On Thursday, 13 October, 2016, the King of Thailand passed away at the age of 88. This ushers in a profound period of mourning for Thailand, and we wish to express our heartfelt condolences.
Expectations for Visitors and Residents in Thailand
Visitors to and residents of Thailand should expect the following:
- During the first 30 days, some planned or ongoing entertainment, sporting events, and concerts may be postponed or cancelled.
- October full moon party is cancelled
- October 16 is also an important Buddhist event Wak Awk Pansa, and so alcohol will not be for sale
- Some stores and restaurants may close voluntarily or not serve alcohol over the weekend (including Saturday, October 15).
- Many people will wear black or white during the first 30 days, and some, along with government employees, will wear black or a black armband or ribbon for 1 year, which is the official government period of mourning.
- It is important to observe this period by dressing in black or white, or at least subdued colors. A foreign news cameraman who had a rather loud pink shirt and green shorts was strongly encouraged by a crowd of people to change his clothes. This is a sensitive issue, and it is important to meet expectations.
- Loud music and shouting will be strongly discouraged as well.
- Negative comments regarding this situation or royalty in general are strongly discouraged. Thailand has very strict Lese Majeste laws, and they apply both in person and on the Internet, as social media is monitored.
- Loy Krathong / Yi Peng celebration events will still take place but the government-organized events (parade, beauty contest, fireworks) have been scaled back at this time. Private observance is allowed to continue as normal, though entertainment (music) may be more subdued.
- Many websites and print publications have turned monochromatic, and are only using black and white (and grayscale) colors, including Google
Longest-reigning Monarch in Thailand
Bhumibol Adulyadej (5 December 1927 – 13 October 2016), known as King Bhumibol the Great, was the ninth monarch of Thailand from the Chakri Dynasty as Rama IX. Having reigned since 9 June 1946, he was, at the time of his death, the world’s longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, serving for 70 years, 126 days.
- Tourism Authority of Thailand – Update 22 Oct 2016
- Thaizer – Thailand Mourns Death of the King
- Khaosod – What’s Canceled, Closed, and Open in Bangkok During Mourning Period
- Ad Age – The Death of Thailand’s King Is Having a Massive Impact on Media There
- Bangkok Post – Key Tourist Events in Provinces put off or cancelled
- Chiang Rai Ties – Official protocol during the time of mourning
- Wikipedia – Bhumibol Adulyadej