There are only a handful of events each year as prestigious and unique as Anantara’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament: an annual celebration of Thailand’s national animal, and a moment when socialites, tourists and smiling school children all eagerly flock to the pitch to get closer to one of the world’s most magnificent creatures.
The tournament has become one of the Kingdom’s most popular charity events, and this year moves even closer to home, taking place on a scenic riverside sanctuary next to the mighty Chao Phraya River and Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort from March 10-13.
Prestige is proud to be a media partner of the Anantara’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament – an event that has helped countless elephants from cruel and dangerous living conditions, including 40 rescued from the streets of Bangkok.
In the spirit of that partnership, here are three reasons to support this landmark event:
Nearly 35 Million Baht Raised for Charity
The tournament has become one of the biggest charitable events in Southeast Asia, raising almost 35 million Baht for projects that better the lives of Thailand’s wild and domesticated elephant population.
These funds have been used to buy a gantry to help lame elephants stand, support research and clinics using elephants in therapy sessions for children living with autism and help farmer/elephant conflict mitigation projects in three Thai and one Tanzanian National Park.
The proceeds from previous years have also been used to roll out children’s educational programmes with the Thai Ministry to teach them the importance of conservation and protection of wild elephants in Thailand.
Helping Elephants Live a Normal Life
Today, unemployment among the elephants and mahouts means many of these animals must work in tough trekking camps for upwards of 10-12 hours per day. Sometimes, the elephants are left isolated from other elephants with a short chain on two legs for 24 hours a day with no exercise or enrichment.
Often, their owners cannot afford to feed them anything close to their daily physical needs, and their emotional needs are an afterthought.
The Anantara’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament schedule is designed to give these trekking elephants rest and relaxation on a scale they are never afforded in their ‘normal’ lives and ensure elephants have time to rest with interaction and enrichment that is sadly missing from their daily lives.
This year, 18 elephants from trekking camps in Pattaya and Surin will take part in the polo tournament – getting some much-needed food and love from the visitors.
The Social Events
Each year, the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament hosts some of the most glamourous and fun social activities of the year. On top of the entertaining polo matches, guests enjoy mini-concerts, fashion shows and parades, as well as watching the majestic pachyderms munch on fruit buffets – a truly heartwarming and amusing sight.
Additionally, Kid’s Educational Day invites 2,000 children to learn about elephant conservation efforts and to actually get up close to their national animal. The Ladies’ Day fashion show on March 12 will see the event’s best dressed ladies steal the spotlight from the elephants and vie for fabulous prizes.
The King’s Cup is one of the only events of the year that truly appeals to almost everyone, with Bangkok’s most well-known socialites, tourists, dignitaries and scores of wide-eyed schoolchildren eager to learn more about these magnificent creatures.
Anantara Hotels and Resorts was also responsible for bringing the famous Elephant Parade to Bangkok, with 88 elephant statues that were decorated by local and international celebrities and artists to honour Thailand’s HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 88th birthday. More than 12 million Baht was raised at a recent auction to find owners for the beautifully-painted elephants.
How to get there:
Anantara offers complimentary boat transfers between Saphan Taksin Pier and Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort every 30 minutes, from 7.30am to 11.30pm. Be advised, there is limited parking available at Riverside Plaza and no parking available at the polo pitch.
Grand Opening Day (March 10)
8am – Monk blessing ceremony
9am – Grand opening parade
10am – Fruit buffet for the elephants
11am – Tournament matches all day
Kid’s Education Day (March 11)
9am – Tournament matches all day
Ladies Day (March 12)
9am – Tournament matches all day
5pm – Ladies’ Day fashion show & prize presentation
Until late – Pitch-side festival with entertainment, mini-concerts and fireworks
Grand Final Day (March 13)
9am – Final matches all day
3pm – National anthem, King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament Grand Final
4pm – Trophy giving ceremony by royal representative
5pm – Fruit buffet for elephants
6pm – End of tournament celebrations