Ork Phansa Isaan Loop

Ork Phansa Isaan Loop Wan Ok Phansa 2018

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The festival that marks the end of the Buddhist lent is full of celebrations and interesting authentic activities The Buddhist lent lasts for three months and traditionally coincides with the rainy season. The festival falls on the last day of the Lent. Typically the festival day falls in October and it commemorates the day when Buddha came back from heaven. The Thai Buddhists celebrate it with food offerings and visits to the temples. However, the festival includes not only religious aspects but also some events full of adrenaline, such as a traditional long-boat race in different regions. Different temples from each village often build bamboo boats and decorate them with lights and candles. Even families build their own banana tree trunk boats and take part in the procession! A truly beautiful scene that will stay in your memory like a warm and peaceful mo​ment.

Bangkok, 21 September, 2017 – A busy time on the Thailand event calendar, the Ok Phansa festival is celebrated on the full moon of the 11th lunar month or October and marks the end of the Buddhist Lent. It is a time of celebration and merit-making with different events and activities held throughout the country in different provinces.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “Among Thailand’s fascinating events and festivals, Ok Phansa offers tourists much choices in the way of unique Thai events that offer local culture, traditions and fun. And this year the festival takes on extra significance with many events held in honour of King Rama IX and King Rama X.”

Among the most famous events for Ok Phansa are:

The Saraburi Long-boat Race Festival 2017 on 23-24 September, which dates back to the golden age of the Ayutthaya era and features thrilling long boat-races on the Pasak River.

The Buffalo Racing Festival 2017 from 28 September-4 October in Chon Buri. With their jockeys clinging on, buffaloes race at surprisingly quick speeds in what is also a celebration of this animal’s exalted status in the agricultural arena.

The Nakhon Phanom Illuminated Boat Procession 2017 from 28 September-6 October, in which locals float the Lai Reua Fai or illuminated boats down the Mekong River. Loaded with food, flowers, incense sticks, candles and handmade lanterns, the boats make a spectacular sight.

Taking place in Samut Prakan from 29 September-6 October is the Rap Bua Festival 2017, an ancient Buddhist tradition of the local people of Bang Phli district and where the highlight is a magnificent barge procession of a replica of the Luangpho To Buddhist image along Khlong Samrong.

The Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival 2017 from 2– 5 October, with amazing wax sculptures on display and long-boat races on Nong Han Reservoir. The intricate sculptures in the form of entire cities, elaborate deities and shrines are paraded around town and are helping to gain increased international recognition for this event.

The Surat Thani Chak Phra Festival and Boat Races 2017 from 2-10 October on the Tapi Riverbank and Naris Bridge. Floral floats shaped into mythical creatures from Buddhist folklore go on parade, while the boat races attract teams from several Southern provinces.

And in Nong Khai, the famous Naga Fireball World Festival 2017 is set for 4-11 October. One of the more mysterious of events on the Thailand events calendar, this centres around the as yet unexplained fireballs that annually erupt into the sky from the Mekong River.

Wan Awk Phansa is an important festival for devout Thais as it marks the end of lent as well as the start of a new season following the end of heavy rains.

The holiday is recognised as a public holiday in Thailand and is marked on the full moon day of the eleventh lunar month.

In signifying the end of the lent period for Buddhists, the festival highlights the importance of abstaining from meat, alcohol and smoking. On this day, the locals will make their way to the temples to make petitions as well as offerings.

Often, the visit involves heading back to the temple of one’s birthplace. This is often accompanied by candlelit gatherings where the locals walk around the temple carrying a candle, a lotus bud and three incense sticks.

It is not uncommon to see boat processions carrying the Thai faithful. During the day, some places will hold boat races. As the day draws to a close, the boats will often be used to transport flowers and candles, usually taking on a religious or patriotic theme.

For visitors to Thailand, perhaps nothing beats the giant Naga Fireballs. This amazing show of lights is thought to be the work of igniting gases spontaneously, releasing fireballs that soar to the sky. The breath-taking show has special meaning for the locals and is a surreal experience for foreigners. They can best be viewed along the Mekong River for over 20km between Pak-Ngeum district, about 80km south of the Laos capital Vientiane, and Phonephisai district in Nong Khai province, Thailand. Otherwise, you can stay in Chiang Mai where the locals organise their own events.

As with major events in Chiang Mai, Wan Awk Phansa draws tourists to the city in large numbers. For this reason, accommodation becomes strained, albeit for a short period of time. It is advisable to make bookings in advance if you plan to attend this event.