Mystery Dragon Fireballs on the Mekong River

Every year, residents gather in Thailand along the Mekong River in Nong Khai province to witness a mysterious phenomenon in the form of balls of light rise mysteriously from the river surface. The locals call it man fai paya nak or dragon fireballs.
At night every beginning of October, residents and tourists stood lined up on the edge of the Mekong River in Nong Khai province. They are waiting for a phenomenon called dragon fireballs.
Not long later, from the surface of the river, dozens of balls of light pink spray with beautiful like an orchestra led by a conductor. All began to shout for joy and clapped loudly.
Balls of light hanging in the air for some time before then disappeared into the night. A few minutes later, a similar incident occurred again. Other fire balls flying back from the back surface of the river accompanied by cries of joy.
This remarkable phenomenon occurs only 1-3 days in a year right at the end of the Thai Buddhist retreat that usually falls in October. The ball of fire that just showed up without the noise and smoke.
Sometimes the color is red, pink or white and can be sprayed up to as high as 100 meters from the river surface.
Usually, only the size of chicken eggs, depending on the air for several minutes before finally disappearing. Generally, this fireball can only be seen at night.
Legend of the locals mentioned that these balls of fire coming from a dragon that dwells in rivers.
“I have seen these balls of fire since childhood,” said Pang Butamee, 70, who lives in a cottage on the edge of a river. Near his residence, there is Wat Paa Luang, an elegant temple that has been aged 450 years and is one of the most popular places to watch the fire balls.
“I saw him emerge from the river and the canal,” he said again. “My father also watched my mother, so did their fathers and mothers. And not only that, I never even saw a dragon with my own eyes when I was 13 years old. It is like big snake silver. I saw it was swimming in the river.”
Although the legend of the dragon Mekong already rooted so strong, not all Thai people believe in it. For scientists, the balls of fire are actually just a natural phenomenon that can be explained by science. According to them, those fireballs emerged from the combustion of natural gas.
A doctor named Manas Kanoksin has spent 11 years researching this phenomenon. With great persistence, he tried to prove his theory that these balls of fire are a natural phenomenon caused by methane gas deposits which rose from the riverbed.
According to him, the end of the Buddhist retreat exact period when the earth is in the closest distance to the sun. Sun’s gravity, combined with increased levels of ultraviolet and volatility has increased the concentration of oxygen in the earth’s surface.
This caused the methane gas that escaped from the bottom of the river starts to burn and looks like a ball of fire. Even according to him, this phenomenon does not only happen in October, but also in May when the earth back toward the sun.
Thailand Ministry of Science had a slightly different opinion. But they agree that this phenomenon is caused by natural gas. According to them, this phenomenon arises due Phosphine gas combustion.
Some time ago, this ministry has sent several researchers to observe and look for the source of this fire balls. They then installed a thermo scanner near the banks of the river in sub Rattana Wapee.
Then the researchers placed five groups at different points on the river, including in the temple district Phisai Phon.
Just shortly before the fire balls appeared, they capture the movement of equipment from the gas stream which floats on the surface of a river. This shows that the fireball was triggered by a burning natural gas.
So why this incident occurred only at the end of Buddhist Lent in around October?
According to the Thai ministry of science, the answer is because the gas accumulated in the riverbed to reach the peak in October. Because I had reached the top, then the gas that has been collected will be sprayed onto the balls of light forming the mysterious.
No matter what the cause, for local residents and tourists, the festival is still regarded as a pleasant experience and an opportunity to celebrate with a solemn religious holiday.
“This incident is very strange and we do not know for sure what caused it. But whatever it is, I believe that this extraordinary event to make Nong Khai enough to be accepted as one of the wonders of the world.” Manas said Anuraksa, a local resident.
Every year, at least, 300,000 people, both local and foreign tourists come in droves to Nong Khai to witness this phenomenon.
If one day you decide to walk to Thailand and decided to see for themselves the fire dragon balls, then there are several locations along the Mekong river in Nong Khai province the right to see it, the village in the district Sangkhom Pha Tang, Hin Mak Peng, Si temple in the district of Chiangmai, Pak Khat district and district Wapee Rattana.
The locals even provide bike rentals for use along the river ride from Muang district until Phisai and Rattana Phon wapee.
There, in addition to watching the fire dragon balls, you will also be treated to an attraction of fireworks and race speedboats. So, the backpackers, be prepared for the festival next year. Maybe a little ball of fire dragon can brighten your day.

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