By Pratch Rujivanarom
As mourners began streaming home on Friday following the cremation of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol, thousands lingered to watch the week’s final processions.
Around 100 people weathered the pre-noon sun, watching from the north side of Sanam Luang as His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn led a religious ceremony centred on the Royal Reliquary Urn before it was transported back to the Grand Palace.
A much larger crowd gathered along Ratchadamnoen Nai Avenue to watch the fourth royal procession.
Once it had passed, it was time for them too to go home, to communities across the land.
Mourners swarmed across Pinklao Bridge to the Thonburi side of the river. Many more gratefully accepted motorcycle-taxi drivers’ offers of free rides to nearby bus stops or the Southern Bus Terminus.
Wichian Thaisawat, a 55-year-old from Nakhon Si Thammarat, said she’d been observing the royal funeral for three days, but now it was time to go home.
“I’m very proud to have done my duty as a loyal subject of the late King and bade him a last farewell as he ascended to Heaven,” she said.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget.”
Sanam Luang is still brimming with mourners, though. Funeral rites continue into Sunday, when a final procession carries the late King’s ashes to Wat Ratchabophit and Wat Bowonniwet Vihara for interment.