Pattaya celebrates Songkran a week later
Pattaya and its neighbouring resorts in Chonburi province celebrate Songkran a week later than the rest of the country, which gives the festival’s hardcore followers a second round of fun if they are still on holiday.
In Pattaya, the festival is officially called Wanlai and starts in Naklua a village community at the northern tip of the resort and continues in unabated enthusiasm, all week throughout the resort, from the Naklua tip to the Jomtien toe.
However, the more traditional elements of the festival are best witnessed in Naklua, 18 April, when residents turn out for a parade of Buddha images and an image bathing ceremony.
About 20 km north of Pattaya resort, residents in the beachside town of Bangsaen start the festivities on 16 April, with a grand competition to build more than 100 sand pagodas on the beach.
Monks receive alms from residents at a beachside venue. Once the ceremonies are over beach sport competitions begin with a riot of water splashing between spectators.
Nearby, Si Chang, a small island close to the coastal town of Si Racha, is the scene of a sand pagoda competition, where local children patiently build their dream castles. Festivities include local sports and a beauty contest.
Sattahip, a naval base town 25 km south of Pattaya, also celebrates Songkran, 15 to 17 April, in a similar style with sand pagoda and beauty contests.
Further south, along the eastern seaboard, provinces such as Rayong, Chantaburi and Trat are all in sync with the rest of the country celebrating the festival 12 to 15 April