...Phi Ta Khon 2015 at Amphoe Dan Sai and Floating Raft at Huay Krating, Loei Province written by Forzanu

...Thailand, so- called Golden Axe, has variety of attractions all over the country regarding geographical sites, from high mountain to large sea, creating different weathers in each area. It includes livelihood of local communities originating their own outstandingly traditional art and culture,

...Phi Ta Khon 2015 at Amphoe Dan Sai and Floating Raft at Huay Krating, Loei Province

...Phi Ta Khon 2015 at Amphoe Dan Sai and Floating Raft at Huay Krating, Loei Province


...Thailand, so- called Golden Axe, has variety of attractions all over the country regarding geographical sites, from high mountain to large sea, creating different weathers in each area. It includes livelihood of local communities originating their own outstandingly traditional art and culture, no matter north, central, northeast and south region. Besides diversely spectacular scenery view, art and culture is another beautiful identity inheriting to next generation till present...


...Hi everyone! For this review, I am honored to join The Amazing Journey Blogging Contest which is cooperated between Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and website www.thethailandbloggernetwork.com. TAT has divided participants into 12 teams in order to travel to 12 must-visit cities .. They are separated to provinces all over the country including Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Chumphon, Ratchburi, Samut Sakhon, Chantaburi, Trad, Petchboon, Buriram, Loei, Nan and Lampang .. Our main sponsors are Nok Air and Thai Rent A Car…

…My destination, from lucky draw, is "Loei" ... http://thethailandbloggernetwork.com/teams/detail/T11 If you are interested, you can visit the website to vote the team you like or follow review from other team. I am categorized in team 11 with 2 teammates who will present other routes in Loei. Who will be and where will be? Please click on the link ... The routes of other team will be updated one by one ... Therefore, under this project, you can decide which team you like...


..I have introduced slightly about this project. According to headline, my journey is heading to 2 main attractions. The first one is "Bun Luang Festival and Phi Ta Khon" at Amphoe Dan Sai which I will show you the process of making Phi Ta Khon mask on June 25, prior to the festival on June 26-28, 2015. Then ends the journey with floating raft downstream to appreciate relaxing ambiance and plentiful nature at "Huay Krating Reservoir" which located inside Harirak National Park, Amphoe Muang, Loei .. And not to waste time, let's start the journey..

...The trip starts in early morning of June 25 at Don Muang International Airport to get prepared for flight at 5.50AM. The destination is Udon Thani International Airport .. Actually Nok Air offers direct flight to Loei but I choose to land at Udon Thani due to car renting with Thai Rent A Car. Driving requires more traveling time, so I select morning flight ...

...According to the map, the trip begins again at 7.00AM when the plane lands safely. I receive the car and show up documents. Then check the car condition together with staff assistance, initial advice on selecting gasoline and other information we need to know...

...From Udon Thani Airport, we hit highway no.210 for Amphoe Nongbua Lumpoo, prior to a sign for Phu Rua National Park. Stick on that route heading to highway no.21, Loei. Continue straight to Phu Rua because Amphoe Dan Sai, destonation for ghost festival, is on passageway to Phu Rua ... On round trip, use the same route but head towards Loei in order to stop at Huay Krating Reservoir .. Then depart from Loei going to Nongbua Lumpoo, back to Udon Thani Airport...

...Road condition is quite good. You can drive happily though you haven't driven on this route before. Anyway, be careful and follow driving rules..


...We leave airport at 7.30AM and spend 3 hours to arrive at Amphoe Dan Sai. The first thing we notice, without any signs, is huge ghost mask that let us know we definitely have reached our destination .. It may seemingly require long time since we drive leisurely. Weather today is not quite nice and there is no sunlight, kind of blue day. Turn on music we like from mobile connected to car's stereo and open the window ... It's what I always do when traveling long journey. Escape from disorders, like today...

...Prior to the trip, I have inquired about this year schedule from TAT. Therefore, I want to come 1 day in advance so that I can collect rehearsal atmosphere; show preparation and more importantly making mask process. I will show later...


...As soon as I arrive at Dan Sai municipality, I see show practicing by students who conjoin for the best perform tomorrow, on coming Friday .. While I take photos, I admire them for strong intention to practice although it rains. Both teachers and students devote to the show...

