Kapok flower festival set to attract thousands of visitors

Bokeo (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Kapok trees are now in full bloom over many hectares, creating the perfect setting for the 18th Kapok Flower Festival, known as the Dok Ngiew Festival, which will be held in Tonpheung district, Bokeo province, from January 23-29.

The festival is one of the star attractions during Visit Laos Year 2018 in Bokeo province, Director of the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Soukkha Lienthongkham, said.

The week-long event is expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors this year, since the provincial authorities will officially launch Visit Laos Year during the festival.

“More than 10,000 people came to the festival last year, and the number of people from Laos and neighbouring countries is expected to double compared to last year,” Mr Soukkha said.

The festival is held in January or February every year, drawing thousands of people who come to view the colourful blossoms.

This year, the organising committees are preparing several activities, including a market fair, acrobatics, a local food contest, a beauty contest, a sports contest, cultural performances, and an ethnic fashion show.

The market fair, set to open on January 23, will have more than 200 stalls selling food, clothing, handicrafts and local products.

The official opening ceremony will be held on January 27, when visitors will be treated to an acrobatic show, cultural performances, and a fashion show featuring costumes worn by the 13 ethnic groups in Bokeo province. Festival-goers will also have a chance to learn about the lifestyle of each group.

Ladies from around the province will take part in a beauty contest, and there will also be competitions showcasing local sporting traditions. Mr Soukkha said “We are optimistic that our guesthouses and hotels can accommodate the influx of visitors during the festival and hotel rooms are still available.”

Hotels and some guesthouses near the festival site still have rooms with rates ranging from 150,000 kip to 600,000 kip a night.

According to the Tourism Development Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Bokeo had 294 guesthouses, hotels, resorts, restaurants and entertainment establishments in 2016.

In 2015, more than 34,000 Lao nationals and 260,123 foreigners visited Bokeo. More than 42,500 Lao people and 219,603 foreigners visited the province in 2016.

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