Bangkok has been in a sober mood since the death of the hugely respected Thai king on 13 October, 2016. The passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was the world’s longest serving monarch at 89 years of age, has rocked the country, unleashing an outpouring of grief for the nation’s adored father figure.
During his 70-year reign, King Bhumibol was a source of stability for a country that has endured coups and political turmoil since his ascension to the throne aged 18. The official mourning period will last a year, a time when expats and visitors need to be super-sensitive to the feelings and customs of the Thai people. Regular travellers to Thailand will know what great esteem the king is held in, with his portrait displayed everywhere, from restaurants to shops (locals even stand for the national anthem before cinema screenings).
You should also be careful what you say, as it’s a criminal offence to make critical or defamatory comments, even online, about any member of the Thai royal family, with lèse-majesté offenders risking lengthy prison sentences or public disapproval.
Note: carry your passport with you, especially if you plan to visit The Grand Palace.
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