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Laos

Laos forum

Boun Ok Phansa & Lhai Heua Fai, Festival of the Boats of Light

Posted by sunlvr on 4/4/2015 at 08:21

I'm going to be in Laos mid Oct-beginning of Nov. Can anyone tell me more about the festival of lights? I think I will be in Luang Prabang the week of Oct 27, which is when all this begins (I think) Any info on what it's all about and sequence of events, how crowded will town be....ect. would be great! Is this when the boat races are as well?? I've searched online and really can't find anything that answers my questions. Thanks so much!

#1 sunlvr has been a member since 7/8/2014. Posts: 37

Posted by SoManyMiles on 16/4/2015 at 22:13 TF writer

Lai Heua Fai is my absolute favourite festival in Luang Prabang and you are correct, in 2015 it will be October 27 (it is based on the lunar calendar so it is a different date each year). For weeks leading up to it, the novices and monks decorate the temples with paper lanterns and villages make their boat lantern out of bamboo and paper. Boun Ok Phansa is the holy day marking the end of Buddhist Lent and Lai Heua Fai is the boat lantern festival which pays homage to the Mekong river and the dead. The temples are all beautifully lit up so every one walks around at night from temple to temple. On the big day, the big boat lanterns are lit and marched down the main street to Wat Xiengthong where they are set into the Mekong. People buy or make lanterns out of banana tree trunk and flowers, light it, make a wish and set it into the river. It is a spectacular sight.

October is the start of the high season in Luang Prabang but the town will be by no means crowded with tourists. There will be some but the festival is first and foremost for the local people.

#2 SoManyMiles has been a member since 7/2/2014. Posts: 147

Posted by sunlvr on 17/4/2015 at 07:59

Thanks so much for the reply SoManyMiles!! I'm so excited that my trip coincides with this festival. Truly serendipitous. Would you recommend booking lodging asap? I've looked on various websites (hostel.com, hostel world.com, ect) and many show no rooms available then. Is this because it's still so far out? Thanks again!

#3 sunlvr has been a member since 7/8/2014. Posts: 37

Posted by SoManyMiles on 20/4/2015 at 23:56 TF writer

It wouldn't be a bad idea to book ahead of time but you don't need to do it now. Budget lodging wouldn't have released rooms to booking engines just yet, which would explain why it is showing "not available". Mid-range to luxury hotels should already have their rooms and rates posted/available. Enjoy!

#4 SoManyMiles has been a member since 7/2/2014. Posts: 147

Posted by sunlvr on 21/4/2015 at 07:05

Thanks so much!

#5 sunlvr has been a member since 7/8/2014. Posts: 37


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