Songkran in Chiang Mai

15 years ago was my last time celebrating Songkran festival. Why?

Because:

  1. it was super hot during Songkran festival. The temperature was sometimes over 40c. Imagine, we are all day with this temperature outside.
  2. I am coming from a country side, people celebrate Songkran using Pickup car. How? We sat on the pickup truck and we had a huge water container with water inside. The driver drove the car around several villages so we could pour water to many people. Many times, drivers (not ours) drank alcohols. So there were a lot of accidents during Songkran. My parents did not want me to celebrate Songkran because of that.
  3. At that time, people used powder and put power to the cheeks of others. It is actually nice but some men took advantage of it. They touch cheeks of girls or even other parts of body.
  4. Songkran is in April and this is a summer vacation and I need to prepare for schools in order to get a good grade. Education in Thailand is a very interesting topic as well.
  5. I was abroad

So, this year, when we moved to Thailand and my husband never ever celebrated Songkran festival. Songkran festival is the must-do thing ever in Thailand! So we need to celebrate Songkran although I was a bit worried.

But this is what has turned out:

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Songkran in Chiang Mai

It was amazing and the problem I have above are gone!

  1. It was hot but there were a lot of temples that you can go and pouring water to Buddha statue. You can get energy back there.
  2. Chiang Mai city center is not that big so we went around by foot. We did not have any accidents
  3. Powder was prohibited.
  4. I finished my study
  5. I am in Chiang Mai

What we have done during Songkran? We went to ‘Phra Singh’ temple. A lot of Thais go there as there are some ceremonies such as building a sand pile, pouring water to the Buddha etc.

What I like the most is that there was  a parade of temples. 49 Parades were from different institutions. Each will carry their Buddha statue. So that people can pouring water to the statue. It is a good thing for Thais if you pour many buddhist statues. It was so good and I am proud that I can show my husband a traditional way to celebrate Songkran.

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Conclusion: See you again next year Songkran!

1. Visa run : Chiang Mai – Mae Sai

It has been almost 3 months since we arrived in Thailand. My husband’s visa is about to expire. So we need to extend the visa. First, we have planned to apply for ‘Immigrant O’ visa type. But this needs many documents and my husband needs to report himself every 3 months. So we decided to do a visa run so we can also travel to the places we have not been.

There are several places that we can do a visa run. For this time we decided to go to ‘Mae Sai’. The city is located in the Chiang Rai province and bordered to Myanmar. We took a bus service from the ‘Green bus company‘. We bought the tickets online.

We took a second class bus at 6 am. We wanted to arrive Mae Sai at 10 am (per schedule). And then we want to take a bus to ‘Golden Triangle’.

We came by motorcycle to the bus station and parked with the parking service for 10 baht/day. The platform is located at Chiang Mai Bus Station 2 (new) near the super highway road and central festival shopping mall.

The bus left almost on time and was full with Thais and some Burmese. Along the way, the bus stopped around 5 times so that the polices can come and check if anyone was travelling illegally (I think). One Burmese girl did not pass the control. So, it took almost 5 hours to arrive at Mae Sai bus station. Then, we took a Songtaew to the border. Songtaew costs 15 baht/person.

For Thais, we have to get a ‘หนังสือผ่านแดนชั่วคราวแม่สาย-ท่าขี้เหล็ก’. We can use this document to pass the border to Myanmar for 1 time only. This costs 30 baht and is issued at ที่ว่าการอำเภอแม่สาย. So we have to stop at the municipal at first.

At the border, my husband needed to fill in kind of the departure card. When we left the border we had to cross the bridge and go to the Burmese immigrant office. It costs 10 USD to get a Burmese visa. The process took around 5 minutes. The officers were really friendly and even joked around.

After leaving the office we were so hungry at that time and we wanted to eat Burmese food. We went up right and found a restaurant. We took a Burmese dish for 100 baht. The food contained rice and different small dishes. The food reminded me of Srilankan food somehow. The food was good and there were some Burmese people in the restaurant too.

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Burmese food

It was about 1 pm so we decided not to go to the golden triangle anymore. So we went around but it was so hot that we went to an ices cream shop. The shop owner could speak pretty good Thai. Around afternoon, some students came to the shop. They could speak Thai, Burmese and Chinese. It was really impressive!

We wanted to do some shopping so we came back to Thailand as I thought, the prices in Thailand were cheaper. My husband again filled in an arrival card and got a visa for another 3 months!

I didn’t see many travelers there. Many of them were coming with a tour. There were Chinese, Korean, and German tours.

Then, we went home. It got dark after a while and there I saw them for the first time – the burning fields. Around this time of the year, the farmers burn their fields to prepare for the upcoming season. It looks really scary and there were some fire fighter buses on the way.

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At the northern most of Thailand

We arrived home safely and we now are excited where do we’re gonna go for the visa run next time!

P.S. Thanks to our German friend who took many photos!