The Royal Cremation (Oct 25-29) will be the event of a lifetime. To help you pay your final respects, and to know how the Royal Cremation will affect life in Bangkok, we've put together this guide to the period.
1. The funeral pyre will be set alight at 7pm, Oct 26
The 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard and the 1st Artillery Battalion, King's Guard on behalf of the Royal Thai Armed Forces will officially light the pyre, with events televised on channels 3, 7, 5, MCOT, Thai PBS, NBT.
2. There will be free public transport from Oct 25-27 to help people reach Sanam Luang
To ease traffic congestion, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has announced that the BRT, public boats and parts of the BTS will be free to use on Oct 25-27. According to Thai PBS, the full Sukhumvit and Silom BTS lines will be free on Oct 26, with the On Nut-Samrong and Wongwian Yai-Bang Wa extensions free for the full three days. The MRT subway will also be free all day on Oct 26.
3. The Royal Crematorium zone will stay open to the public for one month following the ceremonies
Brought to life in just nine months (a project this size would normally take three years), HM King Bhumibol’s funeral pyre represents the pinnacle of modern Thai craftsmanship. The Royal Crematorium zone surrounding the pyre will stay open for one month following the cremation to give people a chance to witness the incredibly intricate building. It will be open to the public from 7am-10pm, Nov 1-30.
4. Eighty-five Royal Crematorium replicas will be placed around the country
Replicas of the Royal Crematorium at Sanam Luang will be placed in each of the 76 provinces, as well as at nine sites in and around Bangkok. These are: the Royal Plaza, the former Government Lottery Office, Nagaraphirom Park, King Rama I Plaza, Dhupateme Royal Thai Air Force Sports Stadium, Bitec Bang Na, Buddha Monthon Park, Khon Muang Plaza at City Hall, and King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.
5. Oct 13 and Oct 26 have been declared public holidays
One year to the day on which the late King died, on Oct 13, will be recognized as a public holiday. The second public holiday, on Oct 26, falls on the day of the cremation. Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Wat Benchamabophit will remain open as normal on both days.
6. 250,000 people are expected to gather at the Royal Cremation
According to The Nation, the crowd at Sanam Luang on on Oct 26 is expected to reach 250,000 people.
7. People can participate in funeral-flower laying rituals in the temples closest to their homes
For people who can’t travel to Sanam Luang, many temples such as Wat Indra Viharn, Wat Mahannapharam, Wat Ben Cha Ma Bophit Dusit Wana Ram Ratchaworawihan and Wat Racha Thiwat Worawihan will set up places for them to lay their flowers.
8. Rehearsals of the funeral procession take place on Oct 7, 15
With the participation of over 2,000 officials, the three funeral processions to carry the Royal Urn of HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej from the Grand Palace to Sanam Luang are scheduled for rehearse on Oct 7 and 15.
9. The Grand Palace will remain closed to the public till Oct 30
The Grand Palace and The Temple of the Emerald Buddha will be closed to the public from Oct 1-29. However, the nearby temples (Wat Arun, Wat Pho and Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple) will remain open.
11. There will be major closures on Oct 26
These include the following:
- Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (throughout Oct)
- Ananta Samakom Throne Hall (throughout Oct)
- Paruskawan Palace and The Police Museum (throughout Oct)
- Muay Thai fights at Rajadamnern Stadium (throughout Oct)
- Most banks (ones inside the malls included)
- Post offices, and post shops
- Central department stores will close at 3pm (except CentralWorld and Central Rama ll)
- 7-Elevens will close at 3pm (nationwide)
- CP Fresh Marts will close at 3pm (nationwide)
- True shops will close at 3pm (except those at airports)
- Tesco Lotus will close at 2pm
- Major Cineplex (nationwide)
- Dream World, Safari World, Siam Niramit, Siam Park City, Dinosaur Planet
- Bangkok City Library (Ratchadamnoen)
- Thailand Knowledge Park (CentralWorld)
- Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
- Isetan department store (CentralWorld)
- Blu-O Rhythm & Bowl
11. There is no formal ban on nightlife
Though there are no official restrictions for nightlife venues, the government has asked for clubs and bars to show respect during the funeral period. Expect many entertainment spots to be closed on Oct 26.