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Elephants play Polo in Bangkok to raise millions

Now in it's fifteenth year, the Anantara Hotels and Resorts King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand continues to better the lives of Thailand’s wild and domesticated elephant population.

Now in it’s fifteenth year, the Anantara Hotels and Resorts King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand continues to better the lives of Thailand’s wild and domesticated elephant population.

I know what you’re thinking.

Elephant’s playing Polo? How is that helping elephants?’

In actual fact, the annual tournament has now become one of the biggest charitable events in Southeast Asia with over US$1.3 MILLION (BHT 46 million) raised and donated to projects that better the lives of Thailand’s wild and domesticated elephant population.

It’s an incredible outcome and another fine example of going beyond the (big elephant sized in this instance) bottom line of business.


Now that’s a buffet

Some of the projects have included: The world’s first Thai Elephant Assisted Autistic Therapy Project; positive reinforcement elephant training workshops; mahout community development initiatives and wild elephant conservation.

Not to mention the huge amount of awareness the event has raised around the plight of Elephant’s in the region and the impact tourism has brought on them.

This year’s event will be held by the banks of Bangkok’s Chaophraya River at The Anantara Riverside Resort from March 9th – 12th and promises a full range of education based fun elephant festivities for the whole family.

But don’t expect high speed thrills and spills. This is a game literally played at an elephants pace where the focus for the players is all about ‘patience’. Did someone say… ‘MOUSE?!’.


Children’s educational day is always a hit

The welfare of the elephants that participate in the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament is of paramount importance, with strict rules ensuring that the animals are well cared for at all times.

By imposing a “no micro-chip, no game” rule, Anantara guarantees that all participating elephants haave been domestically bred and not captured from the wild or smuggled in from neighbouring countries.

A total of 30 unemployed former street elephants will take part in this year’s festival during which they will be given full veterinary checks and care, much needed food and drink and essential vitamin supplements for the duration of the event.

The King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament was recently awarded a silver medal for Sports CSR Initiative of the Year at the Asia 2016 SPIA Sports Industry Awards.

Organised by Sport360° and MMC Sportz, in partnership with the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Sports Authority of Thailand, the awards applauds sports industry leaders that demonstrate a balance between business, community and environment.


The 2017 event will have 10 Polo teams encompassing over 40 players, including Thai celebrities, supermodels, professional horse polo players and New Zealand All-Blacks rugby players.

The four day festival is a lot of fun and has something for everyone including an impressive Opening Parade, Kids Educational Day, Ladies Day known as The ‘Bangkok Ascot’ and elephant related activities.

Anantara Hotels and Resorts have long been associated with elephant conservation efforts with the formation of The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, which has performed over 40 rescues of elephants off the streets of Thailand, as well as bringing the hugely successful Elephant Parade to Bangkok.

The event runs from March 9th – 12th. Head over to Anantara Elephant Polo for more information.

This story is another fantastic example of our 2017 initiative ‘Travel to change the world’ and KarryOn is proud to support this wonderful project. You can help by sharing this story to raise awareness.

What do you think about the Elephant Polo event that helps better the lives of Elephants? Share your thoughts below.