After three days of fun festivities on the banks of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, the 2nd Annual Elephant Boat Race and River Festival wrapped up on Sunday (March 1st) with the Raja Navy (Royal Thai Navy) – Citi winning the royal trophy graciously granted by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua.
The final four teams – Raja Navy (Royal Thai Navy) – Citi, Thailand National Sports University Lampang Campus – Casillero Del Diablo; Samut Prakarn – PWC Thailand; Pradu Thong Goddess – Keith&Kym; went head to head in the thrilling final but it was last year’s winners the Raja Navy that blitzed the race and claimed the final glory for the second year running.
On land visitors were treated to champagne tents, musical concerts by top bands including Paradox and Oat Pramote, live graffiti artwork by world renowned street artist Alex Face and spectacular fireworks displays. The festival, in the centre of the city, also celebrated Thai culture with interactive workshops from the Thailand Kite Association and a selection of Thailand’s top restaurants and Bangkok’s favourite chefs.
International celebrities seen at this year’s event included author and creator of Sex and the City, Candace Bushnell and New York Fashion Designer Nicole Miller cheered on their favourite teams amongst the crowds. Thai celebrity and environmental activist Pearypie Amata Chittasenee and Jay Spencer was also in attendance along with a host of Bangkok’s glitterati.
The exciting event has not only been about fun and games – a generous sum was raised through ticket sales, for many elephant charity projects during the event. Funds from the event will be donated to various projects including funding vets, English teachers and conservation workshops to improve the year-round lives of elephants and mahout families in Surin Province where ex-street elephants face ongoing hardship.
Other significant benefits from the money raised by the festival include: developing programmes with communities along the edge of Khao Yai National Park to help them survive together with the wild elephants who regularly visit their villages & crop fields, funding projects to study the behaviour patterns of crop raiding elephants as well as continuing the 9 year old project to show traditional elephant trainers and camp owners the benefits of Positive Reinforcement Training for captive elephants and continuing our development work to give Thailand’s captive elephants greater freedom and environmental enrichment in their lives.