The Royal Barge Procession along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok is one of those not-to-be-missed events for anyone interested in Thailand. On Friday 9th November 2012, a fleet of 52 traditional barges and 2,200 oarsmen will take part in a procession from Rama VIII Bridge to Wat Arun, or Temple of Dawn, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. If you are not here for this event, then don’t worry as between now and early November there will be a series of rehearsals. The next one is due tomorrow, Friday 12th October 2012. These are free to observe though the problem is finding a place to watch. For the two dress rehearsals and also the final event, you will find that every spot will be taken from early in the morning. People are already asking me where the best places are to watch the procession. The problem is, I have never been to this event before and so I need to do some research.
Last week I was really happy to get an email from the owners of Praya Palazzo Hotel. They were inviting me to go and watch one of the rehearsals for the Royal Barge Procession from their hotel while enjoying High Tea. Praya Palazzo is a new boutique hotel on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. The 17-room building used to belong to a nobleman of the court of King Rama V. For the last decade, the building has been in a state of decay before it was finally bought and then brought back to its former glory. The restaurant was the first to open in 2009 and then the hotel in 2011. Unlike many other hotels in Bangkok, there is no road access. The only way that you can get there is by boat. This is where I will be going tomorrow morning and I cannot wait to explore both this building and the area. And of course, watch the Royal Barge Procession.
I will write more about this later once I have been there, but I thought I would fill you in with the details first. Obviously, space is limited and if you want to have High Tea at the Praya Palazzo while watching the Royal Barge Procession then you will need to act soon. You can contact them on 02 883 2998 or email on reservation@prayapalazzo. I have been told to be there by 10 a.m. This is because the entire river will be closed to all boats from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. As the invitation above says, the best views are then from the hotel between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. If you look at the map above, Praya Palazzo is (1). The starting point is close by at Rama VIII Bridge (2). The end point is at Wat Arun (9). I will survey the river tomorrow and work out other viewpoints that you can use to watch the procession.
Follow me on Twitter @RichardBarrow for live tweeting from Praya Palazzo of the rehearsal for the Royal Barge procession.