An Intrepid Tour Leader
by Marlo Perry
7. Thai New Year
16th April 2004
Happy Easter! Apparently Easter has been and gone, I didn't even realise it had arrived. I was on a trip at the time and decided I should go looking for Hot Cross Buns or some Easter eggs. Don't waste your time in Hue Vietnam, I spent four hours looking and found NOTHING! And they say holidays are overcommercialised! As luck would have it my group arrived on the overnight train to Hanoi on Easter Monday and as a treat we always eat at KOTO restaurant and guess what the kids had made Hot cross buns and the passengers thought it was because I had phones ahead and organised it all. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I didn't have a thing to do with it! How great they thought I was. Good group.
Finished up in Hanoi and am starting my next trip from Bangkok through Cambodia to Saigon. I arrived in Bangkok on the 13th which is also the start of Thai New Year (Songkran) - Yeah another new year to celebrate, it was the best ever. I got in a taxi to get to the Intrepid base hotel which I hadn't been to before but due to the festivities all the roads in the hotels district (near the notorious Kho San Road) had been blocked off to traffic. No prob I'll just walk. BUT that meant walking through all the revellers who were partaking in traditional practices - the liberal throwing of water over anyone and everyone! AND giving a blessing with a handful of clay smudged onto your face. I arrived wet and clayed up but had a room.
I didn't want to be there though I went straight back outside bought myself a jumbo water pistol which had a 5L backpack of water attached to it (all for $3) and joined in the fun. Indescribable but imagine the hugest muck up day from school ever where everyone is involved. Hot weather, water guns, buckets of water, music at every corner where anyone would join in and dance, food stalls and clay. As soon as you stepped out of your hotel you would be covered in clay and soaked.
What a great day but guess what Songkran goes for THREE days straight. No use cleaning up the streets that night you have another three days to go! So today when I have finally arrived in the office with only one pair of clean clothes left I thought I'd let you know about the fun that you should all try and come to next year. Mark it on your calendar definitely my most favourite new year (and I've tried a few this year!) My plans for the next week involve going down south and doing some rock climbing with a group of leaders. Then I train through Cambodia and then I have a dilemma.......
After Cambodia I have three weeks off. The tourist season has slowed down a bit so we are all given a holiday after being worked so damn hard through the start of the year. So what should I do?
What would you do if you had three weeks to play with in Asia? I end in the south of Vietnam and must begin again in the north. All suggestions welcome.
About the Author
Marlo Perry is a Group Leader for the Australian based tour operator, Intrepid Travel.
1. The Apprentice... 2. Trip One... 3. Half Way... 4. Tet... 5. Monkey Business... 6. Quick Turnaround... 7. Thai New Year... 8. Angkor... 9. Bangkok... 10. It Depends... 11. A&E... 12. Laos... 13. Routine... 14. Pig Rabies... 15. Burma... 16. Tsunami... 17. Songkran... 18. Sick Note... 19. Cycle Vietnam... 20. Street Kids... 21. My Life. Ideas Needed... 22. June Jambles...