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Should You Cancel Your Trip to Thailand During the Mourning Period?

Could you still push through the sightseeing now that Thailand is in a 30-day Mourning Period?

As you may have heard in the news, Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej left his country in mourning in the afternoon of October 13. In line with his passing, the country has officially declared a 30-day National Mourning Period, in which tourism will be affected.

Many travellers are now wondering if they should postpone (or even cancel) their trip to Thailand. Some are also asking what they can expect should they visit Thailand within the next few months.

Should you postpone your trip to Thailand?

Well, what are you planning to see and do in Thailand?

Many events such as concerts and festivals have been cancelled or postponed, but most tourist attractions are still open as usual.  On top of that, all transport, shopping areas and banks will be operating as usual, as with restaurants, cafes, hotels and resorts.

explore, travel, should you cancel your trip to thailand during the mourning period?
Image credit: Transformer18

So if you’re planning a sightseeing trip, shopping vacation or beach getaway, you can definitely have a smooth trip. Cultural and historical attractions like Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and National Museum Bangkok are still open to the public. The Chiang Mai Shopping Street and Night Bazaar are open as usual. Even shows like the Alcazar Cabaret and Tiffany’s Show in Pattaya are up and running.

explore, travel, should you cancel your trip to thailand during the mourning period?
Image credit: Thomas Ballandras | Wat Pho

However, you need to be prepared for delays as there could be reduced number of staff or periods of closure. In certain parts of Bangkok, there might also be congestion as people from the provinces will be going to the city to pay respects to the king.

If you were planning a holiday filled with partying and drinking, you might not get as much as you are expecting. Alcohol will only be served until midnight, and bars and nightclubs around the country may also close earlier than usual.

explore, travel, should you cancel your trip to thailand during the mourning period?
Image credit: Per Meistrup

Also, you might want to reconsider your trip if you were planning to see the concerts or join the Full Moon Festival. Thailand’s biggest month-long festival, the Full Moon Party, which was supposed to start on October 17 in Koh Pha Ngan Island, has been cancelled. Other huge events happening in the country, including the Oasis concert (October 17), Morrissey concert (October 18) and the Big Bang concert (October 29 & 30) have all been cancelled. For a full list of cancelled or postponed events, you can visit TAT News.

Then again, you have probably made your bookings way ahead of time and letting those plane tickets and hotel reservations go down the drain is such a waste of money. Why not go ahead with the trip and make the most out of it instead?

Thailand will still be Thailand, only a bit sadder. You will not only get to see the country’s beauty but also the people’s dedication and love for their former King. And that’s something you will rarely experience in your lifetime.

How tourists should dress and behave

Tourists are encouraged to dress respectfully, meaning no flamboyant or flashy clothes in public. You are not expected to wear black but if you do not have “mourning” clothes (blacks or whites), the Thais would appreciate it if you can pin a black ribbon instead.

explore, travel, should you cancel your trip to thailand during the mourning period?
Image credit: fry_theonly | Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) will  re-open on 1 Nov after the Royal Funeral Rites

As much as you would like to be in a festive mood in Thailand, keep it to yourself, at least during this time of mourning. You can probably still do the partying in the club or in your hotel room, though.

Thailand’s lese majeste law, which is one of the strictest in the whole world, could end you up in jail for 15 years if you are caught insulting, defaming or threatening a member of the royal family. That includes social media posts, too. You can listen in to conversations but try to keep your thoughts to yourself.

Be in your best behaviour, follow the rules and respect their customs.

How long will this last?

Although the official statement says that the mourning period will last for 30 days, until November 13, these restrictions can last up to a year. As such, visitors will have to expect that other major events such as the Songkran will be less lively next year.

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