Publisert av: ingridmogstad | 20. april 2011

New Year in Bangkok

Khmer New Year has just passed, a holiday where all Khmers living in Phnom Penh have a few days off and go visit their family in the provinces. The city literally shuts down for almost a week. Having some trouble with my visa (the rules are very confusing) I found it as the simplest and cheapest solution to go out of the country. Hassle, but I saw the Khmer New Year as a good time to travel. «Bangkok», I thought. «I have never been to Bangkok. I’ll go there.»

What I didn’t know was that they also celebrate new year in Thailand at this time; Thai New Year. And it’s quite different from the Cambodian celebration. I had heard rumors about some water splashing before I went, but I did not know what to expect. On the monorail from the airport I kept seeing soaked people with water guns and white paint in their faces. When I took a tuktuk to find the hostel, my driver at some point slowed down the pace when we passed a family in a narrow ally, and they all started splashing water and clay at me! I was stunned. A whole family who splashes down strange foreigners in a tuktuk? When I got to the hostel and started talking to people I quickly found the solution:

During Thai New year (this year from the 12 to the 17 of April) the whole city of Bangkok turnes in to a giant water fight! Incredible. Literally everyone takes part in the water throwing, from the youngest of children to the oldest people. If you are white and dry you are an even better target. The water fight was incredibly fun the first couple of days. We couldn’t go around the corner to buy food without getting soaked and covered in white clay. Going out in the night was also interesting, never have I had so many people touching my face at one time. I’ll give that to the Thais, they are very good at including everybody in their festivities.

Not even the busses are spared during Thai New Year.

At some point I was thrown in to a pool. In the middle of the street. In the middle of the night. I lost my shoes. The water was dirty. After some help and a couple of minutes I found my shoes again. After the pool I got so cold that it was the end of the night for me, and I went back to the hostel. The rest of the stay in Bangkok circled around water, and after a while it circled around trying to not get wet. The effort was futile.

The group was very serious about learning all we could about Thai culture, so we all bought water guns.

Anyway I recommend celebrating Thai New Year in Bangkok to everybody! You feel like you’re eleven, and so are everyone else too. For me this was the first time to travel somewhere all by myself, and it was a great first time experience. I want to thank the Cambodian visa system for being impossible to understand, so I got the chance to go. Even though it didn’t solve my visa problems. Happy New Year!



  1. Bra du gjør seriøse ting som å ha vann kamper! Når er det du er hjemme igjen, savner deg! ❤

  2. Fantastisk! Jeg fikk meg en god latter nå og veldig lyst til å oppleve noe Thai-nyttår 🙂 Du skriver så morsomt og levende, Ingrid!

  3. Er hjemme 10 juli Mari, og som sagt var dette en viktig og seriøs studie av Thai kultur. Takk Ingunn, Thai nyttår anbefales på det varmeste!

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