On Saturday 7th July 2012, His Majesty the King will travel upriver by boat from Siriraj Hospital to Koh Kret in Nonthaburi Province. The boat is due to leave at 4:30 p.m. and will return by 8:30 p.m. Normally, when a royal convoy drives through Bangkok, they will close all roads and U-turn bridges, often far in advance. I’ve been stuck in traffic jams before and it was a full 30 minutes before the royal convoy passed us. The other day came news that HM The King has requested that police don’t close both sides of roads and that the length of closure is to be shortened. Traffic in Bangkok is already bad and it is sometimes made worse when members of the royal family travel around the city. So, this is good news. Let’s hope the police heed the King’s request.
As well as closing roads, they also station a policeman at every single pedestrian bridge along the route. This is not really done for security reasons. It is a culture thing. It is seen as disrespectful for anyone to be higher than His Majesty. So, in theory, if you are walking over the bridge as the royal convoy passes below, your feet are pointing directly at members of the royal family. They also close any flyovers. This also means that all of the major road bridges across the Chao Phraya River will have to be closed on Saturday as the king heads up river and then comes back. The bridges affected are: Phra Pin Klao Bridge, the Rama VIII Bridge, the Krung Thon Bridge, the Rama VI Bridge and the Rama VII Bridge. In addition, all river traffic is banned from Kiat Kai Pier to Krung Thon Bridge from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. I am also told that the Chao Phraya River Express will stop from 5 p.m.