Bokeo's kapok flower festival rolls out welcome mat
The Kapok Flower Festival, known as the Dok Ngiew Festival, is expected to attract over 10,000 people from Laos and neighbouring countries to Bokeo province this year.
The 17th Kapok Flower Festival, held in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Tonpheung district, will run from February 4-12 and features various activities including a market fair, beauty contest, sports contest, and cultural performances.
Director of the provincial Information, Culture and Tourist Department, Mr Soukkha Lienthongkham, told Vientiane Times the festival is held in January or February every year, drawing thousands of people to view the colourful blossoms.
Fallen kapok flowers in Tonpheung district, Bokeo province.
“The kapok trees are now in full bloom on 40 hectares. The festival organising officials expect that visitor numbers will be up by 20-30 percent this year,” Mr Soukkha said.
The market fair will open on February 4 and will have over 200 stalls selling food, clothing, handicrafts and various local products.
The official opening ceremony will take place on February 10 and will feature entertainers from Laos, China, Thailand and Myanmar, who will perform a range of cultural shows.
On February 11-12, visitors will be treated to a fashion show displaying the costumes worn by 13 ethnic groups in Bokeo province and will also have the chance to learn about the lifestyle of each group.
Meanwhile, 20 ladies from around the province will take part in a beauty contest, and there will also be competitions showcasing local sporting traditions.
The festivities will be concentrated round Don Sao island in Tonpheung district.
The aim of the event is to create a tourist attraction and generate income for local people while preserving traditional customs. The festival takes place each year to coincide with the blooming of the kapok trees which grow naturally in the district.
Local authorities said there would be plenty of accommodation available for guests and they were encouraging all guesthouses and hotels to prepare as many rooms as possible.
According to the Tourism Development Department, in 2015 Bokeo province had 133 guesthouses, hotels, resorts, restaurants and entertainment establishments, an increase from 130 in 2014. Visitor numbers also increased from about 168,000 in 2014 to 260,000 in 2015.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update February 1, 2017)