Visiting Thailand during mourning: What travelers need to know

A country in mourning: traveling in Thailand after the death of a beloved King

Travelers to Thailand during October and November 2017 may experience a poignant cultural moment as the nation lays to rest their King of 70 years. If you’re traveling to Thailand, take a moment to read about why King Bhumibol Adulyadej meant so much to the Thai people and how you, as their guest, can show respect and anticipate some slight adjustments to regular life in parts of the country.

A beloved King

Thailand’s longest-reigning Monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, died in October 2016 after reigning for 70 years. He was a beloved ruler and his passing was a great loss to the nation. Millions of Thais have visited Bangkok in the past year to pay their final respects and show their gratitude to the King.


A season of mourning: travel implications and recommendations

During the month of October 2017, a period of mourning will be observed in Thailand. From October 25-29, the Thai government, together with the Palace, will host an official Royal Cremation Ceremony around the Grand Palace and the Royal Plaza in Sanam Luang. A post-Royal Ceremony exhibition will be held at the Grand Palace from November 1-30, 2017. Over a million visitors are expected to visit the area during this period.

Travelers wishing to pay their respects will be able to access the Grand Palace area by foot and should be aware that there will be road closures during these events. Visitors who wish to enter the exhibition should wear black clothing, ideally long pants or skirts, and shirts with sleeves. While some may consider a black ribbon worn with brighter colored clothing acceptable, it’s not encouraged.

Travelers visiting Bangkok during the mourning period should dress in dark colours. If you’re in the city, you can also wear a black ribbon as a sign of respect. There may be a significantly subdued mood and fewer entertainment options during the Royal Cremation Ceremony from October 25-27. While dining and entertainment may be available, travelers should anticipate that these will not be heavily advertised.

You can see a timeline of the funeral and related events here