Despite The Headlines, Thailand IS NOT Shutting Down For A Year

Published on 22nd October 2016 by Stickboy BKK

In the past week or so I’ve had hundreds of emails, messages and comments from concerned tourists about what they can expect when they come to Thailand on holiday.

Some are arriving next week, others next summer but reporting by international media that the country will observe a one-year mourning period has left many confused, and a high percentage have said they are considering cancelling their travel plans and looking at alternative destinations, believing Thailand has embarked on a 12 month shutdown..

Depending on the type of holiday you have planned depends on what may, or may not, be affected in terms of tourist attractions and nightlife.

I am of the opinion no matter what type of holiday you are coming for, you will still have a great time even if you are arriving tomorrow. Yes, some things you might have planned may be a little more subdued than normal in the short term, however, on the whole, you won’t notice a great deal of difference.

Thailand IS NOT Shutting Down For A Year

Let me explain in very simple terms what all these days and periods of time you’ve been reading about mean.

Following the passing of HM The King, a 30 day period of mourning began during which time all entertainment, “joyful” activities and events have been cancelled.

With that said, all tourist attractions, with exception of the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, are open as normal. As are malls, markets, bars and clubs, although some have short term restrictions in place as outlined below.

Bars and nightclubs closed initially for several days and have since reopened. Alcohol is available and there is no ban in place. Restaurants and bars most likely won’t be playing music or have the volume on TVs turned up.

For the time being nightclubs are open though most are closing earlier than usual but this is a fluid situation and not set in stone depending where in the country they are located. The same applies go-go bars where music and dancing are allowed behind closed doors.

By mid November it’s expected that all entertainment venues will return to normal including live performances by singers and bands.

Cabaret shows aimed at tourists are running as usual.

Organisers of the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party announced the planned November event will go ahead a day later than scheduled on Tuesday 15th.


100 days of royal funeral observances have also commenced and from Friday, 28th October mourners will be allowed to pay their respects to the royal urn.

Many concerts, large outdoor events, festivals and firework displays have been postponed or cancelled during this time that lasts until around 21st January 2017.

Some major festivals such as the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai and Loy Krathong will go ahead but without any entertainment.

The timing means this may include New Year countdown parties held around the country. I haven’t seen an official announcement made regarding NY, only assumptions due to it falling in the 100 day time-frame.


The one-year period emphasised by many news outlets in their headlines is the period of time for the Royal Funeral Rites after which follows the royal cremation.

During this 12 month period, following the 100 day royal funeral observances, most, if not all, restrictions will be lifted. The dates of several public holidays may change, although this has not been confirmed.

During this time government employees will wear black (or white) as may others if they so wish.


Visitors will notice that most Thais and expats are currently dressing in black, white or sombre coloured clothing. Tourists are asked to do the same, however, it is not mandatory for anyone but a little goes a long way, especially at a time like this.

If your holiday plans include spending time at the beach, no you don’t need to wear a black bikini or swimwear but do dress appropriately when you are not topping up your tan, especially when visiting temples and such.

One final event to mention that may result in closures would be the coronation of Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn. Another unknown but one to keep in mind so follow local news for the latest updates on when this will take place.

I’ll finish with a reminder to those visiting to be respectful and understanding of the grief felt by Thais at this time.

His Majesty King Bhumibol, a highly revered father figure to his people, ascended to the throne 70 years ago and his passing is a very emotional and difficult time for all generations.

Despite this period of mourning you will be made to feel welcome and you’ll have a great holiday if you are coming to Thailand.

Don’t be put off by sensationalist headlines written by people on the other side of the world who haven’t got a clue what they are on about.

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