Before leaving for the front in your colorful uniform—to Khao San or wherever else for a splash—you need to think about your equipment. The colorful plastic pistols are now to be seen all over town: in Tops, Big C, and on streets. But for a better deal and bigger firepower, hit Chinatown.

From the main Yaowarat Road, head to Mangkorn Road, which is linked to Sampeng. There you will see a lot of shops with multicolored toys. These usually sell only a handful of water guns, but just one month before Songkran, they add those plastic pistols to their displays. At this time of year, the choice is enormous. It’s always cheaper to buy wholesale—this is where your local shop buys its water guns. Even the retail prices are cheaper, but you can usually buy three or six and get wholesale prices, so take your friends with you.

Most of these shops have been around for almost half a century, so expect to be welcomed with barely a smile by a grumpy big mama or papa with a Chinese accent. Among them, here are some customer-oriented ones:

Thanapan Plastic (420-426 Trok Issaranuphap, Sampeng, 02-221-0466, 02-224-2284, 02-622-6762. Open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm) has almost 50 types of water gun, from small pistols (B20) to gigantic cannons with backpack water tanks (B350). Buy three pieces to get wholesale prices.

Charoenchai Store (735 Mangkorn Rd., 02-224-5182, 02-622-5373, 081-689-1319. Open daily 7:30am-7pm) boasts hundreds of choices. They have one extra large artillery piece, for B480. Not an easy thing to lift when full.

Amnuay Porn, A.P. Toys (844/2 Mangkorn Rd., 02-224-4600, 02-224-5197, 02-224-5256. Open daily 8am-6pm) has many types of water guns to choose from. Buy six pieces, or three big ones, to get a wholesale deal. Prices range from B5 to B200-something.

However if you do want to put down that watergun, check out these options.


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