After the sad death of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 13th 2016 Thailand entered an official 1 year period of mourning. This is an especially sensitive time for the people of Thailand, and a time when visitors must take in to account the circumstances and be duly respectful.
There are understandably a lot of tourists worried about what impact the death of The King will have on Thailand’s tourist industry, and specifically their own vacation plans. Initially there was a lot of false information such as “all entertainment venues in Thailand to be closed for 30 days” circulating the web.
If you are visiting Pattaya I can tell you those rumors are far from the truth. After the initial closing of entertainment venues in Pattaya following the announcement of the King’s death, life is now pretty much back to normal. From the 13th October there is an initial 30 day mourning period. During that period entertainment venues including nightclubs and bars must not play live music, any music played must be muted, no special functions will take place including parties. Basically the nightlife scene will continue to operate but in a toned down manner.
Behave Respectfully During The Mourning Period
The Tourism Authority of Thailand have published a helpful guideline for visitors to Thailand during the mourning period. It states that though most Thai people will be wearing black or white clothing, it is not a requirement of tourists. But they do ask that you dress in a sombre, respectful way.
Update October 23 2016: The majority of Thai people are wearing black or white, and so are a large number of foreigners. The style and type of dress has not changed, t-shirts, shorts and sandals are still the order of the day.
To put it simply, there is no restriction on what you wear, but this is a time when you should dress according to your surroundings, by all means throw off your shirt on the beach or at the poolside, but out on the street, in a restaurant, in a bar, or out shopping you should be wearing your shirt.
Wearing black or white is not a requirement but it is a great show of respect if you can, especially in public places, and it is a gesture which will be warmly greeted by Thai people around you.
Swimwear: Personally, I would advise you to dress modestly if you visit a beach predominantly populated by Thais. I have read reports that traditional swimwear is acceptable at beach resorts in Phuket, so I would imagine it will be at a beach resort in Pattaya. I would also advise you to ask the resort or hotel management if it is acceptable.
Be discrete and polite: You must remember Thai people have a deep admiration for their King and the Royal Family, they feel the loss on a very personal level. You must behave appropriately and respect their feelings at all times.
Cancelled Events in Pattaya
3 major Pattaya high season events have been cancelled, those are Loy Krathong, International Fireworks Festival, and the New Year celebrations. It is most likely the ritual of releasing Ktrathongs will go ahead, but all other related festivities including fireworks and pageants will not.
Business as Usual in Pattaya
Banks, hotels, restaurants, transport services, tourist attractions and all other businesses remain open for business.
Should You Still Come to Pattaya
I suspect many people might choose to stay away, but there’s no need to cancel your holiday plans. Life goes on, it’s just as it was but a little toned down, which in all honesty might not be a bad thing.
Cremation of King Bhumibol Adulyadej
The cremation of King Bhumibol Adulyadej will take place on the 26th October 2017. The cremation ceremony will last several days, and there will most likely be many related events and activities, both prior to and after. Thailand will again be in a deep state of mourning during this time. It would be respectful and wise to dress and behave accordingly.