Yasothon Rocket Festival (Bung Fai)

Don't miss it

Photo of Yasothon Rocket Festival  (Bung Fai), , Yasothon

Don't miss this!
If you want to see a side of Thailand most tourists never get to see, then this is for you! This thr...

By Rakhal

What we say: 5 stars

Yasothon's Rocket Festival is a spectacular event, definitely worth seeing if you are in the vicinity. Ostensibly a rain making ceremony, today, the festival is drifting away from its roots with far more media attention while slowly attracting an increasing trickle of tourists.

Held in mid May (May 9-11, 2014), the festival attracts pyromaniacs and amateur rocket scientists from around Thailand who come to see whose rocket can go the highest. Generally made of a PVC pipe stuffed with a mix of nitrate and charcoal, the rockets compete in classes, with the smallest class containing just one kilo of the mixture, while the largest contain 120 kilos!

The rockets occasionally explode before during and after takeoff. This, combined with the heavy drinking that takes places throughout the festival make for a deadly combination and deaths have occurred. Although there is virtually no crowd control, you are well-advised to not stand too close to the rockets when they take off.

The rocket launchings are the main crowd puller but there is also a series of street parades and an evening live entertainment to keep everyone busy (and mostly drunk).

Visiting Yasothon during the festival is highly recommended as its unlikely you'll see anything like this in your home country.

More details
Just outside Yasothon
Opening Hours: May 9-11, 2014
Last updated: 28th April, 2014

Last reviewed by:
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and he spends most of his time in Bali, Indonesia.

Read reviews

Read 1 opinions from Travelfish readers

  • Don't miss this! 5 stars

    12th June, 2014

    If you want to see a side of Thailand most tourists never get to see, then this is for you! This three day event that culminates in a day of launching huge rockets into the sky started as a fertility festival to celebrate the end of the dry season, the beginning of the monsoon rains and the planting of the rice crops.

    On day one (Friday) the main street is blocked and lined with about 30 giant sound systems with stages in front, each stage is sponsored by a different village or company or family and the performers include scantily clad girls gyrating suggestively to techno music, live rock bands, cabaret shows, slapstick comedy, and big groups of people just dancing around having fun. The main street is packed with people (although very few foreigners), many people are drinking alcohol, the party lasts until morning.

    We had a great time Friday night although the ear splitting volume of the sound systems got to be a bit overwhelming, also the packed crowds and near celebrity status of being a foreigner means that everyone wants to talk with you and take pictures with you and although this can be great and part of the amazing experience, it can be exhausting after awhile.

    Day 2 was our favorite day. On Day 2 they line the main street with floats and have a very slow moving parade that lasts all day. The floats range from amazing intricate designs to more rustic home made type designs. We found them all to be very cool and the parade itself is a blast, but the best part of all was when we decided to duck away from the main street and explore the village area between the main road and the river. The village area to the West of the North-South running main road is filled with old Chinese style shophouses, teak homes, colourful temples, and small parks. The whole area was filled with locals and it seemed every block had something different going on. Every one was so friendly and welcoming and the various performances and dances and food that we encountered were so interesting and fun that we just lost ourselves there for the whole afternoon. After 14 years of coming to Thailand, that afternoon was one of my favorites!

    When we finally made it to the river there was a restaurant built over it with amazing food and river views (no english menu but photos on the wall you can point at), it's the only restaurant there so you cant miss it. By nightfall the main road is cleared and opened again for traffic and all the parties wind down in preparation for the final day.

    Day 3 takes place in the big park where they set up launching pads for the rockets in a big field, also the park itself is set up like a big fair with lots of vendors. We did not expect the rockets to be so massive!! They are NOT fireworks, they are actual rockets that are very impressive when launched and can go so far up that you lose sight of them. We had a good time watching rockets for a couple hours but after the amazing time we had the day before we decided to go back to the hotel a bit early. For someone who is searching for something unique to do in Thailand completely off the tourist trail I highly recommend you don't miss this festival.

    Yasothon Rocket Festival (Bung Fai) reviewed by Rakhal (1)
    Written on 12th June, 2014, rated 5 out of 5. Visited here in June, 2014

Photo gallery

Photo for

Jump to a destination

Most popular sights in Yasothon