Having reported on and attended in other capacities an incalculable number of parades, festivals, street fairs and similar special events, I have become rather jaded about them.
But the 2017 Thailand Tourist Festival — which this year apparently replaced a celebrations of the Lunar New Year in Bangkok’s Chinatown in tribute to the memory of the late king — blew me away. By changing the focus, the government felt able to respect the year-long mourning period since his death last fall.
The event in the city’s centrally situated Lumphini Park took place from last Wednesday through Sunday. It was a triumph of organization, diversions and civilized crowds of almost impenetrable size on the weekend, somewhat less thronged before then. I was there on three days.
The organizers had divided the space according to five of the country’s regions, plus a section devoted to China.
I very much enjoyed sampling the vast selection of food, seeing the crafts, absorbing the positive energy, watching quality dance performances both traditional and modern, and marveling at how smoothly everything went. There were enough toilets, sufficient supplies of bottled water and plenty of directional signs. The devotion to refuse management was extraordinary.
By publishing the photos here, I hope to share with you in a small way the pleasures of the festival.