SONGKRAN revellers will be disappointed if they expect a fun-filled water fight near Bangkok’s Khao San Road, a popular area with tourists and backpackers.
This year’s celebration will be different, as local authorities have urged business operators in the alley to refrain from entertainment activities and focus more on the cultural side of Songkran, which is celebrated from April 13 to 15.
Only traditional water sprinkling and merit-making as well as a Buddha image procession will be permitted , as the country is still in mourning following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October, Phra Nakhon district chief Supakrit Boonkhan said yesterday. The office has jurisdiction over Khao San Rd.
Supakrit said operators of entertainment venues in the area have been told of the policy. Songkran revellers will not be allowed to use powder or water guns or dress scantily, the official added.
“This year’s Songkran will be on the conservative side, in line with the original tradition. We will not allow dancing, loud music playing or stage performance of any kind” in public places, the district chief said.
Piya Butjiramonaikul, head of the association of Khao San business operators, said yesterday the group has told tourists about the toned-down water festival this year. He promised things would return to normal next year.
Prospective Songkran celebrants yesterday voiced disappointment at a lack of fun in Khao San, which is a popular place for the festival. But they understood this was a time for national mourning.
University student Chalisa Limsakthaworn, 22, said she expected much fewer foreign tourists at Khao San – and less revenue for the businesses there – this year due to the policy.
She said that she herself would celebrate Songkran elsewhere in the city.