Praying for rain
In response to this year’s drought and the higher-than-usual temperatures, visitors to the annual Rocket Festival in Yasothon can expect plenty of fast-flying missiles in the sky. Taking place on May 14-15, the Yasothon Rocket Festival serves as a wake-up call for the Rain God and pleads with him to give Earth more water so that the rice will grow. Led by monks, rural rocket engineers place gunpowder inside long plastic pipes of varying sizes. The rockets are then launched into the clear blue skies with varying degrees of success. The festive event always draws locals and visitors and you don’t have to be a quantum physicist to enjoy the show.
The World Durian Festival returns to Chanthaburi today and continues through May 13 with the Monthong, Chanee and Kran Yao and Phuang Mani varieties beckoning visitors with their unmistakable odour. The festival takes place around the public lake and the city hall. Expect durian-eating contests, durian floats, cultural shows and a Queen of Durian beauty contest. Mangosteen and other tropical fruits add colour and flavour. Call the local tourism office at (038) 655 420-1 or (039) 311 001.
In the deep
Thailand Travel and Dive Expo 2016 takes place at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre from May 12 to 15 and offers everything diving enthusiasts ever wanted to know about their favourite sport from scuba diving courses to secret diving destinations around Southeast Asia and diving promotions. Diving equipment and other gear will also be up for sale at bargain prices. Visit www.ThailandDiveExpo.com.
In life and death
Wat Thung Yang in Uttaradit Province holds the Lord Buddha Cremation Ceremony, known locally as Uttamee Buja, from May 20 to 28. A fascinating ritual, it sees the monks creating an effigy of the Lord Buddha for the re-enactment of a funeral. Cultural events and chants take turns entertaining visitors. The highlight takes place on the last night when the effigy is burnt on a pyre.