The Vientiane Boat Racing Festival takes place every year around the time of the end of Buddhist Lent in Laos. The finals of the boat racing competition take place on the day after the end of Lent, which this year was Monday, October 30th. Before the racing, there are several days of the festival where there are concerts, activities for kids and vendors, who start setting up booths, stalls and tables to sell various products, hand-crafted goods, food, toys, shoes and many other items. I try to go to the festival every year because there’s so much to see, hear and do. The highlight, of course, is the boat racing.
This year, I went on Saturday and on Monday. Saturday was spent just walking around and taking a few photos, while Monday I took in a few of the races and also did some more walking in the area, which is right along the Mekong River. I didn’t take many pics of the festival area this year, but here are a few. Included with these are some photos I took last year and a few I took in 2020, none of which I have posted before. The reason I put them here is that they are very representative of the festival from year to year, like the one in 2015 and another in 2014. Looking at my photos from past years, it’s easy to see that as far as the vendors go, nothing is ever really different.
There are always many different kinds of Lao food for sale, so you’ll never go hungry at the festival. Plenty of eats at this vendor’s stall.
Lots of sweet goods also.
If you prefer home cooking or just getting a pet, you can try to win one of these ducks. See the bright red rings on the ground? Apparently, you try to toss a ring around a duck; if you’re successful you get to keep it. It costs money (I don’t know how much) to toss the rings, but you might get lucky right away..
You might work up a powerful thirst walking around in the heat, so you could always slake that thirst with a bottle of Lao-distilled vodka. (No, thanks.)
Lots of clothes for sale too.
And stuffed animals for the kids.
Though the animal isn’t stuffed, these children are enjoying the goings on anyway.
So, it was a fun day at the festival. I had taken the bus into town because I knew the traffic around the site would be extreme, to say the least, but when I was ready to leave, after stopping for awhile at one of the local watering holes, it started to rain, a very heavy rain. The last bus back to my neck of the woods was going to depart pretty soon, and I had about a half kilometer walk to the bus stop, but I didn’t have an umbrella. I could get drenched or try to find some place that sold umbrella. I found a small mom-and-pop market close by, and, yes, they had some umbrellas. Not exactly my favorite style, but it kept me fairly dry on my walk to the bus. Whaddy’a think? Cute, eh.
Next post I’ll have videos of some of the boat races, so check again later.