First Ever King’s Cup Elephant Boat Race Gets Under Way in Bangkok

Thai dancers will perform at the opening ceremony of the first ever King’s Cup Elephant Boat Race & Riverside Festival, which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in late March. Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.

Thailand March Events

March marks the beginning of Thailand’s summer, also known as the hot season. New Thailand March events this year: elephant boat races in Bangkok. Plus: music festivals, food festivals, Muay Thai, other events – and the rare chance to ride on a vintage steam train!

Elephant Boat Races – 29 to 31 March

The first ever King’s Cup Elephant Boat Race & Riverside Festival will be held along the banks of the Chao Praya River in Bangkok this year.

Traditional Thai dancers, Buddhist monks, Hindu Brahmins, and brass bands will kick off the three-day event on Friday 28 March.

Teams from China and the Philippines will compete alongside the Thai Navy Seals, paddling elephant-themed dragon boats on the Chao Phraya River.

The Asia Cup Indoor Rowing Championships will run concurrently with the event, and Friday is open to all comers. No prior experience is needed. All fitness levels are welcome to take part.

Celebrity chefs from some of Bangkok’s top restaurants will serve up some of their signature dishes at the Foodie Village. You can wash the yummy tidbits down with artisan cocktails.

Champagne and beer tents will offer the best spots to watch the action on the river and the the fireworks displays. There will be all three evenings.

Photos of Elephant Boat Races Day One

Thai dancers perform at King’s Cup Opening Ceremony. Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels
Kathy Heinecke at the King’s Cup opening ceremony. Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.
Fashioned after dragon boats, the bows of the boats are shaped like elephant heads. Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.
The rowers of Castillero del Diablo. Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.
The rowers of Chang beer. Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.
Chang rowers neck and neck with CitiBank rowers. Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.
Chang rowers take the lead! Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.
And the winners are … Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.

The first-ever King’s Cup Elephant Boat Race and River Festival got underway on 29 March 2019 on the shores of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand.

The opening ceremony began with a spiritual blessing, which was followed bThai dancing and traditional drumming.

Twelve teams took to the waves to compete for the coveted King’s Cup. Included were the Royal Thai Navy Seals and both domestic and international teams.

The bows of the boats were fashioned after elephant heads. The sterns were fashioned after Thai fish tails.

Elephant Boat Races Event Highlights

International teams will compete, rowing elephant themed dragon boats in the waters of the Chao Praya River in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.
Celebrity chefs from some of Bangkok’s top tables will be serving up yummy Thai fare at the Foodie Village.  Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.
Popular Thai Singer Singto Numchok will be one of several live acts performing at the Riverside Festival. Photo Credit: Anantara Hote

Open-air concerts will be held on Friday and Saturday nights.

  • Rapper J Jetrin and pop star Atom, whose renditions of “Aow” and “Please”  topped the charts, will perform on Friday night.
  • Duo New Jew will perform soulful ballads. Singto Numchok play will surf-rock and reggae-pop on Saturday night.

Saturday is Ladies’ Day, and everyone is invited to dress up in nostalgic “Old Siam” themed finery. The Grand Prize is a trip to the Maldives.

There will  be elephant themed creative painting workshops and interactive displays for the kids.

The closing ceremony will feature a vintage car show and live jazz performances.

And check this out: ticket sales will go to a worthy cause.supports charity.

Fully 100% of tickets sales will go to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF), which will  donate the proceeds to a wide range of elephant related charities.

Plus every ticket purchased gives festival goers a chance to win luxury Anantara hotel stays worldwide.

Other March Events in Thailand

Dozens of other events are scheduled throughout the kingdom throughout the month of March. Here are a few highlights of Thailand March events…

Krabi Naga Fest – 1 to 3 March

Krabi Naga Fest on Khlong Muang Beach in Krabi’sMueang District.

An outdoor music festival, the Krabi Naga Music Fest will be held across three days on a beach in southern Thailand.

There will be performances by well-known pop-jazz musicians and singers. There will also be cultural shows, street shows, and a local products fair.

Fresh seafood and other delicacies will be on sale from the kitchens of nearby four- and five-star hotels and resorts.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Breezing Beach and Music”.

Khlong Muang Beach, Mueang District, Krabi, Thailand. From 1 to 3 March, 5 pm to 12 midnight, free admission.

Phuket Food Festival – 1 to 7 March

More than 100 food vendors will be serving up seafood, local favourites, and fusion dishes from 4 pm to 10 pm at Saphan Hin Park in Phuket Town, Phuket.

One of the biggest food events in Southern Thailand, the Phuket Food Festival also features music and live entertainment.

