The Thai new year is celebrated with a three-day national holiday--Songkran. The entire country shuts down for Songkran, during which Thais go on holiday, attend parades, honor Buddhist traditions like cleansing images of Buddha with water, and, most important for the Barber kids, engage in massive
squirt gun fights.
Chiang Mai is known as the epicenter of Songkran celebrations in Northern Thailand, and it lived up to its reputation. Unless you're a monk, a baby, or an old lady, you're fair game for getting splashed, squirted and soaked by anyone and everyone.
The visuals are stunning. Streets lined with vendors selling high powered water guns, buckets and rain coats. Pickup trucks loaded with Thais raining down ice-cold water from 55 gal. barrels. Crowds of Thais and tourists lining the moat that rings the Old City area and enthusiastically blasting pedestrians, trucks, taxis and tuk-tuks.
Foreign tourists (and our tall, fair-haired six-pack obviously looks the part) are prime targets for Thais and other tourists, so we were regularly soaked to the gills. The Barber kids sported their own impressive water weapons, so we usually gave as good as we got. (See video below)
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