The cool season in Thailand brings with it various attractions associated with the annual drop in temperature, most notably unique local festivals and spectacular displays of flowers in bloom across the countryside. Among these is the annual Poinsettia Festival in the northeastern province of Loei, which this year is in its 6th edition and will take place from 28 November through to 31 January, 2018.
Held at the entrance to Phu Rua National Park on the border with Laos, the festival celebrates the poinsettia plant which, with its green foliage and bright red flowers, is widely associated with Christmas floral displays.
The poinsettia plants are grown commercially – nearly 100,000 of them – over an area of some five rai (two acres) in Phu Rua district. These are in full bloom during the Poinsettia Festival, creating a glorious scarlet carpet that attracts sightseers and photographers in their throngs who at the same time also get to appreciate the cooler weather. Many enjoy the novelty of putting on warmer winter clothing as they visit the festival’s location and perhaps travel further afield into the hills and surrounding countryside.
Named for a natural cliff feature that resembles a boat, Phu Rua National Park offers nature-based sightseeing and activities such as walking trails, waterfalls, a pine forest, different species of wildlife and observation points for taking in the scenic views while enjoying a picnic. The park’s summit rises 1,365 metres above sea level and offers some of the best views.
During the cool season the temperature here can drop to as low as 0 degrees Celsius, bringing fog and mist more usually associated with Thailand’s northern region.