Most districts in Samut Prakan have their own Songkran parades. However, the biggest and best is undoubtedly held through the town of Phra Pradaeng. This took place on Sunday afternoon and was probably also the last Songkran parade of the season. It started outside the municipal offices alongside the river and then wound through the town ending up at Wat Proteket Chettharam nearly two kilometers away. It is a long way to walk in the sweltering heat but I guess many of the participants were grateful that it was Songkran as there was also a lot of water being thrown around.
I have already told you about the opening ceremony conducted by the Governor of Samut Prakan. Once that was over they were able to start. The atmosphere was incredible as there were thousands of people lining the streets to watch the colourful floats and extremely beautiful Thai women riding up on top.
I had been waiting all day for this parade. There was so much to see and photograph. As well as the floats there were marching bands and groups of local girls and boys dressed in traditional dress of the Mon people.
As you can see from this picture there was a really large crowd watching as the parade passed by. They were actually being very restrained as not many people were squirting water at this stage. This probably gave the participants a false impression that they would reach the far end without getting wet.
I managed to get a good viewpoint for the start of the parade. I started down in the crowd but then got up on the stage so that I could have a more bird’s eye viewpoint. There were so many people here that it would have been difficult to see much. Further along the route there was less people but more water throwing!
This lady is the Miss Songkran Jumbo. As well as the Miss Songkran Beauty Contest, they also held a Miss Songkran Jumbo at Bang Nampheung Sub-district. This “elephant”, which is what they say in Thai, was the winner of that competition. She certainly has a lovely smile.
It took about 45 minutes for the entire parade to pass the point where I was watching. I quickly then made a dash for my car and then drove on the back roads to Wat Proteket Chettharam. The road was blocked near the temple but I was lucky that the policeman let me through. I had the foresight to put a sign in the car window that said “media” in Thai. I arrived just in time to watch the front of the parade walking up the hill on its last stretch before the temple. Everyone looked very exhausted.
The next event was the most beautiful of the day. It was the releasing of the fish and birds. I will share these pictures with you tomorrow. In the meantime, we have been posting some pictures of this event on our Samut Prakan Forums. You can also find more information on our Samut Prakan website at www.paknam.com. Make sure that you mark it in your calendar for next year as this is one of those places that doesn’t see many foreign tourists.