Don’t overlook Laos when planning your trip to Southeast Asia and here is the reasons why:
Bring your super soaker! Pi Mai, or Lao New Year will take place April 14-16, 2018. The country celebrates with huge water fights in the streets. Also called Sonkran, this festival revolves around water, the symbol of renewal in Buddhist iconography, and temples and homes are cleaned. Parades, beauty pageants and big parties round out the fun.
Flora and fauna
While damming of rivers, poaching and mining threaten the Lao wilderness, there are still huge areas of untouched land where elephants, tigers, birds and other native species live in the wild. The Mekong River is home to the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin and the northern mountains in Bokeo are home to gibbons. Laos is also home to many species of orchids, champa, and magnolias.
Sikhot Stupa Festival
The Sikhot Stupa Festival is held in Khammuane Province on the full moon of the third lunar month. The stupa was renovated by Lao Buddhists in 1945 after Laos declared itself independent from France. The stupa and surrounding town is decorated with ribbons and lights. A night market sells food and souvenirs and the faithful gather at the stupa.
Boun Ok Phansaat is a festival on the last day of Buddhist lent that happens every autumn, in the middle of the 11th lunar month. Laos celebrates with boat racing festivals in several provinces. Teams train and compete in long boat races in Vientiane, Savanakhet, Salavan Province and Luang Prabang. Candle-lit processions take place around temples and floats decorated with flowers and incenses are set afloat in the rivers to thank the water spirits.
Inhang Stupa Festival
That Inhang is a sacred stupa said to house one of Buddha’s bones, located in Savannakhet Province. Every November a festival is held here to commemorate a sermon Buddha delivered here, followed by a rest he took under a tree at this location. The festival includes traditional dancing, a fair with rides and food and stalls to buy textiles and souvenirs.
Hmong New Year
The Hmong people make up the third largest ethnic group in Laos. Every year, big celebrations of the Hmong New Year take place in Xieng Khuang, Vientiane and Xaysomboun provinces. Witness traditional Hmong dress and listen to traditional music during the celebration, which occur after the harvest. Courting rituals take place between young men and women at this time, in the form of a ball tossing game and the singing of courting songs.
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