14/01/2013 10:50 | By JD Van Zyl, contributor, MSN Travel
Most amazing natural spectacles for 2013

Naga fireballs

Naga fireballs (© Benoit Michel)
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What is it? Every year between 200 and 800 fiery orbs, ranging from small sparks to the size of basketballs, spontaneously explode from Thailand’s Mekong river before drifting off into the night sky. Known locally as bung fai paya nak (Naga Fireballs), locals believe the mysterious phenomenon is caused by the fiery breath of a mystical serpent. Some scientists ascribe it to pockets of methane gas bubbling up from the riverbed while others reckon it’s nothing more than an elaborate hoax.

Where can I see it? The Naga Fireballs occur along a 150 mile stretch of the Mekong River during full moon at the end of Buddhist Lent in October. A dedicated festival in the town of Phon Phisai is at the heart of the activity, when thousands flock to the region to witness the fireballs.

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