Today was Songkran; Thai New year. Lauren and I woke up at 5.30 to go to Tiger Temple. After a bus journey we all began the ascent around 7am. It was nothing like midday but was still very hot, so climbing 1237 steps would not have been my activity of choice. Somehow of about 15 of us I managed to do it second fastest! Shocking as my fitness levels are at an all time low, but I arrived at the top to a few strangers. It was so motivational; as you climb you pass people on their way down cheering you on or telling you you're nearly there. About half way up I befriended a mother and daughter and we re-met when they arrived at the top.
This all sounds lovely, and the views were incredible, but I was sweating more than I've ever sweat before. Just writing this is making me feel a bit ill; my dress could easily have been wrung out and it was generally very unpleasant. If ever attempting this, take a towel. After taking a lot of photos and cooling off we headed back down. A classic moment occured about half way when there were some monkeys on the path. This isn't that unusual, but everyone's quite wary of them as they can bite or be aggressive. While everyone panicked i reassaured them that they would just ignore us unless approached and confidently began to stroll past. At that moment i felt one grip onto my dress; my lack of rabies vaccinations flashed before my eyes and i remembered aged about 6 when a monkey climbed onto my head at a zoo in France. Fortunately my shouting of 'oh my god' caused it to let go, and we all continued the descent with limbs intact.
We drove back and had the buffet breakfast with Molly (I had definitely earned 6 hash browns). We had a group meeting where we had to fill out a survey and then just discussed the plans for the rest of the trip. And then we celebrated Songkran!
Possibly the most fun I've ever had; everywhere just becomes a massive water fight. The streets are lined by large buckets and people with water pistols and buckets and everyone joins in. We were quickly soaked and had helped to soak countless strangers. Lauren and I had buckets (Molly wasn't feeling it and didn't stay out long) but we would eye up our next victim as we approached. The cars and motorbikes also took part (potentially very dangerous) and there were loads of pick up trucks filled with armed groups who'd spray you from the truck.
Also some people would have a paste made of talc and water which they'd rub onto your face, not entirely sure what it was far but it was fun! We stayed out for about 2 hours before retiring to the room to recover. I want to the infinity pool and the gym while the others sat on the balcony, and later they went to McDonald's for dinner and then I met them to watch a Miss SongKran competition at our hotel. The women (and one man) were all dressed spectacularly in traditional clothing and it was very impressive to see.
Afterwards the group went out. Lauren and I went, clutching little bottles of rosé from 7/11 and went to a bar. The drinks are sooo strong and our group leader have me her bucket as she didn't like it. By 10.30 i'd had enough and headed back to the hotel, stopping for some essential fries on the way and having a lift close on me, and Lauren joined me 6 hours later.