Thai boxing festival in Ayutthaya

The 9th annual festival to showcase Thai martial arts and pay respects to Thai boxing instructors will take place from Sunday to March 20 at three venues in Ayutthaya province.

Boxers pose at Nai Khanomtom statue.

The festival honours Nai Khanomtom, who was a famous Thai boxer during the Ayutthaya period and has been an icon for all Thai boxers. On Sunday, which is Nai Khanomtom Day, about 600 Thai and foreign Muay Thai boxers from 60 countries are expected to join the ceremony at Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya.

The event will include Thai martial arts demonstrations and Thai boxing contests. Among the important matches is the one between Thai Fight 2012 champion Singmanee Kaewsamrit and French Muay Thai champion Achiche Lali, at Wat Langkha Khao. At the statue of Nai Khanomtom outside the provincial sports stadium, there will be ceremonies to pay respects to Nai Khanomtom, demonstrations of Thai martial arts, Muay Thai matches, movie screenings, music concerts and other activities.

Contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Ayutthaya Office on 035-246-076/7 or the TAT Call Centre on 1672 or visit _www.muaythaifestival.com.

Phra That Cho Hae in Phrae

The annual ''Worshipping Phra That Cho Hae'' celebration will be held from March 20-26 at Wat Phra That Cho Hae in Muang district, Phrae province. The aim is to promote local culture and sustainable tourism.

Activities will include the procession of religious objects and northern-style flags as well as ceremonies to pay respects to Phra That Cho Hae, the northern province's spiritual centre, an exhibition and various activities to promote the participation of local communities, entrepreneurs, government agencies and the private sector in tourism.

Wat Phra That Cho Hae is located about 8km east of downtown Phrae. Its Chiang Saen-style principal pagoda was built of bricks and covered with bright brass sheets during the Sukhothai period. This 33m tall pagoda enshrines the Lord Buddha's relics.

For more information, contact the TAT's Phrae Office on 054-521-118, visit www.tourismthailand.org/phrae or email tatphrae@tat.or.th.

Remembering Khunying Mo

In 1826, Khunying Mo, wife of the deputy governor of Nakhon Ratchasima during the reign of King Rama III, saved the city from being occupied by an army led by King Anouvong of Vientiane. At that time, Laos was a vassal state of Siam.

Khunying Mo pretended to cooperate with the invaders, claiming she wanted independence from Siam. She threw a big party for them. When the Lao troops were drunk, the local people attacked them, winning the subsequent battle of Thung Samrit. When King Anouvong ordered his forces to counterattack, Khunying Mo mobilised women to fight alongside the men and together they vanquished the invaders. In gratitude for her courage, King Rama III later named her Thao Suranaree, meaning ''brave lady''. Nowadays, it is common for Korat people to refer to her affectionately as Ya Mo. In memory of Thao Suranaree and the other Thung Samrit heroes and heroines, Nakhon Ratchasima will host the annual Ya Mo Fair near the statue of Thao Suranaree from March 23-April 3.

Activities will include a 20km run with a torch from Thung Samrit to the venue, a procession under the theme ''The City Of A Heroine, Fine Silk, Korat Noodles, Ancient Khmer Temples And Dan Khwian Clay'', a fireworks display, local dances and entertainment, retro-style street shows, beauty contests, silk contests and Korat cat competitions, a trade fair and light and sound shows.

For more information, contact the TAT's Nakhon Ratchasima Office on 044-213-666, visit www.tourismthailand.org/nakhonratchasima or www.facebook.com/tat.korat or email tatsima@tat.or.th.

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About the author

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Writer: Pichaya Svasti
Position: Life Writer