...Then I drive to " Baan Hua Na Yung Learning Center" to explore process of making mask. This learning center is also considered as OTOP of this place, located on Baan Hua Na Yung Soi 8. Easy to find. You will see sign of Baan Hua Na Yung. Then look for Soi 8 which is on the left. Going slightly straight is learning center...


...Rough details of "Hean Phi Ta Khon" OTOP center, in case any of you are interested. Contact "Chang-Jook Sorasak Charoensub" Tel. 085-466-1653...

...Inside working area, you will find lots of finished and unfinished masks including other souvenirs. The learning center sell them to make a living and to be gift for good memory...


...Some more details about souvenirs, in case you want to buy but afraid of difficulty in transportation. Dan Sai post offers delivery service called "Specific Package" preparing only for Phi Ta Khon mask. It is a special service of local post...

...In above 2 photos, the masks are made of materials modified from PVC pipe cut in shape. It is such a creative idea to adapt other materials matching with usage...


...The souvenirs made from coir may not suit to be shipped and size is not appropriate. They try to use PVC for convenience in transportation and durability...

...Villagers help each other. Lady in the photo helps in packing and miscellaneous tasks apart from main part like Chang-Jook. He paints and draws pattern on the masks...

...From gifts, let's move to story of Phi Ta Khon which the center has prepared for the show in next few days...


...Structure of Phi Ta Khon Yai is made of weaving bamboo and covered with fabric or paper. Then draw pattern subjected to maker's imagination which there are 2 of them .. Separate into male and female one. Can be easily observed from face and sexual organ .. According to traditional believes, sexual organ of human represent richness. It is not considered to be rude or impolite...

...Let's see inside materials. The beginning of beautifully colorful ghost mask...


...Start with the face which is made from coir. As coir is main material, they have to select from the trees that don't have coconut. So, they would get light-weight coir .. Then tight it with bamboo container used for steaming glutinous (sticky) rice known as "Huad" to get head part. Sew them with rope .. Next is horn part. Horns are made of dried coconut lobes and the nose mostly made from soft wood due to light weight .. Gathering all materials is not enough to start making mask. For example, the coir must be soaked in water for 2 days to make it softer. Then bring it for sun-dried for another 2 weeks before sewing it with Huad...

...With long experiences since Chang-Jook was only 11 years old, presently reaching 50s. It can well explain his art-loving heart of Phi Ta Khon tradition....


...While his friends change to other occupations, Chang-Jook still chooses to follow his heart since he was a kid...

...Chang-Jook has told us that he has been through many things. This career may look simple but it's actually not easy like drawing or painting on coconut leaf...


...Although he doesn't receive large income, he is happier. He scarifies himself to this kind of art...

...Paintbrush slowly and softly draws again and again. It well represents carefulness in what he loves ... Including creativity and imagination that inspire Chang-Jook for continuously outstanding idea on mask pattern or even material selection...


...Chang-Jook told me shortly that everything he has done since he was a kid is because of passion. He likes to do and proud of what he choose. Because nowadays there are less makers "There are makers ... but not much. We try to find people who would do with their heart, like continuing our job. Because they will do for long time, same as what we do"...


...My eyes spot at Chang-Jook's bag which helps explain everything clearly...

...I have seen this festival 8 years ago .. I came only on festival day to see parade and move to somewhere else. This time I separate time a day before festival to experience different things...


...I strongly believe that Phi Ta Khon festival is another famous tradition. People all over the place want to experience this ambiance once in their life .. If you plan to come, try sparing time for learning each process. Only watching craftsman carefully and slowly paint the mask, I believe you will definitely realize value and beautiful feeling of this tradition...

...Time passes to the evening .. I return back to Dan Sai municipality again. Accordingly to villager's advice, there are market and beer garden that welcome tourists every year. Allow them to have a chat, eat and appreciate ambiance...

...The first day passes fast. End the day with dinner at beer garth, near market .. Before going back to accommodation and getting ready for next morning .. Most of villagers say the same thing about tomorrow event which is Friday. People in Phi Ta Khon parade are not as many as Saturday .. At least there are parade and shows to see. It's worthy enough for me...

...Start new day at "Wat Phon Chai", location of shows as well as common area for villagers to enjoy festival. Apart of Wat Phon Chai is divided for "Dan Sai Folk Museum" where represents as learning center of Phi Ta Khon. It is famous among villagers and tourists including foreign tourists who come to join the festival...

