Traveling To Thailand After The King’s Death

The death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej has the entire country of Thailand in mourning. As a tourist, this will likely affect your plans somewhat and has the potential to cause major travel issues. Many people seem to be struggling with the best way to adjust their travel plans and enjoy their holiday while the Thailand is mourning the loss of their king. We put this guide together from our experiences while living in Thailand during this difficult time.

traveling-to-thailand-after-the-death-of-the-king

If the King’s death does impact your travel plans, we urge you to put this in perspective. Instead of viewing this as a negative thing, consider it a once in a lifetime glimpse into the culture of the country you are visiting.

A Few Things To Remember While Traveling In Thailand Immediately After The King’s Passing

Remember the king has been in power for the past 70 years, which has been the entire life of most Thais. So, this is a sad and potentially vulnerable time in the country. While his passing may not mean as much to you, keep in mind it will be weighing heavily on the Thai people you encounter while visiting Thailand during the mourning period of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

A few basic tips: 

  • Be respectful and wear muted colors. Most Thais will be wearing black for at least a month if not an entire year. While it may not be practical to wear black every day, try and avoid bright and playful colors out of respect. On the beaches, this will not be expected as much. However, in town, try to be a bit more modest than normal Thailand standards.
  • Assume everyone you encounter is grieving the king’s loss at some level and treat them appropriately.
  • Avoid discussing the king or royal family with Thai people. This should never be done in a very public place or in any negative way. In general, public conversation about the royal family should never be done in Thailand, but it is especially sensitive during this time of mourning and change. There are laws in Thailand called the Lèse majesté that carry a significant penalty for both you and Thai people and is taken quite seriously in Thailand.

Is It Safe To Visit Thailand After The King’s Death?

The short answer is yes. If you have travel plans bringing you to Thailand already booked, you should still visit Thailand. There may be a minor period of adjustment in the country after the new king is crowned, which might make your visit a little more challenging. However, for the majority of tourists, you will likely only run into minor problems when visiting the main tourist cities in Thailand. In summary, still come to Thailand, but be respectful and a little patient.

If you haven’t made travel arrangements yet to Thailand after the king’s death you may want to alter your plans to avoid certain cities in Thailand or choose another destination altogether. This is not so much for safety, but for significant closures during the main mourning period which is October 13th, 2016 to November 13th, 2016. It is still early in the process and difficult to tell what the total impact will be on the country.


What Places Should I Avoid When Visiting Thailand After The King’s Death?

These are somewhat uncertain times and a massive change like this could lead to issues in the country so stay up to date with foreign advisories for tourists in Thailand. This list is simply an assumption and we should not be the only site used while finalizing your itinerary.

Bangkok – The most heavily affected area with closures and ceremonies will be the capital city of Bangkok. The King’s funeral and other happenings with government will likely take place here. Attractions like the Grand Palace will likely be closed to normal visitation for ceremonies to be held here. Various other locations and roads in the city may be closed as well. If you can avoid Bangkok until the end of your travels it may give more time for the ceremonies and grieving period to finish. It would be best to save visiting Bangkok until at least a month after the king’s passing which is November 13th, 2016. Bangkok is our favorite city in the world and a city we always recommend spending at least 3 days in Bangkok.

Hua Hin – This coastal resort town has been a favorite of the King and Royal family for many years. If there is a tourist area that would be further affected by the king’s passage it would be Hua Hin. Recently in August 2016 there were some outbursts of violence in Hua Hin and other areas. It may be best to avoid this area temporarily. As always, if you choose to visit Hua Hin check with governmental advisories prior to your trip.


The Best Places to Visit in Thailand After the Kings Death?

For the most part, cities that rely heavily on tourism will continue to operate as usual. There may be individual restaurants or attractions that are closed temporarily, however most things in the beach resort towns of Thailand will continue as normal.

Koh Lipe - Home Page Slider - Long Tail boat Getting Stamped


Koh Lipe
This small island in the far south relays almost completely on tourism and is unlikely to have major closures. The island is also large enough that if there are prolonged closures in some restaurants there will be enough open to serve the travelers visiting Koh Lipe. Stay in a Koh Lipe Beach Resort and relax in paradise away from the happenings in Bangkok. Don’t forget to head over to the nearby island Koh Adang to hike up to the best viewpoint of Koh Lipe.

