Despite being soaked for three days in Bangkok, I conveniently timed my arrival into Yangon midway through the Myanmar New Year celebration called Thingyan. Similar to Thailand’s Songkran Festival the Burmese festival focuses around throwing copious amounts of water on passers-by. While the Thai people were content with water pistols and small buckets, the people of Myanmar have gone for hoses and water drums.
With ready made stages dotted throughout central Yangon, trucks of people would do laps around the main streets getting soaked by stages full of young people armed with hoses ready to fill the truck trays full of water (often pumped out of nearby none too clean lakes).
What struck me more than the shivering chill of cold water dripping down my back was the attitudes of the Myanmar people. Incredibly friendly and always armed with a killer smile all generations were truly getting into the Thingyan spirit. Some areas were pretty boozy with rocking stages and drunken revelers singing along to ‘I Love Rock n’Roll’ by Joan Jett as well as the increasingly annoying Gangam Style (renamed Burma style here apparently) to more sedate family friendly gatherings. In the mountains the festival revolves around visiting local Buddhist monasteries and places of worship although I’m sure a bit of water is still thrown around!
Songkran and Thingyan have been great to experience but I’m glad to get back to being able to walk around remaining relatively dry apart of course from the hot season sweating…