Naga Fireballs 2009

I was fascinated with Bang Fai Phaya Nark, also known as Naga Fireballs as long as I could remember, and last year I had a chance to stand at Wat Prabath Phonsanh looking out to the Mekong River, this is the Wat (Temple) that has the legend of Phraya Nark (Naga) to come up every year. I was there a month after the event, but I’m glad that I had a chance to see the Naga staircase that lead up to the temple.

Bang Fai Phraya Nark or Naga Fireballs is still scientifically unexplained, and usually happens on the first full-moon night of October coinciding with the end of Buddhist Lent. The locals believe the fireballs come from a mystical Naga or Phraya Nark living in the Mekong River who is spitting them high up in the air. Some scientist assume that the fireballs might be caused by bubbles coming up from a combustible natural gas deposit in the river bed which ignite when shooting up, and many now believe that it is just a hoax, nevertheless, the story of Bang Fai Phraya Nark or Naga Fireballs still fascinates many.

Nong khai - Phaya Naga Festival 2007
Nong khai - Phaya Naga Festival 2007

Photographs by ceejay19N

Here is a short clip of this year Naga Fireball Festival – Boat on the Mekong River.

Another short clip at Ban Nam Pe which is situated in Nongkai, Northeastern Thailand, eyewitness saw several Naga Fireballs on Monday October 5, 2009 at 20:30 and said that the coloration was orange with a magenta blush, but it’s hard to tell by watching this video. I hope someday I will get to see this event in person.


  1. Nye, those pictures you took are from Thailand side right? I heard my parents talks about Prabath Phonsanh, but never been there myself. The MeKong River water level looks high during that time of the month.

    One of these years, I have to be in Laos for “Loy Ga Tong” and boat race.

    • seeharhed, Prabath Phonsanh is a sacred Wat near Paksan Laos, but my cousin said that you can see the Naga Fireballs from there also. When I visited Laos, I had in mind to visit this temple but didn’t know the name, and was looking for Naga gate, Pratou Houng Phraya Nark, and it darned on me when I saw the Phraya Nark stair case, I only read about it but have never seen it until that day, so it was kind of nice.

      Loy Ga Tong is nice, I wouldn’t mind doing that either in Thailand or Laos, I also want to see Boun Souang Heua, maybe someday.

  2. I was in Phom Phi Sai this year for the Bang Fai Phaya Naak, but sadly didn’t see any. One person I spoke to said his family saw 2, but no one else seemed to have.

    While I was disappointed not have seen any fireballs, it was still an amazing experience. Maybe another year…

    • Stephen, thanks for stopping by. It’s ashamed that you didn’t get to see it in person, maybe better luck next year. This is a good timing to visit Thailand/Laos, there are so many events that’s back to back till the new year.

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