The Naga Fireballs: Supernatural Occurrence, Scientific Phenomenon, or Hoax?

By | August 1, 2019

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Naga Fireballs. Source: (

Twice a year, a few days in May and a few days in October, glowing orbs can be seen rising from the Mekong River in northeast Thailand. No one knows exactly what they are or what causes them. Explanations for the phenomenon range from supernatural to scientific to fraudulent.

Witnesses have described the orbs as reddish-colored “blazing balls of light.” They range in size from small bubble to basketball-sized orbs and shoot up from the water as high as six hundred feet before dissipating. While they most often occur along the Mekong River, there have been reports of them rising from ponds, lakes, and other rivers also located in the Isaan region of Thailand. They occur in the evenings, usually in October or May when the Earth is closest to the sun.

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Fireballs rising from the river. Source: (

Every October, the Nong Khai Province celebrates the Phayanak Festival, also known as the Bang Fai Phaya Nark Festival, which marks the end of the Buddhist Lenten season. The festivities include food stalls, longboat races, light and sound shows, a night bazaar, and the Phon Phisai parade. On the last day of the festival, known as Wan ok Phansa, attendees gather near the riverbank to watch the Naga fireballs rise from the waters.