The festival has been held for thousands of years and is maintained to this day in places along the Mekong River. Today, the boat racing has mainly become a sporting competition, the highlight of Laos’ Boun Ok Phansa or last day of Buddhist lent.
During the festival, the boats are decorated with flowers and candles. There are also small rafts made of bamboo and decorated with candles are launched down the streams and river.
The Boat Racing Festival in the country gears up various teams from around the country in a grand showdown of speed across the Mekong river. Dragon-style boats each carrying up to 50 paddlers representing different villages battle it out in this annual festival that vividly shows the culture and camaraderie of Lao people.
The races happen in a whole day affair with women’s competition in the morning and the men’s later in the afternoon. Spectators line up along the riverbanks eager to catch a glimpse of the action.
Several boat racing competitions are held across Laos but the one in Vientiane draws the most crowds. The Fa Ngum road along the Mekong river is the center of the activities. Expect a lively crowd of spectators cheering for their community and getting involved in the intense action.
A 2km race across the river challenges the rowers paddling in the boat carved from a single tree. The start and finish line varies each year, determined by the water level. The winning team gets to bag the prize money and the most aspired trophy awarded by high-ranking officials as the whole sporting event is broadcasted live on Lao’s national TV channel.
According to Wikipedia and halendar.wordpress.com