Phu Rua New Year Flower Festival
In my December story On the Road to Loei and Phu Rua I promised to write about Phu Rua’s Annual Flower Festival and so I’ll start this post by explaining a bit about Loei Province which is where Phu Rua (Boat Mountain) can be found. Click on any photo to enlarge.
As you can see from the map of Thailand, Loei Province is in the North-East region of the country and Loei River which flows through the province separates it from Laos. The border waters are a tributary of the great Mekong River.
Loei is a vast area of low mountains and fertile plains, and its cool winter temperatures are ideal conditions for growing exotic flowers, plants and trees. The area’s climate is often compared to that of the South of France…. hot balmy afternoons sandwiched between cold misty mornings and cool evenings.
To view a morning mist over the rolling mountain plains is a quite spectacular sight, a field of vision far from ones normal mental portrait of Thailand.
Phu Rua town is 50 kilometres from Loei city and the journey to there is a winding mountain road climb past sprawling hills and vegetation on either side. The route is intermittently broken by jagged mountain rock face which has reluctantly given part way to the asphalt cement highway trail.
Loei Province is also home to Chateau de Loei Vineyard and Winery. Chateau de Loei wine is bottled in the bosom of Phu Rua with the winery situated just a few kilometres away in Dan Sai. The winery opened in 1995 and its product became the first commercially produced Thai wine exported to Europe and Japan. Phu Rua’s climate of cool nights and sunny days are perfect for growing wine-making grapes. The winery and vineyard are on a 600 rai (240 acre) stretch of rolling land and the plot has become a popular tourist attraction.
Phu Rua Annual Flower Festival is held between late December and New Year on the grounds of the town’s district office which exhibits a giant thermometer (a few of these in the area) at the front of its land. The latest festival ran from December 30 to New Years Day and the event was as well attended as it had been on my previous two visits.
Roses, Tuberose, Frangipani (Plumeria), Ylang-Ylang, Petunia, Hydrangeas and Phlox were displayed either at the festival or at one of the many garden nurseries which line the road both in and out of Phu Rua town.
Phu Rua’s flower show is bookmarked by garden traders from the length and breadth of Thailand. Their annual pilgrimage to this sleepy northeastern town provides them the luxury of buying high standard flora species grown in the cooler climate of Loei.
Coach and busloads of Thai tourists also flock to the annual event and if you’re planning to arrive by car then get there early as parking spaces are quickly taken.
Here’s a few more photos taken at the Phu Rua Flower Festival.
This one reminds me of something out of America’s Wild West. I love the cow horns pinned to the top of the stucture.
If you love pots, pollen and petals then head for Phu Rua next New Year for its multi coloured flower festival. To my knowledge Phu Rua doesn’t have any hotels but Loei city has enough to suit every budget.
The bottom photograph is my favourite and was taken about 10 kilometres outside of Phu Rua at one of the many garden centres which line up on both sides of the road all the way to the town.
This may be a very remote and peaceful area of the world, and despite the nature of ones work requiring a love of flowers and dedication to duty, a girls most precious tool is still her mobile phone.