It is not only tennis that players get to experience when they visit a country to play a WTA tournament, they also have the chance to experience local culture and traditions. On Friday in Huahin a sunrise ceremony with local monks, caviar tasting and squid fishing were all on the menu for players at the GSB Thailand Open presented by E@.
An early 6am wake up call for World No.15 Petra Martic and Thailand’s Qualifying Wild Card Mhai Mananchaya rewarded the pair with a beautiful sunrise on the beach and a traditional merit making ceremony with local monks. The ceremony is a Thai Buddhist tradition where food and drink is offered to the monks who then offer blessings in return.
Caviar tasting proved the perfect activity for Australia’s Arina Rodionova and fellow Aussies Storm Sanders and Ellen Perez. The trio learned about the unique production methods of beluga caviar at the Thai Sturgeon Farm in Hua Hin before they were treated to a taste of the luxury black caviar produced for the Caviar House of Bangkok.
Barbara Haas and Lin Zhu were treated to an evening squid fishing trip as the sun set over Hua Hin beach. The Austrian and Chinese players learned that squid feed at night and are attracted to light and therefore are easier to catch when it is dark. An added bonus was eating the freshly caught squid!
Other activities provided throughout the week in Hua Hin for players to experience more of the region are visits to Ratchapak Park to see the seven giant bronze statues of Thai kings, a visit to Khao Takiab, otherwise known as Chopstick Mountain as well as a trip to see Wat Huay Mongkol, a Buddhist temple that is home to the world’s largest statue of Luang Phor Thuad, a legendary Thai monk.
For players interested in animal conservation they can learn about the work of the Hutsadin Elephant Foundation where elephants abandoned by their owners due to ill health, old age or simply because they are unable to work are rescued and cared for.