laos boat racing festival

Explore the beautiful town of Luang Prabang while one of their exquisite annual events is ongoing: Laos Boat Racing Festival! Get to see locals race in their traditional hand-carved boats made of just one tree. The local boat racers have practiced months to try and beat their opponents, and bring victory for the spiritual dragon Nagas, which helps to protect the beautiful country of Laos.

Laos Boat Racing Festival Highlights:

– Athletic locals racing in traditional hand-carved boats
– The annual event of Haw Khao Padap Din, where locals visit local temples perform prayers and other rituals
– Temple, Palace and museum sightseeing
– Climb to the top of Mount Phousi
– Fantastic views of the Mekong river
– Explore the bountiful night market
– Splash around in the turquoise water of Khuang Si waterfall

Tour Details | Laos Boat Racing Festival
27 Aug, Day 1: Arrival in Luang Prabang

Upon arrival, you will be met our local guide upon arrival and drive a short distance to the hotel.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

28 Aug, Day 2: Half day city tour – Khuang Si Waterfall (Breakfast)

An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (often in the form of sticky rice) from the faithful residents.

After breakfast, we then enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. We visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts and Arts and Ethnology Centre to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures.

You may also wish to drive to the beautiful Khuang Si Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest paths. There’s also an opportunity to visit the bear sanctuary nearby, run by Free The Bears Fund Inc.

We then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic view of the city at sunset and the Mekong River. The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

29 Aug, Day 3: Boat Racing and Free day (Breakfast)

You are free and explore the Boat Racing Festival, including guide and car transfer

Boat Racing festival organized in Luang Prabang. This festival includes boat racing on the Nam Khane River and a trade fair in Luang Prabang city. At the Haw Khao Padap Din ceremony day, people visit local temples to make offering to the dead as well to share merits making.

The annual event, known as Souang Heua in Lao, is festivals where crowds gather along the banks of the Mekong River to cheer on long boats filled with 50 paddlers competitively race one another. Boat racers typically practice weeks if not months ahead of the festival. The boats that are used are traditional hand-carved out a single tree. They are housed in the village temples and only come out only once a year to participate in the race. These decorative boats are considered sacred, and are both cleaned and presented with offerings a few days before the race. While the boat racing is a symbol of entertainment and athleticism, the festival honors the water divinities such as the Nagas, the spiritual dragons that help protect Laos.

On the day of the race, a traditional orchestra will play traditional songs near the river bank that accompanies the race. The tempo accelerates as the boats narrowly approach the finish line, creating dramatic tension as each race is only won by a small distance.

In Luang Prabang, the Boat Racing Festival is typically held on Khao Padapdin, the ‘Day of the Commemoration of the Dead’ in August. In the capital Vientiane, the festival is held the day after the end of Buddhist Lent. Both events in the capital and in Luang Prabang draw huge crowds from all over the country. Like many festivals in Laos, the boats races are accompanied by local celebrations occurring throughout the town.This festival is and ideal time to visit Luang Prabang as it approaches its 20th Anniversary of its UNESCO World Heritage status!

Overnight in Luang Prabang

30 Aug, Day 4: Free Day (Breakfast)

You are free and overnight in Luang Prabang

31 Aug, Day 5: Luang Prabang – Departure (Breakfast)

Depending on your flight, you may have time at leisure before you will be transferred to the airport in time for your departing flight.

What’s Included:

  • Good hotels  in Twin share room
  • Meal as indicate in the program
  • Private transportation;
  • Boat at the program
  • English speaking  guide
  • All visits with entrances;
  • Refreshment
  • All taxes

What’s not included:

  • Visa stamping fee at the Embassy
  • Domestic flights quote separately
  • Int’l air tickets to/from Laos
  • Travel Insurance in all kinds
  • Other foreign language guide
  • Peak tourist season or special event rates
  • Child or adult in triple sharing room
  • Tip, drinks and other personal expenses
Accommodation | Laos Boat Racing Festival

Hotel Name: Villa Maly Boutique
Information: Once the home of Lao royalty, Villa Maly is today an exquisite boutique hotel, surrounded by a lush abundant tropical garden. The rooms are elegant and comfortable with a hint of history and creative touches. Its wonderful location is situated in the historic Unesco protected zone amongst other stately homes. Our boutique hotel’s “Art Deco” style is prevalent throughout with an original blend of French and British furnishings from Colonial times. The ambiance is residential, as if one was staying in a private villa.


Price will be sent upon request

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