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Another blow for Thai tourist town as country mourns late king

HUA HIN: The death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej has plunged Thailand into a year-long period of mourning, with several provinces cancelling tourist events and festivals.

This is another blow for the tourist town of Hua Hin, which is only just beginning to recover from the fallout of bomb attacks in August.

Tourists had deserted the resort town after the twin bomb attacks that killed two people and injured 30. It was only a few weeks ago that tourists started returning.

“Tourism has started picking up following the bomb attacks,” said Massupa Eiam Sam-Arng, a surveyor from the Hua Hin Tourism Office. “Tourists, especially from China and India, have started to return.”

But just as things were picking up, Hua Hin now faces another sombre situation – the passing of King Bhumibol.

With his death, Thailand is in mourning for a year. The government has also asked entertainment outlets to “tone down” their operations for 30 days.

“I think the people are very sombre,” said Garry Allman, a tourist from Europe. “We all must show respect to a very good king.”

The night market in Hua Hin still bustles with shoppers, both local and foreign, but the atmosphere is more subdued. The usual loud music blaring from the stalls is not heard, and more people are wearing black.

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