Thailand

Kite flying as a sport has been popular in Thailand for at least the last 700 years. The kite craze of the 1300s reached such a height, that in 1358, a palace decree was issued stating that kites were not to be flown in the vicinity of the royal palace.

Thai kite fighting, in a form substantially similar to today, was enjoyed as a sport by King Rama II (1809 – 1824). Thai kite fighting is an aerial battle of the sexes; male, chula and female, pakpao are the combatants. The chula is a large (8 and a half feet tall) and sturdy 5-pointed star, equipped with three sets of bamboo barbs for snagging the female. The pakpao is a much smaller (about 3 feet tall) diamond-shaped kite that is highly maneuverable. It is equipped with a loop of line and a tail that are used to entangle the chula. Annual competitions, lasting 15 days in April, are still held today in Sanam Luang, the park adjacent to Bangkok’s Grand Palace.