Festivals & Holidays

Below find a list of all National and Official Holidays you may encounter when visiting Laos. You may use this as a guide when planning your next motorcycle adventure. By no means is this a definitive list, and many dates are flexible due to lunar occurrences and seasonal happenings. That said, if something you have seen is absolutely critical for you or your groups attendance, please Contact Us

A Hmong bachelorette……

Official Holidays

In Laos, working days are from Monday to Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. and form 2 p.m. till 5 p.m. Official holidays include:

  • International New Year January 1
  • Lao New Year mid April
  • International Labour Day May 1
  • National Day December 2

Festival and Major Events:

A variety of festivals and religious ceremonies are observed throughout the whole year. The most important ones are listed below

No B.S. here…..
Enjoying the bullfights from a safe vantage

Mid January:

Boun Khoun Khao : Harvest festival in villages. A ceremony is performed giving thanks to the spirit of the land.


Boun Khao Chi : a ceremony held at the vat in the morning, when a special “bread made of sticky rice” is offered.

Two Hmong sisters waiting for their grooms


Boun Pha Vet : a ceremony of offering donations to have one’s future read from a piece of paper drawn, during the three day-three night festival.


Boun Pimai : the Lao New Year, is celebrated in mid April. On the first day of the festival, Buddha images are taken out of the temples to be cleaned with scented water. The water which drops from the images is collected and taken home in order to pour it on friends and relatives as an act of cleaning and purification. On the evening of the final day, the Buddha images are returned to their proper shrines. In Luang Prabang the festival also features a beauty contest with the crowning of Miss Pimai.

Mid May:

Boun Bangfai : the rocket festival, is held at the beginning of the rainy season. The festival is a call for rain and a celebration of fertility. In the morning a religious ceremony is performed. In the afternoon, people gather in the fields on the outskirts of villages and towns to launch self-made firework rockets.

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Different communities compete for the best decorated and the highest travelling rocket. Men disguised as women perform vaudeville acts using wooden phalli in order to anger the gods. As revenge, the gods are expected to send thunderstorms. Beginning around the middle of May, the rocket festivals are staggered from place to place to enable greater participation and attendance.


This is time when an offering to the spirits can be made in a corner of one’s garden, very early in the morning


Boun Khao Phansa : the beginning of the Buddhist lent. During the next three-month period. Monks spend most of their time in prayer and meditation and are restricted from spending nights in other vats other than their own.


Boun Kao Padabdinh : the observation of a practice of making offerings to the dead.


Boun Ok Phansa : that marks the end of the monks’ three-month-fast and retreat during the rainy season. At dawn, donations and offerings are made at the temples. Prayers are chanted by the monks, and at dusk candlelight processions wind round the temples. Concurrently, hundreds of decorated candlelit-floats, made of paper, are set adrift in the rivers. These carry offerings and incense, transforming the river into a fragrant snake of sparkling. This ceremonial part is called Boun Lay Heua fai. The biggest event of the Phansa festival, Boun Souang Heua, is a boat race on the Mekong river between competing communities the next day.


Boun That Luang : is a three-day religious festival celebrated at full moon in November. It begins with pre-dawn gathering of ten thousands of pilgrims from Laos and Thailand at That Luang who listen to prayers and sermons chanted by hundreds of monks representing all Lao vats. During the following days a fair is held nearby. The festival ends with a huge fireworks display.