The Royal Barge Procession is a special event that takes place on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. The tradition dates back centuries, but in modern times is a rare spectacle with the last royal procession taking place in 2012. Visitors to Bangkok have an opportunity to witness this historic event with the next Royal Barge Procession being staged in the Thai capital on October 24, 2019*.
On October 17, it was announced that the Royal Barge Procession scheduled for October 24 will be postponed and has been rescheduled for December 12, 2019.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said the rescheduled date is because strong tides on the Chao Phraya River are expected on October 24.
HM King Vajiralongkorn will preside over the Royal Barge Procession. The event will involve up to 52 river barges and over 2,000 rowers from the Thai Royal Navy. The procession of the beautifully crafted barges is part of the celebrations of HM the King’s coronation which took place in May 2019. The Suphannahong Royal Barge with its elegant figurehead in the shape of a golden swan is the vessel which carries the Thai monarch. In total, there are 52 barges that make up the flotilla.
Route of the Royal Barge Procession
The procession will commence from the royal pier, Tha Wasukri, in the Dusit district of Bangkok. The barges will then be rowed along the Chao Phraya River towards Ratchaworadit pier near the Grand Palace .
The ceremony on
October 24 December 12 is scheduled to commence at 15.30 with the barges expected to take approximately 45 minutes to complete their journey. There are various viewing points along the route with large crowds expected to turn out to witness the historic event. Restrictions will be in place on the Chao Phraya River on the day of the event and also for the rehearsals in the weeks ahead of the actual procession date. This means that river boats and ferries won’t run for at least part of the day and some bridges will also be temporarily closed.
National Museum of Royal Barges
The vessels used in the procession are usually kept in a covered dock at the National Museum of Royal Barges in Bangkok Noi. The museum is open daily to the public with the nearest passenger boat pier located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River at pier number N11 (known as Tha Thonburi Railway Station). Please note that the barges will be moved to the Royal Thai Navy dockyard in July 2019 so that they can be prepared ahead of the special event in
Rehearsal dates for the Royal Barge Procession
With the Royal Barge Procession rescheduled for December 12, there will be additional rehearsal dates in the lead up to the main event. These are the additional rehearsal dates:
- November 12
- November 19
- November 26
- December 3
- December 9 (full dress rehearsal)
The rehearsals are scheduled to commence at approximately 3.30pm, but please note that dates and times are subject to change.
Advice for visitors to Bangkok
If you are planning to visit the Royal Barge Procession on
October 24, December 12, please be aware that there will be extra security measures in place. When going through any security check points you may be asked to show your passport or ID. Because the Thai Royal Family are in attendance at this event, there will also be restrictions in place on what can and cannot be photographed.
If you are planning to attend either the dress rehearsal or the main event, please dress respectfully and cover the knees and shoulders. Many Thai people in attendance will be wearing yellow, the birth colour of HM the King.
Away from the Chao Phraya River area, it will be a normal day in Bangkok. However, with temporary road closures in place and with no river boats allowed, there will be an impact on traffic in the riverside areas which could have a knock-on effect in other parts of the city. If you are travelling by road in Bangkok, allow extra time for your journey on the days where there are dress rehearsals planned (see dates above) in addition to the main event on
October 24 December 12.
See the link below for more details:
River of Kings: Preparing for the Royal Barge Procession in Bangkok
Video of the Royal Barge Procession
You may also enjoy
Fan Club Thailand
Tourism Thailand (UK & Ireland)
We are here to help you experience the best of amazing Thailand. Bookmark our online magazine for ideas and tips for what to see and do in Thailand, and follow us on social media for even more travel inspiration.