristy). We were staying at a little hostel named Udee Bangkok and of course it was downudee twin the sketchiest and tiniest alley way. Upon arrival we were told that our April 13th booking did not count for 3am (the time we arrived at the hostel) so we rented a room with two twin beds, pushed them together (see right – I slept in the crack), and we slept for the next 4-5 hours.

On the plane we learned that we had accidentally, but conveniently, planned our trip around Songkran.

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My handy dandy $3 guidebook told us to head to Khao San Road to have the best time during Songkran. After eating the free breakfast our hostel provided us with (wooo!), the receptionist told us which bus to take and being the cheapest way, we headed towards the bus stop. Thailand is a funny place where taxis come up to you when you need a bus, and buses come up to you when you need a taxi. And tuk tuks ALWAYS approach you.

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The bus was another adventure on its own. Not only were we sure we were going to get in trouble because we didn’t pay when we got on, but we didn’t know where to pay once we got off. Turns out, some forms of public buses are completely free! (Note to future travellers, the bus was red with a giant blue sign on the front – the ones you have to pay for have air conditioning).

Anyway.

Jenn and Deanna, being hungry and in Thailand, the obvious first thing to eat is Pad Thai. None of the Songkran festivities had started so we sat down for a bite to eat.

After searching up and down Khao San Road we finally picked the cheapest and best water guns we wanted (we also bought a waterproof case for our phones – just in case). Words can’t describe the amount of water on Khao San Road that day. The weather was beautiful and it was the perfect day for a giant water fight. Luckily Jenn had a waterproof camera and you can see some of it here. I think one of the funniest parts of the water fight was when a Chinese lady stood behind us while her husband snapped photos of us altogether…and then her 4 other relatives hopped in the photo. I also had my first (and the best of the trip) Pad Thai in Thailand – it’s definitely not the same in Canada.

After some water festivities and strangers caressing our cheek to put chalk on it, we decided totry the local beer. We found a restaurant by the side of the road (one in the less busy part of the chaos) and had some Leo beer. The sun was super hot and beating down on us, I pretty much had a tan by this point (yay for Asian skin!).

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We bought some Thai-elephant pants, headed back to our hostel and tried to try off our clothes on the rooftop patio of our hostel. We headed to Chinatown for some food and settled on the busiest restaurant (hoping it meant tastiest). We had some Chang beer, some tasty food and we were basically out for the night. Our first full day in Thailand was over. Songkran will forever be the reason my passport is just a little ruined…

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