The Royal Coronation of King Rama X – the Royal Barge Procession
Royal Barge Procession 2019, Bangkok, Thailand Chao Phraya River
Where will the Royal Barge Procession 2019 take place?
The procession will go along a four-kilometre stretch down the Chao Phraya River that runs through the heart of Bangkok. Thousands of onlookers are expected to gather for the spectacle with local authorities providing free bus services and information in Thai, Chinese and English.
The procession is expected to start at 3:30pm at Wasukri Pier from where the King and Queen will go down the river to the famous Wat Arun, also known as ‘the Temple of Dawn’ for a Buddhist ceremony
Thailand’s Royal Barge Processions
One of Thailand’s oldest traditions dating back to over 700 years, the Royal Barge Processions have their origins in ancient naval battle flotilla. In peacetime they were used as part of religious and royal ceremonies and to welcome foreign dignitaries.
After being suspended in 1932, Thailand’s previous King Bhumibol – who paid a lot of attention to the preservation of Thailand’s traditional art and culture – reinstated the processions again in 1959. Seventeen Royal Barge Processions took place during the 70 years of his reign with the last one in 2012.
Officially called the ‘Royal Kathin Barge Procession’, this ancient tradition only takes place during very rare, national occasions such as the coronation of a new king.
The royal barge procession is one of the series of events held to mark the coronation of HM the King. It starts at 3.30pm, leaving from Wasukree Pier to Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn), with Her Majesty the Queen and royal family members attending the ceremony.
The exhibition will have four sections.
- The first section features coronation ceremonies from past to present via a LED screen, with a Braille presentation for the blind and an electronic library.
- The second section is an exhibition detailing aspects of the four royal barges; singing on board the barges by navy personnel; art and cultural performances from the four regions of the country and Ramayana Khon performance.
- The third section is for the display of waterfall curtains with a light and sound expo featuring Thai people’s traditional way of life in relation to water, the royal barge procession and His Majesty the King’s activities.
- The fourth section features delicious Thai food and the distinctive Thai lifestyle.
Travel will be free on all mass transit rail services and selected BMTA bus routes on Thursday, when the royal barge procession is presided over by His Majesty the King.
- The BTS sky train, MRT including the Purple Line, Airport Rail Link and the bus rapid transit lane (BRT) operators announced free rides all day to help people attend the historic event on the Chao Phraya River.
- The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority said about 200 buses on 19 routes will also transport people without charge to locations aby the river where people can watch the extravaganza.
Finally, please be aware that Thailand has one of the world’s strictest lèse majesté laws in place that strictly forbid any criticism of the Thai Royals. If in doubt, inform yourself about the Do’s and Don’ts when attending any royal event.
Please be aware that there will be strict, enforced regulations in place that will forbid anyone to observe the procession from the balcony of hotel or condo rooms overlooking the event. Instead, a number of sites along the route have been reserved for public viewing, including: Santichai Prakan Park; Thammasart University; Nagaraphirom Park; Siriraj Hospital; King Bhumibol’s 72nd Birthday Anniversary Park; and underneath Rama VIII Bridge (Thonburi). The usual traffic of boats on the Chao Phraya River will be completely stopped during this time.
If you can’t watch the procession outdoors then note that it will also be broadcast live on TV.