Date: 10th–13th March 2016
Venue: Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort
Since its inception in 2001, the King’s Cup Elephant Tournament has built a reputation as a not-to-be-missed event that attracts people from all around the world to enjoy a unique festival with Thailand’s national animal. Now in its fourteenth year, the tournament has become one of the biggest charitable events in Southeast Asia. Almost US$1 million has been raised and donated to projects that better the lives of Thailand’s wild and domesticated elephant population.
Tickets are 200 Baht per person and can be bought at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort or at the pitch at on tournament days. There are complimentary boat transfers between Saphan Taksin Pier and Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort every 30 minutes, from 7:30 am – 11:30 pm.
This year’s event will have 10 teams encompassing over 40 players, including Thai celebrities, professional horse polo players, New Zealand All Blacks rugby players and Thailand’s famous transgender cabaret team Miss Tiffany.
A total of 18 elephants will be given a break from their work in tourist trekking camps in Pattaya or bought from unemployment in Surin to take part in the festival, during which they are given much needed food, essential vitamin supplements, full veterinary checks and care for the duration of the event.
Domestic elephants are micro-chipped by the Thai government to show that they have not been caught from the wild. The worst trekking camps can be tough for an elephant. In order to make money, mahouts are forced to work their elephants 10 – 12 hours a day. Conversely, at home in Surin, unemployment means elephants are often left isolated from other elephants with a short chain on two legs 24 hours a day with no exercise or enrichment. In both circumstances, the poverty of existence means their owners cannot afford to feed them anything close to their daily physical needs, emotional needs are forgotten, and shade and sufficient water are often overlooked. The King’s Cup schedule is designed to give these trekking elephants rest and relaxation on a scale they are never afforded in their ‘normal’ lives and ensure elephant rest time with interaction and enrichment that neither set of elephants gets in their daily lives.
The four day festival will have something for everyone including an impressive Opening Parade, Children’s Educational Day, Ladies Day known as the ‘Bangkok Ascot’ and a wide range of fun elephant related activities for the whole family.
Anantara has long been associated with elephant conservation efforts with the formation of The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, which has performed over 40 rescues of elephants off the streets of Thailand, as well as bringing the hugely successful Elephant Parade to Bangkok where 88 elephant statues were decorated by local and international celebrities and artists to honour Thailand’s HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 88th birthday and will be auctioned off in a gala dinner in February 2016.
For more information on the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament 2016, please visitwww.anantaraelephantpolo.com
Map showing location of Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort:
GPS Coordinates: 13.704735, 100.491911