Thailand has a well-earned reputation for being one of the best destinations in the world for weddings and honeymoons. Exchanging vows on a sandy beach against the backdrop of a warm ocean and gently swaying palm trees is undeniably romantic. But if you and your partner love scuba diving as much as you do one another, you may wish to opt for a wedding with a difference in the gorgeous southern province of Trang.
Located on Thailand’s Andaman Coast in between Krabi and the Malaysian border, Trang is home to some of the most spectacular islands in the country. And since the mid 1990s, this area of southern Thailand has also been the location for the Trang Underwater Wedding . This unique way of getting hitched was originally meant to be a one-off event for a small group of scuba divers, but since that first event the popularity of the underwater wedding has continued to increase. In 2000, the event in Trang province was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest underwater wedding in the world.
Traditional Thai wedding with a difference
The Trang Underwater Wedding has developed into an important event for the province providing international publicity and a boost to the local economy. Couples taking part in the annual event travel from all around the world and are treated like celebrities during their stay in Thailand. A special flight takes the couples from Bangkok to Trang. On arrival in Trang, the couples are greeted by traditional Thai dancers and showered with flower petals.
The Trang Underwater Wedding usually takes place over three days in mid-February, culminating on Valentine’s Day. On the first day, the wedding couples dress up in traditional Thai costumes and take part in a Thai wedding parade through the streets of Trang town. The second day sees the couples travelling by boat to the location for the underwater wedding ceremony. In the past this was close to the island of Ko Kradan, but in recent years the location has been near the Emerald Cave at Ko Mook.
The Trang Underwater Wedding uses many of the traditions of a Thai wedding. This includes a blessing ceremony and the ‘rod nam sang‘ ceremony where water is poured from a conch shell over the hands of the bride and groom. It all makes for amazing wedding photos with some participants wearing wedding dresses or tuxedos together with their scuba gear. Under the sea, a representative from Trang district office witnesses and approves the ceremonial waterproof marriage certificate. An afternoon reception follows at Pak Meng Beach. The next day sees the couple visit an important temple and shrines in Trang town as a way of making merit and bringing good luck to the marriage.
Good to know
Trang Underwater Wedding is proud of its diversity and is open to all. And even if you are already married, you can take part in a ceremony to renew your vows. If you are interested in taking part in the watery nuptials, you and your partner both need to be qualified divers and will need to provide your own wetsuit, masks, and fins.
Although this is a fun event and a memorable way to start married life, the organisers are keen to promote eco-tourism in Trang and point out that the location is carefully chosen not to cause damage to the marine environment. The event is organised by the Trang Chamber of Commerce in association with sponsorship assistance from various groups including Thai Airways and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (Southern)
Tel: 07534 6575-6
photos courtesy of TAT Newsroom
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