Annual Thailand’s Phi Ta Khon or Ghost Festival is a Cultural Celebration Not to be Missed

Usually held in June or July at Dan Sai in Loei province in northeastern Thailand, Phi Ta Khon or Ghost Festival is one of Thailand’s liveliest and most colorful festivals

Annual Thailand’s Phi Ta Khon or Ghost Festival is a Cultural Celebration Not to be Missed

Usually held in June or July at Dan Sai in Loei province in northeastern Thailand, Phi Ta Khon or Ghost Festival is one of Thailand’s liveliest and most colorful festivals

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A colorful, unique and vibrant festival, the unmissable annual Phi Ta Khon Festival in Loei province in Thailand combines a fun party atmosphere with rich culture and folklore

The culture-rich Thailand is brimming with unique cultural events and festivals, and visitors who visited in the time around June or July might have a chance to watch the annual Phi Ta Khon or Ghost Festival. The three-day festival follows the lunar calendar and is usually held in June or July, on the first weekend after the sixth full moon. The whole event is called Bun Luang, part of a Buddhist merit-making holiday also known as Bun Phawet.

Lively and colorful, Phi Ta Khon takes place in the village of Dan Sai in the mountains of Loei province in Isan, northeastern Thailand, where the locals celebrate with a mix of Buddhism religious roots and indigenous beliefs. This year, the festival was held on June 26 to 28. On the first day, called Wan Ruam or assembly day, the highlight of the festival is the masked-dancing procession. The town’s residents seek protection from Phra U-pakuk, the spirit of the Mun River. The procession begins with people dressed in ghost masks, painted in bright and gaudy colors, made from thick palm leaf stems.

Usually held in June or July at Dan Sai in Loei province in northeastern Thailand, Phi Ta Khon or Ghost Festival is one of Thailand’s liveliest and most colorful festivals

Participants also adorn colorful patchwork pants and shirts made from different fabrics. Many performers wear iron cowbells or tin cans filled with small pebbles. People dance along the streets to the rhythm of northeastern folk music or Isan pop songs. You will find a real fun-filled carnival atmosphere with games, costume contests, parades and concerts. The second day of the festival incorporates elements of the Rocket Festival, along with more costume and dance contests. The third and final day wraps up with a solemn affair during which the community listens to sermons given by monks.

Phi Ta Khon is thought to originate from Vessantara Jataka in the Apadana, one of the most popular legends of Theravada Buddhism. In the story, a compassionate prince known as Vessantara, gives away everything he owns, thus displaying the virtue of boundless generosity. One day he goes too far and gives away a magical white elephant. He is subsequently banished from the Sivi Kingdom. His followers believed he was dead—but, he later returned. The ensuing celebrations were so raucous that legends claimed they awoke the dead.

A colorful, unique and vibrant festival, the unmissable annual Phi Ta Khon Festival in Loei province in Thailand combines a fun party atmosphere with rich culture and folklore

There are several ways to get to the Ghost Festival in Dan Sai, Loei Province. You can either take flights from Bangkok, generally there are 4-5 flights every day connecting the two destinations, or you can also take a bus which will take around 9 hours from Bangkok at a cost ranging from 130 to 600 Baht. If you have a chance, we highly recommend you to join this event as it offers a real window on observing a one-of-a-kind cultural celebration. For more information, please visit www.wisatathailand.id or www.tourismthailand.org

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