Rockets, rocks, races & water....Songkran 2024 @ Chiang Khong.

DavidFL

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A start
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DavidFL

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Songkran 24 @ Chiang Khong
It was a mixed bag for me, due to apathy & this year's searing heat,
I missed the traditional parade along the river, but managed a few water shots hanging out at Chiang Roy Pub in the main street.

The Thais participate in the traditional ceremonies & the Hmong cruise around having fun, wasting petrol & showing off in the hot cars & pick-ups with nice sound systems.

The traditional Buddha parade.
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Families get together & enjoy the fun.
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The water throwing seems to get more intense as the years ago by & the Hmong dominate the "pick-up parade" driving around town throwing water.
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Some people seem to throw water with a vengeance & delight in the water battle with everyone else.
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Mum & daughter out for some shopping.
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Some hot young Hmong chics attract attention, and get it.
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I thought 90% of the pick-ups driving round were Hmong & noted that there were very few men in them throwing water.
Mainly young teenage girls.
I asked a friend how come there are so few Hmong guys compared to the females.
Oh that's because the males are all in Israel working in agriculture getting 40-50,000 baht a month!

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I commented on the age & sexiness of the young Hmong girls & the reply was "Sao Korea."
Too much Tik Tok I thought?
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Despite the water mayhem, there's still respect for seniors out & about.
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Some Chiang Khong identities having fun.
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Braving the elements & water.
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Ready for action.
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The Chiang Roy bar staff played respectfully.
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Hmong gals excited to meet the Chiang Roy lads.
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Across the street it was more raucas at Tui's massage & gang.
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Some Hmong gals come out of a soi & get the polite Chiang Roy treatment.
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Peace & it's time to go home.
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The water throwing rocked again this year & seems to be more intense.
I never saw any accidents or mishaps & generally stayed low, not wanting to become another statistc at the most dangereous time of the year - drunken revelrie, speed & wet roads. "Only 243" killed on the roads this time round.

Songkran really is something everyone should experience at least once, twice, thrice... in their life.
It is fantastic for photography if you can keep your gear dry.
Its also fantastic for socialising & making you new friends.
It also amazes me that I saw no brawls or disagreements despite the excessive alcohol consumption over several days.
The real winners of the festival must be booze companies & the petrol stations perhaps.

To be continued...
 
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DavidFL

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Songkran Options @ Chiang Khong 2024.

Chiang Khong has a couple of other options for Songkran.
1. A Rocket Festival @ Had Bai, 25 kms upstream.
2. Boat racing.
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"Sadly" they coincide on the same day = 16th April in 2024, so to get them all in you need to hurry between places.
My masterplan for the day was to race out to Had Bai for the start of the rocket festival & then all being well pop back to Chiang Khong to catch the end of racing & the finals. And it worked well.
For the boat racing, Laos / Houei Xai have their boat racing festival the day before, so the winning team(s) from across the river come to compete against the Thai teams at end of the day.

The Lao / Houei Xai boat racing has featured on GTR in this earlier report

For the rocket festival @ Had Bai you can also checkout this earlier GTR report.

More to come...
 

DavidFL

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The rocket festival @ Had Bai.
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The launching field is set up by the Mekong here

It is also a day for the village elders to get together to celebrate the new year.
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The rocket competition starts after lunch & everyone has had a few bevvies to be in party mode.
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There are eleven teams competing for the best rocket .
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Not all the rockets lift off properly or follow a decent trajectory.
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Failures got thrown over the river bank.

Michael John from R1022 coffee enjoyed the scene.
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Some spectators enjoying the action.
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A fuse fails to ignite, so it has to be primed a bit more from a safe distance.
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Lift off.
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On the side lines the rocket adjudicator.
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A proper score sheet.
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A vdo blogger.
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Ready to rock 'n roll.
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Tweaking a fuse for lift off.
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The rockets supply is exhausted and it's time to dance & party by the Mekong.
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Everyone gets to dance, village group by village group are called up in turn.
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Scantily clad dancing girls are always a hit.
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They can make some nice tip money from admirers - female & male.
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And that is the rocket party time for the old GTR fellah, but the event continued into the night. Maybe next year....
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DavidFL

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Songkran Boat Racing @ Chiang Khong 2024
From the Had Bai rocket festival, it was a quick blast back to Chiang Khong for a bit of boat racing on the Mekong.

The finish line downtown at Tha Pha Tan
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It's a party scene at Tha Pha Tan.
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Upstream at the start is also a party scene with the different village boat groups.
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A race start.


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The boats have a very low freeboard & once a bit of water goes in you can get submerged damn fast.
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The river police come to the rescue to tow the boat to the river bank.
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Preparing to head upstream for the next race.
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Notice the minimal freeboard.
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Getting a tow upstream.
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DavidFL

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The rocks...the missing link in this report.
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The Khong is down low as per this time of the year & all the rocks come up out of the river.
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In places it is a fantastic sight & a thrill if you ever travel on the river when it is low like this.
Between Had Bai & Chiang Khong is a famous spot on the Mekong where a Lao princess drowned.
I've visited the actual memorial spot on the Lao side, but never quite found the corresponding spot on the Thai side.
But jackpot, I nailed it today, riding back on the scooter.

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Somewhere in here was the fatal boat incident drowning a Lao princess.
A view of the memorial site on the Laos side.
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On the Laos side
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