Songkran officially kicked off yesterday with Thai and foreign visitors taking part in water-splashing at various designated celebration zones across the country following the morning merit-making rites for blessing and good luck on this Thai traditional New Year.
Besides the well-known Silom and Khao San areas, where people congregated for watery fun, the Central World Plaza saw revellers enjoy activities at the alcohol-free "Bangkok Songkran Festival 2017", which will last until Saturday from noon to 9pm.
Activities included a Buddha image bathing rite zone, concerts and cultural shows, along with carnival-style fun fairs with 50 game booths, as well as food services from a caravan of food trucks. Besides free water for splashing, a foam party was available to cool people off during the hottest time of the year.
At the City Hall's Khon Muang Plaza, a traditional-themed Songkran celebration was held, following the morning alms offering rite to 191 Buddhist monks.
Up North, the celebration at Chiang Mai City's Khu Muang canal was buzzing with Thai and foreign tourists enjoying the water war, although the number of visitors was said to be lower than last year.
There were fewer people throwing water from pick-up trucks as authorities warned against it and most vendors co-operated in making the Songkran zone alcohol-free, however several foreign tourists received verbal warnings for wearing too-revealing clothing.
Chiang Mai police deputy chief Pol Colonel Piyapan Pattarapongsin said the atmosphere seemed more sober as people this year didn't want to host any inappropriate activities as Thailand is still mourning the passing of HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Down South, Phuket governor Norapat Plodthong led officials and public members in alms offering to 129 monks and poured water onto Buddha images in the morning at a public park in Muang district.
As it was National Elderly Day yesterday, they also poured fragrant water into the palms of senior representatives from city communities to ask for their blessings.
Members of the public took part in water-splashing fun in the afternoon at seven designated locations in Muang, Krathu and Thalang districts amid the watchful eyes of police who enforced strict regulations for peace and order, including a ban of alcohol drinks and a ban on grabbing and smearing others with powder.
Phuket Tourism Office deputy chief Uthit Limsakul said this Songkran was better than last year as 80 per cent of rooms were booked, thanks to various factors including the visa extension.
In Ranong, thousands of Myanmar people crossed the border to play Songkran water wars with local residents and their Myanamar compatriots who worked in Thailand yesterday.
There were nine designated Songkran zones, which also prohibited the consumption and sales of alcohol and were guarded by security officers.
The Muang Ranong Municipality-hosted "Maha Songkran Namrae Saksit" (Grand Songkran Mineral Holy Water) event was held on Tha Muang Road. The event was made special as the water provided for splashing was mineral water from local sources that underwent an auspicious rite to make it holy.