The four countries located along the Mekong River Basin
celebrated with a spectacular joint festival held in Chiang Rai.
Representatives from China, Laos, Burma and Thailand got together in the
border province of Chiang Rai, as the 9th Friendship Festival for cultural
relations was held over three days from Jan 10-12 at the Mae Fah Luang
women dressed in national costumes representing the four countries along the
Mekong River, from left: Burma, China, Laos and Thailand.
Sonthaya Khunpluem lights the taper, marking the opening ceremony of the
troupe in their national dresses.
This event proved to be most successful, drawing
thousands of local visitors and foreign tourists to the festival which was
organized by the Chiang Rai Provincial Authorities, Municipality, Chiang Rai
Administration Organization, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The festival highlighted impressive performances of arts
and cultures representing the four countries, as well as showcasing local
products, food and wine tasting, orchid contests, deciduous fruits contests,
flower and landscaping arrangements, a tea drinking festival, the
demonstration of precious stones, jewelry display and gem cutting by skilled
craftsmen, with some sacred and miraculous small Buddha images on show
together with local products from the four countries.
Wanchai Chongsuthanamanee, the mayor of Chiang Rai, as
the chairman of working group for the festival said it would make for closer
ties among the four nations to improve business, economy, politics and
promote tourism. They could exchange their arts and cultural relations and
foster friendship which it is hoped will produce closer ties between them
delegates in a cultural performance troupe and other guests enjoy the
the Khantoke dinner include Minister Sonthaya Khunpluem, (3rd left), Chiang
Rai Governor Narin Panitchakit, (4th left), Mayor Wanchai Chongsuthanamanee
and other guests.
and spectacular parade on the theme “Amazing river currents, with four
guests participate in the Khantoke dinner and night entertainment.
the Burmese troupes in their traditional costumes.
dancers give a cultural performance.
smile shines through during this umbrella performance.
dancers gave a cultural performance to remember.
He said this year’s festival was bigger than ever, and
showed the diversity of cultures, traditions, dance performances and foods
from the four countries, and the costumes of the four nations were on sale
and display for visitors.
On the opening day, the event began with the spectacular
Khantoke northern dinner following a grand parade of local identities, after
which guests and visitors could taste the Lanna dining in true Lanna style.
dancers wowed the crowd with their cultural performance.
dancing troupe from Laos.
dance troupe gave a fabulous cultural performance.
Rai governor, Dr Narin Panichkit gives a welcome speech to Minister Sonthaya.
young ladies in Chinese dress graced the opening ceremony.
Chinese performance troupe from southern China.
Burmese troupe performs a brilliant dance show.
That evening ceremony was televised and was graciously
presided over by the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Sonthaya Khunpluem, who
gave an inspirational opening speech. One highlight of the opening ceremony
was a parade of elephants led by Minister Sonthaya, VIPs, and the
representatives from China, Laos, Burma, and Thailand. This was followed by
an amazing performance by 250 students from five educational institutes in
Chiang Rai, titled “Amazing river currents, with four country
Also in attendance was the Chiang Rai governor, Dr Narin
Panichkit, Mayor Wanchai, and other guests of honor to witness the cultural
exchanges between the four countries. It was well organized and the 500 man
working committee is to be congratulated on a job well done.