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Chakri Memorial Day

When: Thursday, April 6th
Where: Nationwide

What Is Chakri?

Chakri Memorial Day observes the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty and the founding of Krung Thep (Bangkok) by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke the Great in 1782.

Chakri Memorial Day

Chakri Memorial Day is a national public holiday. On this day Thai’s will be seen proudly waving and baring the colors of the Thai flag. Religious ceremonies will be held all over Thailand commemorating all of the Chakri Kings with a heavy emphasis on “Rama I,” the dynasties founder. Thailand’s current King “Rama IX” Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, will most likely be in Hua Hin, where he’s been spending most of his time over the past few years, so expect a large celebration to be held there as well as at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

The Grand Palace

Heading to the Grand Palace? I’ve got you covered. Use the link I’ve added and it will direct you from the train station at Hua Lamphong to the Grand Palace. You’ll need to hop on the MRT subway and take it to the last stop, this station is also called Hua Lamphong, which is directly across the street from the Hua Lamphong Railroad Station. From there you can walk or take a tuk-tuk to the Grand Palace. I recommend walking as you’ll walk through the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown district. Hope you find this helpful and have a great time.

A Brief History

The birth of the Chakri Dynasty can be attributed to the aggression of a powerful neighbor to the north, the Burmese. It was during the Burmese–Siamese War (1765–67) that the Burmese fought their way down and laid siege to Ayutthaya. They expelled the inhabitants of the former Kingdom of Thailand (known then as Siam) from its Royal Capital of Ayutthaya on April 8th, 1767. The siege and the battle took a heavy toll on the Burmese army, so large that they knew they could not hold Ayutthaya for long. But maybe they would have stayed longer if not for the Chinese, in an unrelated conflict, sending a large force to invade Burma. This forced the Burmese to hasten their exit from Ayutthaya after just one week. But before leaving the Burmese committed atrocities on the starving inhabitants of a defeated city and looted and then raised Ayutthaya to the ground. When they finally left they took with them thousands of Siamese captives leaving a deep wound on Thai/Burmese relations that is said to have never healed as tensions persist between the two neighboring countries to this day.

This conflict began the events that lead to the fall of the Kingdom of Siam and the rise of Commander Thong Duang and the Chakri Dynasty, as he united the Siamese armies in 1779 and helped wrestle Thailand from Burmese control.

Thong Duang was born into the “House of Chakri” and became known as Chakri during the fall of the four-century-old Kingdom of Siam. Chakri became King and its first Rama, his new titles followed; “King Rama I” or “King Ramathibodi” or “Buddha Yodfa Chulalok the Great” of the Chakri Dynasty. And I’ll confuse you some more by adding his full title, “Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramoruraja Maha Chakri Borommanat Phraphutthayotfa Chulalok.” Did he own this title before becoming King? I’m not sure.

In an attempt to secure the new kingdom, the fallback capital of Bangkok, which today is Thonburi, like Ayutthaya, was deemed too vulnerable if attacked again. Chakri decided to establish the new Royal Capital across the Chaophraya River in Krung Thep. Thus the Thai capital city today is Krung Thep and not Bangkok. Why the world continued to call it Bangkok is a mystery and why Thailand did little to correct the rest of the world is also a mystery considering that all Thai people know their capital city as Krung Thep and not Bangkok. Even some, in remote sections of Thailand wouldn’t know what or where Bangkok is, if mentioned. “Mai pen rai” means “not a problem,” a favorite phrase in Thailand, I guess would apply.

Chakri Dynasty Monarchs:

Reign Monarch Reign Starts Reign Ends
1st Reign Buddha Yodfa Chulalok the Great (Rama I) 06/04 – 1782 07/10 – 1809
2nd Reign Buddha Loetla Nabhalai (Rama II) 07/09 – 1809 21/07 – 1824
3rd Reign Nangklao (Rama III) 21/07 – 1824 02/04 – 1851
4th Reign Mongkut (Rama IV) 03/04 – 1851 01/10 – 1868
5th Reign Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V) 02/10 – 1868 23/10 – 1910
6th Reign Vajiravudh (Rama VI) 23/10 – 1910 26/11 – 1925
7th Reign Prajadhipok (Rama VII) 26/11 – 1925 02/03 – 1935
8th Reign Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) 02/03 – 1935 09/06 – 1946
9th Reign Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great (Rama IX) 09/06 – 1946 Present

*Note: Chakri Memorial Day is recognized as a national public holiday. Thailand currently has sixteen public holidays that are by and large observed by both private and public institutions.

**Note: The following links were used to research this article; Wikipedia and The Royal Thai Consulate General.

Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok, Thailand

Chakri video photo essay