Today is the beginning of our half term break and also the week of the King’s funeral here in Thailand We are going away on Monday but decided to a bit of exploring in Bangkok today. We wanted to visit a famous temple so we got on a local ferry. (The fare is approx 30p wherever you go on the river!)
Our destination was quite a long way up river but half way there the boat terminated and the rest of the river was closed for a funeral procession practice. So we were turned off in Memorial Bridge and decided to look around. This area is not somewhere we would have chosen to go to. It’s not on the tourist map as such. But as we walked along we saw a sign which said ‘flower city’ so we went in. It was like a huge warehouse of what I think were wholesalers. There were flowers everywhere in heaps and piles and bags. Loads and loads of them. The air was beautifully perfumed and the colours so vivid. There was a preponderance of yellow flowers as these are the King’s flower and everyone is paying tribute to him using them.
We walked through this market and on the other side we found ourselves quite by chance in the street where the floral tributes to the king were being prepared. I have never seen anything quite like it. The arrangements were street- sized and absolutely stunning. There were whole walls of the orange blossom on strings, there were carpets of lotuses in beautiful patterns and a huge wave of white flowers which gradually changed colour to become the Thai flag. The pictures don’t really do them justice but I hope that you can get an impression of the spectacle.
The route of the funeral procession will be rammed on Thursday but we feel privileged to have seen some of the preparations. The Thai clearly valued their monarch and all that he did for them. In a couple of pictures you can see the Thai symbol for ‘respect’ once is shining metal and another in white flowers. King Bhuminbol was much loved and greatly respected by the whole nation. It is very moving and humbling to witness this event.