Every year on the weekend of April 13th, Thailand stops what they are doing at that moment in time and partake in the world's biggest water fight to celebrate the turning of the new Thai Year. And prepare to get soaked, soaked and even more soaked.
The water festival that began with blessing the Buddha and Monks with water to 'cool' them down in the middle of the hot season by pouring buckets of water over them has descended into a full out war-fare of water fighting using supersoakers, buckets and if you are feeling very mean, a hose!
Chiang Mai holds tribute to be the best place to play Songkran, the name you scream when you dowse someone with water, and believe me you do not want to miss the townsfolk going all out crazy!
So how do you survive Songkran? Follow these steps and you will be guaranteed to have the best weekend of your life.
Smile! - in the land of smiles, you are very hard pressed to find someone NOT smiling as they sling a bucket of cold water at your face and to find someone NOT smiling as they get it in the face whilst everyone around smiles. It's so infectious! My cheeks hurt from all the smiling and laughing at the end of each day of Songkran.
Supersoaker - you definitely need a Supersoaker to battle wi the many Thai kids who seem to be extremely skilled in the art of water war-fare! Get one that has a powerful pressure and a long reach as you will want to aim that gun at the person who shot at your chest as they drove by!
Sunglasses - is a definite must. Stopping all kinds of water that gets in your eyes from the water fighting and you certainly do not want to be rubbing your eyes the entire time. Get your sunglasses to be wacky as possible!
Hawaiian Shirt - the louder the better. Ensure they clash with your shorts. That way, people will want to soak you more! They dry very quickly and are very cooling in the hot sun.
Waterproof bag - spending all day fighting will certainly leave you hungry and thirsty for that Chang Beer so make sure you have a waterproof bag to store money, camera and other stuff in.
Camera - of course you want to show everyone back home what you got up to but make sure your camera is either waterproof or wrapped in a clear bag and keep looking around you if you want to take a shot to avoid getting a soaking.
And finally, have fun! Everyone in Chiang Mai is out to have fun and leave your worries and stresses behind. I did. And I loved every second of it.