Hua Lan rocket festival ushers in the rainy season
Singing, dancing and drinking were the order of the day
at the Hua Lan Rocket Festival in the Mae On district just outside Chiang
Held every year to herald the rains, this annual event is a wonderful
spectacle of northern Thai rural culture filled with an abundance of
happiness and the excitement of competition by the various teams involved
and crowds of wide-eyed onlookers. Mainly a Thai event with well over 5000
people we only spotted a few foreigners.
The fiery masterpieces, which can only be constructed from natural materials
such as bamboo reinforced with hemp rope, are over 50 foot long. (Their Thai
name is Bang Fai) Various local villages and temples compete for prizes
which are judged for the most artistic rockets and those which stay aloft
The ground shudders and the ears are filled with the deafening roar at
take-off from one of the almost 100 rockets while the villagers make as much
noise as possible using drums cymbal trumpets.
Not all make it into the air but explode to the excited screams of
spectators running for cover. While we were there three exploded on the
launch pad and we only saw one person with a head injury who was whisked off
on the back of a motorbike to who knows where.
The rocket festival is held every year in late June or early July and is
located in Mae On district of Chiang Mai. CMM Reporters