...Since morning, there are shows from small children performing different kinds of talents. So, there is not only story about Phi Ta Khon. You will find variety of fun activities to enjoy including singing and dance competition...

...For tomorrow, there are opening ceremony and parade with more people, comparing to first day. Normally the parade begins in front of Dan Sai municipality and slowly move to end-point, Wat Phon Chai...


...Although parade today is not that big, we can still see atmosphere of the festival along the way consisted of souvenir shop, restaurant and cloth stall. There are all kinds of shops motivating villagers to participate in the festival...

...Seeing young artists pay attention on painting makes me feel delighted that they take an interest in this activity ... Their intention today may only having fun on drawing and painting, but who knows. One of them may decide to preserve this valuable art for next generation...


...I personally think this activity is very great since the kids have a chance to learn and understand the inherited tradition. This also refers to the kids wearing Phi Ta Khon mask during festival...

...Phi Ta Khon originated since former time presuming to occur together with Bun Luang and has been inherited continuously. The word "Phi Ta Khon" was changed from "Phi Tam Khon" (means ghost following human). It is believed that the ghost is forest spirit who sends Vessantara to city .. So, it was called "Phi Tam Khon". Then there was a miscommunication in language. It was changed to "Phi Ta Kon" following by "Phi Ta Khon" like today...

...Phi Ta Khon we see today has been adapted according to time change no matter parade, competition, mask design and clothing that are designed in colorful theme...


...However, the charm of of festival still remains including shows and activities created by villagers in order to preserve beautiful culture...

...Clothing of Phi Ta Khon is clearly like we see. Shirt and pants are made of various fabrics sewing together. Also tight small bell or a can at their waist to make sound while they walk especially when they dance. The bell even rings louder...


...Besides clothing, weapon of Phi Ta Khon is sword or halberd made from soft wood (artificial one) for safety. Most of it looks like male's sexual organ for making fun and teasing .. Which everyone understands it's not rude or impolite...

...Return back to Wat Phon Chai where hosts dancing around temple. It is a joyous ambiance of Thai tradition that Dan Sai villagers have conserved...


...What to be proud and create smile is foreign tourists' interest to join dancing with locals. From my observation, there are lots of foreign tourists at opening ceremony of the first day .. Don't have to imagine number of participants on following day...

...Finish with atmosphere in front of stage where hosts dancing and singing activities of little Phi Ta Khon. Parents and teachers encourage the kids to participate in conserving beautifully traditional culture for next generation...


...Pleasing image of Phi Ta Khon festival makes me proud of Dan Sai identity, more than 8 years ago ... Strong intention of Chang-Jook to take care of Phi Ta Khon art for the whole 30 years makes me amazed ... Together with moment when villagers help each other to arrange this event, selling souvenir, parents supporting their children to join this culture ... Every moment is joyful and full of worthy value to conserve along with Bun Luang festival and Phi Ta Khon...

...That's all about Phi Ta Khon festival. Though I don't join the whole event, it's enough to make me feel pleased with this charming tradition. Have to grab some souvenirs...


...From Amphoe Dan Sai, go on road heading to Loei, highway no.21. Around 15 km. before reaching to the city, try observing for Baan Phu Sawan sign. Follow with Baan Phon Padaeng before reaching Baan Sew Nua area. You will find Baan Huay Krating junction. Make a left turn ... If you come from the city, you will see Baan Sew Nua and turn right to Baan Huay Krating .. This area is location of "Huay Krating Resevior" ... Another worthy attraction to visit...

..."Huay Krating Resevior" or so-called "Upper Nam Man Reservior" is located under supervision area of Harirak National Park. The reservoir area is surrounded with forest and plentiful mountain .. Few minutes from main street, you will find viewpoint where everyone must drop by ... Repeat again. Really have to stop due to top view beauty. Upon looking downward, you will see the whole forest holding with large stream. It is such a superb image. Can't miss for any reasons...

...The photo has presented the richness of nature in front of us .. Scenery view that full of green trees gives us refreshment, pleasantness and mellowness ... If there are many tourists, you will see different sizes of floating rafts lining along the stream. Looking like a toy that we put anywhere we want...


