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Rules of Songkran 2012: No Drink Walking. No Talcum Powder

Rules of Songkran 2012: No Talcum Powder or Drink Walking

No Drink Walking or Talcum Powder…

In a few days the Songkran festivities will take over Thailand. In Bangkok, where I’m at, tourists flood in and a chunk of locals (mostly from up north) stream out.

Except for sampling Khao Chae (a first), my Songkran plans are not set. I might grab a taxi and drive around taking photos of the water fights, but that’s about as energetic as I’ll get this year. And for good reason.

  1. Even with the rain it’s blazing HOT this Songkran.
  2. Thai roads seem even more deadly than usual.

At this time each year Thailand braces not just for the heat of Songkran but for the death tally due to careless drivers. That’s the bad part. The good part [knock on wood] is that we don’t have Red Shirt protests or floods to worry about.

But wait. We do have additional concerns and new rules. Oh joy.

Khao San ready for a splash: To provide safety for Songkran celebrants and tourists, 300 police officers and 150 volunteers will be deployed around the area. Security checkpoints will be set up to search for explosives and weapons.

As well, the sale and use of talcum powder are not allowed, and drinking alcohol while walking will be banned.

Mr Piyabutr also said he was confident that the recent bombings in the southern provinces would not affect the number of Songkran revellers or holiday sentiment in the capital.

Forget about the bombs in the south AND Bangkok for awhile… in Khao San (where I sometimes go), there’s to be no talcum powder or walking while drinking? Strange combo. What about being drunk? Is drunk walking allowed?

Anyone game for testing it out?

The dancing traffic cops of Thailand…

To lighten the gloomy mood, Thailand created a massive traffic jam in Ratchaprasong (yup, where I shop) to bring us this cute Songkran video.

…police closed the Ratchaprasong intersection in central Bangkok on Friday morning to shoot a music video scene featuring a dance by 12 female traffic police officers. The video is part of a police campaign to reduce road accidents during the Songkran period.

Good luck to them. I’ll be checking @191Thailand on twitter to see how this latest idea pans out. Fingers crossed it will have more success than the “Drink, Don’t Drive” campaign.

Anyway… if you are interested in attending any of the Songkran festivities around Thailand, here’s Richard Barrow’s Schedule and Dates for Songkran 2012.

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My passion is promoting the Thai language. Fullstop. Oh, and traveling. I'm passionate about that as well. And photography too.

16 Comments

  1. Are people allowed to drink if they stand still? What about hopping along on one leg or a light jog? It sounds like the police will have their work cut out for them enforcing that law :)

  2. So funny. Sidewalk drink-sitting would work too. Party goers could hire someone to follow along with their drinks. Once they sit down ‘wherever’, they get served.

    Personally, I prefer to avoid the crazy over drinking that goes on during Songkran. Yeah, I’m a party pooper. I’ll take photos of the fun but won’t join in much. Alcohol during the heat makes me fall asleep.

  3. Cat, don’t know how you can get drunk with all the cold water flying around…very sobering, especially last year. It was extremely chilly up in Chiang Mai without getting wet.

    I always wonder how many tourists arrive during Songkran without having a clue that it’s even going on! Funny to see the odd, grumpy one walking around, insisting that they are not to be dowsed in water. Yeah, right ;)

  4. Snap, normally during Songkran the sun is blistering hot. Also, I always carry a camera so I go to great lengths to keep dry = no cooling off for me.

    Could a lot of those grumpy people be expats? Getting doused during holidays wouldn’t be too much of a hardship but if trying to go about a normal day, after a few years of getting drenched in your work clothes it’d get old.

    If I don’t want to get wet during Songkran then I make sure to stay out of the way. I live in a quiet area so it’s possible. Other people don’t have the option.

  5. I actually discouraged friends from coming during Songkran. I felt bad but I had to be honest. It’s INSANE. CM is preparing by putting water bouies in the moat, signs indicating “deep water” and huge signs that say, “No alcohol” all around the city.

