The Royal Barge Procession, the final event of the Coronation of King Rama X, will be held on Thursday 12th December 2019. The procession will begin at the Wasukri pier at 3:30 p.m., when His Majesty the King will travel along the Chao Phraya River to the Grand Palace. About 2,200 oarsmen will row 52 barges arranged into five groupings, from the Wasukri pier and head towards Wat Arun, with a total length of four kilometers. Rhythmic barge-rowing songs are part of this ceremonial water-borne procession, which is a rare spectacle, arranged on special occasions only.
URGENT UPDATE: A week before the procession was due to take place, the Thai government announced that the date Royal Barge Procession will be changed from 24th October to 12th December 2019. The reason given was “strong tides”.
EVENT: Royal Barge Procession and Royal Kathin Ceremony
DATE: Thursday 12th December 2019 (changed from 24th October)
LOCATION: Along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok
EVERYTHING WE KNOW SO FAR:
Please note, everything is subject to change including dates.
- You won’t be able to watch the procession from the balcony of your hotel or condo room at any location along the route. Further more, you will have to draw the curtains all day. It is quite likely the same strict rules will be enforced during the dress rehearsals. It was like this during the coronation. Even for condos not on the route.
- Preparations for the royal barge procession will start on 8th July 2019
- There will be a merit-making ceremony at the Royal Barge Museum on 11th July 2019
- The royal barges will be moved from the Royal Barge Museum to the Royal Thai Navy dockyard between 12th-23rd July 2019.
- There will be 10 rehearsals from 22nd August to 7th October 2019. Two full dress rehearsals will take place on 17th October and 21st October 2019.
- There will 2,200 oarsmen and 52 royal barges
- The length of the route is 4.2 kilometers
- The route of the procession will be the same as that for King Bhumibol (see map)
- During the rehearsals, and during the actual event, the river and all piers will be closed to all traffic four hours in advance
- During the actual event, all bridges across the Chao Phraya River on this route will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians
- It will take about twenty minutes for the procession to pass one spot on the river and about 50 minutes for them to complete the route
DATES OF REHEARSALS:
There will be a total of ten rehearsals for the royal barge procession. Out of this, there will be eight minor rehearsals and two large rehearsals. The latter two will be full dress rehearsals. All of the photos on this page were taken in such a rehearsal in 2012. Minor rehearsals will take place from 22nd August to 7th October. I will post dates here as and when I hear about them. Often minor rehearsals have short notice and so keep an eye on my @RichardBarrow Twitter feed. Please note, all dates are subject to change.
- The first minor rehearsal – Thursday 22nd August 2019
- The second minor rehearsal – Thursday 29th August 2019
- The third minor rehearsal – Tuesday 10th September 2019
- The fourth minor rehearsal – Tuesday 17th September 2019
- The fifth minor rehearsal – Monday 23rd September 2019
- The sixth minor rehearsal – Friday 27th September 2019
- The seventh minor rehearsal – Thursday 3rd October 2019
- The eighth minor rehearsal – Monday 7th October 2019
- First Full Dress Rehearsal – Thursday 17th October 2019
- Second Full Dress Rehearsal – Monday 21st October 2019
WHERE TO WATCH THE ROYAL PROCESSION:
The Royal Thai Government has extended an invitation to the general public from both sides of the Chao Phraya River to witness Thailand’s historic event and congratulate as well as pay respect to Their Majesties on this auspicious occasion. Various sites along the two banks of the Chao Phraya River have been arranged for the public audience with Their Majesties, including the following six official locations which can accommodate up to 10,700 people:
- Santichai Prakan Park (for 1,500 people)
- Thammasart University (for 1,800 people)
- Nagaraphirom Park (for 2,300 people)
- Siriraj Hospital (for 100 people)
- King Bhumibol’s 72nd Birthday Anniversary Park (for 1,000 people)
- Under the Rama VIII Bridge, Thon Buri (for 4,000 people)