We stayed that night at the Tohsang Ubon Hotel in Ubon Ratchatthani City. As you might tell from the name, it is affiliated with the Tohsang Khongjiam Resort & Spa, where we had stayed the night before in Khong Jiam City. It is a nice hotel located right in the middle of the city but not quite up to the standard of the Resort & Spa, which is located some miles out of town.
After a short rest there, we headed to the riverfront near the Rattanakosin Bicentennial Bridge for the Illuminated Boat Procession where boats with lighted displays parade up and down the river.
The Illuminated Boat Procession is held in Ubon Ratchatthani in late October every year to mark the end of the Buddhist Lent (and coincidentally, the rainy season.)
On our walk to water front, we stopped and bought a large paper luminary that plays a part in a ritual designed to rid bad luck for the upcoming year. The luminary is essentially a large paper bag with a wax and sawdust disk fixed near the open end. Once the disk is lit, it fills the bag with hot air, which eventually launches the bag into the night sky. As the bag floats away, the legend tells us that it takes our bad luck away with it. It is an awesome sight to see literally hundreds of these white lights ascending and then disappearing into the night sky.
There are a multitude of stalls selling these luminaries along with small boats made from flowers with candles that are set free to float down the river to serve the same good luck purpose. Other vendors sell all sorts of foods and still others sell the typical chockskies you would expect to find at any carnival anywhere in the world.
The ceremony begins and ends with a massive fireworks display. All the while, boats that are illuminated by gas and in some cases electricity; run up and down the river. The boats are created by local temples and businesses that compete for the title of the best illumination display.
After the closing ceremony, we once again hit the local market for street food that night.