All the popular live entertainment performances have been cancelled, but the traditional blessing and merit-making ceremonies will go ahead.
Earlier this week, police closed the usual section of Phra Phisit Korani Rd, the small road that runs at the foot of the hills in Patong and exits beside Wat Patong, for the main stages to be set up for the annual festivities to be held from today (Mar 7) through to next Wednesday night (Mar 11).
However, the stages have now been removed and the street will be open to traffic except for the times when the traditional ceremonies are being, Patong Police confirmed to The Phuket News this morning.
The section of Phra Phisit Korani Rd to be affected is from Wat Suwankhiriwong (Wat Patong) at the bottom of Patong Hill to the Wang Kee Oan Waterfall near the intersection with 50 Year Rd (“Ha-sip Pee Rd”).
Signs will be posted to divert traffic around the area while the ceremonies take place, The Phuket News was told.
Mayor Chalermluck earlier this week invited all people to join the commemorative activiites to honour the royal visit.
“Patong people regard the royal celebration of the Ratchapatanusorn [“blessed royal remembrance”] as an annual event in Patong and is considered an important part of the history of Patong,” Ms Chalermluck explained during an interview last year.
“On March 11, 1959, King Rama 9 went through the town. He visited the area of the Baan Mon community and the Wang Kee Oan Waterfall,” she explained.
“That visit resulted in people around the world learning about Patong, and today Patong is a famous tourist destination,” she added.
The annual festival to honour the royal visit will be held at the traditional site of the Ratchapatanusorn Monument on Phisit Korani Rd built to commemorate the royal visit, Mayor Chalermluck noted.
The annual event began this morning with a blessing ceremony during which attendees offered food to monks.
The revised official schedule of events without the live entertainment is as follows:
7:00pm – Gather at the Ratchapatanusorn Monument
7:30pm – Buddhist ceremony with monks
6:40pm – VIPs and other distinguished guests gather at the Ratchapatanusorn Monument
8pm – Formal traditional ceremonies and Buddhist prayers to honour King Bhumibol and the royal visit in 1959. Following the formal rituals, tourists and other members of the public will be invited to join the services by lighting candles and join the singing of songs, and to observe 89 seconds of silence to remember and honour King Bhumibol.
9:30am – Traditional blessing ceremonies at the Ratchapatanusorn Monument observed by monks.
11am – Alms-giving to monks
12pm – Public invited to eat lunch together as part of the festivities. After the mass lunch event, participants will gather at Loma Park, where a raft will be launched as part of a merit-making ceremony to dispel bad luck.
12:30pm – Conclusion the 61st Anniversary of the Royal Visit with a ceremony at the Ratchapatanusorn Monument in Baan Mon.