Watch elegant long boats glide across Lake Inle, towing a Buddha mounted barge in their wake in the heart of the Shan region.
- When? Between September and October
- Where? Inle Lake, Mandalay
- Price: Free
It might be hard to pronounce but the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival is super easy and fun to attend. Parading the Buddhas across the lake is an age-old celebration. Taking place between the first day of the waxing moon and the third day of the full moon during the Burmese month of Thadingyut, this tradition is a key event on the Buddhist calendar.
#travioortip: Book the festival or a visit to the temple through an organised trip as it's difficult to reach independently.
Legend has it that only four of the five buddhas are now paraded along the river after one of the boats capsized back in the mid-1960's. Locals attempted to retrieve the lost Buddha from the water, diving straight in after it, but all came up empty-handed. Strangely enough, the lost image appeared back in its shrine when the procession returned to the pagoda. Nowadays the fifth Buddha is left to guard the pagoda whilst the others are paraded in the festival.
The golden, ornately carved barge is native to the Shan region as is the leg rowing technique of the longboats who pull the vessel through the water. Villagers surround the lake and are greeted with fanfare as the water procession passes. On certain days, boat racing also takes place with participants usually representing specific villages of the region. Onshore its dances and martial arts. Don't forget your camera - the festival offers some wonderful opportunities for holiday snaps.
Located a few hours drive south of Mandalay, the event is well worth a trip if you're exploring the wider Shan region. You might want to check pronunciation with the locals first though. Who knows where you'll end up otherwise...
- Get there: Fly to Mandalay. The journey to the temple takes 4 to 5 hours.
- Stay: Find accommodation in Mandalay. Many tours to the temple will begin from here.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!