Kite Flying In Thailand (Part 2) Rss feed Twitter button Facebook button

Follow the link to read Kite Flying In Thailand (Part 1)...

Traditional Thai Kites

The Chula and the Pakpao are the most well-known traditional kites in Thailand.

Other traditional kites include the E-Lum, the E-Phraet, the E-lum Hua-Taek and the Dui Dui. Although the first three are shaped like diamonds, like the Pakpao, there are slight differences among them. The three kites all feature a tassel attached to each side of the wing but they don't have any tail. The E-Lum's body is a bit wider than that of the Pakpao.

Moreover, the E-phraet's wings continue down to the tail of the diamond-shaped frame, which produces a flapping sound. The E-Lum Hua Taek is like the E-Lum but has a v-shaped cut by the head. A reed is attached to the head to produce a sound. Finally, the Dui Dui kite looks a bit like a bird with a pointy head, two sets of wings and a tail. It often has a bow, attached to its head, that makes a sound.

A drawing of five traditional Thai kites.

The Pakpao (1), the E-Lum (2), the E-Lum Hua Taek (3), the E-phraet (4) and the Dui Dui (5) are traditional Thai kites, just like the Chula kite.

Foreign Influenced Kites

Other than the traditional Thai kites mentioned above, animal kites are also popular. They were influenced by foreign kites. Among all the animal kites, the snake kite is the favorite toy among young kiters since it's easy to fly and looks alive. Other animal kites include butterfly kite, bird kite, peacock kite, swallow kite, fish kite and sting ray kite.

A drawing of four Thai animal kites.

Animal kites in Thailand were influenced by foreign kites. The most common ones are the snake kite or Wow Ngu(6), the peacock kite or Wow NokYoong(7), the swallow kite or Wow Nok Peek Aen(8) and the fish kite or Wow Plaa(9). The bird kites are widely flown in the south of Thailand.

North-Eastern Kites

There is one kind of kite that is domestic to the north-east, although the name varies. When talking about north-eastern kites, it's the Aeg kite. The word Aeg means yoke, as in water buffalo yoke.

Yoke Kite or Wow Aeg

This kite has a few names. People in the central plains often call it Wow Dui Dui or Wow Thanu, while it's known as Wow Aeg or Wow Song Hong in the north east of Thailand.

Kiters usually attach a small bamboo bow, called thanu, to the head of the kite and this is why it's called Wow Thanu. The bamboo piece resembles the yoke put on the buffalo's shoulders, so locals call it Wow Aeg. The string on the bow is replaced either with a thin piece of rattan, a strip of palm leaf or a piece of ribbon, which makes a unique dui dui dui sound in the wind. This is where the name Dui Dui kite comes from.

Actually, the Aeg looks similar to the traditional Dui Dui, but most of the Aegs don't have a pointy head. It has two pairs of wings and a tail. The front wings are bigger than the back ones. Each pair of wings are either shaped like an eye or a long rectangle with rounded wing tips. The kite has two additional long tails. Competition kites may have tails up to 100 meters long.

Thai rice farmers fly their Aeg kites at night.

The Aeg kite is a high-flying kite. It's flown at night when the surface wind is gentle and the wind aloft is really strong. When the wind conditions are favorable, it can rise up to 200 meters.

Most Thais are superstitious and believe that they will get a good harvest if their competing Aeg kite flies high and makes a loud sound all night long.

Kite flying has grown deeply into the north-eastern rice harvesting culture. During harvesting season, farmers spend most of their time in the fields. During the day, they harvest the rice and pile it up in an open ground near the field. At night, the farmers guard their harvest from a nearby shack and fly the Aeg kite, which is made of brown cement bags. While they rest at night, they often tie the kite to a big tree. The kite and its wailing sound keep them company throughout the night.

Southern Kites

In the southern part of Thailand from Surat Thani down, the buffalo kite or Wow Khwai and the crescent moon kite or Wow Wong Duen are typical to the region. Other common kites include the peacock kite and the swallow kite.

Buffalo Kite or Wow Khwai

A Thai buffalo kite at the International Kite Festival in Satun.

The buffalo kite reflects the close relationship between Thai farmers and water buffalos in the past, when the water buffalos were used to plow the rice fields. After the harvesting season, the farmers flew buffalo kites for recreation.

The upper section of this kite looks like the Chula, while the lower section resembles the head of a water buffalo. Like the Aeg, a small bamboo bow is usually attached to generate a mooing sound of a buffalo.

While soaring in the sky, the Wow Khwai takes on the character of a real buffalo. When the wind is strong, the kite moves sideways rapidly, just like a running water buffalo.

Crescent Moon Kite or Wow Wong Duen

Since the deep south of Thailand borders Malaysia, the Wow Wong Duen was influenced by Wau Boulan or the moon kite of Malaysia. Its' upper wing looks like the Chula, while the lower wing resembles an upward crescent moon.

