Three years after the late King Bhumibol’s death, his only son, Maha Vajiralongkorn, will be crowned the the 10th monarch of Thailand’s Chakri Dynasty this weekend.
The sacred waters have been collected, the streets cleaned, the royal barges readied and public encouraged to turn out. Just Wednesday, King Vajiralongkorn pulled some last-minute prep of his own, elevating his consort and former bodyguard to queen.
Today the final pieces will be put in place with processions carrying essential items for tomorrow morning’s coronation at the Grand Palace. Following that, His Majesty the King will be taken through the old quarter in an elaborate procession.
Here are some ways you can take it this weekend.
How to Watch
Most people will watch the coronation from air-conditioned comfort, whether they are in still-sweltering Bangkok or abroad.
The best way to follow in English is to tune into public broadcaster Thai PBS, which has already queued up a playlist for all of its English-language live video coverage.
Inside Thailand, pretty much every station will broadcast the ceremonies live 9am to 5:30pm on Saturday, 8:40am to 10pm on Sunday and 4:10pm to 5:50pm on Monday, followed by a 30-minute closing segment at 7pm.
The official feed will also be live-streamed by many media outlets on YouTube and Facebook.
Where to Go Sunday
When King Vajiralongkorn is crowned Rama X on Saturday morning at the Grand Palace, it will be closed to the public, as are most ceremonies taking place around Rattanakosin Island. That means Sunday is the day get a glimpse in person.
The government has encouraged people to line up along the 7-kilometer route the royal motorcade will take in a loop beginning and ending at the Grand Palace.
Starting at about 4:30pm, His Majesty will leave the Grand Palace in a palanquin to travel around the old quarter in a royal parade. The procession will leave the palace via Na Phra Lan Road to Ratchadamnoen Nai Road on its way to Wat Bowonniwet. The procession then continues along Phra Sumen Road to Ratchadamnoen Avenue before stopping again at Wat Ratchabophit. After that, it moves on to Charoen Krung Road to make a final stop at Wat Phra Chetuphon, aka Wat Pho, before returning to the Grand Palace.
Free food, water and medical services will be made available at locations along the route.
Now through the end of May, 12 bridges across the river have been decked out with festive lighting. Look for them 6pm to midnight this weekend, then 7pm to 10pm thereafter.
For the next four days, more than 30 Bangkok roads will be closed to accommodate the ceremonies, so those planning to attend the coronation should he advised to make plans in advance.
The public was urged this morning to use public transportation instead of driving to minimize congestion, and free travel services are being offered through the weekend.
Commuters will be able to ride the BTS Skytrain and rapid transit bus systems for free Sunday – read more here. They can also get free rides on the Airport Rail Link, MRT Purple Line from Taopoon to Bang Yai, as well as the Blue Line between MRT Hua Lamphong and Bang Sue. The trains may operate past regular hours to get everyone home.
Shuttle buses to and from the old quarter will be furnished free 6am to about midnight now through Monday. Shuttle service and bus services will be provided along 17 routes between various locations throughout the capital and the old quarter. parking lots, drop-off and pick-up spots.
Those traveling by train can do so tomorrow through Monday for free between Ayutthaya and Bangkok; Nakhon Pathom and Thon Buri; and Chachoengsao and Bangkok.
Ride the mighty Chao Phraya River’s express boat and ferry services free Saturday and Sunday. The Chao Phraya Express Boat will run several times daily between 10am and 4pm from the north down to the Pin Klao Pier, and from the south up to the Memorial Bridge Pier.
Ferries will run free every 15 to 20 minutes from the Rama 8 Bridge, Thonburi Railway and Pinklao Bridge piers from 6am to 10pm.
What to Bring
All people are asked their carry an ID card, whether Thai national ID, passport or labor card. There will be security checkpoints around the area checking for them. Don’t show up in a tank and fisherman’s pants and expect a warm welcome – the public has been asked to wear proper attire and, if possible, to dress in yellow.
Those traveling to the capital to witness the Coronation Ceremony can sleep overnight at the Thai-Japan Bangkok Youth Center’s Kilawet Gymnasium, which can accommodate about 1,000 guests per night. Reserve space at 022-454-7437.