Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

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Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

Post by Gaybutton »

Thailand’s Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Tourism have radically different ideas on how Songkran should be celebrated this year, guidelines to come next week

By Adam Judd

8 March 2021

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, also known as the CCSA, stated through a spokesperson today that Songkran, which has previously been approved this year, will have the guidelines and “rules” decided upon this week by relevant agencies and ministries.

According to multiple Thai media sources, however, the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Tourism have very different views on how the event should be celebrated this year.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan O’Cha himself said that it was important that Songkran, also known as the water festival, Thai New Year, and Thailand’s biggest holiday, took place as the Covid-19 situation continued to improve. However, how the event would be celebrated was still a matter of discussion. The PM noted that many provinces and cities (including Pattaya) have already announced events, hoping to help local business owners and staff and drive domestic tourism but that final decisions on how to safely hold the event under Covid-19 precautions were still taking place.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture is pushing the CCSA and relevant agencies hard (despite many provinces already announcing concerts and events, including Pattaya) for a pure traditional Songkran. Although Songkran has grown yearly (minus Covid-19) in tourism popularity due to being “the world’s biggest water fight” and is a big earner for the entertainment, hotel, and alcohol industry, the event, traditionally speaking, has nothing to do with water fights. The Ministry of Culture is urging a return to this traditional style of Songkran, featuring small reunions with family, giving merit to local monks, gently placing water on the hands of elders, cleaning the family home as an entire family, village beauty contests, cleaning of religious artifacts, and other traditional activities like sandcastle building and wearing flowered shirts and/or traditional Thai outfits.

Some comments online have called for complete bans of water fights, alcohol consumption, concerts, parties, and other events. However, critics doubt this is “enforceable”.

The Ministry of Tourism, however, is reportedly arguing that a pure traditional Songkran would not help struggling business owners and staff nor encourage domestic tourism after a very difficult year and that there should be a balance between “fun” and tradition. Pattaya, who is currently planning on holding their Wan Lai festival on April 19th and “has a plan” to safely allow water in some capacity, seems to agree.

For many Thais, especially in Bangkok, this holiday is the one time of the year they get to go home and see their families for an extended period of time. Many of the guidelines, according to the Prime Minister, will likely be based around safe domestic travel, knowing that many younger people, some possibly asymptomatic with Covid-19, will be going home to visit elder residents in Northern province. The Prime Minister so far has repeatedly said the decision is “very difficult” and seems to be looking for a way to balance “economic recovery”, meaning events, concerts, and entertainment with tradition to allow people to mark the day as a family together.

Last year, the festival was completely banned, however was only done so by blocking domestic travel, banning the sales of alcohol nationwide, having curfews, and other strict measures that won’t be in place this year.

A decision on the guidelines is expected next Monday, March 15th.

https://tpnnational.com/2021/03/08/thai ... next-week/
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Songkran returns to Pattaya with extra day, hope for soggy face masks

By Pattaya Mail

March 7, 2021

Songkran’s water wars return to Pattaya in April, with the city sponsoring an official “wan lai” celebration a year after the coronavirus pandemic canceled the Thai New Year party last year.

Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome said March 5 that planning got underway for this year’s Songkran activities after the government gave the green light to festivals nationwide. The government cited a controlled epidemic and the start of the Covid-19 vaccination drive as justifications for proceeding with Songkran, despite it being a driver for mass gatherings and interprovincial travel.

In addition to the April 18-19 “wan lai” days, the city will host Seniors Day at Chaimongkol Temple, the kong khao festival at Lan Po Public Park in Naklua and another kong khao ceremony at Nong Yai Temple.

Pattaya officials optimistically envision that there will be lots of soggy face masks, as Songkran revelers would be “required” to wear them, but the reality likely will be far different.

Songkran typically runs an insane nine days in Pattaya, but this year the government is adding an additional official holiday April 12 to the existing April 13-15 holiday schedule. That will allow for a six-day weekend April 10-15.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... sks-345964

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Re: Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

Post by travelerjim1 »

does this mean that govt offices are closed the 12-13-14-15?
https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/120880 ... cPnk4cAjDT

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Re: Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

Post by Gaybutton »

travelerjim1 wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 2:23 pm
does this mean that govt offices are closed the 12-13-14-15?
Nothing has been announced yet, but don't be surprised if that is exactly what it does mean. I would plan to take care of any immigration issues either before or after those dates.

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Re: Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

Post by Ruthrieston »

I remember my first trip to Thailand 23 years ago, arriving in Pattaya with a group of friends for the last night of Songkran. Only in those days even in Pattaya things were a great deal more civilised, and you could get dressed decently and go out in the evening as the water throwing stopped at sunset. If the unpleasant and rude behaviour is to return this year for even longer, I shall be forced to shelter in my condo for four days and then escape to Bangkok from 16th to 20th as in previous years, so irritating. I am trying to hold on to some hope that the meeting on Monday will decide to forbid the water splashing again this year.

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Re: Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

Post by Gaybutton »

Ruthrieston wrote:
Fri Mar 12, 2021 8:33 am
the water throwing stopped at sunset.
Except for the middle easterners around Sunee Plaza. They seemed never to stop no matter what time it was. Fortunately, this year it is unlikely for them to be there, along with the hordes of drunken, heavily tattooed farang busy splashing water on everybody.

Maybe this year you'll get lucky. I have a feeling even if splashing is permitted, it will be subdued compared to previous years. Nevertheless, since we don't know what will be going on, I suggest wearing clothes that can handle splashing and protecting valuables and perishables in plastic and avoiding carrying anything that really isn't necessary.

