Hosted by the Anantara Resort and Spa Hua Hin
This is the 11th Annual Kings Cup Elephant Polo Tournament hosted by the Anantara Resort and Spa Hua Hin. It’s a spectacular start to one of most unique events in the world. But even after the day’s opening ceremonies are over, this outstanding event goes on at the Anantara Hua Hin’s beautiful Sala Siam Lounge with great food, live music, and a star-studded guest list for the tournament draw.The elephants have kicked-off and all the requisite rituals have been paid to the teachers and elders of elephant-rearing. Now the games can really begin: the players have drawn their schedules and are ready to hit the field. After the break, we’ll find out how a one-tone animal can play polo. Of all animals, the elephant is Thailand’s most revered.
An important figure in the Buddhist religion, a symbol of the monarchy, and in ancient times a companion in both peace and war, the elephant, one of the most intelligent of animals, has had an intimate relationship with the Thai people since ancient times. In more recent years, however, the number of elephants in Thailand’s jungles has dropped drastically, while increasingly they can be seen wandering the streets in urban areas, begging for food with their mahouts, or trainers, and living in squalor. Day 2 is when the elephants actually begin to take the field. But how do you control such enormous animals no matter how intelligent they are? And how do you even play elephant polo? Let’s see if we can find out. Since their first tournament in 2011 and thanks to the continued generosity of its participants and spectators, Anantara has raised almost USD 500,000 for various charities that benefit the elephants of Thailand.
For example, in 2008 money raised from the tournament purchased mahout accommodation and a mobile centrifuge for the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. In the following year, 1.8 million baht was raised to fund the world’s first elephant therapy program to research how domesticated elephants can be used as working partners for autistic children to develop their social and emotional skills.
Last year, an elephant hospital was built in southern Thailand and, right here in Hua Hin, 4,000 trees were planted to shelter elephant corridors from electric fencing. The Anantara Hua Hin Resort and Spa is a truly inspiring example of the way one business can become a driving force for good within its community. And we’re sure the elephants love it as much as the tournament-goers do.