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  1. #1
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    Rocket Festival in Amnat Charoen

    Having been assured a village in 'Ubon' was only 3k from Ubon city we got a 12 hour bus there for the weekends celebrations, rockets, concert, parade and kids becoming monks stuff. I thought if it was too boring I could get into Ubon which I like. When we got there discovered the place was actually 130k from the city, so walking it was out! As it turned out it was not Ubon but Amnat Charoen, well it was in Ubon until 1993, nobody seems to know why they changed it. Most in the village were phoot Thai.

    Had no idea where we were staying as a friend of the mrs who had not been before either. I was pretty relieved to see a very posh car pick us up from the bus thinking anyone with a car like this must have a nice house. Well the driver did, but sadly it was a relative of the mrs friend and her house where we were dropped off was the usual shed like affair, like going back 300 years but with electricity. Never mind the people were very nice.

    After lounging about all day a party down the road stated off playing Tai and Jintara songs so after a bit we walked down as invited. I was amazed to see they were not playing discs but it was a live singer on a small stage, not professional either but top class and sounded as good if not better than the real singers. The number is on the pic, too tired to go and ask for her details. But if anyone is in the Ubon area and wants a singer for a party you will not find a better one anywhere, she really is outstanding, trust me I know.



    Next day was the parade and saw the only falang in the village for the first time, it was his mrs who picked up up in the posh car. Here he is getting a bucket of filthy ditch water chucked over him, nice! well he is an ozzie.



    These old flintlock rifles will come in handy if the Chinese invade!



    Somebody said this characters name is Pat, could it be Patsycat?



    After the drunken parade round the village it was time for the one around the wat for the novice monks, the village is a place where they make those head pillows, they were all over the place but I have never found them in the least bit comfortable



    Having never having been to a rocket festival before I was surprised how boring it was, not surprised not many turned up. If you have never been to one I would not recommend sitting about for ages while they set them up for a woosh and it to be over in three seconds. They all seemed the same so I cannot see what the attraction is, probably some finer points like the trails, distance and landing but all lost on me.



    The main event at least the morlam cing concert and it is cing not sing or zing as some would have you believe. When cing stated in the mid 80's in caused some outrage and disgust from morlam traditionalists who saw it as vulgar and cheap. At the time though cing was more structured than now with different movements through the performance almost like a play, introduction and so on. Now it has mostly degenerated into anything sung fast and continuous being called morlam cing. Funny that the originators of morlam cing now see it just as their detractors did originally. I have seen 'morlam' cing shows that were nothing more than one luktung song after another just sung faster, but cing has always had a luktung element. Originally no morlam cing show would be without accompaniment by the khean, now it is not always seen and not at this show either. Who cares as long as the dancers put on a good show. Cing dancers are a large part of the attraction of lam cing, or should be if they know what they are doing




    This girl certainly knew what she was doing, very good at the cock in pussy dance move and smart enough to wear ear plus too, never seen that before. Would have tipped her but not worth the grief I would have got from the mrs. The cost of all this, the stage, live band and five singers was little more than say 4-5 blokes would spend out on the piss at night in places like SC or NP. These girls danced all night from 9-3am and made their shuffling sisters in go go's look like the lazy spoilt cows most of them are. The concert was free for everyone of course and the beer shop was open al night.

    I really like Amnat Charoen and the people there but think I'll give the rockets a miss next time. Like to see that dancer again though!

    Last edited by xanax; 14-05-2013 at 05:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Well that was a let down.

    Ive never done the rocket festival and was looking forward too it.

    Anyway I will go one day and form my own opinion.

  3. #3
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    The bigger villages are much more fun with the normal drunks falling off the launch pad, Also the rockets are many and normally have one or more huge 6 to 8" thick and 6 meters long rockets.

  4. #4
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    Here's a bloke loading up one of the smaller ones, fireworks are definitely more interesting than this carry on


  5. #5
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    Stayed at my friends resort on Monday, near Narm Yuen. Was sitting watching the smoke trails from the near by village launch site. One rocket went astray, landed about 20 meters from the bar. He is on the Cambodia border and has a Government bomb shelter on site, have to say I watched the other launches a bit more closely. Jim

  6. #6
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    wasn't there a bloke at Yassothorn a few years back who had his head taken off by a stray?.Health and safety, you have to laugh really, as long as they miss you!

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Last year was the first time I saw them launch a 'Catherine Wheel' type device. The thing malfunctioned and demolished a tree people were sitting under. Never again for me.

  8. #8
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    mai pen rai!

  9. #9
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    interesting thread on Yasothon festival, seems bloke got his head taken off in 2010!

    http://teakdoor.com/thailands-festiv...-festival.html (Yasothon and its' incredible Rocket Festival!!)

    And another bad year:

    In 1999 a tragedy happened during the "BUN BANG FAI" feast in Yasothon. Five spectators were killed when a large home-made rocket launched during the "BUN BANG FAI" Festival in Yasothon exploded. The colourful missile, estimated to weigh 120 kg, blew up seconds after it left the launch site in a downtown park. Debris showered down on the thousands of people who had gathered to watch the annual event. Five people were killed on the spot and 11 others suffered injuries.

    You need insurance if going!

