1. Attend Alms Giving, early morning at Thapae Gate (April 13) :
As the sun rises in Chiang Mai, hundreds of Buddhist monks depart from their various temples for Thapae Gate. The tradition of alms offering dates back to the 14th century, yet still today locals
wake up early to prepare food for the monks and wait quietly by the roadside. This ceremony is both peaceful and spiritual and it gives you a wonderful opportunity to experience the real Thailand.
Everyone is welcome to join this Alms Giving ceremony, just walk to Thapae Gate at around 7am.
2. Witness the superb procession of Phra Phuttha Sihing, a revered Buddha image of the North:
The image is taken in a procession that moves from Wat Prasingh and around Chiang Mai city. You can view the procession on Ratchadamnoen road, leading to Wat Prasingh.
3. Enjoy water splashing around the moat:
Envisage a traffic jam for four days with people dancing on top of their cars. This epitomises the spirit of Songkran! Part of the fun of Songkran festival is to walk around the old city’s moat, where most of the action takes place. Hundreds of cars join in which creates the city’s biggest annual traffic jam.
4. Visit Warorot Market:
Warorot Market is the biggest market in Chiang Mai. Take a few hours to walk around and enjoy the experience: people will be wearing traditional Chiang Mai blue clothes or colorful hawaiin style shirts.
Traditional Songkran music will play all day, putting big smiles on everyone’s faces. There will also be many delicious dishes for sale. Don’t miss visiting the left side building which features more than twenty stands of traditional Songkran accessories such as flags for sand pagodas, scented water, Mai Kham Bo wood and flowers.
5. Experience traditions unique to Chiang Mai such as Mai Kham Bho Procession and Sand Offering:
The Mai Kham Bho Procession is centered on the Bho tree, a sacred tree that can be found in temples (picture page 10). Bho trees are surrounded by wooden supports called Mai Kham Bo and these supports are placed around the trees in temples. Local beliefs say that the act of placing support around sacred trees brings luck and prosperity to devotees. Mai Kam Bho pr cessions usually fall on the same day of April as Songkran.
Another important custom is to build sand pagodas in the temples.Vilagers arrive in their best clothes with candles, joss sticks, flowers, ceremonial flags and handfuls of sand.
The sand is used to make miniature pagodas that are decorated with colorful flags and sprinkled with scented water.In local tradition, when people bring sand to the temple, it is a way to compensate for
any they may have inadvertently carried away on the bottom of their shoes during the year.