Lonely Planet Writer

Thailand goes yellow for the 70th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's reign

Bangkok is a wash of orange and yellow as Thailand celebrates the anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s reign, making him the longest-reigning monarch in the world.

Buddhist monks walk towards The Grand Palace during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej's reign in Bangkok
Buddhist monks walk towards The Grand Palace during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s reign in Bangkok Image by Getty Images

The celebrations began with religious ceremonies in led by 770 Buddhist monks, a number that is believed to bring good luck.

Several hundred people waited outside the Grand Palace to celebrate the anniversary and wish the king well, most of them wearing yellow, a colour that is associated with the king in Thailand.

Thais gather in Bangkok's Sanam Luang field to take part in celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of King Bhumibol's ascension to the throne
Thais gather in Bangkok’s Sanam Luang field to take part in celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of King Bhumibol’s ascension to the throne Image by Adryel Talamantes/NurPhoto via Getty Images

King Buhimbol has a very special place in Thai culture, with the nation reveres him and where strict lese majeste laws (the crime of violating majesty) prohibit people from speaking ill of him.

Monks enter The Grand Palace during the commemoration
Monks enter The Grand Palace during the commemoration Image by Lillian Suwanrumpha/Getty Images

At 88 he is the undisputed longest-reigning monarch in the world, which in part has contributed to his popularity in Thailand.

A woman holds up images of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej
A woman holds up images of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej Image by Lillian Suwanrumpha/Getty Images

Speaking to Reuters, the spokesman for the King Colonel Winthai Suvaree, spoke of the strong bond between the king and his people. “The relationship between Thais and the King is deep, more than one can actually begin to explain.”

Thais gather in Bangkok's Sanam Luang field to take part in celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of King Bhumibol's
Thais gather in Bangkok’s Sanam Luang field to take part in celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of King Bhumibol’s Image by Adryel Talamantes/Getty Images

The king himself is not expected to make a public appearance. For years now he has been intermittently hospitalised, and he reportedly underwent serious heart surgery last week.

Monks queue to celebrate the kings anniversary
Monks queue to celebrate the kings anniversary Image by Getty Images

This has not stopped monks and people alike celebrating their king in their orange and yellow, whilst carrying effigies and gathering around the Grand Palace in Bangkok to pray for his recovery.