...There are various floating raft providers inside reservoir space. You can choose from the raft name or preferred location .. View on riverside would look different when you stand at the bottom. However, on the raft 360-degree view is the same...

...From viewpoint at top, going along the road just a moment will see lots of signs for floating raft on sideways. Continue going downward. The road is convenient to drive .. I try with few providers to compare the view. Finally, I choose Pae Porbaan Rareung Chon...


...The reason I choose this provider is because I like view at the beginning. Also, the name Rareung Chon (means rejoicing with water) sounds interesting...

...Atmosphere at the bottom is extremely different from viewpoint. We can see wide image from the top while, at the bottom, we are surrounded by nature, wind, forest, water and mountain...


...Scenery view of bamboo forest gathering along with mountain line stands out against blue sky. That day is not sunny plus slow breeze .. Happiness is here....

...Before getting on the raft, I still enjoy taking photos of different views. I sometimes stand still and let the wind blow pass to dry up sweat .. Watch rafts floating in the middle of stream and turning around slowly...


...Switch with image of long-tailed boat delivering food to tourists on the raft ... It is a relaxing moment that I can't think of anywhere else besides Thailand..

...Finally it's time to get on raft after waking around with hunger .. Then wheelman brings a boat to get prepared for dragging our raft to the middle of stream. You can tell where you would like to stop .. If you prefer to have a tour, you may need to negotiate on the price. Better to have clear understanding for avoiding worry and problem...


...Price is based on raft size, starting from

- Medium size : Boat service 300THB + Raft renting 50THB per hour

- Large size : Boat service 500THB + Raft renting 100THB per hour

- Extra large size : Boat service 600THB + Raft renting 150THB per hour


...The listed price is from Pae Porbaan Rareung Chon only .. Which I assume it should be similar to other providers. I go during low season, so they don't charge on rafting renting cost .. They charge only main service cost...


...There are only me and a friend in this trip .. But I choose medium size raft which provides enough space to change bodily movement. In contrast, small one looks slightly uncomfortable ... However, I don't regret in selecting medium one since we have camera bag. And we also have space to fully lay down...

...Not too long, the ordered food is delivered by long-tailed boat. It drops the food at where we moor...


...We order northeast-style Thai food including papaya salad, spicy salad, grilled pork, liver spicy salad with herbs, fried chicken, sticky rice and others plus alcohol and soft drinks ... I recommend to note down their phone number in case you would like to order food additionally or there is emergency situation...

...Another day of cheerful vacation with blowing wind. Floating on a raft offers 360-degree atmosphere since the wind blows at the raft, turning it around slowly. Surrounding view keeps changing without using remote control...


...Some come as a group. They jump into water and swim joyfully. Some of them turn on music and dance, or some gathering around to play guitar and sing along...

...In my opinion, effort of human learning to live with nature in harmony is the best thing. If we take good care of nature, nature will stay with us as long as possible ... Nature is cruel to us sometimes but we are cruel to nature as well...


...Seeing many rafts lining along Huay Krating Resevior tells me many things ... The tendance of cleanliness for tourist attraction which is like another home to tourists. Especially when we want to take some rest, peacefulness and mellowness of overall ambiance, they help refining us to be happy and fresh....

...It is a short period of the journey as the sky is changing color. Wind blowing harder is a sign to make a call for returning to land, before it rains...


...Happiness of visiting Loei this time. It is another impressive trip allowing to experience traditional festival which is a long inherited identity, like Bun Luang and Phi Ta Khon, which are arranged annually at Amphoe Dan Sai. Also, end the trip with being in the middle of plentiful nature at Huay Krating Reservior...

...Finish the journey perfectly at Huay Krating. It is a relaxing trip that everyone can try no matter with friends, family or cousins ... Plan carefully when your heart wishes to go out. Then find right time to convert ordinary days to memorable days. Allow yourselves to travel in our home, on land of Thai people, full of sky, forest, canal and sea. I mean anywhere. The place is always waiting for us...


...Thank you thoughtful project arranged by TAT and thank you everyone for reading to this point .. Give a send-off with 3 green photos from Huay Krating .. See you next in review, somewhere in Thailand ... Good bye.


Story / Photo : Forzanu


PS. If you would like to have a talk or inquire further details, please click on the link https://goo.gl/vkSqMG

Comments