Inside Vietnam: Cambodia Laos
Vientiane Boat Racing Festival

Vientiane Boat Racing Festival

The Lao love a boat race, and the most spectacular racing festival of all is held in the capital in late October.

If you happen to be in Laos at the end of October, head to Vientiane to catch the Boun Zuang Heua boat racing festival. Held to celebrate the end of Buddhist lent, teams travel from all over the country to compete in races along the Mekong River.

Dragon-style boats are carved from single trees holding up to 50 paddlers each. Women's teams compete in the morning, while men's crews race in the afternoon. Races work in heats with the finals at the end of the day where teams can win big prize money and the all-important trophy.

The festival attracts flocks of spectators who line the river banks, singing and drumming. City centre streets are taken over with street food stalls and tombola games. The loud music and partying usually continues well into the night.

When to go:

Vientiane Boat Racing Festival

located in Vientiane

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