Almost nothing can mute the vivid clamor of Bangkok. But in the wake of Thailand’s most-dreaded event — the death of the kingdom’s monarch — this raucous city feels remarkably hushed.

There is little wailing or sobbing in the streets. This is Thailand, after all, where a Buddhist-driven culture values letting go over hysteria.

But the city feels blanketed in grief. The subways are strangely quiet. Shopkeepers can be seen dabbing Kleenex at their eyes.

At least three in four people are clad in black or muted colors. TV stations, by decree of the military government, have halted soap operas in favor of black-and-white films extolling the king’s greatness. Even Google’s Thai-language homepage has gone colorless.

Life goes on. But in monochrome.

6:45 a.m. in Bangkok. First morning after the Thai king's death. Even the dawn joggers are clad in all-black exercise gear.

A photo posted by @bkkapologist on

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88, was the world’s longest-serving monarch. He passed on Oct. 13 after ruling for more than seven decades.

From birth, generations of Thais were taught that the very essence of their Thai identity was embodied in this living human being. Bhumibol was widely regarded as a sacred father figure. His passing has plunged Thailand into a year of official mourning.

“We feel indescribable pain,” said Kanchana Noktor, 34, a freelance worker. She was waiting to enter Thailand’s Grand Palace, a complex of glittering spires and jade Buddhas. Elaborate funeral rites, possibly lasting months, will be held within. Many thousands of mourners waited hours in the searing heat to catch a glimpse of the proceedings.

This is MAYBE one-third of the line to enter Thailand's Grand Palace right now. Definitely the longest queue I've seen.

A video posted by @bkkapologist on

Through tears, Kanchana explained that the death of her king — despite his well-publicized fight against organ failure — had registered as a shock. For years, public discussion of the king's death has been all but criminalized by the state.

“I felt like he could have lived 120 years,” she said. “None of us have prepared our hearts. We can’t accept it.”

People mourn as they offer condolences for Thailand's late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Grand Palace in Bangkok on Oct. 14, 2016.

Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Via social media, here are more scenes from Thailand’s first day in more than 70 years without its king.

Thai Grand Palace employees fanning off and resuscitating a Thai mourner who fainted near the gates. Black clothes + searing heat + grief is a rough combination.

A photo posted by @bkkapologist on


The crush and heat at the Grand Palace are becoming unbearable pic.twitter.com/3NfPxJjBIE

— Jonathan Head (@pakhead) October 14, 2016

Some shops selling only black clothes as #Thailand enters year or mourning for #ThaiKing. Almost everyone in streets wearing black today. pic.twitter.com/KYR9F7cBll

— Will Jackson (@willjackson) October 14, 2016

Mannequins in many #Bangkok department stores now wearing black - RT @nuuneoi: EmQuartier ทั้งห้างต่างพร้อมใจเปลี่ยนดิสเพลย์เป็นสีดำ pic.twitter.com/jXy3jXJdo7

— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) October 14, 2016

ขอน้อมเกล้าฯถวายความอาลัยต่อการสวรรคตของพระบาทสมเด็จพระปรมินทรมหาภูมิพลอดุลยเดช pic.twitter.com/ERkbVTWh1X

— Google Thailand (@GoogleThailand) October 13, 2016

A bus of black-dressed commuters the morning after the King's death. Not all are crying or sobbing, however. #Thailand #ThaiKing pic.twitter.com/EHxEhvOnfx

— Pravit Rojanaphruk (@PravitR) October 14, 2016

It truly feels like the end of an era. Thailand does not feel the same today. Tugging at the heart. Tears of sadness and loss.

— Kaewmala (@Thai_Talk) October 14, 2016

ชาวไทยและชาวต่างชาติ รอรับขบวนเสด็จพระบรมศพของพระบาทสมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัว #KingBhumibol #ขอเป็นข้ารองพระบาททุกชาติไป pic.twitter.com/xR65gDEIe0

— Kowit_ThaiPBS (@KBoondham) October 14, 2016

13.42 ประชาชนพร้อมใจชูธนบัตร แสดงภาพพระบรมฉายาสาทิสลักษณ์พระเจ้าอยู่หัวในพระบรมโกศ ให้ช่างภาพสำนักพระราชวังและสื่อมวลชน บันทึกภาพ pic.twitter.com/ylIqLjGUdM

— Ton Kumchoke (@tonkumchoke) October 14, 2016

From PRI's The World ©2016 PRI