Horse racing in Bangkok is not only for the members of the royal family and the high society. If you’re in Bangkok, chances are, you’re one of those who love the sport and have come to Bangkok for horse racing. You’re in luck, if that’s the case: besides the Lotto, horse racing is the only form of legal gambling in Thailand.
There are only two race courses in Bangkok: the Royal Turf Club and the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. Fortunately, entrance is possible and granted to both if you’re going to place a bet. So, whether you’re an avid fan of the sport or you just want to experience the thrill of watching horses race, you can come gamble at the two aforementioned clubs.
Horse racing began in Thailand many years ago in 1897 when King Rama V returned from a State visit in Europe, and civil servants and students studying abroad organized a horse race at the Phra Main Ground as a way to welcome his return. This piqued the people’s interest in Western style horse races. Soon after, the King donated some land to be made as the first race course in the country. The King wanted to introduce the sport to Thailand. He also wanted to improve the quality of horse breeding practices in the country while providing sporting facilities at par with the standards of other countries. The sport officially began in Thailand when the Royal Bangkok Sports Club first opened.
Today, the Royal Bangkok Sports Club also operates as an exclusive venue with facilities for some of the most popular sports in Thailand. Inside the club, there’s a recreational swimming pool, a clubhouse, polo facilities, tennis courts, golf course and many others. It holds famous competition cups in the country such as the Royal Darby Cup, Ram Rakop Cup, Phraya Pradipatpubal Cup and the Chairman’s Cup. It also became the center for horse training and testing and hosts about 26 horse races each year.
The Royal Bangkok Sports Club is open by invitation to non-members. So, if you don’t have an invite and you’re not a member, the easiest way to get in is to place a wager. The minimum bet required is 50 Baht but there’s no limit to how high you can bet. You can collect your winnings if your horse comes first and second only.
Where and When to See the Horse Races.
Horse racing in Bangkok happens every Sunday alternating between the Royal Turf Club and the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. There are about 10 races starting from the afternoon with the starting hour varying greatly. It’s best to call the club first to know for sure. The Royal Bangkok Sports Club is located at Henri Dunant Road, North of Rama IV Road with contact number +66 (0)2 251 0181. The Royal Turf Club can be found in Phitsanulok Road, Suan Chitralada in Dusit district. Their telephone number is +66 (0)2 628 1810-5. A small entrance fee is required at both clubs upon entrance.