Thais wear black clothes to mourn the passing of King Bhumibol
Joe Chonlawit

Note to visitors: Dos and don’ts during the mourning period in Thailand

What tourists (that's you) should do, and shouldn't, while Thais (that's us) mourn the passing of their beloved King

Written by
Time Out Bangkok editors

One of the longest-reigning monarchs in the world’s history, the beloved His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, passed away on 13 October. With more than 4,000 projects to help Thai people throughout his 70-year reign, King Bhumibol wasn’t just a king — he was more a divine father figure to us. His passing only leaves Thailand with deepest sorrow. A day after, prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced an official period of state mourning for 30 days, where holidaymakers might experience some inconveniences and difficulties. 

As the Thai edition of a respected city media favored by globetrotters, and Thais ourselves, Time Out Bangkok feels like we are responsible for accurate communications with visitors to Thailand, so they can still have a good trip despite this unexpected circumstance.

We assure Thailand remains a wonderful travel destination and Thai people are still hospitable, we just need some respect and understanding during this harsh time.

Here, we compile things you would do and would not during these 30 days.


Behave respectfully.
King Bhumibol was a much-beloved monarch, so please refrain from conducting any disrespectful behavior. Thais are happy to answer your questions about the Royal Family, and how much the King meant to them, but do it in a good way. You might find it disturbing to see the temporary closure of, and the limited service from, most entertainment venues, but think it this way: You will witness and be part of one of the world’s most unique events. (Read more about events that have been canceled or postponed here.)

Wear appropriate clothes in public. Thais will be wearing dark-colored clothes (usually black or white) during this mourning period. We do not expect visitors to do so, but to avoid that awkward situation when you are the only one wearing bright yellow on the SkyTrain platform, you might want to consider not wearing technicolor clothes in public. (It happened already, we can say.) It's another way to express your sympathy without saying it out loud.


Defame or insult the Royal Family. This is serious. No Thais will love to hear their king, queen or members of the Royal Family are talked about in undesirable ways. And that includes your social media posts. Not to mention we do have very strict lèse-majesté law. Your compliance is highly appreciated. 

Party in public. We are in mourning, dudes. Do we need to explain more? (You can still have fun in clubs or your hotel room, though.)


(1) The Grand Palace and the Temple of Emerald Buddha is closed until 20 Oct. Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, which is situated in the Grand Palace complex. is closed until 31 Oct.

(2) Celebrations, festivals, concerts, and parties have been canceled or postponed. However, indoor bars and clubs are operated as usual. Christmas and New Year events await confirmation from organizers.

(3) Despite without parties and festive celebrations, you can still enjoy our natural wonders, such as beaches and islands, which are even more beautiful during this year-end period. (November marks the beginning of the travel season in Thailand.)

(4) If you have further questions, ask your hotel concierge or contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand: tel. 1672.

(5) Oh, and we are living in 2016 so we don't shave our heads to mourn like one travel magazine's website said we would do. 

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