On Thursday October 13th 2016, the Thai authorities announced the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He reigned for over 70 years, making him the world’s longest reigning monarch. He was highly revered by the people of Thailand. The Prime Minister announced a year long period of mourning following the death of his Royal Highness, the King.
If you plan to visit the country during this time of mourning, we advise to do your research ahead of time, especially if you have a specific place, venue or occasion you want to see. Some entertainment and tourist venues have been restricted across the country. Some popular concerts in Bangkok and festivals have been cancelled and many bars temporarily closed.
Often times, tourists do want to be respectful, but just not aware of some cultural differences. Here are some dos and don’ts that you might find helpful if you plan to visit Thailand during their time of mourning:
DO respect the feelings and sensitivities of the Thai people. Some have considered the King as a “father figure” of the country.
DO NOT make lots of noise or talk negatively about the monarchy per the strict lèse-majesté laws. Any insult or criticism about any member of the royal family could be punishable with jail time up to 15 years on each count.
DO respect that many restaurants, bars and shopping centers will be closed and some for a long period of time. You might want to plan ahead for situations when you cannot easily find restaurants. Groceries and markets will be open.
DO NOT complain on how entertainment or establishments are closed. Please remember that they are in mourning.
DO wear somber and respectful clothing. Pack clothes other than shorts and sleeveless shirts. Be aware that some locals have only worn black clothing.
DO continue to check local media so you are aware of the situation as it develops. Note that some media have only printed their stories in black and white.
DO register with your local Embassy.
By no means be put off from visiting the beautiful country of Thailand, but have a heightened awareness of their mourning and how it might affect you. A little planning ahead of time and flexibility can go a long way.
For other general safety tips when traveling, check out: “Checklist: 24 Safety Tips Before & While Traveling Abroad.“
Update as of October 14, 2016 from TAT News.
**If any other tips can be added above to help visitors to Thailand, feel free to message the admin here.