Light Festival or Lai Heua Fai (also known as Loy Krathong) is often celebrated in October in Laos. It pays respect to the spirit of the waters, protects from bad luck and sends offerings to the deceased. Here are top 10 things to do during Light Festival in Luang Prabang.
1. Enjoy the spectacle
Boun Hua Fai Festival will begin after sunset. The first boats will pass the National Museum and head down the peninsula. The most wondeful way to watch the local's rituals on the Mekong River is reseving a seat on the fine dining cruise Nava Mekong. The cruise does offer its guests a great chance to take in the festival spirit by releasing Krathongs made from banana leaves and trunks into the river. Or, you can book a table with a view at one of many restaurants on Sisavangvong, then just sit back and enjoy the charm.
2. Watch firecrackers
The procession includes singing, drum and music. You can watch firecrackers everywhere and millions of candles on boats and in handmade lanterns. You can also pick your favorite boat and cruise along with it.
3. Visit Wat Xieng Thong
Tourists can come early to Wat Xieng Thong to watch all the boats coming from the temple steps. It's a good idea for you to take some photos here. If you are interested in soaking up the atmosphere then it's best to watch some of the parade from Sisavangvong and Sakkarine.
4. Launch the boats
You can go down to the river while holding your fireboats. When launching the boats you should make a wish. People believe that the boat will carry away your sins and bad luck down the river. They honor the spirits of the river.
5. Hang around Xieng Thong
You may hang around the Xieng Thong steps if you want to see the big fireboats being launched later in the evening. It's better off walking back down the peninsula alongside the river to find a place to watch the boats down the Mekong.
6. Watch fire lanterns
You can relax watching the boats go sailing past. Fireworks will be launched in all directions from both sides of the river as well as barges going up and down it with hundreds of fire lanterns being launched into the sky.
7. Watch boats made from banana leaves
Light Festival is the most enchanting festival across to mark the end of the Buddhist Lent. Small to large boats made from banana leaves and trunks are lit up with candles and placed in the Mekong River where they float in the water, creating an amazing view.
8. Watch the paper boat
All villages in Luang Prabang prepare the most beautiful paper traditional boat with many candles. The procession ends in Vat Xienthong Temple. At the end each village will bring their paper boat from Vat Xienthong into the Mekong River. It's nice to see candle-floating boats in the Mekong River.
9. Send candles and flowers to river
People arrange the candles and flowers into different shapes like dragon, etc. The aim of this festival is to thank the rivers for giving people food and life. You can bring small candle light bowls, which are made from banana leaves then put in some food and money, then make a wish before releasing them to the river.
10. Enjoy a walk in the city
At the same time of the festival it is really nice to enjoy a walk in the city center as all temples are decorated with many colorful candles. Tourists can take a walk around and enjoy the exciting festival atmosphere in Luang Prabang.
* See more other festivals in Laos