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat poorfalang's Avatar
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    My neighbors here in the sticks make them rockets and i am curious about it,
    apparently the reason for exploding is that powder is not compressed enough,

  11. #11
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    "When we got there discovered the place was actually 130k from the city"
    Amnat Charoen is only 75 km from Ubon Ratchathani

  12. #12
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    I have been to many rocket festivals in my area just outside Warin Champ they are boring.

  13. #13
    I am in Jail
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    ^ why have you been to many of them then?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberlour View Post
    ^ why have you been to many of them then?

    nothing else to do

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by prairieboy View Post
    "When we got there discovered the place was actually 130k from the city"
    Amnat Charoen is only 75 km from Ubon Ratchathani
    I'd trust you more than what a Thai said, village was called clean fields village so it might have been a bit further

  16. #16
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    You are in big trouble.

    I'm going to report you to everyone who is anyone on all Forums of all Countries in the World for posting a pic of me without my consent.

    You will be banned from the World!!!!

  17. #17
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    it was you then!!

  18. #18
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    Of course, you should have stayed a bit longer. They shot me out of a cannon!!!

  19. #19
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    The village Rocket Festival circuit is actually very complex...with lots of "know how" and is equivalent to say horse racing, and a good country race meeting! When you go to one look a bit deeper!

    ....It has been a piece of history in rural Thailand for hundreds of years...... Originally it was a ceremony held at the end of the dry season, believed to help bring on heavy rain for crop planting, and to "puncture" those clouds overhead!

    It is much more complex than the average farang visitor sees on his rubber neck visit!

    Many of these rockets get to amazing altitudes into the outer atmosphere, and it is not unusual for them to be still climbing at over 6 minutes from launch! There are always local bookmakers, quite often older village women, who will take your wager, and pay out immediately the wager is completed.
    Generally you will bet a few baht, maybe 200 or so as a typical bet, and bet on each rocket just before it's launch....
    You usually bet against the rocket meeting or exceeding its designed "standard time to climb" or you can bet against it!
    This means that if it is a "put up job", blows up on launch, spirals out of control, burns off its tail, or is a "fizzer" you can get your payout any time after it fails, provided it does not climb for the designated time.
    Usually the wagers are on odds of 1:1 basis so very fair if the rockets are Temple rockets!
    Most of the rockets are built to strictly enforced standards, and your typical 1 metre long blue plastic water pipe and bamboo rocket, is normally a 200 or 300 seconds climb model. They are judged from the moment the bamboo with red and green flags held by the launch manager is turned as the rocket first ignites until the stewards commitee (usually about 50 metres away, and equiped with fancy telescopes, binoculars, and even RADAR!) decides the rocket has reached peak altitude and is starting to descend. At this point it is announced on the PA and bets are paid! It is not unusual for several rockets to be simultaneously on climb!
    The general betting is usually between 100 baht and 20,000 baht ($600 US),
    .........however back in the temple grounds carpark under the trees........ with the engines running and watching from inside the new Airconditioned BMW 4WD's and Mercs, betting of serious money is not unusual. Bets of millions of baht are made (even in little village events!)with bets of 10million baht ($300,000 US)not unusual in the new affluent Thailand!

    These events are part of a very competitive circuit... followed from village to village by the serious rocket builders, and the serious gamblers! Building and launching a "winning" rocket is very prestigious, equivalent to owning and preparing a winning race horse!

    The usually "annual" Rocket Festival in a rural village is just like a country "race meeting"...... An opportunity for a typical farming family to attend a very sociable event,...... socialise, gamble, party, and add some real excitement to a pretty "hum drum" life without spending a fortune.
    At this time of the year, farmers are between harvest and planting season,....have time on their hands,.... maybe some cash from rice sales, and it is too hot to do much else (typically mid 35-40 deg C

    The reason they are held "out in the sticks" is that everyone realises they have an element of danger.....(attraction no 1) and there is less likelyhood of damaging people or houses...

    .....Eating...everyone realises there will be lots of food and drinking, stalls and hurdy-gurdies (attraction no 2)

    .... Social...most of their friends will be there (attraction no 3)

    .....Gambling...If you can pick the winners ...you can make some serious money gambling (attraction no 4)
    ......Competition .....Building and competing your rocket is normally a team event ....with a number of people involved as a team with each rocket.....Although "not supposed to" the most successful rockets are often built and pepared by the monks from the local Wat...although they operate in the background with lots of experience and knowledge...letting the local temple supporters actually fire the rocket! They add a great deal of interest as people generally regard the monks to be honest, and have a "really good" rocket! The private entries are often pretty "suss" with huge gambling going on and shonky rockets....designed to be "fizzers" are not unusual... just like the horse racing industry, where the odd donky is slipped in!

    .....The kids have a great time and it is a real family event!


  20. #20
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    Was not very popular in the village I went to, only about 20 turned up for the actual rocket part, there was a monk making rockets. The only falang in the village bought most of the rockets at 1100 baht each i was told x 10. No wonder he is always pissed, started doing it and now has to carry on every year or will look bad, i'm sure that's what his mrs says to him, when she was not slagging him off to anyone that would listen, poor bugger.

  21. #21
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    nice one looks great

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post
    Well that was a let down.

    Ive never done the rocket festival and was looking forward too it.

    Anyway I will go one day and form my own opinion.
    There are plenty to chose from throughout Isaan in that span of 3-4 weeks in May and June.

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