A dream trip to Thailand at the origin of MERSiŌ
Those who know us, know how much we love South East Asia. We simply enjoy discovering this region of the world and moreover to rub shoulders with its inhabitants. There is an atmosphere like no other, a unique energy and overall, people of exceptional natural goodness. Of course, not everything is perfect, but we feel deeply good in Southeast Asia!
From province to province aromas change. From one region to the other the traditions are different, nevertheless there is one that remains above all, the Water Festival at mid-April to celebrate the Buddhist New Year. It is in the very heart of this festival, that MERSiŌ was born.
We were on a backpacking trip in April 2016, with the very intense but common heat that is found in Asia during this particular time of year, when the idea of creating MERSiŌ came to fulfillment. We had left the beach of Koh Lak National Park near Phuket to board a public bus to reach Nakhon Si Thammarat, in southern Thailand to celebrate Songkran, the Buddhist New Year. Several ceremonies are organized for the occasion, while the Thai people throw water with veneration to the Buddhas to purify them as well as to remove bad luck as the belief dictates. Simultaneously, an immense water battle is organized in the streets of the whole country.
Why travel to Nakhon, when the vast majority of tourists and locals prefer to celebrate in touristic cities such as Chiang Mai, Hua Hin or Phuket? The reason is very simple, at this time 10 years ago, Daniel was celebrating the New Year in Nakhon, far from the ‘’farangs’’ (foreigners), in a place that is not often visited by international tourists. It was the memory of a perfect traveling day that we wanted to recreate. It was there, a magical moment when he simply felt in true connection with himself and with others. This feeling is difficult to explain, but it exists and is the reason for all of our traveling.
In the north side and central part of the country, the festival and the water games are held over several days. In Nakhon, religious and traditional celebrations also take place for a few days, while the water festival lasts only one day. This has the effect of generating an intense and joyful celebration without wasting water over a long period. This is one of the reasons why we prefer celebrations in Nakhon.
We arrived during the late evening of the day prior to the festival after a long bus ride. A simple walk in the streets confirms that is all set for the upcoming event. The barrels are filled with water and the street vendors offer plastic cases to protect our phones.
The celebration begins in the morning and just about everyone is happy, the young and the not so young are having fun, throwing lukewarm water at each other, but also some icy water from time to time. For comparison, we also experienced the Songkran in the capital city, Bangkok. The party lasts three days and the atmosphere is very different. We witnessed several tourists who throw water in order to surprise and annoy those who refuse to play. Let’s be honest, after 72 hours, who would not be exhausted to play that game? Plus, Bangkok is much less agitated than usual, while many return to their home province to visit their families. In Nakhon, it's a much more energic festivity. There is also a very soft-hearted atmosphere and this is another reason why we prefer this place for the celebrations. Everything takes place respectfully, whereas the locals often ask us if we accept to get water poured on our head with delicacy; all this while live bands and Dj’s are playing, young locals dance in the streets ‘til dawn, often colored with a mixture of baby powder and food coloring.
Open up to the world and immerse yourself
It was the day after this celebration and after having met these unique people that we decided to put out our socially responsible brand. Of course, we had thought about it before. Nevertheless, the kindness, energy and respect that we received, confirmed our desire to work with artisans of this specific part of the world. Every single time we go, we find this special connection and this contagious good humor over and over again. As of today, our pride comes from working hard every day, to improve working conditions and to offer an adequate salary to those who deserve our respect, and dignity in their labor.
1. You don’t need to buy a huge water rifle for fun. Trust us, you will not impress anyone by equipping yourself like Rambo.
2. Respect people who can’t or just don’t want to participate in the celebrations. Remember that even if this is a holiday, there are several people that still have to work to ensure everything is up and running.
3. Avoid throwing water directly into the face.
4. The whiskey and the beer are heavily consumed, so, if you drink leave your moto at the guest house.
5. Protect your passport, phone and personal stuff in a waterproof case.
If you have any questions about our experience in Thailand or about anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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