Isaan’s Fabulous Festivals

Isaan’s Fabulous Festivals

Masked “ghosts” on the Phi Ta Khon festival.

Thailand’s North-Eastern region called Isaan has a number of interesting festivals, especially at the advent of the rainy season in late May and early June.

Bun Bang Fai Festival – Rockets to the Rain Gods

Bun Bang Fai Festival is celebrated all over the Isaan in late May, when homemade rockets are launched to the sky in the intention to wake up the sleeping gods of rain. Rockets are huge, loud, and certainly against all possible safety standards.

Phi Ta Khon Festival – Watch out for that Giant Dildo!

In June, amazing Phi Ta Khon Festival is held in Loei province, where shamans dress up in colorful ghost masks and wave phallic batons to bring fertility to the arid land.

Mysterious Naga Fireball Festival

In the first full moon of October, Nong Khai receives huge crowds who come to celebrate the mysterious phenomenon of small fireballs rising up from the Mekong river. According to the local legends, a magical Naga snake lives in the bottom of the river and shoots the fireballs. Scientist have a somewhat more sophisticated explanation, but nobody knows for sure what is behind the miracle.

Surin’s Elephant Round-up

In November, Elephant round-up is celebrated in Surin. Over 300 elephants and their riders called mahouts come from all over the country to the city to stage an impressive show that culminates in a mocked elephant warfare.