Pattaya Daily News

14 February 2009 :: 00:02:36 am 24375

Trang underwater wedding ceremony

Now in its 13th year, Trang's underwater wedding ceremony, 13 to 14 February, must be one of the most unusual ways to tie the knot.
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This unique event is right at the top in the creative wedding category and has defied critics over the years to emerge as a firm favourite for those who want to make their Valentine day wedding extraordinary.

In 2000, it was declared the largest underwater wedding ceremony by the Guinness Book of Records, while more recently it opened the ceremony to physically challenged couples.

Its rise in popularity was not without obstacles, starting with the obvious objection that not everyone has the ability, or the desire, to stand on a sandy sea bed and utter their vows.

Created by Thai Airways International to draw attention to its daily flight to Trang town, the event has certainly put this southernmost stretch of Andaman Sea coastline on the map.

This attractive region lies 870 km from Bangkok and slightly more than 300 km south of Phuket. The town is served by a twice daily rail service direct from Bangkok. The trip takes 15 hours. A daily service on Nok Air, a sister company partly owned by THAI, completes the flight in one hour.

Trang is blessed with an amazing variety of unspoilt beaches and islands perfect for getaway honeymoons and even more perfect if they happen to love diving.

The ceremony is quite straightforward once the couple understand the basic scuba diving techniques and are certified by Naui or Padi, two internationally recognised dive training organisations.

In the presence of a witness, couples descend in clear blue waters to the sandy seabed to make legally binding vows using divers? sign language. To ensure relatives and friends can share in the fun the wedding ceremonies are part of celebrations that cover three days on dry land.

Town residents come out in droves to make it a memorable and fun event. Hosted by the Trang Chamber of Commerce, in association with the municipality, provincial authorities and THAI the national airline, wedding fever is fired up with a lavish parade, led by over 100 couples, through the town’s centre to a street party venue. The town’s best cooks are there presenting an amazing display of Thai food dishes and fresh seafood barbecued made all the more delectable by the variety of spicy southern sauces.

Dressed in white wedding gowns, or national dress, brides are presented to their grooms at the wedding venue on Pak Meng beach, 15 km from the Trang town. Here the traditional Thai ceremony gets underway, 14 February, in the presence of friends and relatives before a fleet of boats transfer the couples to an idyllic Kradan Island, where they dive to the seabed for the official registration of their vows.

Looking back on this carefully managed scene, the happy couple will declare ?it was unforgettable, a conclusion helped along by a beautiful resort that incredibly still warrants the title unseen Thailand? for most of the year.

Happy couples return for an anniversary, some even renew their vows at the same underwater spot. A few even return with small children and point proudly at the distant island, where mum and dad played out their romantic fantasies.

Supported by the community Tourism Authority of Thailand and the national airline, this single event has given Trang the right to claim a niche and secure many happy returns to its glorious beaches.

Venue : Ko Kradan, Sikao District, Trang

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Tourism News

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