More than a month has passed now since the passing of King Bhumibol and the Thai people are still struggling to come to terms with the death of their much-beloved monarch.
Revered by many Thais as a demigod and “father of the country”, the world’s longest reigning monarch was not only a stabilising figure in the politically often divided nation; the bond between King Bhumibol and his subjects has been – and continues to be – deeply rooted in the Thai soul.
The people of Pattaya certainly make no exception to this rule, so a huge turnout had been expected anyway for last night’s public vigil to “mourn and remember the Royal Grace” of the late king on Pattaya Beach Road.
Crowd estimates had varied between 50,000 and 100,000, with tens of thousands of Thais expected to travel from Bangkok only. In fact, the actual turnout on Saturday night may have easily exceeded 200,000 people, some say.
Although the event officially only started at 6 p.m. Pattaya Beach Road was closed to traffic from the Dolphin Roundabout in the North to the entrance of Walking Street in the South from 3 p.m. in the afternoon.
Bars on Beach Road were allowed to remain open for the mass event, however, alcohol sales were off-limits for a night in the immediate vicinity of Pattaya beach.
Here are some images taken by our “in-house” photographer team on Pattaya Beach Road last night.
h/t Thaivisa.com News for the aerial photos of the candle-lighting ceremony embedded at the bottom of this page. They should give you an adequate idea of the sheer size of this massive event.
Our very own “in-house” photographer unfortunately doesn’t have wings. But hey, we’ve found the following stunning aerial photos that may give you an idea of the sheer size of the event on Facebook: