Well-wishers flock near palace to glimpse the King

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN - Well-wishers began occupying areas on the footpaths along Phetkasem Road in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district Sunday to ensure they will get a close-up view of His Majesty the King during a royal ceremony to commemorate Coronation Day Monday.

  • Published: 5/05/2014 at 06:04 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Families spread out their mats as they sleep overnight on the pavement along the Phetkasem Road in Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan. Many people occupy the pavement to get the best view of Their Majesties the King and Queen’s passing motorcade today as the people celebrate Coronation Day. THITI WANNAMONTHA

HM the King will grant an audience to royal family members and civil servants at Rajapracha Samakhom Pavilion inside Klai Kangwon Palace during the ceremony.

The King’s motorcade will leave Piemsuk Palace for the pavilion via Phetkasem Road to give Thais a chance to greet him. The event will be broadcast live.

Since early Sunday, people of all ages and backgrounds started occupying vacant areas along the road. Some laid mats. Some set up tents to stay overnight on the street.

Som Supphrawong, 39, drove from his home in Chanthaburi province on Saturday night with his aunt and younger brother, arriving in Hua Hin at 5am Sunday.

Under a shady tree, he laid a mat on the footpath of Phetkasem Road and slept there.

“I used to see the King only on TV. It is the first time for me and my family to see the King with our own eyes. So I want the best spot,” he said.

Somporn Phongsadisornrat, 46, said that he had booked a hotel situated closest to the palace a month ago. However, he planned to stay overnight on a mat on the footpath while his two children and wife stay at the hotel.

“Thousands of well-wishers will come out on the street tomorrow. So I will sleep here to make sure that we have the best spot to closely greet the King as this is another way to show our strong loyalty and love to him,” he said.

Khammee Leamsri, 62, took a train from Bangkok and reached the seaside town of Hua Hin at midnight on Saturday. Sunday morning, she booked a vacant spot on the footpath on the route the royal motorcade will take.

‘‘I have seen the King several times but I will not hesitate to join whatever occasions will allow me to catch a glimpse of him again. I can wait the whole day or more for this opportunity,’’ she said.

Ten Khanthong family members travelled by pickup truck from Surat Thani to Hua Hin. They stayed overnight on the footpath in front of the palace. The youngest family member is aged four months.

“I saw the King many years ago in Surat Thani. But this is the first time for my children and grandchildren to see him. They are so excited,” Lek Khanthong, 63, said.

The front of the palace was also crowded with vendors gathering to sell yellow T-shirts, flags, wristbands and other gadgets. Yellow represents Monday, the day on which the King was born.

Kanokwan Boonchucheep, a staff member at Hua Hin Wunwan resort on Phetkasem Road, said there were no rooms available from Friday until today. All rooms had been booked in advance because hotel customers want to see the King’s motorcade when it passes along.

Ms Kanokwan said some guests laid mats in front of the hotel to get a closer look at the King’s motorcade.

Since 3pm Sunday, the northbound and southbound lanes of Phetkasem Road were closed to prepare for the event.

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Writer: Lamphai Intathep
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