Chiang Mai -water festival

From link::AsiaAdventure

After arriving back from Pattaya I was able to pick up my new passport several days later and promptly purchase myself a bus ticket for Chiang Mai, the main city in Northern Thailand where many of the big time thai massage schools exist. The overnight busride up took forever, about 12 hrs, and I had a horrible air conditioner vent streaming right down at my face the entire time. The bus was the cheapest way to get up to Chiang Mai, otherwise I would have taken a train, which I will probably do on the way back as they have beds on them. Also possible to take a airplane up north, but I didn't feel like paying the extra prices for.

Chiang Mai is an amazing city. Absolutely full of incredible and centuries old Buddhist temples with Buddhas of all sizes and styles inside. Many of the temples are quite rundown with crumbling brick formations and look like they have been around forever. Some are several hundred feet high with surreal looking Buddhas lodged halfway up on the side. It is very mesmerizing being around them and their sense of history. Also many Buddhist monks of all ages walking around in their orange robes. Was talking with a few of them and asking where some good monasteries to go meditate would be. Many options in Chiang Mai as well as throughout the country. Some of the western monks I was talking with have been living in the forest monasteries for 10 yrs or more.

I picked a great time to make it to Chiang Mai. The Thai New Year is celebrated each year from April 13 -15. The new year celebration is referred to as the Songkran Festival, sometimes called the Water Festival. Everybody is going crazy in the streets dumping buckets of water on everyone, hosing everyone, and squirting water on everyone who passes by, except for older folks and monks who are given upmost respect in the Thai community. This goes on for about 4 or 5 days and the main streets in the city are mayhem. It is a crazy party and everyone is drenched with water. There are big barrels of water filled up from hoses everyone dips into for water. Many times people dump large blocks of quickly thawing ice into them so that you get really cold water, the best water for dumping on people and really shocking them. I got a nice little squirt gun that is fun spraying into people's faces with. Lots of others got huge pump squirt guns that really blast water in your face and body. Pretty much everyone and all ages are involved, the little kids on up to middle aged and older folks. So cool seeing the excitement and exhilaration in the young kids faces as they are enjoying themselves. The busiest activity is on the roads along the water filled moat surrounding the square shaped old city portion of Chiang Mai. Here there is lots of fierce water battling between people on pick-up trucks cruising the streets and those on the sides.

I read somewhere that the dumping of water on everyone is a way of washing away bad luck for the year. Also a great way to cool down in the heat of the hot season in Thailand. The heat is not as bad up here as it is down in Bangkok. Bangkok was almost unbearable at times. Chiang Mai is so much more cleaner and peaceful. It has an amazing spiritual vibe about itself with all the temples, monks, thai massage schools, and healing centers throughout the city. The mountains and hill tribes are nearby and tons of opportunities for trekking are available.

Seen several elephants being walked around town during the evenings. It's amazing seeing how huge they are in person, standing over 10-15 ft high. Hopefully get a chance to ride one later on during a trek in the mtns.

From link::AsiaAdventure

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Pai, Thailand
Living with Lisu Hilltribe