    Somehow I get the feeling it might be tamer this year. Last year it was freezing but it didn’t stop people from playing and breaking out the fireman’s hose at Kad Suan Kaew.

    This week it’s been hot with everyday thunderstorms, so who knows! Happy Songkran!!!

  6. Happy Songkran to you too Lani! “breaking out the fireman’s hose” whoooh… That sounds dangerous (especially for those on motorcycles). Does Chiang Mai get crazier than Bangkok? Could be. Khao San Road does get wild but that’s just a small part of the city.

    Not allowing alcohol at the festivities might just force the drinking underground… but will it actually do much to stop the road carnage?

    On another note… not admitting to the real Songkran death toll is useless. If someone dies later from a traffic accident, their death should be included in the tally. Plus, when the Thai government promises less numbers, it shouldn’t result in a number fiddle but an actual improvement in behaviour. Just my two cents…

  7. I used to always get a few days supply of food and hunker down in my apartment for the weekend.

    Cute video they did! I hope that it’s less crazy this year. I’ve wondered how far the bad behavior and road deaths could go before the easy-going Thais said, Enough!

  8. Amy, I usually get a stash right before the holiday as well but this year I’ve had a ton of things going on so I’m lagging behind.

    Saying “enough”… I wish. There seems to be more of a relaxed “oh, well” attitude about helmets, drunk driving, safety rules, etc.

  9. No Red Shirt protests or floods… just bomb threats and now [drumroll] a tsunami warning…

    PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER; arrive Phuket at 18.18, PhraThong Isl at 19.23, Tarutao Isl at 19.56: http://bit.ly/I1VhV0 via @HimZArranger

  10. Bangkok Post ‏ @BPbreakingnews
    Tsunami warning lifted http://goo.gl/Tfu9q

  11. Sarah Somewhere

    April 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! At least that has been our attitude for our first Songkran experience. I can imagine it might change after a few years! Chiang Mai is actually pretty well set up with the moat around the old city, around which most of the action seems to be centred. Ew I can’t think of anything worse than Songkran on Khao San Road. Actually KS is bad enough on a normal night! Well that’s my two cents, anyway… :)

  12. Sarah, the thing is, as soon as I saw my first Songkran painted taxi I was all like PARTY!!! lol…

    I’m not into Khao San Road either (never even walked it) but it’s an easy way to get photos from a slow moving taxi. This year though (and hopefully today) I have the new iPhone so there’s not that worry over ruining my 7D. I’ll take my Canon but I won’t drag it out until I’m confident.

  13. Cat, Great video! I wish they would ban the powder in Pattaya, especially the prickly heat stuff. I gout doused by a whole large bottle of powder yesterday grrr. The police have banned water cannons in Pattaya although what they are doing is confiscating them and selling them back to the vendors :P

    So far so good, I’m wet but loving it. Even got the first Songkran post up today ( internet has been horrible )

  14. “The police have banned water cannons in Pattaya although what they are doing is confiscating them and selling them back to the vendors”

    Totally hilarious and totally Thai :-D

    I like the powder when it’s all in good fun (and it looks great on camera). I imagine though, it gets crazy in Pattaya?

    Sorry to hear about your Internet problems. Time to move? It’s been a year, correct? What you could do is get an iPhone and run your computers and bits off of it. So there’d be no need for an Internet connection or phone at your condo. That’s what I did in Chiang mai when the hotel was asking crazy money for a connection. I had two computers and an iPad running off my iPhone.

  15. I’m looking into different options for internet at the moment, don’t really want to move so I’m hoping for the best.

    Most Thai’s with powder are very sweet they gently wipe your cheeks, unfortunately this crazy old woman who seemed to be drunk was dumping powder on everyone and throwing it yesterday…

  16. Moving is a pain so I’m with you there. Not having a consistant internet connection drives me to distraction. When mine was iffy I practically lived in coffee shops (anywhere with a connection, refreshments, and a decent restroom).

    Crazy drunk women… I hope you got plenty of photos :-D

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