In one of the many reincarnations of the Buddha, he was a prince by the name of Vessandorn. Assumed dead, after not returning from a long journey, the people were grieving. Then the prince somehow returned alive and everybody celebrated overwhelmed by joy. So, the fiesta that took place was so stentorian that it is said to have woken the dead. These dead you can meet in Loei.
So here we go, catch up with the ghosts of Loei and dance and party with them! It is a very joyful event and always with that Thai sense of Sanuk – that is having fun. Isarn or Isaan is a very festival rich part of the country. Traditions connected to religion and harvesting/planting crops are very present in today’s life. Two other famous festivals in Isaan are the rocket festival of Yasothon and the Wax Candle festival of Ubon Ratchathani.
The fact that the prince wasn’t dead at all is celebrated in Dan Sai in the Northeastern province of Loei every year. 2021 it will be from June the 12th to June the 14th if the celebration will still be on. (Last year cancelled due to Covid). The festival is called Phi Ta Khon and it is for sure one of the most joyful festivals of Thailand.
“Boon Pra Wate” is the name of the procession taking place and the monsters of the festival are wearing long colourful masks carved out of the coconut- tree trunks, topped with a sticky-rice steamer!! Music and dancing accompany the procession, but there will also be merit-making in the temples. That is the more serious aspect that is always present at any religious festival in Thailand.
I dreamt for many years about experiencing this festival, and finally 2016 we drove to Dan Sai from Chiang Mai. Somewhat rainy days but that didn’t stop the fun in any way.
As usual, there will be no lack of food. Many food stalls and a constant market going on. Hotels in central Loei can be harder to find if you don’t book early. There are 3-4 major hotels, we stayed at Phunacome Resort. They claim to be the premium choice, and maybe once they were. Decent hotel, everything works but has more of a 3-star feel to it.
Let’s hope that this lovely festival with friendly ghosts will be back in 2022.