Saphan Hin Park, Phuket Town, Phuket, Thailand. From 1 to 7 March, 4 pm to 10 pm. 

Sunset Beach Music Festival – 2  and 3 March

Popular musicians will perform at the Sunset Beach Music Festival, with a focus on raggae.

Featured acts include T-Bone, Buddha Bless, Max Jenmana, T-Bone, and many others,

Platoo Restaurant, 241/44, Ruamchit Road, Tambon Cha-am, Amphoe Cha-am, Petchburi, Thailand. Tickets required.

Elephant Day – 13 March

Mahouts bathing rescue elephants at the Thai Conservation Cener inHang Chat, Thailand. Photo Credit: Adam Jones.

Celebrations and activities of various kinds will be held throughout the kingdom in honour of elephants, which play an important role in Thai culture.

The biggest celebration will be held in Elephant Nature Park and The Thai Elephant Conservation Center (TECC) in Chiang Mai province of Northern Thailand.

Thao Thepkasattri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival – 13 March

Held every March, the Thao Thepkasattri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival is one of the biggest festivals of the year in Phuket.

Events include a bicycle race, a takraw (foot volleyball) tournament, a tug-of-war, a mini-marathon, and a Buddhist ordination ceremony.

A highlight of the festival is a show about the history of Phuket.

Thalang Victory Memorial Field, Heroine’s Monument and Wat Pranangsang, all in the Thalang area, north of Phuket Town, Phuket, Thailand.

National Muay Thai Day – 17 March

Also known as Nai Khanomtom Day, National Muay Thai Day is a celebration of Thailand’s national sport, muay Thai, a.k.a. Thai boxing or kickboxing.

Events are held throughout the kingdom, including many championship competitions at both the amateur and professional level.

One of the most important events is the Thai Martial Arts Festival and Wai Khru Muay Thai Ceremony, which is held in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya  on 16 and 17 March. Highlights include the ritual and opening ceremony, light and sound presentation, traditional Thai folk sports, demonstrations, and an exhibition.

Changing of the Robes – 21 March

Summer robes (left), rainy season robes, an winter robes. Photo Credit: Emerald Buddha.

The golden robes of the Emerald Buddha are changed by the King of Thailand three times a year in accordance with the changing of the seasons.

The next ceremony will be held on 21 March, when the solid gold robes of the winter season will be  removed and replaced by the diamond encrusted golden robe of the summer season.

On 17 July the robes will be  changed from summer to rainy season. On 12 November they will be changed back to rainy season.

The king starts by climbing up to the pedestal on which the image sits, wiping away any dust, and changing the gold headdress of the Emerald Buddha. The king then steps down and worships nearby while an attendant performs the elaborate ritual of changing garments. Finally, the king sprays holy water upon his subjects waiting outside the ordination hall

Fashioned from a single piece of jade, the Emerald Buddha is Thailand’s most sacred religious icon. It resides within the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew), which is Thailand’s most important temple.

The costumes that not currently being worn are displayed at the Pavilion of Regalia along with other Royal decorations and Thai coins.

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is located within the grounds of the Grand Palace, which overlooks the Chao Phraya River. It is open daily from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm.

Trat Independence Day – 23 to 27 March

Trat’s return to Thai sovereignty after French occupation is celebrated with the staging of a historical play. There are also stalls selling local products, exhibitions by official and private organizations, folk games and sports show, music performances, and other events.

Trat Provincial Town Hall.

Steam Train Trip – 26 March

Steam train enthusiasts have at least four chances to ride a steam train in Thailand each year, and one of them falls in March.

Each trip has a different destination.

  • Anniversary of the opening of the first public railway (26 March)
  • Queen’s Birthday (12 August)
  • Anniversary of the death of King Chulalongkorn (23 October)
  • Anniversary of the birth of King Bhumibol ( 5 December)

Tickets required.

Thailand March Weather

March is a transition month in Thailand. It is considered the beginning of the “hot season”, which runs from March to June.

With an average high of 34 degrees Celsius, or 93 degrees Fahrenheit, and average lows dropping to 25 degrees Celsius, or 77 degrees Fahrenheit, March is slightly warmer than February.

March is not, however,  as hot as April, which is the hottest month of the year in Bangkok and most other parts of Thailand.

Bangkok enjoys a daily average of nine hours of sunshine in March. There are about five rainy days, with an average of 50 millimeters of rain during the month. The average humidity is 70%.

Visiting Thailand in March?

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This post contains affiliate links. Thailand March Events is the second in a series of monthly travel and sightseeing guides to Thailand


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