Tourists complain Bangkok red-light district could be closed for a month

The Red-Light District is closed - so what's the point of going to Thailand?
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Thousands of people lined the streets alongside massed ranks of soldiers as the late king of Thailand was carried in state through the capital, Bangkok.

Men and women dressed in black were jammed cheek by jowl along roadsides on the short route from the hospital where the king died to the royal palace.

Bangkok’s strip bars and brothels have been ordered to close until further notice – with many fearing alcohol sales could be banned for up to 30 days.

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King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, passed away at 88 on Thursday after years of ill health.

Mourners sat for hours in Bangkok’s urban heat awaiting the passage of his motorcade, in scenes reminiscent of religious devotees.

Some fainted and were carried away on stretchers, while others shouted ‘King of the people!’ as the convoy slowly wheeled through hushed streets.

Away from the emotional scenes, some tourists expressed their frustration that Thailand’s famous nightlife would be suspended during their visit.

What’s the point of going to Thailand now?

October is normally the beginning of Thailand’s high season with up to three million tourists arriving in a single month – many heading to its bars and red-light districts.

Liam Pearce, 23, a steel erector and welder from Wrexham, North Wales, is due to fly to Thailand next Thursday for two weeks.

He said: ‘It couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

‘I’ve already booked the flights, paid for hotels and changed money so there’s no chance of changing it.

‘My friends are out there already and they said the only places open at night are pharmacies. That’s hardly going to be much fun.’

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The king ruled 70 years and was the only monarch most Thais knew.

‘We no longer have him,’ wept Phongsri Chompoonuch, 77, as she clutched the late monarch’s portrait.

‘I don’t know whether I can accept that. I fear, because I don’t know what will come next.’

At the palace, the crown prince presided over the bathing of the king’s body, a traditional Buddhist funeral rite and the start of official mourning.

This will include at least 100 days of chanting by monks and months more of palace rituals.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, is the king’s named successor but has made a surprise request to delay formally assuming the throne.

Late Friday a senior junta official confirmed that under Thailand’s constitution Prem Tinsulanonda, the head of Bhumibol’s Privy Council, will act as regent.

Bhumibol was seen as a pillar of stability during his politically turbulent reign, and many Thais are uncertain his son can exercise the same calming authority.

His reign saw decades of rapid economic development but also frequent military coups that set back democracy.

Although the king approved most of the army’s many successful coups, he also sometimes intervened to quell political violence, and his loss worries many Thais.

‘Now I am afraid of what may happen, about the administration of the country, the type of regime in the long term,’ said Arnon Sangwiman, a 54-year-old electricity company employee.

Government offices and state-run enterprises were closed out of respect, but commercial activity otherwise carried on.

Authorities continued to interrupt all television programming in the country – including the BBC – to broadcast scenes from the king’s life.

Report shared by The Daily Mail

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