Laos New Year The Songkran Survival Guide
Asian New Year. When I hear these words I think of Thailand, Water Pistols, Paint Powder or basically, the worlds biggest water fight. So when I got the email through reminding me that travelling to Laos in early April means Asian New Year. I thought, how crazy can Laos New Year really be?
Laos as it turned out, is much more crazy than I expected! Songkran in Laos runs from the 14th to the 16th of April but trust me, celebrations will go on for a week! – especially if you’re in Luang Prabang!
Expect to get wet, colourful and basically all round dirty. As a tourist you will be targeted, so get your water pistols, buckets and paint ready to fight back. If you have fun and join in with the locals, you’ll be rewarded with free food, beer and some pretty cool new friends!
A week long water fight sounds pretty fun right? You’re right it is awesome however, you definitely need to be prepared – I learned this the hard way – So my friends, check out my top tips for surviving Laos New Year.
1. Make Sure your bag is watertight or waterproof
Whether you’re going out to join in the fun or simply taking a stroll to the shop. Put your valuables in a waterproof bag. Laos New Year does not discriminate. The minute you walk out the safety of your room to the street, you’ve entered into the water fight. If you don’t have a waterproof bag then wrap your phone, camera and yep, even money in plastic bags.
Trust me, there’s nothing worse than having your camera in hand and getting a giant bucket of water thrown over you…..
2. Wear Clothes that wont go see through when soaked through
Elephant pants, nice light floaty dresses, anything white really are probably all going to reveal more than you bargain for when a bucket of water is tipped over you. If you’d rather not reveal what you’re wearing under your clothes to everyone else on the street. Then your fashion choices this week matter.
That said, anything denim should really be avoided – I mean, it’s roasting anyway I don’t understand how you can wear denim in this heat! – but if you happen to have a Hawaiian or brightly coloured shirt, get that on and join a team!
3. Always wear underwear
Following on from the fashion forward point above… If you do happen to wear clothes that may possibly go see-through. It might also be a good idea to have underwear you’d be happy to show off on, or at least some form of underwear actually on.
Me, personally, I just wore bikinis all week. They are pretty, dry pretty fast and not something I would be uncomfortable with showing if my clothes happened to fail me.
This week is probably not the best time to go commando. I’m also not entirely convinced Laos as a country is on board with ‘Free The Nipple’ or – pretty much – nudist western tourists….
4. Stock up on supplies
I can guarantee you at some point in the week you will just be over being wet.
You’ll be hungover in bed from too much ‘Lao Beer’ the night before and can’t think of anything worse than venturing out, dodging the teams throwing water and beer, the base blowing techno music in search of some food. My solution? Stock up on supplies.
Before Laos New Year fully kicks in get to the supermarket. Stock up the essentials, pin point restaurants that will be open near by and try to find the best routes to avoid the roadside water stations. Trust me, it seems extreme, but you’ll thank me on your hangover days.
5. Join a team, there’s safety in Numbers!
Standing alone is good until you get ganged up by a team who are taking it turns to throw buckets of water over you and you have no back up…
Still convinced going it solo is a good idea? Then you’re crazy!
Join a team, not only will you have back up when you get cornered but it is HEAPS more fun! Colour coordinate, mark scores, it’s even better if you find a friend with a car. Specifically, a pick up truck. Ride around on the back, soaking people and colour-bombing them as you drive around town. Laos New Year or Songkran is fun and really, how many times in your life will you be involved in a water-fight this big?! So dress up, grab your buckets or pistols and get out there.
These are the top five tips to survive Songkran; Laos New Year. I’m sure there are plenty more tips and advice I could give you…. but where would be the fun in that?
Go and find out for yourself and enjoy the party!
Have you experienced Laos New Year or Songkran?
What are your tips for surviving the epic water fight?