Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Elephant Festival in Laos

The elephants parade
The elephant festival occurring in Lao country is unique and stunning no less than others. In general it is held during February of very year at only Sayabouri province. Some year, it has exchanged to construct this ceremony between Hongsa and Sayabouri districts. This arises one time per year for two or three days and has collected a lot of elephants from several provinces surrounding the country to parade in the ceremony together at least 60 ones. All of them that has participated the ceremony has been practiced very well and are decorated according to Lao style beautifully. They are very very tame until all visitors can either touch or ride them. In other words, all tourists who visit or support this festival help to preserve the biggest terrestrial animal which not only some country has few, but some had been extinct already. Moreover, this revolves Lao in ancient time again that is called Land of a Million Elephants or a Million Elephants of Lao kingdom. Whoever wants to know how Land of a Million Elephants, which used to happen many centuries ago, was should go to see this ceremony. This is the glamour of this festival that all people shouldn’t miss at all.
The visitors are riding the elephants
 Sayabouri province is a part of all of Lao land that was located at the right hand of Maekong River clinging with Thailand by land to land. This province is one city that has the most elephants from all places around the country, due to have copious forest and river, and also it became the symbol of Sayabouri province. Many years ago, Lao covered large land until was named Land of a Million Elephants that was well-known of the people throughout the world because there were million elephants living in Laos. So, this festival has been bringing the million elephants to return into Laos again as it ever took place previously. Oh! A Million Elephants of Lao kingdom are coming. On the other hand, every people who travel in Lao shouldn’t omit it otherwise you won’t see nicest ritual that makes you so wonderful and attractive. For me, one time is not enough, next year I will join again and again.

The lay community is making Buddhist ritual before parade
Besides, the tourists can touch and ride the elephants too. After the parade stopped mahouts have taken the elephants for the guests to ride, touch them really by payment 20,000-25,000 kip (80-100 baht) per time for 10-15 minutes. It is very worthy for payment not expensive because when you ride the elephant you feel the most laureate, the biggest in yourself as the deity who is looking at the human beings or the king who is visiting the community in one’s kingdom. Furthermore, while you are standing on the back of the elephant you can both look at all large activities hold in the festival and take photo, then give the elephants the food by buying some sugar cane sold in that place. This opportunity cannot find out easily. If this doesn’t be held you don’t ride the elephants any times since many countries that this kind of animal was extinct. None of the people, who has participated the festival, refuses to ride the elephant at all. This is a highlight of ceremony that all of visitors should consider.
All people who join this festival don’t worry about the accommodation, safe, park. The committees who hold this festival prepare all of these for your trust. There are many places for sleeping such as Alooncheer Hotel, Hongkham Guesthous, Khounmany Guesthouse … Every room contains the television and air condition, including the toilet. When you are the hotel at night and look at the window you will see the beautiful lights that were decorated it’s hard to describe, and also for the day you will see the tall and big mountain including stone cliffs surrounding the city. Every accommodation has good service, clean and many kind of food, not only domestic but also overseas that you can order your country’s food if you don’t like the Lao one. I guarantee the cookers make the same flavor as your country’s cookers do and maybe, it is more delicious than they do too. Nevertheless, both day and night have no harm, robbing or other tumults because Lao people are in morality, generosity, hospitality. They don’t be selfish, stingy, envious and so on. In contrast, they like to help other people who are falling in suffering, trouble, shortage etc. Just as, an area of the festival is very large enough for parking many cars of guests and also all staffs in this ceremony can communicate with you in many languages, especially English. Whenever you have some problem you can inform immediately. Accordingly your anxiety can do away with and join the festival happily.
The beautiful souvenirs 
In this festival consists of many activities which are very important culture of Lao preserved since ancient to present time. When you join this you not only see the beautiful and lovely elephants but also see the unique decoration and culture of each ethnic of Lao people. When February of every year comes the people in Sayabouri province prepare dancing posture, decoration and so on to show, which each group has different character. However, this festival brings many sports to race such football, volleyball or rattan ball and several beautiful souvenirs that you can buy for gift to your relatives with cheap price. It’s very very worthy to join this activity. Whoever travels in Lao doesn’t participate this you don’t see Laos.

If Thai people want to visit the elephant festival can go both bus and airplane. For bus you can take a bus at Loei province trough Numheng national friendship bridge. It is the national bridge that you can use your passport, and then go straight to Sayabouri city. If you travel by airplane you get in the airplane at some airport and get off at Luangprabang or Vientiane province, then take a bus to Sayabouri province again. But if you are another country and want to go straight to Sayabouri province you should travel by airplane and get off neither Luangprabang nor Vientiane and take a bus again. This is the way for going to join the elephant festival in Laos.

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