The tradition of racing Dragon Boats began when the day after the Buddhist Lent ceremony and Loi Krotung ceremony everyone would race down the river to the temple.
These days, people walk, bicycle, motorbike or travel in a car to attend the famous event. The Nam Tha river in Luang Namtha was lined with more people than we knew existed in Luang Namtha! In Lao style, everyone was happy, festive, joyous, no-one complained about anything, not even the 40 degree heat or the squeaks and super-loud feedback coming from the full-volume speakers.
Lao is such a laid back, happy place and we are yet to see anyone phased by anything! So of course the Dragon Boat Races were no different.
We were lucky enough to score a seat in the Luang Namtha Tourism Office shade tent, where we ate and drank until we could no more, and got to hide from the direct sun although the intense heat was still felt by all of us.
We got a good view of the river and the finishing line and saw many boats compete – and one boat sink! Overall I can’t think of a more relaxed crowd – in any other country we’ve been in there would be lots of security at a multi-thousand person event, but here in Laos it just doesn’t seem to be needed because everyone is so chilled out. An utterly fantastic day following the amazing day before of the alms giving and Loi Krotung & lanten releasing ceremony – a must do for next year for sure!
Our photos of this awesome day are here.