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Songkran Survival Guide – Top 10 Tips (2019)

Tim Newton

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Songkran Survival Guide – Top 10 Tips (2019) | The Thaiger

Songkran is a celebration of the Thai New Year on April 13 each year. What started as a respectful washing of Buddha images with water to welcome in the forthcoming wet season, has turned into a mega-water fight.

No prisoners are taken in this annual water battle – if you head outside or drive along the roads you WILL get wet. If you’re in a car it WILL get water thrown at it and probably a few handprints made with the sludge left over from the Prickly Powder.

It is a celebration and there’s plenty of music, noise, smiles AND water.

Sawasdee pi mai!! Happy Songkran.

Songkran Survival Guide - Top 10 Tips (2019) | News by The Thaiger

1) Wear goggles

Where did that water come from that just shot in your eye? You don’t know and you probably don’t want to know! Suffice to say your eyes are at danger from the many things that end up in the water, including the prickly powder that was thrown at you and now dribbling down your forehead or added to the water before it was squirted at you. It will sting either way.

A cheap pair of swimming goggles are a perfect accessory for the Songkran Fashionista. And keep your mouth closed as much as possible. You really don’t want to be drinking that stuff being shot at you. Be aware that come people reload their water guns with iced water that is very bracing when it hits you – it’s not all nice room temperature Evian heading in your direction. Second option, protective eyewear.

Songkran Survival Guide - Top 10 Tips (2019) | News by The Thaiger

2) Have an exit strategy

Getting into an area where Songkran is going to be ‘busy’ is easy enough. Getting out can be another thing altogether. If you park your bike nearby it’s probably going to get parked in and leave you waiting to get to wherever you were intending to go next.

If you intend to drink alcohol whilst ‘partaking of the new year waters’ then definitely plan to get a taxi home or have someone organised to get you back to your hotel safely. Having an exit strategy is a good financial investment tip – it’s also a very good tip for Songkran as well.

Know how you’re going to escape if 1) you need to or 2) when you want to.

3) Riding bikes will be VERY hazardous

Riding motorbikes at any time of the year is dangerous on Thailand’s roads. It’s a LOT more dangerous during Songkran. You might be quietly going to pick up a sandwich at your local convenience store and WHOOSH, an entire bucket of water is thrown at you from Songkran revellers on the side of the road. In fact, if you’re on a motorbike you’re considered a good target.

So don’t wear your favourite Armani outfit if you’re on a motorbike and either avoid getting on a motorbike on April 13 or take it EXTREMELY slowly – you WILL get water thrown at you.

4) Don’t take phones or cameras with you

Water and electronic devices don’t usually mix. You want to capture all the fun of Songkran but you want to get your expensive camera back home still working, right? You have two options. 1) Leave any expensive electronic equipment, including your phones, at home 2) Put them in a plastic zip-lock bag and keep them secure in a bum bag.

Even the latest ‘waterproof’ phones can get broken easily in the argy-bargy of a water skirmish. Consider taking your phone with you very carefully and think about how you’re going to protect it – putting it in your pocket ain’t going to cut it during Songkran!

5) Apply sunscreen

It’s hot, damn hot. It’s the hottest time of the year (which is what the water festival is all about). So the sun is likely to to be out. You’re going to be running around outside enjoying yourself so Mr Sunshine is going to love giving you a good case of sunburn unless you cover up. Obviously, you’ll need a waterproof application of SPF30+. Wear a hat and protect yourself from the sun.

Songkran Survival Guide - Top 10 Tips (2019) | News by The Thaiger

6) Hydrate

Ironically, dehydration is a big problem each Songkran. You’re having water thrown at you all day. The last thing you’ll be thinking about is drinking water. But all that running around in the heat, despite the water being thrown at you, is going to dehydrate you very quickly. So take a water bottle or keep in reach of a convenience store where you can get refreshed throughout the day. DON’T refill from the tanks people are refilling their guns!!! Just don’t.

7) Be aware of the prickly powder

The type of powder used in Songkran has gone from just plain powder to what’s called Prickly Powder. When its applied to your face it leaves a burning sensation – not painful but you’ll certainly notice it. You certainly don’t want that stuff in your eyes – it will really sting. The powder seems about as prevalent as the water these days so be prepared to not only be saturated but coated in a white/grey sludge for most of the day.

8) Consider how you’re going to refill your gun

You’re all ready. You’ve got a water gun all full and ready for action. Locked and loaded! You rush out and start firing it at a few people and in approximately 2 minutes, you’re empty. You’re going to need to figure out how you’re going to reload your water gun otherwise it’s going to be a very short day or a day spent running away from people because you’re out of ammunition. Sea water is a great alternative if you’re near a beach.

9) Enjoy yourself, don’t take it seriously

If you head out into daylight during Songkran you’re likely to get wet. Period. Wear clothes that are going to be comfortable when totally saturated – cotton and natural fibres will retain the water a lot more than synthetic fibres that will tend to repel the water better and dry quicker. Wear a 20 baht plastic raincoat if you really need to but it sort of defeats the purpose of the day.

People are going to rush up to you and throw water at you, usually with a great big smile to go along with it. If you’re out there, smile along with them and enjoy the locals’ celebration of their new year. If you get your brand new Zara wool suit ruined by a bucket of water on April 13 you only have yourself to blame.

