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Travel

Thailand's Grand Palace is closed

Thailand's Grand Palace and the adjacent Temple of the Emerald Buddha, also known as Wat Phra Kaew, are closed to tourists until the end of October for late king's cremation,

The closure is to accommodate a grand cremation ceremony for the late king Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October 2016.

The cremation, to be broadcast live throughout the five-day ceremony scheduled for October 25-29, will be held at a 78,000-square-metre complex on a royal field in close proximity to the Grand Palace.

Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning monarch, was deeply revered as the country's father and unifying figure amid numerous political conflicts and military coups throughout his seven decades on the throne. His long reign also means that most Thais knew no monarch other than Bhumibol before his only son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, ascended the throne late last year as the 10th king in the 235-year-old Chakri dynasty. The Thai government has asked the public to wear black to mourn the beloved monarch and refrain from public celebrations for a year.

Built in 1782, Bangkok's Grand Palace was ranked by "Travel + Leisure" magazine as the eighth most-visited attraction in Asia and 40th in the world in 2016. The palace has welcomed 8 million tourists from around the globe each year. For the past year, it has also welcomed more than 10 million Thais who came to pay respect to the late king lying in state there. The palace is set to reopen on October 30.

is/ch (dpa)