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Songkran, and traffic, are in the air as Bangkok dwellers head ‘upcountry’

Tara Abhasakun

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Connor Williams on Unsplash.

The spirit of Songkran is in Thailand’s air, as is heavy traffic, as Bangkok residents make road trips ‘upcountry’ to the Northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima and beyond.

Motorway 6, or M6, in Pak Chong district, is not yet open to public travel. It will be open to drivers for two periods: April 11 to 14, and after Songkran from April 15 to 18, from 6am to midnight. The area is has been heavy with traffic all today.

Thais across the country are returning to their home provinces to be with their families for the Songkran/Thai New Year holiday. In the country’s South today, Songkhla province’s major train station was packed with people waiting to board a train to their home provinces. Meanwhile, trains traveling from Bangkok to southern, and northern provinces are reportedly completely booked. Flights across the country are also at their highest capacity for months with fares at equally high rates for the holiday break.

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Last month, Thailand’s Public Health Minister Anutin “suggested” Thais focus on family over booze during Songkran this year. He said Thais should focus on family and “traditional religious activities”. The water throwing and foam parties have been banned across the country for the third year running.

Following Bangkok’s decision to ban water splashing, businesses in popular party areas, most notably Khao San Road, have cancelled their planned events this year. The president of the Khao San Road Business Operators Association said that for many businesses, having to comply with the strict measures was too risky.

Apart from the water splashing rules, restrictions on businesses also include an alcohol ban, having to provide free face masks to partiers if their masks got wet, and being held responsible if partiers took off their masks.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post

 

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    A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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