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Going to Thailand in December?

December 5th is His Royal Highness, the King of Thailand's birthday. His majesty will celebrate his 80th birthday in Royal Fashion. The people of Thailand have been asked to wear yellow shirts from December 1st through December 5th in honor of the King. For the past year, Thais have worn yellow shirts every Monday to show respect to King Bhumibol Adulyadej. This started shortly after the 60th anniversary celebration of the King's ascension to the throne last year. There already have been some events to honor the King - but more are scheduled.

All the way from Russia is the Mariinsky Theatre performing for the Royal Family. On December 6th and 8th, there will be public performances - sell-outs for sure. And on December 7th, there will be a private show for the Royal Family. And it isn't a Royal Birthday without a Royal Parade - On December 5, a procession with holy water will start from Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimol-mangklararm Rajwaramahavi-harn to the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall, where His Majesty will grant a public audience at 10.30am.

From 6pm to 6.30pm, His Majesty will travel from the Amarin Winitchai Throne Hall to the Chitralada Royal Villa where well-wishers will light candles to honor him. The event will be televised. Elections for new Prime Minister will be held on December 23rd. There may be some skirmishes in the streets of Bangkok – so be advised to avoid government buildings as much as possible. The government has also declared December 24th as an official holiday. The reason for this is the Thais have to return to their home town to vote and this is to encourage more voters giving them time to get home and back. Christmas and New Years will also be celebrated in most of the tourist venues. Decorations, presents and fireworks to ring in the New Year. A word of caution – last year a handful of small bombs were set off on New Years eve (as I was packing to return home) – so be aware of your surroundings.

Lastly – rumor has it that Santa Claus will be at the Emporium on Sukhumvit and Soi 26. Alas, the reindeers couldn’t make it – visas expired.


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