March is the month of the Tattoo Festival in Nakhon Chaisi, one of Thailand’s most bizarre festivals and celebrations. Held at the Wat Bang Phra temple in the province of Nakhon Pathom, around 50 kilometres west of Bangkok on 2 March, this is a festival dedicated to the spiritual tattoos known as sak yant. Believed to have the ability to protect and bring good luck to its bearer, the sacred sak yant needs occasional re-charging in order to remain powerful and every year in the beginning of March, thousands of men come to Wat Bang Phra temple to restore the powers of their sak yants. As if possessed by spirits, the men charge towards the temple in a trance-like state making this a spectacle of a lifetime.
The following week on 7-17 March, Pattaya is hosting the biennial AFC Beach Soccer Championship organised by the Asian Football Confederation. A fun and fast-paced sport, the championship is expected to attract thousands of spectators as 15 Asian men’s national teams compete for the title, with the three top teams also qualifying for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2019 in Paraguay later this year. With an average of 11 goals per game of 36 minutes, you gotta keep the eye on the ball!
Coinciding with International Women’s Day on 8 March is the second edition of Women in Gastronomy, held this year at Banyan Tree Bangkok. Female chefs from Thailand and abroad will take part in a panel discussion about their experiences in kitchens around the world, and participants will be treated to a lunch cooked by the chefs.
One of the world’s largest music festivals returns to Pattaya on 15-16. Started in 2002, Pattaya Music Festival is unique in that it is free of charge, resulting in a truly inclusive festival attracting thousands of people each year. The music programme is very diverse so expect everything from jazz, rock and reggae to hiphop and R&B.
17 March is the annual Wai Kru Muay Thai ceremony, which sees muay thai fans around the world unite around their sport. On this day, muay thai students and practitioners will pay respects to their teachers and coaches and show appreciation for the lessons learnt. Special respect is paid to Nai Khanom Tom, a Thai boxer who according to legend was taken prisoner during the battle with the Burmese over Ayuthaya and earned his freedom through a number of fights against Burmese soldiers, where he used his Thai boxing skills to defeat his opponents. The Wai Kru Muay Thai is celebrated with different muay thai exhibitions and demonstrations of arts and crafts.
Runners should not miss the Bangsaensook RMCS Mini Marathon in Bangsaen also on 17 March. Organised by alumni from the College of Research and Technology, Burapha University, the RMCS Mini Marathon offers participants the choice between three distances – three kilometres, five kilometres and 10 kilometres – along a scenic route around the university campus and Bangsaen beach.
Buriram will host the National Youth Games 2019 from 19-29 March. The games will see thousands of youth from all over the country compete in various disciplines in a nationwide celebration of youth sports. One of them is Bangkok Elite Swim Team who is competing from 19-23 March. The team has also qualified for the Liberty Insurance 50th Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships 2019.
The inaugural Elephant Boat Race and River Festival will take place next to Anantara Riverside on 29-31 March. Following opposition from animal rights groups, the long-established Elephant Polo came to a stop last year, so this year will see the competition moved onto the Chao Phraya river where teams will compete in the age-old cultural tradition of dragon boat racing, instead using elephant themed boats.
The month rounds off with the Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes, also known as the world’s largest amateur cricket sixes tournament from 31 March to 6 April. An invitation-only, not-for-profit event, it is run entirely by volunteers and usually attracts teams from all over the world. Six trophies are contested, each accommodating its own level of cricket, namely the Cup, Bromley Shield, Bowl, Plate and Spoon, with the Cup and Shield accommodating higher levels of cricket and the Spoon considered more of a social event.
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Published: Feb 2019
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