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Lunar New Year x2: Bangkok and Luang Prabang

THAILAND | Thursday, 18 April 2013 | Views [480]

Rewind to Thursday, 11 April 2013, one day before Lao Lunar New Year celebrations begin in Luang Prabang; we find some cheap tickets to Bangkok from Luang Prabang and jump on them. We leave on Monday.

Friday the 12th we celebrate our monthly anniversary at a nice French restaurant called l'Elephant. Open a nice half bottle of bubbles. Oh how I've missed that French liquid gold. Water fights and fun festivities have begun.
 
Saturday the 13th, things kick up a notch with more water fights; hundreds of locals flock to the Provincial New Year Fair to watch the Ms. Luang Prabang pageant, play fun carnie games and ride slightly dangerous carnie rides.
 
Sunday the 14th, Lao New Year is in full swing. Parties all along the Mekong with water fights and colored powder smearing (smearing is for wishing you good luck in the new year) from the late morning to 6PM at night. We finish the evening at a nice relaxed French-Lao place that specializes in Mekong ceviche. One of the best ceviches I've ever had. Yup, that good.
 
Monday the 15th we have a nice morning flight to Bangkok. Arriving in Bangkok is simply jawdropping. This place is huge. Like mixing the wide layout of Los Angeles with a bit of the hip culture of New York City with the flashy lights and high-end shopping malls of Las Vegas and what I assume the Hong Kong skyscrapers are like and you have Bangkok. No true center, just a sprawling metropolis. We catch a cab to our homestay, located about 30min outside the main part of the City via the BTS (elevated rail---very efficient and hightech, very cool). Our host informs us there are still another two days of Songkran, the Thai Lunar New Year---and he's taking us to the heart of it. Like the Lao New Year, celebrations include water fights and powder smearing. Only this is Bangkok. Things are done on a much grander scale. What I can only imagine what a New York City version would be like... On one of Bangkok's main finance and business drags Bangkok holds its annual water party. Along this drag is an elevated BTS walkway. Now imagine thousands of people with water pistols, buckets and powder spraying/dumping water/smearing powder in the streets and thousands of folks above watching the craziness and occationally dumping water on the crowds below. Additionally, imagine fire trucks every few blocks hosing the crowds and concert stages setup in a number of locations blasting music and street vendors lining the sidewalks and the center of the road selling water pistols, ice cold water, powder and food (questionably sanitary due to the rather wet conditions), also participating in the water fight. That was Songkran. It was insane. So much water, so many people. Craziness. But all in all, an amazing experience.
 
Tuesday the 16th, We skip the last day of Songkran and instead spend it at one of the giganormous malls for some window shopping and food court eating, safe from the water. A nice relaxing day to recover from Lao and Thai Lunar New Year.
 
Korpjai lalai Luang Prabang and Bangkok (much thanks in Lao).
 
Today and the remainder of the week will be spent enjoying the real Bangkok sites, i.e. wats, Buddhas, palaces and street food. At the end of the week we hope to go south to the beach before the start of the rainy season, then either go north to Chang Mai or head west to Cambodia via Angkor Wat. 
 
-Geoff
17 April 2013

Tags: bangkok, ceviche, luang prabang, lunar new year, party, songkran, water fight

 

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