Illuminated Boat Procession
NAKHON PHANOM, 21 to 29 OCTOBER
If your travel take you to Issan, in North-East Thailand, then make sure you stop by the banks of the Mae Kong river for a spellbinging show that never fails to draw the crowds. Also called ''Lai Reua Fai'', (translating as ''to set afloat a fire boat'') the illuminated boat procession festival pays respect to the Lord Buddha and also marks the end of the Buddist Lent.
During the day, the programme is full of colourful events, such as a street parade, boat races, cultural performances and the food fair. In the evening, the boats, which are made of banana tree trunk and can reach up to 12 metres in length, are set alight on the Maekong river, accompanied by beautiful fireworks.
As night falls, majestic 'fire boats', elaborately-adorned with flowers, incense sticks, candles and lanterns and each bearing an assortment of ritual offerings, are set alight and floated down the Mekong River.
Against the darkness of the moonlit night, the sight of flickering light from candles and lanterns on magnificent 'fire boats' drifting downstream on the Mekong River, is both mesmerising and awe-inspiring. It is this enchanting spectacle that has given the water-borne procession its very name - 'Lai Reua Fai', which literally means to set afloat a 'fire boat'.
The illuminated boat procession is celebrated in Issan, the northeastern region of Thailand on the 15th day of the waxing moon to the first day of the waning moon in the 11th lunar month of the Buddhist calendar, usually a month earlier than the corresponding month in the conventional calendar. This dazzling event marks the end of the Buddhist Lent or 'Ok pansa' and is accompanied by a colourful street procession and cultural performances which add to the highlights of the event which is held annually. Enjoy the festival!
Tourism Authority of Thailand, Nakhon Phanom Office
Tel: +66 (0) 4251 3490-1
Fax: +66 (0) 4251 3492