Royal Barge Procession in Bangkok, Thailand

On our route from our hotel to the river the usual gang of Bangkok tuk-tuk drivers vied for our attention. Al laughingly fended them off, pointing at the terminal, saying, “We’re going on the ferry.’’

“No ferry today,” said one.

Neither of us believed him; we’d heard that one before. Besides, there weren’t any notices of closure at the terminal. But oddly, there was no one there, not a single attendant.

Then we heard there was to be a Royal Barge procession to mark the 80th birthday of King Bhumibol (Rama IX) which was coming up on December 5. The ferries were shut down because there was a dress rehearsal for the procession which was going to happen in 20 minutes or so.

What a privilege!the King's barges go on a dress rehearsal run on Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, Thailand, in preparation for the King's birthday in 2007Apparently this procession has only taken place 17 times in the last century so this 2007 rehearsal was a very unique event.Boatmen, in traditional costume, rowing the King's Barges (long boats) in a rehearsal of the processions in Bangkok, ThailandMany of the barges were very elaborate and the costumes date back a few centuries.the King's barges go on a dress rehearsal run on Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, Thailand, in preparation for the King's birthday in 2007The boats (barges) were very long for the most part, and hard to fit in to a single photo.Boatmen, in traditional costume, rowing the King's Barges (long boats) in a rehearsal of the processions in Bangkok, ThailandI took a videos with my brand-new first-ever digital camera. The video is tiny, one quarter the size of standard TV size but it’s worth watching just to hear the eerie drumming and chanting. Seconds after posting it I got this comment: “Wow, this is classic & rare to find!”


The crowds were mostly dressed in yellow, the king’s colour.Crowds in yellow watch the Royal Barge procession in Bangkok to mark the 80th birthday of King BhumibolWe met Mary Wan, who here shows off her special yellow shirt that commemorates both the king’s birthday and the Royal Barge procession. She told us that we should go to the museum/docks where the barges were housed so we could see these amazing longboats up close. Maryjane, dressed in a special yellow shirt that commemorates the king's birthday and the Royal Barge processionSix weeks later we were back in Bangkok and took the ferry across the river to this temple. From there we were able to walk to the museum/dock.Boats on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, ThailandFigurehead on a long boat, up close in the museum where they keep the King’s Barges docked. Figurehead in red and gold leaf on a long boat in the museum of the King's Barges in Bangkok, ThailandThis boat with this figurehead out on the river Chao Phraya.Boatmen, in traditional costume, rowing the King's Barges (long boats) in a rehearsal of the processions in Bangkok, ThailandA different figurehead from behind. Figurehead as seen from the back on a long boat in the museum of the King's Barges in Bangkok, ThailandIn Hindu mythology, the god Vishnu rides on the back of an eagle known as Garuda. Although the Thais are primarily Buddhist, many of the Hindu gods appear on these ceremonial boats. Figurehead of the god Vishnu riding the eagle-wing Garuda in the museum of the King's Barges (long boats) in Bangkok, ThailandI think this is a monkey god, functioning as the figurehead on a different boat.Figurehead on a long boat in the museum of the King's Barges in Bangkok, ThailandA golden Thai royal barge dragon.
The golden head adorns a royal dragon boat in Bangkok, ThailandThe painted pattern on the boat. A paining in gold of a dragon adorns a royal dragon boat in Bangkok, ThailandMore of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Anything to do with boats.

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