When we planned to go out of Bangkok in July we remembered Pi Tha Khon
(Pee Tha Khon or Phi Ta Khon) festival in Dan Sai
district in Loei province. Without thinking much we decided to go there. We took a night sleeper bus in the evening of 07 July and arrived
Loei in the next morning - the day the festival started. After witnessing the procession of Masked Pi Tha Khon's on 09 July
we continued our journey to find the meeting point of Heung and Mekong rivers - triangle of two provinces in Laos
and Thailand's Loei. I also visited Chiang Khan, Nong Khai, and Vientiane - the capital of Laos before taking a night
sleeper train back to Bangkok.
A beauty of Loei, a view we had on the road from Tha Li to Thai-Lao border bridge over Heung river. Loei enjoys fine weather
and good earth which allow farmers to grow quality fruits, vegetables and rice.
Left: Heung river, the border river between Laos and Thailand. Right: View of Thai side from Laos.
The 110 meters long bridge links Ban Na Kraseng village of Tha Li district in
Loei province to Kaen Thao district of Lao Sayabouri (Thai people call it "Chaiyabouri") province.
Heung river flows to north-east to join Mekong river at Ban Hta Di Mi in Chiang Khan district.
In the morning of 09 July the peak period of Pee Ta Khon festival Dan Sai main street was filled with both local
and foreign tourists many of them armed with cameras shooting photos of Pi Tha Khons as well as
themselves posting with masked ghosts. It was a hot day. 'Today Pi Tha Khons are a bit different from the old days,' an old man
told me. 'The ghosts are now becoming sexy; they hold guns which look like something, and they get names like "big boss".'
I saw some people wearing masks that were not Phi Ta Khon.
The ghosts danced, and the audience cheered and shot photos. Children played with the ghosts.
At about 10.30 a.m. the procession or parade started on the street. The forward teams followed by Pi Tha Khons from
various districts walked slowly to Wat Phon Chai temple (Dan Sai) where activities and ceremonies were set to take place.