Fri, July 01, 2022

thai-destination

Songkran festivities captivate locals, tourists in Chiang Mai, Korat, Chonburi


Locals and tourists in several provinces have been celebrating Songkran Day, or traditional Thai New Year, under Covid-19 preventive measures.

Through a series of photos, The Nation Thailand takes you on a visit to three tourist provinces, where people immersed themselves in Songkran festivities.

On Wednesday, Chiang Mai saw a religious procession of Phra Buddha Sihing, the highly revered image of Gautama Buddha, as well as nine Buddha images from temples in the province. The procession took to the road at 3pm from Tha Phae Gate in Muang district and headed to Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan.

Throughout the 2km distance, locals and tourists gathered around the procession to pour scented water on the Buddha images while admiring the floral decorations, which were followed by more than 100 dancers in traditional Lan Na costumes sporting long nails.

Songkran festivities captivate locals, tourists in Chiang Mai, Korat, Chonburi

The procession lasted about 40 minutes amid the hot sun. It came to an end when Chiang Mai Mayor Assanee Buranupakorn, who led the procession, placed a pedestal tray at the temple of Wat Phra Singh.

A news source said some foreign tourists were seen splashing water on one another at Tha Phae Gate while not wearing any face masks, in clear violation of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) measures. Police officers ordered them to stop and explained the regulations, before letting them off with a warning.

Songkran festivities captivate locals, tourists in Chiang Mai, Korat, Chonburi

In Nakhon Ratchasima, Governor Wichian Chantaranothai led an alms giving ceremony along the canal next to Thao Suranari Monument in Muang district early on Wednesday. Government officials and the public joined in the ceremony to mark the first merit making of the Thai traditional New Year.

Sixty Buddhist monks from several temples in the province embarked on boats to receive alms of dried food and drinks from participants.

Songkran festivities captivate locals, tourists in Chiang Mai, Korat, Chonburi

After the ceremony, people proceeded to pour scented water at the base of Thao Suranari Monument to show respect to Thao Suranari or Lady Mo, Nakhon Ratchasima’s heroine during the Laotian invasion of Siam in 1826.

On Wednesday afternoon, Wichian presided over another merit making ceremony, at Wat Phra Narai Maha Rat that features a pagoda believed to house a relic of Lord Buddha. Hundreds of pious Buddhist locals and tourists joined in the ceremony.

Songkran festivities captivate locals, tourists in Chiang Mai, Korat, Chonburi

Meanwhile, Bang Saen Beach in Chonburi’s Pattaya district proved another hot spot for tourists this Songkran.

On Wednesday the road leading to the beach in Saen Suk subdistrict was packed with vehicles as parking lots near the beach were full since early in the morning.

Although the splashing of water in public areas is prohibited by the CCSA, visitors to Bang Saen Beach found a way to fight the summer heat by diving into the sea for a refreshing swim, while others clambered on banana boats and were whizzed off by jet skis for hours of thrilling fun.

Songkran festivities captivate locals, tourists in Chiang Mai, Korat, Chonburi

Kesinee Boonthawong, 47, a seafood seller at Bang Saen Beach, happily said she welcomed more customers this year than the previous couple of years that were hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, thanks to a ban on water splashing and foam partying on the road, which has resulted in smoother traffic flow and therefore increased the number of tourists entering the beach area per hour.

“Furthermore, tourists who are wet from being splashed with water and powder are less likely to enter a restaurant and order a meal, as they tend to go back to their hotels and clean up instead,” she pointed out.

“I wish the province would keep this no-water-splashing policy during Songkran in the following years,” she added hopefully.

Songkran festivities captivate locals, tourists in Chiang Mai, Korat, Chonburi

Published : April 14, 2022

By : THE NATION