As the Kingdom enters into a year-long mourning period following the death of their much-loved King, here's what travellers planning a visit need to know.
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, died in hospital on October 13 after he ruled for 70 years. His Majesty was deeply loved by the Thai people in a way many Westerners can find hard to understand. The public outpouring of grief leads into what has been declared as a full year of mourning for Thais.
Visitors to this beautiful and majestic country have found themselves wondering what is ok and what is not now? The country is now observing a 30-day period of mourning, the government is encouraging the public to carry on as usual.
What you Need to know:
Practice Mindful Behavior
Be aware of your own behavior, even lively, light-hearted mannerisms could be frowned upon. If you are unsure, just dial it down a bit.
You do not need to wear black to the beach, but you will notice many Thai people dressed in black or white as a sign of being in mourning. This type of dress code is not required for tourists, however it is respectful to wear sombre clothing and avoid bright colors.
After Hours Fun
By Government direction, entertainment in Thailand must be ‘toned down’ for a month. While the decision rests with the owners of pubs, bars and nightclubs, many businesses have already closed their doors during the evening.
Talking With The Locals
It is ok to offer your condolences on the passing of The King, but avoid conversation about succession and politics as it is considered taboo.
Most Temples and Markets Will Be Open
Although many businesses closed their doors for the week after The King’s passing, they are now reopened and welcoming patrons. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the only religious sites temporarily closed are Bangkok's Grand Palace and the adjacent Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) as they are the venue of the royal funeral rites
As the Kingdom has just begun its one-year period of mourning, it remains a kingdom of stunning scenery, fascinating history, mouth-watering food, beaches, mountains, cities, villages, and – most importantly – the amazing people who will help you appreciate it.