Thailand's northeast to hold Naga fireball festival to reboot economy amid pandemic

September 27, 2020

Thailand's northeastern province of Nong Khai bordering Laos, said on Thursday that the province will go ahead with hosting the annual Naga Fireball Festival 2020 in a bid to reboot the local economy hit by COVID-19.

Nong Khai governor Ronnachai Chitvises said that border restrictions with neighboring Laos had impacted cross-border trade, and it was vital to organize local festival to promote spending amongst Thais.

"We are located next to Laos and our borders are strictly monitored to prevent illegal migrants trickling into Thai soil," said the governor, "but we can still organize the province's activities."

The end of the Buddhist Lent falls on Oct. 2 and the province will organize the annual Naga fireball festival in six districts from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, said Ronnachai.

"We usually have neighboring Laotians cross into the Thai border for this special occasion," said Ronnachai, "this year it will be different. We will need to depend on Thais coming from across the country to visit Nong Khai to enjoy the Naga fireball phenomenon in Phon Phisai and Rattanawapee districts."

The governor said that hotel reservations are filling up in the province, creating joy to tourism related businesses in Nong Khai.

He also expected the Mekong riverbank to be filled up to watch the annual fireball spitting phenomenon.

Among the highlights include light and sound show on the legend of mysterious Naga fireball phenomenon at 7:00 p.m. from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2.

Traditional dance to worship the Naga will be performed and a traditional long boat race will be held.

The phenomenon, in which great balls of fire emerge from the surface of the Mekong River at the end of Buddhist Lent, occurs every year and some locals believe they are the breath of the mythical serpent, called Naga.

Thailand had only detected one local COVID-19 case in 100 days.