Khao San Road is one of the most popular places in the city to water fight for Songkran. It has amongst the biggest, and wildest, crowds. But this year the party in the backpacker district will be shortened to just two days due to the worst water shortages in 20 years and government requests to save water.
Khao San Songkran will take place on April 13 and 14, between Banglampoo intersection and Kokwua junction from the morning of the 13th until 9pm each evening, according to Pol. Col. Rangsarn Praditapohn, superintendent of the Chanasongkram police station.
Songkran on Khao San is beloved for many reasons but one of them is the joy of seeing locals and tourists playing together with abandon. The shortened celebration means less of that but it’s also a hardship for many of the vendors who depend on making a lot of money during what is usually a three-day event on Khao San.
Piyabutr Jiuramonaikul, president of the Khao San Business Council, said that business owners of Khao San are pleased by the two-day celebration limit. He expects that tourists will use water guns but hopes that people won’t use talcum powder or show too much skin.
In response to the initiative to keep the water festival alcohol-free, he doesn’t expect the authorities to have much luck, especially trying to enforce the initiative on foreign tourists.
Alcohol is a big part of the modern Songkran celebration, and Khao San is one of the locations where people can imbibe heavily. Piyabutr thought that they may be able to cut consumption by 10 percent this year and maybe another 10 percent the following year. He doesn’t expect that they can remove alcohol completely from the celebration.
To keep the area safe, over 150 CCTV cameras will be recording and nine new security gates to keep weapons or alcohol from being brought into the closed streets. 300 police officers will also be patrolling the area 24-hours a day for the two-day celebration, according to Thai PBS.