Chiang Mai – The “Rose of the North” is located 700 km north of Bangkok surrounded by mountains and green countryside.  Stay in a Chiang Mai hotel right inside the Old City which has over 30 temples or in the trendy Nimman area just a 5 minute Tuk Tuk ride away.

phuket view point

Phuket – Thailand’s biggest beach destination will run for the most part as it always does. However, stay abreast of important ceremonies like the funeral of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the crowning of the successor. These events will likely result in further closures.


Nearby Destinations to Consider Visiting if You Wish To Not Travel In Thailand After The King’s Death

If you already booked a trip to Thailand and you don’t want to travel around Thailand after the King’s passing consider this a time to explore a destination you never planned on visiting. What most people don’t realize is once you’ve arrived in Southeast Asia it is super easy and cheap to fly to nearby countries. There are several budget airlines that operate out of Bangkok (BKK and DMK airports), we have flown several of them of the past four years. Our personal favorites are Air Asia (which we have flown at least 50 times), Thai Smile, and Jet Star. It is not uncommon to get the below flights for under $30 each way. We suggest purchasing one-way tickets and hitting a few of the below Southeast Asia destinations.

Boat in the water by Hoga Island Wakatobi Indonesia

Indonesia – If you had your heart set on the full moon party in Thailand head to Kuta beach in Bali instead. If you aren’t looking for a party scene don’t worry there are a ton of things to do in Bali that don’t involve partying. For a unique experience head to Tanjung Puting National Park spotting wild Borneo Orangutans and spend the night on a boat! Other areas to check out when traveling in Indonesia: Wakatobi, Gili Islands, and Komodo National Park.

Cambodia

Cambodia – If you had your heart set on the Grand Palace head to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat for sunrise. Sure it’s not exactly the same but the temples at Angkor Wat are amazing. The best tuk-tuk driver in Siem Reap showed us around Angkor Wat for 3 days.  Other cities to check out when traveling in Cambodia: Phnom Penh, Koh Rong, and Sihanoukville.

Vietnam CoverVietnam – If you had your heart set on a cooking class in Thailand head to Hoi An Vietnam. One our favorite things to do in Hoi An was taking a cooking class, we literally went in the kitchen at our favorite Hoi An restaurant and learned from the Vietnamese grandma. Other cities to check out when traveling in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh, Hue, Hanoi, and Halong Bay. *BONUS Vietnam is super cheap here is a look at what $5 a day in Vietnam got us.

 

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - Simizu Island - El Nido Tour A-1

Philippines – If you had your heart set on sitting on the beach and being in the water most of the day head instead to the Philippines. The Philippines are simply amazing and typically overlooked when tourists are booking a trip to Southeast Asia.  The best place in the Philippines, according to us, is El Nido. There are a ton of things to do in El Nido and no matter where you go you are bound to find a gorgeous beach. Other islands to consider when traveling in the Philippines: Coron, Boracay, Siargao, and many more!


FAQs About Tourism In Thailand After The King’s Death:

Is the full moon party canceled in October? Yes

Is the full moon party canceled in November? Likely

Likely, the full moon falls on November 14th which is only one day past the one month mark for the initial mourning period and has a high probability of being canceled. This may change, and we will try and update this as changes happen.

Is the Chiang Mai lantern festival Canceled? NO

Initially, the Chiang Mai Lantern Festival called Yi Ping was canceled. As of October 18th, it is back on. However, will not have the entertainment portion like in years past with live music and fireworks.

What should I wear in Thailand after the Kings death?

Wear muted colors (black is best, but not always expected from tourists) whenever possible with shoulders cover in city settings.

Is the Grand Palace Closed? YES, until at least October 20th, 2016

The Grand Palace will likely serve as the venue for many ceremonies in the days and weeks to come. Check with local governmental websites for the most up to date information.

Should I book my winter holiday to Thailand?

Our personal opinion is the king’s passing should not have a significant impact on tourist activities in Thailand. This is especially true after the initial morning period of the first month which is expected to conclude on November 13th. However, the king was known as the glue that held Thailand together and there is always potential and especially with a major change like this for problems to erupt. If you have not booked your holiday yet we would suggest waiting until after the crowning of the king’s successor and other important ceremonies to play out. Consider booking in early November when the picture becomes clearer on how the country will take the loss.


