Thailand Mourns The Passing Of King Bhumibol Adulyadej – Public Life Expected To Halt!

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The Thai Royal Household has confirmed the passing of the revered King Bhumibol of Thailand which is sending the country into a state of mourning that is expected to last weeks.

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LoyaltyLobby has covered Thailand as a tourist destination and origin of various travel deals as recently as this week and we feel it’s reasonable to have a few words for our readers regarding the situation.

As a website about Travel & Loyalty Programs we usually don’t cover political or religious events unless they have a severe impact on the country as a travel destination. Thailand is a popular tourist destination as well as a gateway into Asia for many of our readers. Based on our weekly feedback in comments and emails LoyaltyLobby also has a large audience from Thailand and to respect their feelings in these dark days for the country we try to inform our readers brief and in clear cut words.

You can find more information about the situation and some background in this New York Times article.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who took the throne of the kingdom once known as Siam shortly after World War II and held it for more than 70 years, establishing himself as a revered personification of Thai nationhood, died on Thursday in Bangkok. He was 88 and one of the longest-reigning monarchs in history.

The royal palace said Thursday that he died at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, but it did not give a cause or further details.

King Bhumibol, politically influential and highly revered, was a unifying figure in a deeply polarized country, and his death casts a pall of uncertainty across Thailand.

The current situation (I’m in Bangkok at the moment) is that many roads are under security surveillance and/or one way lock down. There was also a security warning in recent days about a possible threat from terrorists linked to southern insurgents though it’s being speculated these reasons were trumped up to prepare the city for this event ahead of time.

As mentioned the King is highly revered all over the country and beyond it’s borders. As such it is customary and expected that entertainment establishments of any nature (this includes regular bars and nightclub venues) will cease operation for at least 15 Days, some speculate it might also last longer. In addition the sale of alcohol will also be prohibited from sale in both retail stores as well as hotels. Other areas of public life might also come to a standstill including government services or the mail.

These are experiences based on previous events which had a far lesser magnitude than the passing of King Bhumibol. In addition to the tragic passing there will also be formal prodecures of the royal househol for the coronation of the new King which will also impact public life and services. I know no details about these things beyond a few sparse media reports so that’s all I can really say about it.

There are no details in terms of the actual limitations and consequences for the public, only estimates and if you plan to travel to Thailand in the near future or are here already, I suggest to follow local English speaking media such as the Bangkok Post and especially your diplomatic missions citizen services announcements very closely. I myself have a flight booked out of Thailand on Monday (coincidence, I booked it months ago) and will be able to update you first hand about the flow at the airport by then.

You can find Citizen Services of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok here.

Travel Advisory of the UK Foreign Office can be accessed here.

The German Embassy in Bangkok updates their citizens here and also offers a registry for German citizens residing in the country either permanently or temporarily.

Conclusion

These are difficult times for the country and it’s a traumatic experience for Thai citizens to whom we send our well wishes.

Again, if you travel to Thailand keep an eye on public announcements and be prepared that it won’t be the ideal time to expect enjoying all aspects of a normal holiday that usually entails entertainment of sorts as that most likely won’t be happening in the weeks to come.

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