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The first special whorl of hair is lifted into place in a King's Birthday ceremony at the Big Buddha on Phuket.

Tributes for The King

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
A NEW pavilion in the style of a royal palace is among Phuket's most significant permanent tributes to mark the 80 th birthday of HM The King.

The pavilion, close to Surin beach on land that was once part of a royal golf course, will house a photographic exhibition of the King's life on its second floor.

The ground floor is open-air and will be used for various activities to mark the special celebrations in December. Then it will be for general community use.

The project began as a simple sala, with Surin selected as a site because it was one of the places the King visited when he toured Phuket for the first time 48 years ago.

After work began, the project grew in stature and budget to become a major part of the celebrations and the legacy for the island.

Built at a cost of 10.3 million baht, the "palace pavilion" will be completed as historians continue their research on what will become part of the important birthday exhibition.

The pavilion is 23 metres in height, 15 metres wide and 20 metres long.

Surin has a royal history dating back decades to King Rama VII, who enjoyed golf and played on the nine-hole course there with notable people of the time, including leaders from other countries.

While the golf course, first on Phuket and the second in Thailand, has disappeared, the land remains as open public space. Now the "palace pavilion" stands in one corner.

Given the King's liking for jazz, Phuket has organised something appropriate to help youngsters understand and appreciate the music.

A competition for jazz bands will be among the highlights held from December 1 to December 5 on a central stage in the community parklands at Saphan Hin. The public is welcome to listen in.

A large Buddhist merit-making ceremony will be held on the morning of the King's birthday in the Queen Sirikit Park, alongside the TAT offices.

In the evening, a mass candle-lit blessing ceremony will be held at Saphan Hin.

The annual King's Cup Regatta from December 1-8 marks the King's favorite sport of yachting. Given the special occasion, it should be the biggest and best year yet.

In Phang Nga, an exhibition will be held at the government offices in the capital from December 1-9, with a concert planned for every evening. A "one village one product" fair will also be held.

In Krabi, big events are planned for November 28 and December 5.

The Governor will lead the celebrations on December 5, with merit-making in the morning and a candle-lit ceremony, fireworks, music and dancing at night.

A province-wide clean-up is being held on December 4 to make Krabi look great for the big day.

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