Back in July I flew with Pranom to the city of Roi Et, which lies to the eastern side of Thailand, heading towards the Province of Surin and the border with Cambodia. Roi Et is around 400 miles from Pattaya but to drive or go by bus takes between eight and ten hours, whereas a flight from Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok takes a mere 55 minutes or so. Of course there is the 90 minute taxi journey to Bangkok to contend with but it is still more desirable than a ten hour ass numbing bus journey, even in it is a VIP bus.
The flight if I recall cost me around £35 with the taxi £30, although we did stay over in a rather dodgy hotel in Bangkok, due to the early departure from the airport.
The trip was made with a view of visiting Nom’s family who reside around 12 miles from the centre of the Town. However there was an additional bonus for me, in that there was a large Buddha event taking place, featuring a wonderful parade. As you can see from the image above, the costumes were elegant and had a traditional look.
This was my second of three days in the province but was one that brought me the most colourful and glamorous images, with stunning ladies and handsome boys, all dressed for the occasion.
The second image was taken nearer the end of the parade, which continued for many hours. Many of the people involved had to wait patiently in the streets as the carnival moved slowly through the town. Music and dancing by these stylish beauties could be seen every where you trained your eyes.
The make-up adorned by both sexes often gave the impression of being ornamental dolls, such was the high standard of powder, rouge and paint applied to their faces.
I was in my element here. The camera was almost used to the extent of abuse. Everywhere I turned there was another photo to he had. I almost had to be dragged away by Nom as I did not wish to go to the hotel, despite tiring due to the time and heat of the day.
The tradition dancing was a highlight, mesmerising an old Scottish man in the heart of Thailand.
What made the visit truly special was the fact that I was the only farang present and yet I was treated like I was the guest of honour. These children went out of their way to have their photo taken, with cries of “Take my photo please” heard frequently. Even the local police officer was in on the act, happily posing for my camera.
Photo number three was taken before the parade and march commenced. The people had been waiting expectantly without complaint for well over two hours. Then the music finally began and people came to life.
Thousands of citizens started the slow walk through the streets to the park in central Roi Et, those that were dancers, progressed as a unit, maintaining a high standard of excellence within their ranks. The movement was majestic from the girls and as mentioned the costumes were devine.
The children, like most youngsters here were adorable and despite their lengthy wait, were immaculately behaved. A credit to their country and of course their parents.
This event made my trip to Thailand a special one. I could have gone home happy if that was my vacation. If you offered me the opportunity to visit Roi Et and take these images then return to Scotland, it would be done. It was a pleasure to be part of such a joyful cavalcade and a day that will live with me for a long time.
I will return to Roi Et or possibly other provinces and towns wherever these events can be found.
A bit about the town. Roi Et is the capital of Roi Et Province, with the town having a population of just over 35,000. It is far removed from the tourist attractions and go-go bars of Pattaya and Bangkok. Rice fields can be seen for miles around as the land is mainly plains.
The Province is served by the small but well run Roi Et Airport which at the time of writing has only one destination, which is Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok. The only plane you will see on the runway, is the one you will be departing on.
The city has a number of large shops such as Big C and Tesco Lotus. You will find KFC and McDonald’s too. Taxis tend to be samlors, which is basically a tuk tuk or three wheeled motorcycle taxi. Prices are cheap but you wouldn’t want to travel too far in one, for they are not the fastest means of transportation. Unlike Pattaya, you will only find samlors at markets, shops and the town centre. Our hotel for instance had no taxi service, whereas in Pattaya, taxi bikes can be found on every street corner.
My next day in the area will feature on my next post.