Every year, the annual Elephant Festival is taken place in Sayaboury Province this February. This festival will last from February 17th to February 19th and all authorities often prepare the accommodation and facilities for the event for several months.
Elephant Festival is established with the aim to raise the awareness of people about the endangering situation of elephant which has become scared due to hunting and logging. Additionally, this occasion is also to celebrate the ancestral tradition of elephant domestication. And this year, Elephant Festival begins on February 13th but official opening ceremony is on 17th February. There are 68 elephants taking part in this event.

An elephant performing circus during the festival

An elephant performing circus during the festival

The province’s Hongsa district is the first area held in 2007 and now after 10 years established annually, the number of visitors has risen from 10,000 to over 100,000 people in 2016. The authorities expect that this year it will even crowder. Together with the increase in visitor, the number of accommodation and leisure facilities such as: guest house, hotel, resorts, etc has been risen from 169 (2014) to 192 (2015). In addition, Sayaboury Province has supported for home-stays in five villages of the main town with local residents with a bed and meals.
This year, the festival will include elephant shows, baci ceremony, a beautiful elephant contest, an area of showing how elephants are trained, elephant bathing and the most special feature is elephant riding which gives you a chance to ride a real elephant. There is also the presence of some active conservation group in the festival associated with the main purpose of the festival.

One of the activities during the elephant festival in Laos

One of the activities during the elephant festival in Laos

In order to make it easier for travelling, Mr. Chanpheng Khammountha, an event organizing official, has shown us some ways to visit Sayaboury from Vientiane and Thailand. He said the only means of transportation to get there was by land since there was no flight here. If you wanted to reduce travel time, you could fly to Luang Prabang and continued by land, with the road trip taking about two hour. Definitely, a road trip would offer you a great chance to encounter the beauty of the countryside and witness the local daily life.
Another option for you is travelling by road from Vientiane, your route will be Sangthong District – Sanakham District (Vientiane Province) –Paklai District – Phieng Districts (Sayaboury Province) before reaching the provincial capital. The total amount of the trip is about seven hours. Or
For those who want to save money, here is a chance for you, there is only one bus a day reaching Sayaboury Province, which leaves at 6PM. Besides, two minibuses are ready to take you from Vientiane to Sayaboury at 8AM to 12Am every day. The starting point is Sikhay Village which I near Sikhay Market.
From Thailand, all you needed is to do is passing the international border between Thailand and Laos, from Thailand’s Uttaradit Province to Phoudu in Paklai district, Sayaboury Province.