10) Seek an alternative

So, you’ve done Songkran for years and you really don’t want to do it again. No problems. You can go and sit in a quiet cinema for a few hours, walk around the shopping centres or enjoy Songkran-lite at many of the international hotels who host ‘toned down’ family-friendly Songkran celebrations.

Otherwise stay at home and read a book or binge-watch some Netflix. It’s one day (or two days if you are in Patong or Chiang Mai) each year – you will survive avoiding the streets for one day.

Songkran Survival Guide - Top 10 Tips (2019) | News by The Thaiger

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Chiang Mai. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Find more Chiang Mai top 10s and top 10s in Thailand on The Thaiger.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 360 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now CEO and writer for The Thaiger - Website, Radio, TV, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He presented for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and provides stories for Feature Story News as the south east Asian correspondent.

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Bangkok

Stricter controls and paperwork putting brakes on residential property market

The Thaiger

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Stricter controls and paperwork putting brakes on residential property market | The Thaiger

The honorary president of the Thai Housing Business Association, Atip Bijanonda, is tipping the local residential market may fall by up to 10% this year starved of economic confidence, the global economic slowdown and the loan-to-value limits.

But he also believes the situation is far from the situation leading up to the 1997 economic collapse.

The Greater Bangkok residential market is now valued at 372 billion baht (in 2018). That’s a rise of 29% compared to the year earlier. So the drop this year is off the back of a very successful 2017.

For this year the market has fallen by 5%, according to the Thai Housing Business Association, with the largest declines in Q2, in retaliation to the LTV limits taking on April 1.

Some of Thailand’s major developers are now shelving some projects as the market soaks up a glut of properties constructed over the past two years.

Three property associations – the Housing Business Association, the Thai Condominium Association and the Thai Real Estate Association – are having meetings with the finance minister discussing the current property market.

Topics for discussion are the improvement in property regulation, construction permits, licences and stricter controls over developers and lending. The associations also want to discuss the current delays on Environmental impact assessments (EIAs). They say that since the responsibility for EIAs was handed over to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration from the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning in 2016, the process is now taking much longer.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to the PM for political affairs says that stricter lending criteria and the LTV rules are the main factors obstructing mortgage approvals for homebuyers

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Bangkok

A cocktail of beer and insulin blamed for ATM robbery

The Thaiger

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A cocktail of beer and insulin blamed for ATM robbery | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Sanook.com

“After the combination of beer and insulin, Prakit grabbed a metal pole and drove his motorbike to the ATMs.”

A diabetic man is blaming his insulin injections after going on an ATM robbery spree. The man had three attempts to break into ATMs in one night, all unsuccessful. The incidents happened in the early hours of October 9. He was was arrested the next day on October 10.

The Sam Dam Police in Bangkok arrested 36 year old Prakit after a short investigation.

He had used a white Yamaha motorbike with no license plates as his “getaway of choice”.

Police received information about a man attempting to break into ATMs in the area. He used a metal pole to try and pry the ATMs open, but turns out it wasn’t quite as easy as he thought. His efforts contributed approximately zero baht.

The first ATM belonged to Kasikorn Bank, the second to Thanachart Bank, and the last ATM also belonged to Kasikorn Bank. The first 2 ATMs were located near the Bangbon Police Station while the last ATM was located around the Samdam Police Station (possible unwise selections of location).

Police reviewed the CCTV footage and tracked Prakit’s route home. They then arrested him and found the motorbike used as the vehicle in the robbery captured by the security footage.

Prakit admitted to attempting to break into the ATMs. He said he’d been drinking 6 to 7 bottles of beer just after having an insulin shot for his diabetes. He told police it made him go crazy “losing all sense of right and wrong”.

His sugar level was over 400 so he needed to take the shot right away when he was drinking. After the cocktail of beer and insulin, Prakit grabbed a metal pole and headed to the ATMs.

He insists that he went crazy and lost all sense of right and wrong saying he wore his pants inside out to commit the crime.

Prakit is currently awaiting prosecution.

SOURCE: Sanook.com | Thai Residents

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Bangkok

Driver’s coughing fit cuts parts of Pathum Thani’s internet and power

The Thaiger

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Driver’s coughing fit cuts parts of Pathum Thani’s internet and power | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Daily News

An 18 wheel truck driver has driven into a communications pole in Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok, leaving locals without electricity and the internet. The driver told the media that he drove his vehicle into the pole after losing control of the truck during a coughing fit.

44 year old Preecha was only slightly injured in the incident but told the media that he had been coughing for days. Some reporters helpfully suggested that he shouldn’t have been driving if he was still coughing.

The report was part of a Daily News campaign to raise awareness about the horrendous Thai road toll.

Wednesday was a better day that usual with fewer people dying on the roads than the daily average. 30 people died on Thai roads nationally but Daily News warns that these numbers are those that die at the scene of accidents. In reality the figures will be higher especially when all fatalities, both at the scene and in hospitals, are finally reported. Deaths at the scene this month, according to Daily News, are so far 404 people.

The total for the year stands at 11,313. Thailand is currently listed as the world’s fourth most dangerous roads, sitting behind three African countries.

SOURCE: Daily News | ThaiVisa

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