Thailand Bans Public Parties for Entire Month of October

A full moon party goer | © Joe Stump/Flickr
A full moon party goer | © Joe Stump/Flickr
Thailand’s world-famous full moon parties, as well as other public festivities and revelry, have been cancelled for the month of October in the lead up to the cremation of the revered late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The move has been made in order to give locals time to mourn and pay their respects to their beloved king.

What’s been happening?

Thailand has been observing a one year mourning period after the king passed away on October 13 last year. Since then, his body has been lying in state in Bangkok’s Grand Palace, where thousands of people have been coming to mourn and pay their respects every day. The “father of the Thai people” will finally be put to rest during a majestic $90 million funeral, which will span five days, from October 25 to 29.

The Thai government has banned all forms of “public entertainment”, but business owners and patrons alike have been left in the dark as confusion looms about what is and what is not allowed or deemed appropriate. Last year during the month of mourning directly after the king passed, similar confusion and ambiguities resulted in some businesses operating as usual while others closed their doors.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej Rama IX © Dinhin Rakpong-Asoke/Flickr

What you can expect

The government has said that during the month of October bars and restaurants will be allowed to open and serve alcohol. However, loud music and festivities in public spaces, including the full moon party, will not be permitted especially on October 13 (the one year anniversary of the king’s death) and during the king’s cremation ceremony and funeral. Tourist attractions are expected to be open as usual with the exception of the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Visitors have been asked to be particularly respectful and understanding towards locals during this difficult time.

A curtailment on public entertainment is not the only way Thais are honouring their revered king; many have decided to dress only in black during the month of October, television channels and websites have switched to black and white, and netizens have changed their profile pictures to monochrome and included the black ribbon of mourning.

Grand Palace © Greg Knapp/Flickr

When will the full moon parties resume?

If you find yourself on Koh Phangan expecting a huge beach party, you’ll need to wait until next month, when public entertainment restrictions will be lifted. In the meantime, why not seize the opportunity and take a look at the islands’ alternative attractions?

The Sanctuary, Koh Phangan © Stefan Magdalinski/Flickr