Crescent moon kites at the International Kite Festival in Satun, Thailand.

The annual International Kite Festival at Satun Airport, in Satun province, is the biggest kiting event in southern Thailand.

Most of them have a tassel tied to the head and the two sides of the crescent mainly for decoration, but it also helps to balance the kite. A bow with a reed is often attached to the head to generate a soft wailing sound. The intricate design on Wow Wong Duen reflects the beautiful pattern on a Kolae boat, a traditional fishing boat used in the far south of Thailand.

The flying of this kite is confined to the four southern provinces: Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Satun.

Major Kite Flying Competitions Around Thailand

The international kite competition at Samila Beach in Songkhla, Thailand.

Songkhla province holds an annual international kite competition at the beautiful Samila beach, known for its Golden Mermaid statue.

Kite flying is a common past time all over Thailand, especially from November to April. The competitions are mostly provincial.

At many of these kite competitions, you can also watch live dance performances and beauty contests, listen to live folk music, try the local foods and buy native handicrafts. If you like to experience authentic rural Thai festivity, you don't want to miss going to a kite competition.

Here is a list of the biggest kite competitions:

Central Region

Sukhothai - Wow PhraRuang Kite Competition at Beung Yai

Date/time: Dec/ 4-6 a.m.

Unique features: A Chula kite competition, judging on the best and the loudest sound.

Samut Songkram

Venue 1: The kite flying ground at Prok Ruay Mai Loek temple

Date/time: March/ noon-5 p.m.

Unique features: A Chula kite competition, judging on the quality of the materials, such as the bamboo frame, and the workmanship. Only brand new kites are accepted on the first day. A Chula and Pakpao kite competition with accompanying Thai instruments. Kite-building workshops.

Venue 2: Pumarin Khudeetong temple (across from King Rama II Park)

Date/time: April/ noon-5 p.m.

Unique features: A Chula kite competition on boats in the Mae Klong River. Kite-building workshops.

North-Eastern Region

Buriram - Isaan Kite Festival at the Provincial Stadium, Amphoe Huai Rat

Date/time: Dec/overnight from 5 p.m. - 6 a.m.

Unique features: A traditional and modern Aeg kite competition. A swirling bow competition or Gwang Aeg, judging on the best and the loudest sound. Beauty contest.

Western Region

Phetchaburi - Cha-Am International Kite Festival at King Rama VI Camp Kai PhraRam Hok in Cha-am

Date/time: March/ noon-8 p.m.

The competition runs every even year

Unique features: An exhibition of Thai kites from 4 regions. Giant snake kite flying demonstration. International kite competition. Night flying demonstration. Stunt kite demonstration accompanied by music. Kite and RC toy demonstrations.

Southern Region

Satun - International Kite Festival at Satun Airport

Date/time: Feb/ from 9 a.m. onwards

Unique features: Buffalo kite competition (categories: high flying kites, kite sound, beautiful and creative kites.) International kite competition. A Chula and Pakpao kite fighting demonstration.

Songkhla - International Kite Samila Beach at Sabua Kite Ground Date/time: March/ 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Unique feature: Kite sound competition (buffalo kites and crescent moon kites.) Creative and beautiful kite competition. Other activities include a Red-whiskered Bulbul or Nok Krong Hua Juk singing contest and a bird cage contest.

Note: The competition schedule and activities may vary. Please contact the local tourist office for up to date information.

Popular Kite Competition Grounds In Thailand

Until today, here are the four biggest grounds for kiters to test their skills:

1. Sanam Luang, which is across the street from the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

2. Satun International Airport, in the south of Thailand.

3. At the Provincial Stadium of Amphoe Huai Rat, Buriram province in the north-east of Thailand.

4. At King Rama VI Camp or Kai PhraRam Hok in Cha-am, Phetchaburi province.

Special thanks for the information and photos to Ron & Baew Spaulding of Thai Kite Heritage Group, Dr. Pitan Singhasaneh, Ajahn Armast Supranee from Satun Provincial Administrative Organization, Khun Men Mahachai of Thai Kite Conservation antique shop in Samut Sakon, Khun Worawut from OarBorTor TanTia Sukhothai, Khun Nimit Kambubpha from Amphur HuaiRat Buriram, Ajahn Nit Nuan La-Ong from the Southern Kite Association in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Khun Tum from Nakhon Si Thammarat, Khun Preecha Lamluang of Samut Songkhram Thai Kite Conservation Association, Khun PaiToon Pankaew and Khun Warod Wanvohan from Songkhla Municipality, Khun Niyom Khon-Sue who is a professional Thai kite builder - whose work was featured in the book Thai Kite Handicrafts, Tourism Authority of Thailand in Songkhla, Sukhothai, Buriram, Surin and Phetchaburi.

Suggested Reading:   Loy Kratong Festival   Traditional Crafts

Thailand Breeze > Thai Festivals > Kite Flying In Thailand (Part 2)

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2013

Design by OS Templates