Royal Barge Procession

UPDATED There will be a Royal Barge Procession along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok on December 12. It had originally been scheduled for October 24 but it has been decided that currents and weather condition would not be optimal for the event.

The procession is the final event in the Coronation ceremonies of King Rama X and it promises to be quite spectacular. Their Majesties King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun and Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana will embark on the Royal Barge Suphannahong at the Wasukri Pier by the Krung Thon Buri Bridge at 15.30 and will disembark at the Ratchaworadit Pier near Wat Arun.

About 2,300 oarsmen will row the 52 ceremonial barges which will also feature four royal barges; the Suphannahong, or Golden Swan, the Anantanakkharat, or multi-headed Naga, the Anekkachatphutchong, or innumerable Naga figures, and the Narai Song Suban King Rama IX. The barges will be arranged in five groups and the entire procession will take about 20 minutes to pass. The whole journey of 3.4 kilometres will take around 45 minutes to complete.

Six temples on both sides of the River will hold chanting ceremonies. Wat Rachathiwat Ratchaworawihan, Wat Thewarat Kunchorn Worawiharn, Wat Sam Phraya, Wat Bowon Mongkhon, Wat Karuhabodee, and Wat Rakhang Kositaram will each begin the chanting ceremony when the Royal Barge is approaching the waterfront of the temple and conclude when the procession has passed the temple.

royal barge procession map
click to enlarge

Security will be very tight. All traffic on the river will be suspended as will all traffic across bridges along the route. The tourist authority has issued a map showing six official viewing sites that can accommodate up to 10,700 people but as yet there is no information about ticketing. There will also be numerous places along both sides of the river bank where the procession can be viewed. Expect large crowds wherever you go.

Photographers should consider shooting from the Thon Buri side of the river where the sun, if it shines, will be behind you.

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