Living Like a Local Student in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

Culture , Local Experience , Thailand / November 27, 2015

Ubon Ratchathani, a city located in Northern Thailand has a regional university known as Ubon Ratchathani University. The university was the host of UBU ASEAN Festival 2015 program I got to participate.  Ubon Ratchathani University is actually located very near to the border of Laos and Cambodia. It’s even very near to Vietnam. Even so, A few tourists travel through Ubon Ratchathani on their way into Laos each year. In my short stay here in Ubon, I experience some activities that made me feel just like a local youth living in Thailand thanks to the very welcoming students!


Floating Dreams: Loi Krathong, Thailand’s Authentic Holiday Festival

Making the Krathong

Our journey in Ubon Ratchathani falls during the celebration of Loi Krathong. Loi Krathong isis a festival celebrated annually throughout southwestern Thai cultures. It took place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, usually around November.

Loi Krathong is translated as “float a basket”, which comes with a tradition of making a Krathong. T his means floating the basket on the water. The people believed that floating this basket to the water means to float your dreams and wishes.

The basic basket is made from banana tree trunk, decorated with folded banana leaves and flowers. Later on candles and traditional sticks will be placed on top. When making this, we can also apply our creativity into what kind of pattern the basket will be.

Starting from scratch from the banana tree trunk

Each of the crew making their own Krathong

 Here are some of the creative explorations from the Loi Krathong made by others;

Mine was just as simple as that

Loving this Batik Dress from the talented Jogja Designer, Ramadhani Kadir

Floating our wishes to the lake

The festival in Ubon Ratchathani University was packed with people. There was a lake where the Loi Krathong from the visitors were floated. Lights from hundreds of candles also shine on the water, each one carries prayers and wishes. It’s a wonderful festival you should experience when coming to Thailand! Loi Krathong is a fit for all ages, whether adults, teens or children.

Lighting the candle on my Krathong

Posing with Max before floating the Krathong to the lake!

Other Loi Krathong Festival Activities in Ubon Ratchathani 

Thai Street Food, Souvenirs & Reptiles

After floating Loi Krathong to the lake, the crew continued by walking around the festival. There were crazy stuff going on, from reptile exhibitions, souvenir shops, to concerts with overflowing fangirls and lots of activities. There were also a lot of Thai street food sold along the way. Even though the seller served them in a way that’s so similar with Indonesian street food, there are a lot of Thai food that’s new to my taste (honestly there were too much I forget the names for all of them!).

Going to This Youth Festival and Watch Some Crazy Famous Thai Singer Did Some Pelvic Thrust On Stage

No description needed. I was literally inside a crowd of screaming fangirls. I totally feel like a local fan here!

In the midst of the concert crowd

Going ghost hunting in university with friends at night

I had no idea how we came up with this idea. I don’t know what’s crazier—strolling through the city on top of a truck with an open back when we have a whole day of activity tomorrow, or go through the university and “find” some ghosts. 

Going to Local Cafes

Stopping by at some local cafes nearby.

Sorry, what are you saying?

Playing Truth or Dare

This was just us having quality time in Ubon Ratchathani University area as a farewell before heading back home in the morning. Had real fun with these guys!

Pardon iPhone 4s’ super low quality selfie


Let’s call this journey becoming a decent millennial in Thailand. I feel blessed to have meet these super fun friends all over Asia, I’m definitely proud to be Indonesian and Asian.

From not knowing where this city is, now Ubon Ratchathani feels like my ultimate home in Thailand. All you got to do is just explore with closed eyes 🙂


Sabrina Anggraini