Elephants soak crowds with their trunks in mass water fight

Get up close with these elephants as they soak crowds with their trunks during a mass water fight to bring in Thailand's Songkran new year.

The massive jumbos decorated with body paint were brought out to spray water on visitors to the ancient capital, Ayutthaya, 50 miles north of Bangkok.

Tourists and locals used water guns and buckets to splash the elephants, which appeared to be enjoying the chance to cool off in the 38C heat.

Visitor Danupol said: ''I brought my daughter because she loves elephants. It's a lot of fun being so close to them. They interact with humans so well.''

The elephants, which are used in Royal processions and are among the most well-bred in the world, doused the crowds with water sprayed from their massive trunks.

With the scorching sun reflecting from their glimmering ivory tusks, they came within inches of spectators. But with each elephant having been expertly trained for many years, they stayed calm during the festival. Some even balanced on their back legs and waves their feet.

Thailand celebrates Songkran, its traditional new year, from April 13 until businesses open again on April 17, during which time locals and revellers from around world visit to splash water on each other.

It began hundreds of years ago with natives sprinkling their respected elders other with water for good luck as they welcomed in the coming rainy season.

But in recent years it has developed into a major tourist attraction where mass water fights in the country's major cities attract many holidaymakers and backpackers.