Spending Lao New Year in Luang Prabang is some of the best fun I have ever had in my life – no exaggeration. For a number of days, I’ve been walking around in a drunken daze, squirting people with water, being doused with buckets of water myself, wishing ‘Sabaidee Pi Mai!’ to everybody on the street, and dancing along to street music with the crowds. New Year in the UK is almost always a disappointment, and I was fully unprepared for just how raucous the Lao New Year celebrations would be. Even though Luang Prabang is not the capital city of Laos, it is most definitely the centre of the Lao New Year celebrations and people come from all over Laos to transform this usually sleepy town into a life-giving party hub. The celebrations officially last for three days, but I’ve been getting drenched with water, and have had paint smeared on my face, for over a week now – and I’ve enjoyed every single moment. What I love most about these celebrations is how inclusive they have been – there is not a soul in this town who hasn’t been swept away with all of the street partying. I’ve had five year olds cover me in paint and I have grannies pour water right over my head – always with a broad smile on their face and done in a joyful and kind-hearted way.
Here are some photos and a video to give you some idea of what Luang Prabang is like at New Year.