2012 Elephant Festival – Xayabouri, Laos

As I traveled throughout the Northern part of Laos for a week and one of the destination was Xayabouri.  I am so glad, I had the opportunity to attend this year 6th Annual Elephant Festival.  There are 6 of us total, we rented a van with drivers included for $1,000,000.00 kips($125) that takes us from Luangprabang to Xayabouri.  The road condition is horrible – mostly dusty dirt road cutting through the hills.  It took us good 4hrs hours on the road and that’s including the down time waiting for the ferry boat.  We made it to the town almost noon and we missed most of schedule events.  That’s including the elephants parade and the traditional baci ceremony.  But, I still manage to captured some pictures.

I heard from the locals, this is probably one of the biggest turn out. Half of the people probably left already by the time I took this picture.

Those folks on the mound are waiting for their turns to ride them elephants. It is so unsafe trying to get on and off. I don't know how much they charge for 10 or 15 minutes ride.

It was hot and dusty that afternoon. I was wearing slippers, which was a very bad idea. There is no set tracks or directions for those elephants to follow. They seems to be going around the circle.

poo sao 🙂

They even had a beauty pageant contest.. I'm not sure if anyone of those gals are excited to be call Miss Elephant 2012. hahahhaha I spotted this gal whooshing through the crowd, I quickly snap my camera..

Our drivers for this trip... Looks like they are enjoying the festival as well..

There are vendors set up along the road that sells just about anything you can think of. In this case it is fresh bamboo shoots.

Fresh squeeze sugarcane...

Hungry anyone???? Looks like chicken heads bbq

The organizers of this event should built a ramp to allow easy access for people. These poor elephants knee down and up all day so folks can get on.

Those elephants love the water and never wants to leave..

We left Xayabouri as soon as the festival was over. By the time we got to the MeKong River, the line for ferry crossing is pretty long. I think we waited for an hour before it was our turn.

This is the ferry got us across the river. They are building a bridge just south of this ferry crossing and should be done in a year.

So, we made it back to Luangprabang around 8:30pm that evening.  Stay tune for more blogs about my trip.


7 thoughts on “2012 Elephant Festival – Xayabouri, Laos

  1. Victor

    Hey See, how does the grilled rooster head with the crown taste like?? LOL! Very exotic! Love the photos.

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Victor, hahahaha I didn’t get to taste those grilled rooster heads. It smells good though, but I am not brave enough to try it. The bbq grill was next to dusty road with thousands of folk walking by. BTW, good to see you here again Victor.

  2. Nye

    I don’t think any of those girls would fit the title Miss Elephant 2012. 🙂
    The ride doesn’t sound too fun and the elephants walking in circle for 10-15 minutes would make me dizzy. The festival sounds like a lot of fun, and glad that you didn’t miss it. I would use the telephoto lens to do the job, certainly don’t want to get stepped on by elephants.

    1. seeharhed Post author

      hahahhahah sounds little weird with that title.. It is scary trying to get on some of those elephants. I think people spend more time trying to get on the elephant than the ride itself. I’m glad to witness the festival and probably will not attend another one for long time. Yea, the zoom lens would come handy for this event. I wish I have 70-200mm len :-).


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