Laos to host elephant festival

SAYABOULY, 13 January 2016: The 10th annual Elephant Festival will be held 19 to 21 February at the stadium in Sayabouly district, Sayabouly province in Laos.

Lao News Agency quoted the province’s vice governor, Yanyong Sipaseuth, saying this year 67 elephants will join the festival, which will feature various activities involving elephants such as a beauty pageant, Baci ceremony, a bathing performance and a parade around the town.

There will also be a trade fair, which will display of products from nearby provinces and from Vietnam, China, and Thailand, he said.

inside no 3The elephant festival spotlights the country’s history and links to elephants.

Laos was called Lao Lanexang which means “Land of a million of elephants”.

Sayabouly province currently has the largest population of elephants accounting for over 75% of the country’s entire population, the report said.

The Elephant Festival is organised to raise awareness about the need for action to protect the Asian elephant as part of a country’s natural heritage. It also helps to promote Lao culture as well as promote tourism.

The first elephant festival was held in 2007 in Hongsa district, then in Paklai district, and finally in Sayabouly district of Sayabouly province.

This year, the province expects to attract almost 200,000 visitors contributing more than USD6 million to the province’s economy.

According to Tourism Department Development data, 96,131 tourists visited the province in 2014 up 9.52% from 87,776 visits in 2013.

Sayabouly province is situated in the northwest of Laos, sharing borders with Vientiane province and Luang Prabang province.

The province is well-known for its “1,000 caves” including the Phakhimin Cave. It is also noted for its Nam Tien reservoir, Giant Kha trees, ancient temples and several festivals including the annual Elephant Festival which takes place in February.

Muang Sayabouly, the main town, also offers cultural insights into rural Laos with its impressive temples such as Wat Ban Thin, Wat Ban Phapoun and Wat Ban Natonoy. The Nam Phoun National Protected Area is home to elephants, gibbons, Asiatic black bears and Malayan sun bears.