Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on October 13, 2016, after a 70-year reign. Thialand declared a one-year period of mourning, with restrictions on entertainment and festivities placed on a a 30-day window. TV channels showed only government programming, and Thailand’s newspapers and websites are only producing content in black and white. Many airlines and hotels in Thailand also made changes to their websites as a mark of respect.
Thai people overwhelming loved the king, and the social atmosphere certainly reflects that. Tourists are also feeling this change in climate, with the governemnet asking them to “avoid joyful events” out of respect.
While Thailand is still in a period of mourning, Thailand Covention and Exhibition Bureau announced that the Thei governement wil be lifting restrictions on entertainment and festivities starting November 14, 2016. Specifically, there are nine categories of “entertainment and festivities” that will be now be allowed to resume come November 14.
- National festivals including Loy Krathong, Christmas, New Year;
- Provincial-level festival activities such as the Red Cross Fair and the Phi Ta Khon Festival;
- Provincial, district and local events to promote the economy, such as Walking Streets and bull racing;
- Carnival folk culture such as Likay, traditional music, contests;
- Entertainment venues such as nightclubs, pubs and bars;
- Activities organized at hotel venues, e.g. seminars, receptions and parties;
- Traditional cultural events such as weddings and religious ordination, Thot Khatin and Thot Pha-pa ceremonies; and
- Sports at all levels and cheerleading.
Civil servants have been ordered to wear black for the year-long mourning period, while Thai citizens were urged to wear dark colors for a month. With the lift of these restrictions, visitors are still urged to “respect the traditions of mourning and to act and dress appropriately.”
If you are traveling to Thailand in the coming weeks, this is something worth keeping in mind.