Last year there were some questions if the Songkran celebration would even take place in Bangkok- the red shirts street protest had just moved to the central commercial district and then on 10 April 26 people were killed when fighting broke out between the military and protestors. The celebration did take place in 2010 and was fun. It was odd to walk around Khoe San Road and see bullet holes in buildings from the fighting that had taken place.
2011 feels very different. The red shirts held a very large, peaceful rally two days ago to make merit for those that were killed a year ago. The political situation is far from being solved, but things are proceeding peacefully at this time.
Bangkok seems to be happy and ready for a great celebration. Businesses will be closed on the 12th, 13th and 14th and many people have already returned to their home towns and villages; traffic is very light on the roads around Bangkok. Most business, hotels and shopping malls have setup a traditional Buddha, you pour water over the Buddha’s lap as part of the water festival and New Year.
And, of course, time to hit the streets with buckets of water and squirt guns.