Thingyan festival is the celebration that every local waits to welcome the Myanmar New Year. While young people play water on the street, elderly people go to the monasteries and pagodas to do good deeds. Many tourists from all around the world head to Yangon, Mandalay, and other popular places to explore the water fights. It is an exciting experience for the foreigners but there are a few things that every tourist should know beforehand. Since many tourists are not familiar with Myanmar culture and traditions, it is important that you know about them. Here are a few dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind.
Protect your valuable belongings
First of all, you need to waterproof your money and phone. You can easily buy a zip lock or a small waterproof bag at a near-by store. You need to be aware of the pickpockets when you walk through the crowds. Make sure that you put your bag or purse at the front and hold it tightly. It is better if you leave your passport and other important documents at your hotel.
Wear proper clothes
Since you will be wet all day long, you should choose the clothes that can be easily dry and light. Instead of wearing regular underwear, it is better if you wear swimsuit or beach shorts underneath. Please don’t wear clothes that can be destroyed when they get wet. It is best if you don’t wear the clothes that show too much skin because Myanmar people are quite conservative.
Choose your shoes wisely
When you join the water fights and walk among the celebrators, your feet need proper protection. You need to choose the shoes that can protect your feet and prevent you from slippery streets. If you don’t want to ruin your favorite shoes, you can just get flip-flops.
Grab a gun and join the water fights
This might be your one and only chance to experience Thingyan festival and join the water fights. So, don’t be shy, and grab a gun or a bucket to enjoy this fun and friendly celebration. You will find people standing on the streets with buckets of water and you are always welcome to join them.
Don’t splash water at monks and elderly
If you see monks or elderly, you should not splash water at them. If you see people wearing white shirt and brown longyi, it is best that you avoid splashing water at them. You should also not splash water at pregnant women and very young babies.
Don’t drink and drive
If you are using a car or a motorbike during Thingyan, please don’t drink and drive. During water festival, many of the drivers are drunk, and many accidents occur during the festival every year. It is a dangerous time to drive around, so you should be very careful while driving around. Don’t forget to put your seatbelt, or wear a helmet.
Don’t play water at Pagodas
You are not allowed to play water at the pagodas. Because, people come to pray and do good deeds peacefully at the pagodas. Another reason is that people have to walk on the pagodas barefoot. If the floor is wet, it is dangerous, and it will make the floor very slippery.