Gallery: Super-sized action at King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament
Buddhist monks, a massive fruit buffet and polo players from around the world helped launch the annual King's Cup Elephant Polo tournament in Hua Hin this week.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the event returned to the southern resort town following a three-year stint in Chiang Rai.
The charity event has raised US$300,000 to date, with funds used to care for more than 60 elephants and their mahouts at the Thai Elephant Conservation center in Lampang, in northern Thailand. Elephants are taken off the streets while they are still young, usually under 20 years of age. They're provided with a forested environment, food, veterinary check-ups and their mahouts are given a salary.
There's still time to get to Hua Hin to check out the sporting action. The hard-fought tournament, featuring 12 teams, began on September 5 and will continue through to the finals on the afternoon of Sunday, September 11. It all takes place at Hua Hin's Suriyothai army base.
If you're not up on your elephant polo, here's the low-down. According to the World Elephant Polo Association the rules are actually pretty similar to those of horse polo.
All elephants carry a player and a mahout (elephant trainer/guide), ladies are allowed to use both hands and mallets are around two meters long. Each team is made up of three players, with matches taking place on a marked pitch of 100 meters by 60 meters, using a standard polo ball.
The event is sponsored and organized by luxury resort Anantara Hua Hin, so there are plenty of events taking place off the field at the hotel including parties and a celebrity auction.
For more on the event, check out the listing below.