Chiang Mai Municipality yesterday announced the cancellation of all major activities for Thai New Year in the northern city, while the southern tourist city of Hat Yai in Songkhla province has also called off festivities.
Songkran activities in Chiang Mai normally start in early April with small religious ceremonies culminating in events on April 13-15, when people go to temples for merit-making ceremonies and splash water in the city centre.
Chiang Mai mayor Thassanai Buranupakorn said all festival events involving large gatherings were off this year. They included water splashing, parades and ceremonies to worship Buddha images.
One of the most famous events during Songkran in Chiang Mai is when people worship the Phra Buddha Sihing image, the most revered statue among locals.
Despite the cancellations, the city will still be adorned with decorations to celebrate the New Year, while exhibitions will showcase Lanna culture, Mr Thassanai said.
“Chiang Mai Municipality would like to thank every agency for helping contain the spread of COVID-19 so Chiang Mai remains a safe tourist destination,” he said.
Hat Yai Municipality on Tuesday (Mar 10) cancelled its midnight Songkran party, planned for April 12-13, as a result of virus fears.
The party in Hat Yai draws many tourists from Malaysia each year.
Parties have also been cancelled in Khao San Road in Bangkok, Pattaya and Bang Saen in Chon Buri, in Khon Kaen and on Patong beach in Phuket (see story here).