Apr 10 2011
With the recent torrential downpours experienced across much of the South of Thailand you’d think the Phuketian Thais would’ve had enough drenching to last a lifetime. Apparently this is not the case… The dangerous Songkran water festival is responsible for upping the road toll once every 12 months as the Thais drunkenly celebrate the start of their new year, which despite being 500 odd years ahead of 2011 does not yet have any teleportation or flying cars.
What they do have in the year 2554 is guns, lots of guns. Not laser guns, but water pistols. Using these and buckets of water, Thais merrily douse everyone in sight – little kiddies, old biddies … and many an unsuspecting tourist will get a few face fulls of water too.
Although primarily celebrated in Chiang Mai way up North where it runs for around a week, the fantastic festival of flying fluids occurs all over the country, including right here in Phuket — albeit for just one day. Come Wednesday, April 13, you’ll be soaking in more than just the sun’s rays if you’re anywhere near Patong or Phuket Town, where much of the action is planned to take place.
Supermarkets and convenience stores in Phuket have stockpiled water pistols of all shapes and sizes, with beachside vendors set to follow suit in the next few days leading up to the event. Wherever you are in Phuket, you’ll want to duck into one of the islands ubiquitous 7-Elevens or Family Marts and choose your weapon, find a tap, and lock and load.
Larger supermarket chains like Carrefour in Jungceylon have the most ample, reasonably priced supply of “waterarms” (like a firearm, only it hurts a bit less when you get shot). You can pick up a sturdy weapon for about 60-180 baht (around $2 – $6US) Just head near the non-beach end of Bangla Rd and ask a local to point you in the right direction. Phonetically, the shopping mall is pronounced; “Junk See Long.”
Word on the soi is pre-emptive strikes are expected on Bangla Road as the midnight hour approaches on Tuesday the 12th. So don your face paint, pump up your super-soakers and be prepared for anything as alcohol will surely be involved. And remember: one man’s beach is another man’s unlimited supply of watery ammo.
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