Other sources of information about tourism in Thailand after the king’s death:


The above text is strictly an opinion and should not be the only source of information used in deciding whether or not to travel to Thailand after the passing of the king. We can not be responsible for any loss or issues that may occur when using the advice. However, we hope this helps and if you have any specific questions on traveling to Thailand after the king’s death please leave them in the comments and we will try to respond to them if we have any information.


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Traveling to Thailand after the King's Death

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27 thoughts on “Traveling To Thailand After The King’s Death”

  1. Are you people even serious!!
    Travelling to Thailand AT ANY TIME IS DANEGROUS!!!
    I have had 3 friends killed there,had a gun in my face twice, and know of numerous scams and been scammed and cheated…now the funeral is almost over, both the two most powerful people in Thailand are in exile and pissed off….and all is cool and dandy in Thailand WTF!!
    What planet are u peopleon…anyways,I at least you are right about Philippines, best in Asia by far…good luck to all the stooges out there…and I mean it…I teach survival…

    • Well first off, we have spent well over a year traveling and living in Thailand and never have we seen any such things or heard this happen to anyone we know. I don’t know what type of activities or people you were involved with but they probably weren’t good. Yes now the funeral is almost over, this article was written last year right after his the King of Thailand death. There are scams all over the world, have you been to Europe? Africa? Vietnam?

      The Phillipines is gorgeous and we loved it. Amazing people and places! But are you saying there aren’t scams there? Or deaths?

      I am not sure what planet you are from…clearly one that hates Thailand. Maybe you had a bad expierence I don’t know but trust me it’s nothing like you described.

  2. during the first 30days.
    clothes wear black/white or muted colour.

    how about shoes and bags? i don’t have muted colors for bags/shoes/luggage
    does it matter?

    • Honeslty today Oct 27 I am not even looking at what I am wearing…people are wearing whatever here in Chiang Mai. There are some festivals coming up that might be stricter on white/black clothes. Dont worry at all about shoes/luggage. Safe travels.

  3. Apologies, please remove previous comment! Autocorrect sent in error!!

    Thanks for this information, it is very useful..

    We have booked to go to Thailand for our honeymoon, starting with spending 5 nights in Bangkok over the new year period.

    Are the new year celebrations likely to be cancelled?

  4. This is incredibly helpful, thank you so much! My husband and I are also going mid-November to Thailand (Chiang Mai, Vietnam, Phuket, and Bangkok). We are happy to hear that the Yi Peng lantern festival is still on…does anyone know where to go for that exactly and when? It looks like the festival ranges over a few days and it’s difficult to find information. Also, we have 3 days to spare for Vietnam and decide between HCMC or Hanoi…any preferences? Again, thanks a ton…we have been reading tourist updates daily to find out more information since the King’s passing, and these posts have been very helpful.

  5. Hi,

    Myself and 2 girl friends wud be in Thailand from Nov 11 – 23. The first 4 days in Bangkok, hoping things get easy by then. Thanks for all the informative points you’ve provided 🙂

    Thinking to do a day trip to the temple in Cambodia in one of the first 4 days from Bangkok, is the train a feasible option to Siem Reap? Could I also get the tUK tuk drivers email / phone…Thanks.

    We were only able to stay 2.5 in the south..Phuket…could we do island tours including phi phi in one day? Also Phang Nga?

    Thanks for your help!

    • I would fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap, the border can take some time and is full of scams. Look at AirAsia.com for Skyscanner for cheap flights. Once there you can have our favorite driver pick you up at the airport for free, more about Sok here https://www.gettingstamped.com/best-tuk-tuk-driver-siem-reap/ best to Facebook message/email him. You should be able to fly from Siem Reap to Phuket. Yes there are day trips from Phuket to Phi Phi, we’ve never been Phang Nga. Safe travels!

  6. I found this really helpful, we’re going to Thailand for the first time in November and had planned 4 nights in Bangkok (1 night on arrival then 3 before flying back to London) but it sounds like 3 may be better. I was planning on taking some dark colored clothing so will definitely do that after your suggestion

    • So glad we could help you. 4 nights in Bangkok is good to, Bangkok is our favorite city in the world. I wouldn’t over do it on the clothes, here in Chiang Mai we feel like people are wearing black but not to the extreme. In November you should be fine, I just would’t do hot pink etc. let us know if you have any other questions. Safe travels.

