Bun Pi Mai, Laos


While thousands flock to Bangkok every April for the Songkran splash-fest, those travellers who prefer quirkier and longer-lasting New Year’s celebrations should head for neighbouring Laos.

The usually sleepy Luang Prabang, a beautiful Unesco World Heritage Site, comes alive with Bun Pi Mai in mid-April and the fun keeps going for a full seven days, compared with Thailand’s three.

Nobody is safe from a soaking or a rice-flour facial.

Events include a sand stupa competition, a Miss Laos beauty pageant and the bathing of Buddha images. The parade sees the red-faced spirits Grandfather and Grandmother Nyeu and the dragon Sing Kaew Sing Kham leading dancers, monks and musicians through the streets to a nearby temple.

Written by - Photo by Wyndham Hollis

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