Thailand is grieving over the death last week of revered King Bhumibol Aduladej at age 88, with many Thais wearing black as they begin a year of official mourning.
The world’s longest-serving monarch ascended the throne in 1946.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) have each issued guidelines to help Australians visiting Thailand in coming months.
“This is a time of deep sorrow for Thai people,” DFAT stated.
“To demonstrate respect for the Thai people, refrain from any behaviour that may be interpreted as festive, disrespectful or disorderly. Abide by local laws and respect Thai customs.
“There may be some disruption of commercial and public services during the mourning period, especially during the first 30 days (until 13 November). Tourist attractions are open with the exception of Wat Pra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
“Expect traffic disruptions and heightened security around these areas as people pay their respects to the late King. Consult your tour operator and monitor local media for information regarding how your individual travel plans may be impacted.”
TAT said it would like all visitors to Thailand to continue with their travel plans as normal.
TAT advising visitors of the following:
- Many Thai people will be wearing black or white clothing as a sign of mourning. This is not required of visitors but if possible, they should wear sombre and respectful clothing when in public.
- Visitors should refrain from conducting any inappropriate or disrespectful behaviour.
- Tourist attractions will be open as usual with the exception of Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace, as they will be the venue of the Royal Funeral Rites.
- The Government has asked for the cooperation from the entertainment venues; such as, bars and nightclubs to consider the opening of their business operations during this time. The decision will be made by the individual owners.
- Most of the traditional and cultural events will be taking place as usual, although the celebrations may be changed for appropriateness as a mark of respect, or the events may be dedicated to the memory of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
- All transport, banks, hospitals and other public services will be operating as usual.
- The related authorities have stepped up safety and security measures for all Thais and visitors to facilitate their travelling around the country.
TAT also issued advice on the Royal Religious Rites and status of attractions and events during the Mourning Period.
A bulletin stated:
As Thailand is currently in a period of national mourning after the passing of the beloved monarch His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, many thousands of mourners have gathered around the Grand Palace in Bangkok to be present for the royal religious rites and ceremonies taking place and to pay their respects to the father of the nation.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to ask that members of the public stay updated via media announcements and notices from the Bureau of the Royal Household as well as the Royal Thai Government to ensure accurate information. We also request that the solemnity of these rites are observed and the visitors – local and international – wear respectful attire.
In the period of national mourning, some festivals and activities in the kingdom have been cancelled or postponed. Other events will go ahead as planned but may be toned down as a mark of respect.
The TAT would like to recommend that any visitors with travel or tourism plans reconfirm with agents and check local media regularly as well as follow the advice of the local authorities for announcements and updates. They should also be aware that in some areas transportation could be affected. We also ask tourists and visitors for their understanding and patience should they experience delays or some routes may be closed to traffic.
Status of tourist attractions
The Grand Palace and The Temple of the Emerald Buddha Closed 14-20 October 2016
Wat Pho (The Temple of the Reclining Buddha) Open as usual
Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn) Open as usual
National Museum Bangkok Open as usual (09.00-16.00 Hrs.)
Queen’s Gallery Closed 14-16 October 2016
Ratchadamnoen Boxing Stadium Closed until further notice
Lumpini Boxing Stadium Ramindra Closed for one month from October 2016
Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum Closed 14-16 October 2016
The Alcazar Cabaret, Pattaya Open as usual (daily show times at 17.00, 18.30, 20.00 and 21.30 Hrs., but the last show has been cancelled until end of October 2016
Tiffany’s Show, Pattaya Open as usual (daily show times at 18.00, 19.30 and 21.00 Hrs.)
Muay Thai Live at Asiatique The Riverfront Closed, until 17 October 2016
Siam Niramit Open as usual (17.00-20.00 Hrs.)
Phuket Simon Cabaret Open as usual (18.00-22.30 Hrs.)
Calypso at Asiatique The Riverfront Open as usual (no alcohol)
The Square Buddha Amulet Market, Bangkok Closed until further notice
Chiang Mai Walking Street on Saturday and Sunday & Chiang Mai Night Bazaar Closed until further notice
Status of events and cultural festivals
Buffalo Racing Festival 2016, Chon Buri 9-15 October 2016
Nakhon Phanom Illuminated Boat Procession 9-17 October 2016
Oasis: Supersonic – Thailand Premiere, Bangkok 17 October 2016
Morrissey Live in Bangkok 18 October 201 6
Scorpions 50th Anniversary Tour 2016, BITEC, Bangkok 26 October 2016
2016 Lee Jongsuk Fan Meeting Variety in Bangkok, Thunder Dome, Bangkok 28 October 2016
BIGBANG Made [V.I.P] Tour in Bangkok, IMPACT Arena 29-30 October 2016
Ghost Fair at Mega Bangna, Bangkok 20-31 October 2016
Bangkok Symphony Orchestra 2016 – The Sound of Thai Heritage 21 October 2016
Yi Peng Chiang Mai 12-15 November 2016
Pattaya Loi Krathong Festival 14 November 2016
Pattaya International Fireworks Festival 25-26 November 2016
New Year Celebrations, Pattaya 31 December 2016 – 1 January 2017
*Many local and international concerts and performances have also been cancelled.
Events postponed indefinitely or to new date
The End of the Buddhist Lent at Indo-China Market, Mukdahan 14-16 October 2016
Concert Moderndog at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani 15 October 2016
Concert ECTat Bitec Bangna, Bangkok 15 October 2016
Group Riding Bangkok 16 October 2016
FB Battery River Kwai Half Marathon at Kanchanaburi 16 October 2016
Chanthaburi Scenic Marathon 29-30 October 2016
Harmony World Puppet in Kanchanaburi 2016 (1-7 November 2016 (new dates 20-26 February 2017)
Krabi Adventurous Trophy 2016 4-5 November 2016
Bangkok Street Show 2016 at Lumpini Park 10-12 December 2016
Events going ahead but scaled back
Rap Bua Festival at Bangphli, Samut Prakan, 12-15 October 2016
Poi Lynn Sib Et Festival, Mae Hong Son, 14-16 October 2016
The Bureau of the Royal Household http://brh.thaigov.net/brh-2011/index.php – in Thai
The Royal Thai Government: http://www.thaigov.go.th/en/index.php – in English
Department of the Government Public Relations Department http://thailand.prd.go.th/main.php?filename=index – In English
TAT Contact Center: http://www.tatcontactcenter.com/index.php
Tourism Authority of Thailand International Public Relations Division
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2250 0246
Edited by Peter Needham