Puckered out after three years of kissing, Pattaya’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! spent Valentine’s Day looking for the world’s longest hug.
Thirty-one couples opened their arms at the Royal Garden Plaza amusement center for the Feb. 14 attempt to beat the current world record held by British gay couple Sanderson Jones and Mikey Lear at 25 hours, 22 minutes and 36 seconds. Thailand’s sweethearts, however, would face direct competition from Australia, where another hugging marathon was taking place.
In theory, the rules were simple: Couples of any gender who are at least 18 years old had to embrace continuously for a full 26 hours. They would get a five-minute break each hour, with the opportunity to stockpile breaks for longer pauses. No movement would be allowed during the hug and contestants who broke their hand grips would be disqualified. Got an itch? Get an audience member to scratch it. Participants also had to remain awake for the duration with no pillows or cushions for support.
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome congratulates the winners of the diamond rings, Malin Kemil (2nd left) and Thamasak Karnchanadul (2nd right) with the marketing managers of the World Gem’s Collection and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Pattaya Vice President Somporn Naksuetrong (right).
Only five couples quit or were disqualified in the first 25 hours. And then the news came that the Aussie huggers topped out at 26 hours and five minutes. Ripley’s officials set the Thai goal for 26 hours, 26 minutes and 26 seconds for the 26 remaining couples.
Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome blew the final whistle, with all 26 still standing. The 300,000 baht prize money was equally split among the contestants, giving each 11,538 baht.
26 Thai couples set a Guinness world record for longest hug at Ripley’s Pattaya Valentine’s Day contest.
The lucky prize drawing contest also took place after the clock was stopped, giving the chance for the contestants to win two diamond rings, three VIP tickets for the Tiffany Show Pattaya, ten Major Cineplex movie tickets and four three-days, two-night stays at the Anatara Hotels in Koh Samui, Phuket, Bangkok, or Hua Hin, or Marriot Hotel & Spa in Pattaya.
The rings from World Gems went to Thamasak Karnchanadul, 29, and Malin Kemil, 27.
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome (center) and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Pattaya Vice President Somporn Naksuetrong (right) toasting a glass of white wine to the countdown of the World’s longest hug.
Contestants grip on their loved ones tight after the whistle was blown to start the contest.
Exhausted contestants rest after 26 hours, 26 minutes and 26 seconds of hugging.
The 26 contestants who broke the Guinness world record celebrated a hard won victory.