Long boat racing in Thailand in 2020
The kingdom of Thailand goes by many names. The country’s most famous nickname is ‘The Land of a Thousand Smiles’, but a lesser-known name for Thailand is ‘The Venice of the East’ and it isn’t hard to imagine why. A number of mighty rivers traverse the country keeping it lush and green and providing a livelihood to hundreds of thousands along their riverbanks.
The Chao Phraya, the river of kings, flows majestically from the capital Bangkok down to the Gulf of Thailand keeping the nation’s central plain fertile for more than 365 kilometers. The mighty Mekong River also flows through parts of Thailand and out into the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. These rivers are vital to the nation and provide food, transportation, and entertainment to all.
Towards the end of the long rainy season between the months of September and November, local towns & villages come together and organize colorful and traditional long-boat racing competitions. The timing of these events is determined by the phases of the moon and is different each year. The long-tailed boats can measure up to 30 meters in length and are typically adorned with beautiful decorations. This practice goes back more than 400 years and is one of Thailand’s oldest festivals. Neighboring villages compete against each other and bragging rights are not only distributed according to racing skills, there is also a friendly rivalry to see who has the best decorations! The teams of rowers compete against each other and typically have to row a distance of around 500 meters and the first one to cross the finishing line is the winner. Many people come out to see these races and the whole atmosphere is one of joy and excitement. These traditional boats are still very much alive and part of living history and culture in Thailand.
To visit this festival or to find out more, contact Khiri Travel Thailand at [email protected].