Thailand: Royalty Afloat

Reviving a tippy tradition

Long before Anna ever met the King of Siam, the monarchs of Thailand traveled their kingdom in resplendent style. As early as the 17th century, European voyagers recorded that a Thai royal tour through the waters of the old imperial capital, Ayutthaya, involved as many as 450 sumptuous teak barges, elaborately carved and gilded, with prows in the shapes of ornate serpents, birds and deities. Wrote one French envoy who witnessed the spectacle: "The splendor of the decorations, the variety of costume, the crowds of richly dressed spectators, the...

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