March in Bangkok used to be known for the ‘Elephant Polo’, an annual gathering of those who enjoy the sport and love animals mix with the fashionistas and socialites of Bangkok to help raise funds for elephants and mahouts. Last year, however, the event got more creative by no longer involving real life animals but instead featuring elephant boat races with the same purpose in mind - to help the elephants.
This year at the same venue, the elephant boat race welcomed more than 10,000 attendees despite the best efforts of PM2.5 and coronavirus. The final four teams were Raja Navy (Royal Thai Navy), National Sports University Lampang Campus, Samut Prakarn, and Pradu Thong Goddess, with sponsors such as Citi, Casillero Del Diablo, PWC, and Keith & Kym. On the final day, Raja Navy took home the royal trophy.
The event raised a total of THB 2 million to add to the THB 60 million already raised from the Elephant Polo days. The funds from the event will be donated to various projects including the Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand which supports veterinary and educational projects to improve the year-round lives of elephants and mahouts in Surin Province, where ex-street elephants face ongoing hardship.
Although the boat racing didn’t quite reach the glamour of the Elephant polo days when everyone showed up and dressed up, the event received plenty of international attention when the author and creator of Sex and the City, Candace Bushnell and New York Fashion Designer Nicole Miller showed up.
Anantara Hotels & Resorts has not only continued their commitment to helping elephants but has also succeeded in focusing a lot of attention on a part of Bangkok which even Bangkok residents often forget exists. For me, it is always a good idea to revisit the banks of the Chao Praya even though I don’t live far away. The event gives you plenty of good reasons to come out and enjoy something which seems to escape our attention throughout the rest of the year.