Come full moon every year in October many places in Laos conduct their annual boat racing festival in conjunction with the Ok Pansa festival & Lo Krathong. I've witnessed one in Houei Xai in 2012 Festivals in The Top North for Ok Phansa.October 2012. and in 2016 with a visa run due it was a nice time to hop across the bridge to Houei Xai for a couple of nights. The racing takes place downstream from Houei Xai city & this year there were boat crews from Thailand & China as well - just for the fun of it apparently. Preparing for the races it's a maze of boats & activity A boar support crew & their riverside "berth." everyone cheers everyone on & the music + noise is bloody loud all round. Its party time. The island in the river has a huge tree on it providing another base for a crew & spectators below. Upstream the boats queue up for their races. Get ready A small boat moored in the middle of the river is the starting line & away they go it's a frantic dash & long row way downstream. Once your heat is over it's time to head back upstream again, against the current for the next round it's damn hard work in the hot sun & against the current. It's amazing how more of the boats don't sink Some lucky ones (cheats, maybe?) get a tow back upstream. others slog it out practicing their skills & co-ordination the crowds line the river bank in a very boisterous atmosphere negotiating the stairs an enterprising family set up a floating restaurant riverside to make a killing on the day A genuine belle the main river side street is closed off for the weekend of fun It's a fabulous time & not be missed. Good evening Chiang Khong from Houei Xai If you've not done it once mark it down in your calendar for full moon October 2017 = 5/6 October 2017. Where to stay in Houei Xai Houei Xai Accommodation Where to eat in Houei Xai Houei Xai Restaurants Laos Border Crossing info Laos Border Crossings Crossing the 4th Friendship Bridge Riding across the Friendship Bridge at Chiang Khong The opening of the 4th Friendship Bridge at Houei Xai 4th Mekong Friendship Bridge Houei Xai - Chiang Khong Opening.