Royal Cremation for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand

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Date: October 4th 2017
Traveller: Carla Rijnders
On Thursday 13 October 2016, King Bhumibol passed away. He was the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history and in the world, serving for more than 70 years. He was Thailand’s most beloved King in living memory, and the nation was immersed in sorrow when they heard of his passing. In the following period hundreds of thousands – if not more – people queued up to pay their last respects at the Grand Palace in the capital.
Now, almost a year later, the Royal Thai Government has announced that the Royal Cremation for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej is scheduled for 25-29 October 2017. The actual cremation will take place on Thursday, 26 October. This has been declared as a public holiday so that everyone is able to attend the funeral and pay their final tribute to their beloved King.

During the Royal Cremation period, tourist attractions across the country will remain open as usual, with the exception of Bangkok’s Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The last one will be closed from 1-29 October, as this will be the venue for the Royal Cremation. All public services (hotels, hospitals, shopping areas, public transport, etc) will be operating as usual. Obviously, it is recommended to follow the advice of the local authorities for announcements and updates. We recommend everyone coming to Thailand during this period to follow the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s newsroom or the dedicated website for the Royal Cremation for more information.  

And finally some recommendations for visitors to Thailand:
  • Wear sombre clothing during the month of October. If you don’t have any white, grey or black clothing, take along a black ribbon at the immigration counter, or other spots around the country and pin this on your clothes when in public. This is not required but definitely appreciated by the Thai people.
  • Most traditional and cultural events, such as the vegetarian festival in Phuket, Phra Samut Chedi Temple Fair and the Rub Bua Festival in Bang Phli will go ahead, however, celebrations may be changed for appropriateness.
  • Most parties have been cancelled for the entire month, and all entertainment venues are also asked not to conduct any rowdy performances for 30 days.
  • Thai TV shows will go black and white from 1st October. Until the 20th they have to stop or reduce the number of entertainment shows, and from 21-24 October all programs will be about King Bhumibol. From 25-29 October only the funeral will be aired.
  • Plan travels to and from your hotel extra carefully during the royal cremation to allow more time. The city anticipates massive crowds in front of the Grand Palace to witness the occasion. Therefore try to make use of the BTS Skytrain as much as possible to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
  • And last but not least, in this time of great sadness and mourning for the people of Thailand, make sure you refrain from conducting any inappropriate or disrespectful behaviour.

Don’t forget that even though all these things are happening in Thailand, it still welcomes everyone during this historic period. Visitors to the country will be able to witness the great love the Thai people have for their beloved King.

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