Bun Nam

Sports in Vientiane

A huge annual event at the end of pansăh (the Buddhist rains retreat) in October, during which boat races are held on the Mekong River. Rowing teams from all over the country, as well as from Thailand, China and Myanmar (Burma), compete; the river bank is lined with food stalls, temporary discos, carnival games and beer gardens for three days and nights.

Vientiane is jam-packed during Bun Nam, and given how far away the boat racing is and how difficult it is to find a vantage point, we think smaller towns such as Vang Vieng and Muang Khong are better bets, though Muang Khong doesn't usually hold its festival until early December, around National Day.