Under an order from the Interior Ministry, Provincial Offices around the country are to provide free transport to Bangkok for 3,000 people in each of the country’s 76 provinces, providing the opportunity for a total of 255,000 people without their own means to travel to pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol.
Phuket was originally allocated to send 600 people per day. “That number has now been increased to 750 people per day,” Gov Chockchai told The Phuket News.
“The Interior Ministry sent an urgent letter to every Province Office in the country ordering each office to make arrangements for people to be able to travel to Bangkok from October 29, 2016 to January 20, 2017,” Gov Chockchai explained.
“Every District Office and local municipality in Phuket has been tasked with accepting registrations from people wanting to join this arrangement,” he said.
However, Donroman Senyeeheem, Deputy Legal Chief of Department of Phuket Provincial Administration, on Wednesday told The Phuket News that so far only transport to Bangkok will be provided free.
“We hope to finalise more budget details, and what can be provided, at a meeting on Friday (Oct 28),” he said.
The Interior Ministry has allocated four specific days for the government-provided buses to depart Phuket: November 6 and 24, December 14, January 2, Mr Donroman explained.
“Phuket Provincial officials will lead the mourners to the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The buses will stop at Sanam Chai, opposite Phuket Provincial Hall, on these dates at 7pm,” he said.
The allocated dates will ensure that those joining the public-funded pilgrimage will be allowed to enter the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace to pay their respects before the late monarch’s urn.
Starting tomorrow (Oct 29), mourners will be allowed into the hall from 8am to 9pm. Access will be allowed after the 15-day merit-making ceremony is completed today (Oct 28).
Some 10,000 mourners will be allowed in daily, in groups of 150 at a time.
Mourners are required to dress appropriately, Mr Donroman noted.
“The Bureau of the Royal Household has stipulated that mourners entering the hall must wear only black, and jeans and denim shirts are not allowed,” he said.
“Gentlemen must wear long pants and shoes (covering whole feet). Ladies must wear long-sleeves and their attire must not be close-fitting. Long skirts covering the knees or sarongs must be worn, and they must wear appropriate shoes (covering whole feet),” he added.
While it is expected that only people without the means to secure their own transportation to Bangkok to pay their respects will join the government-arranged pilgrimages, Mr Donroman pointed out that Interior Ministry has made it clear that the government option is open to everyone.
“There are no conditions. Anyone can register, regardless of their educational qualifications, line of work or even nationality,” he said.
“Everybody can join, but they must register before the 750 allocated places for each of the four days are booked, otherwise they will simply miss out,” Mr Donroman added.
“To register, people can call 076-224822 or register in person at Phuket Provincial Hall, or they can contact their local District Office or municipality,” he said.