Posted by Vi Warkentin on
I’m a big fan of dragon boat racing and have been a paddler on a local university team. I’ve been hoping to be able to take in dragon boat festivals while away on vacation in other parts of the world so when I heard that the Long Tail Boat Races for HM Kings Cup would be taking place at the nearby Khao Tao Reservoir on December 24 and 25th, 2011 I was ecstatic! Long tail boat racing is an old traditional sport seen in many provinces in Thailand.
I didn’t know what to expect so when we were dropped off by our tuk-tuk driver, I was surprised to see a huge festival atmosphere underway - loads of food stalls lining the roadway along side the walkway surrounding the east side of Khao Tao Reservoir. Crowds of people milled about - some lining up at the food stalls while others were searching for the best viewing spot under the cover of tents lining the edge of Khao Tao Reservoir.
A poster contest was held in celebration of this two-day event - this lovely and colourful posterwon 1st place and was posted at the race site! A look from the south end of Khao Tao Reservoir with the race lanes marked. Covered viewing tents line the walkway on the right. The race has small, medium and large sized boats. You have to see the large boats to believe it!
Racers look on as competitors race to the finish line.I was utterly amazed at the size of these boats. The dragon boat I’ve paddled on had twelve benches. Some of the boats had 30+ benches!
One of the teams heads out to the starting line.That’s one incredibly long boat!What also amazed me was the speed at which these boats travelled. Sometimes the paddles would just be a blur - what incredible fast rhythm.
A battle to the finish line.This was truly an amazing long tail boat race by two incredible teams.
A fun day spent with the wonderfully friendly people of Khao Tao and area - food and boat racing - what a great way to spend a day while on vacation!
The sun sets on Khao Tao Reservoir as the lights of our approaching tuktuk flicker in the distance. A big thank you to the wonderful residents of Khao Tao vilage!