  7. Thank you for a very helpful post! We are scheduled to land in Thailand on Dec. 4 – staying in Bangkok until the 9th. One of our guides just advised us that the King’s Birthday is Dec. 5. She anticipated the Old City being unusually crowded with mourners paying their respects. We have shifted our plans for city tours from the 5th to the 7th or 8th. Now on to reading your 3 Day Guide and emailing your fav Tuk Tuk driver for our Cambodia leg.

    • Glad we could help! You are going to love Bangkok make sure to check out our 3 days in Bangkok guide and message us if you have any questions or need hotel suggestions.Yes, Dec 5 is his birthday. Email Sok in Seam Reap for sure he is amazing, tell him we say hi! I’ll mention you’ll be emailing him, I talk to him weekly still. He’s great.

      • Super! We are staying at Nine Design in Bangkok and Kate & Hosu in Chiang Mai. The 3 day Guide is helping a lot as are your Chiang Mai notes. By the time we get there, my husband will probably need a barber. I have emailed Sok, but have not heard from him yet. Please do follow up with him when you talk as it will help. I really appreciate the help!

        • I messaged Sok about your email, I always talk with him via Facebook messenger https://www.facebook.com/sok.menea.1 try that as well. Haircut there are plenty of cheap barbers in Thailand but I and Adam go to New York New York in Chiang Mai it’s an Aveda salon, a haircut for him will be about $15ish dollars depending on who does it. I just email/facebook message them to make my appointments. You could get one as cheap as $3 but depends on your needs. Nine Design Place in Bangkok in a really good location and right by the BTS. In Chiang Mai you are just outside the moat so you can walk to everything in the moat. We live in the Nimman area you’d have to take a taxi/songthaew there. Your hotel is right by the night market make sure to go to the ladyboy show (its pretty clean) it’s fun cheap entertainment. Safe travels.

          • We have been communicating with Sok. Thank you for the help. We are on his schedule. He isn’t too clear on cost, but we will figure it all out. My husband said when he was stationed in Ubon they all counseled not to hit on the beautiful tuk tuk driver – she may not be what you expected. Can’t wait!

    • From our research “King Bhumibol will not be cremated until the national mourning period, which ends about one year after his death was announced.” We aren’t certain when the funeral is, I will update the article if we find it out.

  8. Such a useful and informative post! I arrive on November 2nd with my husband for our honeymoon and we are so concerned about the impact this news has made. My biggest concern was safety of course but also closure/canceled events. We have plans to travel to Bangkok, the islands (phuket and krabi) and Chiang Mai for the lantern festival. What a relief to hear the festival is back on! Great suggestions for travels to the neighboring countries as well. I will continue to follow to look for any potential updates. Thank you so much we are so appreciate for this post. I haven’t been able to find any articles or other posts that have answered all my questions, my travel company hasn’t even gotten back to us. Thank you again!

    • Don’t stress about it too much, it’s your honeymoon! As of now the lantern festival is back on, we are planning on going to it ourselves! We love Bangkok and always suggest people spend 3 days, it’s actually our favorite city in the world. Let us know if you have any other questions. Safe travels.

  9. Very useful article, thank you!
    We booked our Thailand holiday six months ago, we’ll be there since Oct 31st to Nov 13th and I really hope we’ll have few disruptions. For six days in Phi-Phi and 4 in Phuket we should be OK, let’s see the last 3 days in Bangkok.

    • Just keep up to date with the news. I wouldn’t worry too much about those areas. We love Bangkok and it’s a must when visiting Thailand. The biggest disruption seems to be the full moon party, which we’ve never been to it’s just not our thing. Safe travels!

      • Back home and I can say only in Bangkok we have seen a lot of Thai people wearing black clothes, in Phi Phi and in Phuket it was rather business as usual, just some fireshows were cancelled.

        For Grand Palace there were separate entries for Thais wanting to pay their respect and for foreigners, but other than that, no disruptions. Maybe Khaosan Road was a bit quieter than usual, but after midnight disco music was really loud and people were partying.

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