This year’s That Luang Festival comprises different zones for the display and sale of various goods including those made under the One District, One Product (ODOP) scheme and imported products.
In a new move, the authorities have banned vendors from selling alcoholic drinks in the festival grounds.
The zones for the display and sale of ODOP and other local products are at That Luang esplanade, with over 300 booths selling ODOP products made in various districts around the country.
Meanwhile foreign-made goods will be on sale at the Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Centre (Lao-ITECC).
Vendors are already displaying their products during the annual festival, which runs from November 8-14.
Vientiane Times spoke to a concessionaire in the That Luang area, who asked not to be named, about booth availability.
He said there were over 200 booths in his area in the high-demand zone between the National Assembly and the Phonkheng village zone in Xaysettha district.
In his concession area, the rental for pitches ranged from 1 million kip to 3.5 million kip, depending on location. Booths in this zone could only sell ordinary goods and food, not ODOP products, he explained.
He had rented out 95 booths already, with the authorities announcing that all booths are to sell their goods from November 8-14.
Festival organising officials told Vientiane Times they had prepared a special attraction this year, and commissioned a traditional village to be reproduced near That Luang-tay temple.
The model village will feature a traditional arts show and display foods symbolic of the northern, central and southern regions, as well as selling old items that would have been used in days gone by. Visitors can also watch weaving demonstrations.
The main activities at the That Luang Festival will be similar to those of previous years. Event organisers are seeking to perpetuate Lao customs and culture and put them on full view for local and foreign visitors.
The religious part of the festival will run from November 12-14 and give people the chance to pray at the That Luang stupa and pay their respects to the grand monument.
On November 13, the festivities will begin with the wax castle procession at Vat Simueang and end with a colourful procession around the stupa.
Almsgiving to monks will take place on the last day of the festival, November 14, in the early morning. This will be followed by the ritual game of tikhy and other traditional activities.
To ensure public safety, security officials will station teams of officials in and around the That Luang esplanade.
Organising officials are working with village authorities to arrange car and motorbike parking, aiming to ensure orderliness and reduce traffic jams.
Authorities have designated parking areas around the That Luang crossroads. They have set a parking fee limit of 15,000-20,000 kip for a car and a maximum of 10,000 kip for a motorbike, depending on location.
If drivers feel they are being charged too much, they may discuss the matter with security staff at police boxes around the National Assembly and in That Luang-tay village.
Source: Vientiane Times