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Festivals and Fairs in Prae Province

Less well known to visitors to northern Thailand than the major tourist destinations, Prae province has a rustic charm and tranquil beauty of its own. When visiting the north, why not take a detour and discover the delights and sights of Prae. There are many interesting festivals each year, when a visit there will take on a special significance.

From March 5 - 11, there is a daily ceremony to show respect to Phra Thaat Chor Hae. This is centered on the temple Wat Phra That Chor Hae in tambon Pa Daeng in Muang district of Prae. Each district in the province has a float in the daily parade, and banners from the various districts are displayed. Also to be seen are demonstrations of local culture and traditions. There are also numerous religious activities at the temple including presenting food to the monks and layering golf leaf. A wide range of entertainment is available including plays, movies and concerts, and there will be a sale of goods from the various cooperatives in the province. For information about this Ngan Wai Phra That Chor Mae Muang Prae Hae Tung Lung festival, contact Prae district office by telephone (054) 511053.

The Songkran festival, celebrating the Thai New Year, is held from April 10-17 in Prae. Although activities will take place throughout the province, organized events will be held at the Provincial Hall. There will be daily parades, and local goods for sale at bargain prices, and a great opportunity to get your very own Thai farmers' shirt, the blue-colored Moh Hom. A wide range of entertainment is always available during Songkran, and many of the specialty goods for which Prae is famous will be on display and sale. Contact Prae Provincial Office at telephone (054) 620646.

At the same time, from April 11-17, there will be a special Songkran festival held at Pha Nang Koi Cave at Baan Pha Moo Neua in Rong Kwang district.

On August 5 there will be the annual donation of Khao Pansa candles to local temples. These huge candles are designed to burn throughout the 3 month Buddhist Lenten period, the so-called "rains retreat", when the monks refrain from travelling. This festival is called Ngan Pra Pae Nee Tha Wai Thien Khao Pansa. There will be a parade of the candles through the town, a contest decorating the candles in traditional ways and of course the elaborate and time-honored ceremony of presenting the candles to the temples. Activities will center on the "Health Park" in Prae town. For details, contact the office of the Education Commission of Prae Province by calling (054) 511877.

The last major festival this year, November 2-4, is the Loy Krathong celebration. This differs from others in the north and is called Ngan Pra Pae Nee Len Fai Paneng Wieng Kosai. Apart from the serene beauty of the festival proper, there are also a wide range of other activities. Chief among these is the Lai Ruea Fai competition, where boats adorned with oil lamps forming incredible pictures of light in the night are floated on the river. This is best seen from the area around the landing stage near the Sri Chum Gate (Tha Nam Pradu Sri Chum). There will also be a fireworks contest and a competition featuring handmade hanging Loy Krathong lanterns. Naturally all this would not be complete without the beauty contests and numerous other entertainment. Details are available from Prae Municipality, (054) 511060.

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