Rocket Day

Every so often we hear about a 'bang fai' meeting close to Udon. This is a competition between makers of home-made rockets. Naturally this is also a golden opportunity for closet gamblers to make an appearance.

The objective is for the rockets to keep going as long as possible - often disappearing out of sight of the naked eye. Spotters on the ground with high power binoculars keep the times for each rocket and thus the winners and losers are decided.

The gambling aspect comes in when two teams bet against each other as to whose rocket will outlast the other, and of course anyone else can back a particular rocket if there is someone to take the bet. Sometimes tens of thousands of baht change hands.

During the course of the day a hundred or more rockets are fired off, and great excitement follows when the occasional one blows up at launch, or goes out of control, scattering the spectators.

rocket day

The rockets are attached to a rickety bamboo frame,

rocket day

then sent on their merry way!

The events are always attended by vendors selling food and drinks from the backs of pick-ups.


Bored kids play dominos to pass the time.

posted on: 30.05.2015

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