This question has 2 parts, so please read patiently:
I am hoping to spend Songkran in Chiang Mai this coming spring and I read somewhere that there was a beach festival that happens the weekend before nearby at Lake Huay Tung Tao. Is this an every-year type of event and if so, is it always the weekend right before Songkran (as in April 7-8 this year)? Has anyone been to this before and able to give a report of what it's like and say whether it's worth checking out?
Part 2 of my questions involves transportation out of Chiang Mai during Songkran. I've heard that the festival basically shuts down the city during this time, but is it possible to leave on a night train to Bangkok? I want to be there for the start of the festival, but I'm hoping to leave after a day or two. Can I get out, say around the 15th on a night train without too many major delays?
Thanks for help with either part of this!
#1 katerpillar has been a member since 4/12/2011. Posts: 5
Songkran in Chang Mai lasts for a week and it gets quite busy, but yes you can still travel. However, this is one of the busiest holidays in Thailand and even the Thais are trying to get from place to place to see family so if you want a train on the 15th you better book it in advance.
I was recently informed that you can now book train tickets online here http://www.thairailticket.com/esrt/Default.aspx?language=1
If you do this please let me know how it goes, as I am yet to book tickets this way myself.
#2 guava_girl has been a member since 21/10/2010. Posts: 252
Getting a train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok on April 15 (the last "official" day of Songkran) is next to impossible unless you book well in advance. Thousands of Bangkokonians come up to CM for the festival then return home at the end so transport is usually crammed-full.
Those festival/events out at Huay Tung Tao vary every year so don't count on a specific happening too far in advance. Sponsorship, promotion, and permits (it's Army land) can materialise or fall through without notice. One guarantee is that Huay Tung Tao will be heaving with Thai families and groups of kids and students during Songkran. I've gone out there several times during the 8 years I've lived in CM and you don't get very far without another soaking bucket over the head and the lake and surrounding hut-style restaurants are usually packed. In other words it's a load of fun.