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Re: Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

Post by Gaybutton »

Nothing official yet, but if the following article has it right, it looks like chances are strong that water splashing will be banned for this year's Songkran.
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Songkran splashing likely to be banned

Khao San may also be closed

by Mongkol Bangprapa

16 Mar 2021

The small Covid-19 panel will likely propose a ban on all forms of water splashing, use of powder paste and foam parties during the Songkran festival in April.

Khao San Road, one of the popular splashing sites, may also be closed, Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome said after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The decision to do so lies with Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The Culture Ministry has concluded that only traditional activities will be allowed during the upcoming Songkran. They include giving food to monks, sprinkling Buddha images and paying respects to senior people.

Fun activities, especially splashing and applying powder paste on other people, will have to be skipped amid the emergence of a new cluster, said Mr Itthiphol.

Shops and privately owned establishments will have to continue observing Covid-19 preventive measures.

As for parades, Mr Itthiphol advised discretion and consideration of participant numbers.

Party foams, splashing or other activities at entertainment places will also not be allowed.

The proposals will be submitted to the big committee, or the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, on Friday for further approval.

The six-day Songkran holiday this year is from April 10-15.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... -be-banned

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Re: Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

Post by Gaybutton »

It's not quite official yet. That will happen Friday, March 19. However, you can count on it - the water splashing will be banned.

Every year I do a "GB's Annual Songkran Report" topic, in which I try to let everyone know how much water splashing is going on and where most of it is happening. This year I am not even going to bother with that topic. Like it or not, that's the way it is, folks.

As far as Pattaya is concerned, this is bad news.
_________________________________________

Pattaya Songkran without water: Why bother?

By Pattaya Mail

March 17, 2021

What’s Songkran in Pattaya without water? City officials hope it’s not so boring that all the tourists stay away.

After announcing plans to stage its traditional “wan lai” water-throwing day April 19, Pattaya City Hall backtracked March 15 in the face of a central government policy to discourage water-throwing and powder-spreading as a precaution to prevent a resurgence of Covid-19.

While most expats will give a standing ovation to a mid-April without being soaked regularly, Pattaya businesses will jeer, as a dry Songkran offers no reason for domestic tourists to visit.

Of course, the no-water rule applies only to official, organized Songkran events. Unless police enforce it, there’s nothing to stop kids, bargirls and others from engaging in their water fights.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... her-347395

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Re: Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

Post by Gaybutton »

Water fights officially banned for Songkran

19 Mar 2021

The Covid-19 task force on Friday banned street water fights during the Songkran festival for the second year running, on fears it could result in the spreading of Covid-19.

The Songkran festival holiday this year is from April 12-15 inclusive, preceded by a weekend.

Wild street battles with water guns and flinging water from pickup trucks were a normal part of what has been described as the world's biggest water fight, until the pandemic struck.

"Water splashing will not happen this Songkran. We must ask you to cooperate with us," Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said on Friday.

He said foam parties would also be banned. The tradition of pouring water over the hands of older people, religious activities and travel between provinces to visit relatives would be allowed.

Thailand has been relatively successful in controlling coronavirus infections, with a new wave of infections in the first two months of the year now levelling off, and recording 90 covid-related fatalities to date .

But strict border controls have decimated the tourism industry, with revenues dropping over 80% as visitor numbers plunged from 40 million visitors in 2019 to 6.7 million last year before the country closed its doors.

A global vaccine rollout has given hope that tourism can be revived and Dr Taweesilp gave more details on Friday on a plan to relax strict quarantine rules starting on April 1.

Mandatory quarantine would be cut from 14 to 10 days for most arrivals and halved for those who were vaccinated, he said.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... r-songkran

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Re: Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

Post by gerefan »

It is already a non event.

All of the gogo bars (except Nice Boys) are struggling to find any boys. One I have been to in the last fortnight has none!

Virtually all the bars in Boyztown are closed, and those that are open are extremely quiet. Most are not open mid week anyway, which is when Songkran happens.

Soi 17, Soi 18 and Soi Yensabai are completely deserted. No Arabs to be seen at all and EVERY Arab shop on those Sois is closed and have been for months.

So who is there to throw the water? And just who are they going to throw it at anyway?

Songkran, Pattaya, is dead in the water. Oops sorry!!

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Re: Songkran 2021 - It's on - but will there be water splashing?

Post by Gaybutton »

It looks like gerefan is right . . .
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Songkran shaping up as bust for Pattaya

By Pattaya Mail

March 23, 2021

With the water turned off and most Thais traveling home, Songkran is shaping up as a bust for Pattaya, as even beachfront hotels see less than 60 percent booked for the April 10-15 holiday.

Phisut Sae-khu, president of the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter, said March 22 that Songkran traditionally is the time when Thais return to the North and Northeast, not go to the beach. While Pattaya is a popular place for foreign tourists during Songkran, it’s not as much for Thais.

This year, with the government forbidding water splashing, there’s even less reason to come to Pattaya, he said.

THA National President Marisa Sukosol Nonpakdee said Pattaya beachfront hotels are reporting bookings of about 50-60 percent of their rooms for Songkran, but smaller hotels away from the water are struggling or remain closed.

Not that Thai beach resorts aren’t trying to lure domestic tourists. Pattaya still will hold a “wan lai” event, despite the lack of water, while Ramayana Waterpark will host Thailand Wonder Wave Wanlai Music Festival April 15-19.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... aya-348227

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