Tourists Share as History Unfolds at Grand Palace
Whether they realize it or not, tourists currently in Thailand are watching history unfold.
The Grand Palace is bustling between international visitors and Thai people who’ve come to pay respect to the late king. Visitors at the Grand Palace are upfront and in the center as a chapter of Thai history closes. For those traveling, it’s a unique experience as the Kingdom mourns their loss. As they mourn, the Thai people are unified in such a way never witnessed by the visitors we interviewed.
We spoke to international travelers at the Grand Palace hailing from Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, and the United States.
“We came because we wanted to see what’s happening here (Grand Palace) and how the people come for the mourning, how everything is organized; I think it’s quite impressive,” said German visitor, Manny Deuringer.
Ruby Salinas of the United States opined, “Show your respect for the king, show the people that you care, that you’re informed, and don’t cancel your trip this important time in Thailand.”
Visitors Discuss Thailand Travel at Wat Pho
Crowds were out in full force as we stopped by Wat Pho, also known as Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Wat Pho has significant history and is known as the birthplace of Thai massage.
Sushovit Rana, a tourist from Nepal commented, “Nepalese like to believe in the Buddha, golden Buddha, it’s a big honor for us to be here.”
Most powerful of all are the words of Clint Bertucci, a visitor from the United States. Bertucci said, “Thailand is amazing, it’s just a completely different culture, different foods, different way of life, beautiful, the islands down south they’re all absolutely incredible, the people are always welcoming and friendly, there’s not a negative.”
Foreigners Speak Out at Chatuchak Weekend Market
Upon arrival, Chatuchak Weekend Market is buzzing as usual. We met two lively tourists from Mexico and Spain, both ecstatic and prepared to shop.
We ask Yazmin Figueura, a visitor from Mexico, if tourists should have any concern about the passing of the king. Figueura said, “Everything is the same, things are open, temples are open for the public as well, so everything is still the same basically.”
“If you have your flights or if you have plans to come, just do it, there’s nothing really stopping you from enjoying Thailand,” exclaimed Figueura.
Initial 30 Day Mourning Period to End November 14
The initial thirty-day mourning period is scheduled to end November 14, 2016, just in time for the Loy Krathong, a religious ceremony known as the “Festival of Lights.”
The extended mourning period in remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is to last one year. Government employees, civil servants, and state-owned enterprises will recognize this for one year by wearing black. However, it’s likely many Thai citizens will continue to wear black and mourn beyond the initial 30 day period.
While entertainment and music is toned down a bit, foreigners continue to visit.