Songkran, World Muay Thai Angels and Koh Samui

Unfortunately this is coming to you quite late after the fact. Fight training has been all consuming (as per usual!)

April 13, 2014, marked the day of the Thai New Year of which the Songkran Festival is celebrated. How do the Thai’s celebrate their new years? With a communal, all out water fight!! The streets are lined with bins full of water for passers by to fill their vessels (water guns, buckets, cups and bowls) to throw at others passing by. It is one of the craziest experiences of my life to date.

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The reason for the water originates a cleansing process, that you wash away the past and renew yourself for the new year. It was really lovely, in between being shot in the face by random street walkers and their water guns, to have Thai shop owners stop you and gently pour water over your head and wish you a happy new year.

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Some provinces in Thailand celebrate for 1 day, others for up to 10 days.

In the spirit of the event, it is not uncommon for the water fight to start a day early, which is exactly what had happened in Koh Samui.

We had journeyed a long 11 hours via truck and ferry, watch Teresa, one of the resident World Champion’s at Sinbi (also good friend and training partner) compete in the final of the World Muay Thai Angels.

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The World Muay Thai Angels was a 16 woman knock out tournament consisting of some of the worlds best in the 55 – 57kg weight division. It was also designed with the view of promoting woman’s Muay Thai. The competition was long and tough and we were so proud that Teresa had made it to the final four.

Poor Teresa missed virtually all of the Songkran activities as she was avoiding the illnesses that come with being drenched in water for a day. My friend Kelly and I however, lunged face first into the chaos.

A few poorly chosen wine coolers from the 7-11, some fluro coloured clothing and a water gun purchase later, we were roaming the streets, water fighting with the many.  I am, however, super grateful we missed the part where people begin throwing talcum powder!

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We hailed a cab to the World Muay Thai Angels in an attempt to avoid sitting through the entire evening soaking wet although we had discovered that come sun down, most had peaked and gone to bed and no one wanted to be wet at night (go figure!).

We arrived at the World Muay Thai Angels. And entire area had been set up for the event outdoors which was a different experience all together. It really reminded me of how Thai Fight is put on. Disappointingly so, the event was a wasted opportunity. The event was poorly organised, with terrifying bursts of random Thai death metal music, to montages of all the fighters, to silence… more random bursts of Thai death metal music, and more periods of silence. The under card began an hour before scheduled which left a large gap in the program and the event itself was supposed to finish by the end of 2013!

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All in all, the fights were very much worth the wait. Teresa went on to face the girl who placed first in the tournament and went on to seal her 2nd runner up victory with a first round TKO.

I will admit that I felt a bit disappointed that we had missed some of the Songkran madness, however we found that our journey home to Phuket made up for whatever may have been lacking.

As we drove home with the owner of Sinbi and one of the trainers, we were frequently stopped along the way, where people were still engaging in Songkran activities.   An entire province was swimming in the lake with a massive group of food vendors supply to the masses. As we continued to drive, and the rain poured down, more children and others were armed and ready for those passing by.

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Em procured my water gun from the boot during a pit stop and had an incredibly amusing time shooting water at people on bikes as we drove back through Phuket (where the party had very much stopped!).

I am looking forward to spending another Songkran here one day – it’s one of the most random, and craziest events I have ever participated in!

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