The biggest party I’ve experienced was when Sydney turned into an open air lounge during the 2000 Olympics. With biggest, I mean number of people. Such celebrations are overwhelming, exciting, and frustrating at the same time — just because of the hoards of people.
But the scale of celebrations planned for Thai King Bhumibol Aduladej’s (or Rama IX) 80th birthday on December 5, seem to take things to a different level.
Festivities will start early November, and will include royal cavalcades, elephant parades, the raising of candles nationwide to cheer the King, and firework displays.
Born in Cambridge, the King seems to be a modern cool dude who used to jam with the late Jazz king Louis Armstrong, so you can also expect to see many music concerts around the country at this time.
25 million commemorative coins will be minted, and the royal flag will be posted on the top of Mount Everest in the country’s first attempt to the peak of the world’s highest mountain. Effigies will start parading the streets, and the whole city will be decorated with lights.
The ‘Royal Barge Procession’ on November 5th is a major highlight where the King will present robes to the monks; if you get there before the 5th you can see a rehearsal.
So since the whole city will be rocking in celebration of their much adored King’s birthday until December 5, if you were thinking of where to travel — this might be a good option.
Yes I know, Thailand is poor, and lot’s of money will be spent for this celebration. But it truly seems like a fest done primarily for the locals by the locals — as opposed to some publicity stunt to attract tourism and rip off locals; it is therefore valid. Oh, and if you want to live this celebration like a local — wear a yellow shirt!