BANGKOK – Hundreds of Thais flocked on Saturday to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, where the body of the late king was taken in a massive procession on Friday, to sign a book of condolence honoring the monarch.
The Grand Palace will allow access until Oct. 20 to those who wish to express their condolences for the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died on Thursday at age 88 at Siriraj Hospital, Channel News Asia reported.
During this period, the compound, which also includes the famous Temple of the Emerald Buddha, will be closed to tourists.
According to legislation, the regency temporarily rests with Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda, 96, although there has not yet been an official announcement from the Royal House.
Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, 64, said on Thursday he wanted to spend some time in mourning before being proclaimed monarch, according to Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Local television channels have stopped their regular programs to continuously broadcast specials on Bhumibol, while concerts and events in Bangkok have been canceled.
However, the Thai Tourism Authority said in a statement that the majority of tourist attractions will remain open, as well as banks, hospitals and other public services.
Although authorities have not given any explicit order, some restaurants and bars have decided to limit their opening hours and the sale of alcohol at least for the next few days.
The death of the king, elevated to an almost divine status by his followers, opens a series of questions about the future of Thailand since Vajiralongkorn has spent much of his life abroad, disconnected from the tasks of the Crown, and has yet to attain the popularity his father enjoyed.