Songkran – the Thai New Year – is normally a joyous, water-soaked, three-day party. But that was before Covid-19. In 2020, Songkran has been canceled, the legal holidays revoked, the water-spraying forbidden, alcohol banned and an overnight curfew imposed. The result are ghostly quiet streets and train stations.
While we already published a long photo blog about how the coronavirus has turned Bangkok into a ghost town, those photos were taken before the curfew and at night. So it was worth taking a wander along Sukhumvit – between the Nana and Asok BTS stations – during the day to see the impact.
April 14 falls in the middle of the usual April 13-15 national holiday. It’s technically not a holiday this year. Supposedly it’s a normal work day. But corporate HR holiday schedules – not to mention Thai people’s psyches – say the lunar new year – government dictate or not – is a time to take off work. So most businesses that weren’t already closed by the pandemic and the social-distancing decrees closed Monday-Wednesday.
Now while those three days normally are a holiday, there normally would be hoards of people around, most dripping well, covered in paste and touting water guns. Around Nana and Asok, especially, the bar girls and sex tourists are out in force sloshing each other and getting sloshed on cheap booze themselves. We’ve got photos of last year. We’ll spare you. You know the scene.
So, this year, Songkran was just like any other day in the coronavirus “lockdown”. No, movement is not locked down, but there’s nothing to do and nowhere really to go except for 7-Elven an a takeaway restaurant. So here are 44 photos of April 14, the Songkran that wasn’t.