I have only a one day break from work during Songkran, and I'm not going to waste it. Less than two hours away from Bangkok is the beach resort of Bangsaen in Chonburi, and today and tomorrow (16th 17th of April) it celebrates Songkran with a sand-temple building competition. You build sandcastles, but we Thai's build pagodas and temples, since we don't really have castles in Thailand. I plan on taking a bus down to Chonburi, enjoying the festival and be back by the night, ready for work tomorrow.
Bangsaen is packed with people today, the beach road is blocked solid with trucks full of people. Each carrying a barrel of water ready to throw at people, but they can't move! It will take most of the day just for them to get from one end of the beach to the other!
I take a motorbike to get to the beach along the back roads, the roads are blocked to trucks, so it's the only way to get quickly in and out, although I'm wary to ride on the back of a bike these days.
This beach is l-o-n-g, it seems to go on for miles, and the full length is filled with food stalls selling all manner of western and Thai food. Horseshoes crabs are for sale, I've never tried these, but the woman tries to convince me there's some nice meat in there, near the head. I don't believe her. I think they're 95% shell, 10% meat and -5% wishful thinking! The eggs (little yellow beads) look a bit more appetizing, but I'm going for the barbecued eating crabs.
Take a look at the beautiful sculpted sand Buddha at the top of this post. That's a real sculpture made out of carved, compacted, sand. However I can't say the same for a lot of these sculptures. Take a look closely at the one below, see all that incredibly delicate detailing on the temple? Wood covered in sand.
I saw an awful lot of polystyrene with sand glued onto it, and it's so obvious too, you can see parts of the sand sculpture blown around in the wind like they weigh nothing. Take a look at the wooden 'structural' framework below.
It all kind of spoils the idea of a sand sculpture festival. You marvel at every sculpture and immediately think it must be fake!