Date: 12 – 14 June 2021
Location: Dan Sai, Loei province, Isan state, Thailand
WHAT IS PHI TA KHON?
Dan Sai is a sleepy district town in Loei province, in the North East of Thailand. However, this town comes alive once a year during the Phi Ta Khon Festival. This festival is not only famous with visitors from Thailand, also from all over the world. Many foreigners make their trip to Thailand to see this great festival. The celebration of this festival is to bring good luck to the village.
Phi Ta Khon is also known as the Ghost Festival because the villagers dress up and wear masks that make them look like ghosts. The events take place over three days and the dates are being selected annually by the town’s mediums. Usually, the selected dates are announced two or three months before the festival begins.
CELEBRATION DURING THE FESTIVAL
Before the festival starts, people will decorate the temple with flags and flowers. They also have a white rope that they tie around the temple pavilion.
On the first day, villagers will meet at the temple between 3 to 5 am. Some of them dress in white. From the temple, they walk to the river and collect rocks from the river, as they believe that there are spririts in these rocks. These rocks are put in a ceremonial plate and taken to the temple. During this process, there is a lot of music and fireworks. The opening ceremony starts at 10 am. Thai dancers and villagers dressed in Phi Ta Khon costumes will walk around the temple three times.
The parade takes place on the second day and this is the most popular day of the festival. Revellers make traditional masks, which they wear in a parade. Traditionally, the masks were made to frighten evil spirits away. The parade, joined by young and old villagers, will pass through the village main street. The music is loud and people in Phi Ta Khon costumes will be dancing, converting it in a chaotic and funny festival.
In the afternoon on the second day, a Buddhist statue, four monks and a village elder will go to the temple. The village elder will throw money onto the road. Many visitors on the crowd, mostly the kids, will run around collecting the coins as they believe the coins are lucky. Once they reach the temple, they will walk around the pavilion three times. After that, there is a concert. Traditionally, villagers in Phi Ta Khon costumes must go to the river at the end of the second day to throw their costumes into the river. Because, villagers believe that bad things would be washed away by the river. However, nowaday they reuse these costumes.
The third day is the day for sermons, starting early in the morning. After the sermons, the villagers tie a white rope around the pavilion and hold hands. They believe that it will bring them luck.
If you cannot join this festival, don’t be worry. You can visit the Phi Ta Kon Museum, located close to the main crossroad in Dan Sai. There are several Phi Ta Kon costumes and other displays relating to the festival in the museum.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Dansai is about 90km from Loei city. The most convenient way to reach Loei city from Bangkok is by plane. There are direct flights from Bangkok operated by Nok Air and Thai Air Asia.
WHAT TO DO IN LOEI?
Loei is still not popular among foreign tourists, but this place is ideal for nature-loving visitors.
- Climb Phu Bo Bit mountain: about 45 minutes to the top, you can visit a cave shrine at a stop point and will be overwhelmed with the spectacular 360 degree views.
- Take a trip on a bamboo house boat around the large Huai Krating reservoir. During this trip, you can relax on a very picturesque and peaceful landscape, swim and taste Isan foods.
- Climb Phu Kradung and camp at the top for two or three nights if you wish.
- Visit Phu Rua National Park and you may participate in a very popular yearly flower festival at Phu Rua town from December to January.
- Visit Suan Hin Pha Ngam National Park, also known as Kun Ming Muang Loei due to its rock formations similar to Kun Ming in China.
- Visit Chateau de Loei, a vineyard where they produce Thailand’s first premium wine.
- Visit a beautiful riverside district town set on the Mekong river, like as Chiang Khan, Pak Chom or Tha Li, with old Thai style buildings, spectacular river views. This place is worth visiting if you are looking for rustic relaxation and natural charm.
For further information regarding to this destination and tours to Loei, please contact our team.