The Mekong giant catfish (pla buk) is the largest scaleless freshwater fish in the world, measuring up to 3m in length and weighing in at 300kg. Chiang Khong has traditionally been the catfish capital of the north, attracting fish merchants and restaurateurs from Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Bangkok – the mild, tasty meat of the pla buk is prized for its fine, soft texture, and one fish can fetch B60,000–80,000. The catfish season is officially opened at the port of Ban Hat Khrai on April 18 with much pomp, including an elaborate ceremony to appease Chao Por Pla Buk, the giant catfish god. The season’s haul used to be between thirty and sixty fish all told, but recent years have been so disappointing (only two were caught in 2008, for example) that Thailand’s Fishery Department has begun an artificial spawning programme.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Thailand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Video: a 1 minute guide to Thailand

Video: a 1 minute guide to Thailand

Consistently voted as one of the best places to travel by our readers – most recently as one of the world's friendliest countries and one of the best place…

05 Dec 2016 • Rough Guides Editors videocam Video
The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

25 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
9 essential tips for backpacking Thailand

9 essential tips for backpacking Thailand

Backpacking Thailand can mean staying in fun-packed hostels and idyllic beach bungalows, eating noodles so tasty and so cheap you’ll swear off all other food …

11 Apr 2016 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month