Luang Prabang Announces Visit Laos Year 2018 Line Up

Luang Prabang Announces Visit Laos Year 2018 Line UpLuang Prabang has announced its Visit Laos Year 2018 event calendar, with the nine-day Lao New Year celebration topping the slate.

Dr Soudaphone Khomthavong, Luang Prabang Information, Culture and Tourism Department’s Deputy Director, said the Luang Prabang Folk Song Competition will kick off the year’s festivities on 17 March, and serve as the opening act for the main event in April.

The Lao New Year (Pii Mai) activities start on 11 April, with the selection of Nang Sangkhan (Miss Lao New Year). Celebrations will dominate the streets until 20 April.

“The Night Market will be closed during most of the Lao New Year celebration, and will open again on 17 April,” Dr Khomthavong said, noting that many activities will showcase local handicrafts and food.

“Oh, Luang Prabang Simply Beautiful” sits next on the Visit Lao Year schedule, with a 4-7 July slot. Bloggers are being invited to cover the event that includes a “demonstration of living culture”, Lao food festival, traditional performances, and a handicraft exhibition.   

The annual Luang Prabang boat racing festival will take place on 9 September, and an intensive study tour and Seminar on Sustainable Tourism Development will be held on 27 September.

The study tour will visit Nambak and Ngoi Districts for weaving instructions, sweet orange testing, a visit to Na Yang handicraft village, and a climb up Phou Phadaeng Mountain to its viewpoint.    

“We will also hold cycling activities during the Visit Lao Year to reduce environmental pollution while promoting tourism,” Dr Khomthavong said.Luang Prabang Visit Laos Year 2018 New Year Pii Mai

She added, “The Ancient Luang Prabang Market Fair, aimed at preserving our cultural heritage, will take place along with the annual Luang Prabang Film Festival (in December).”

Luang Prabang’s main celebration, Lao New Year (Pii Mai), starts on 11-12 April, with the Nang Sangkhan competition and traditional music and dance performances taking place from 19:30-21:30 at the Thad Luang Grounds.

The Luang Prabang Handicraft Market and Luang Prabang Food Festival will be held at the same venue the next day.

The activity roster fills up on 14 April. Starting at 06:00, the Market Fair “Lolat” will open on the main street between the old stadium and the National Museum (Royal Palace). The fair includes a traditional textile show, as well as stalls selling local and regional products.

The “Chang Hieng Koei” elephant procession begins at 09:00 with a dozen pachyderms. The parade proceeds from Wat Mai to Wat Xiengthong, where an Elephant Baci Ceremony will take place along with the telling of the history of Chang Hieng Koei.

People will then gather on the Mekong beach at 13:00 to build sand stupas, or “Toppathatsay”, and hold a baci ceremony to bring good luck. Other activities include traditional cultural performances, local sports competitions, “Dragon Fire Rocket”, and sightseeing at Hatsay Moung Khoun on the Mekong in Chomphet. That evening, ceremonies to bless Buddha images with water will take place at all Luang Prabang temples.

Luang Prabang Visit Laos Year 2018 Elephant ParadeThe 15th starts with a textile exhibition at Ban Phanom, before the official opening of Visit Laos Year 2018 in Luang Prabang at 14:00. A procession starring Nang Sangkhan departs the National Museum and proceeds to Wat That Noy and Wat Xiengthong.

The following morning at 05:30, visitors can participate in the morning alms giving (Sai Bat) in front of Wat Sene Soukharam before climbing Mount Phousi to pay respects. At 14:00, the Nang Sangkhan procession returns to Wat That Noy, and at 19:00, Naga and lantern parades descend Mount Phousi to the National Museum, where traditional dancing takes place.

On the 17th at 09:00, monks, provincial leaders, and guests will bring the revered Prabang Buddha image from Hor Prabang inside the National Museum to Wat Mai. Nang Sangkhan and guests will then visit Pak Ou Cave for watering Buddha images. Watering of the Prabang and traditional dancing continue at Wat Mai until 20 April, when the Prabang image returns to the National Museum.  

Dr Khomthavong said the aim of organizing all the Visit Laos Year events in 2018 is to more widely promote Luang Prabang. “We want to increase the number of domestic and international tourists coming to Luang Prabang throughout the year, which will help locals in increasing their incomes.”

Luang Prabang is promoting Visit Laos Year through social media and on the province’s website, as well as distributing brochures and having billboard presence.




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