Tsunami Memorial Park site at Soi Rua Tor 813, Chong Fah, Bang Niang (June 2013)
10th TSUNAMI COMMEMORATION - 26th December 2014
The programme for the 10th anniversary in Phang Nga will cover 2 days - the 26th and 27th of December.
The Thai government has invited VIPs from other countries to attend the ceremony.
On the 26th, there will be multi-faith ceremonies held at the site of the patrol boat Tor 813 Memorial site at Bang Niang (Chong Fah), KhaoLak.
There will also be a "light up" ceremony in the evening and a musical performance on stage.
On December 27, activities as part of the event include a visit by officials to the fishing village of Baan Nam Khem,
(close to the town of Takua Pa), which serves as a model village for tsunami preparedness.
There is also a tsunami Memorial Park at Baan Nam Khem.
Meanwhile in Phuket a full-scale tsunami emergency-response drill will be held on Christmas Day,
ahead of 3 days of official events to remember those who perished in the disaster 10 years ago.
On December 26, there will be the traditional multi-faith services at the Tsunami Memorial Wall at Mai Khao in the
morning, as well as the annual Light Up Phuket candlelight vigil on Patong Beach that evening.
There will also be three days of events held on Patong Beach to commemorate the occasion.
During the three days, there will be experts on stage [at Patong Beach] explaining how to be prepared for
a tsunami and many of the events will be broadcast live on the National Broadcasting Services of
Thailand [NBT, Thai TV Channel 11].
This will include a special documentary showing the recovery efforts in affected areas over the past 10 years,
which will be screened at Patong while it is broadcast nationwide on NBT.
7th TSUNAMI COMMEMORATION - 26th December 2011
Foreigners and Thais, who are relatives of tsunami victims, gathered at Baan Nam Khem Memorial Park, at the fishing village of Baan Nam Khem north of Khao Lak,
to commemorate the 2004 tsunami. Buddhist, Muslim and Christian rituals were held. Lanterns were released in the evening.
The community coordinator of the event was Maitri Jongkraijak
There was also a simple service at the site of the washed ashore police boat Tor 813 at Bang Niang, Khao Lak.
In Phuket, memorial services on the day started with a multi-faith ceremony at the Tsunami Wall of Remembrance in Mai Khao distict.
Also a series of seminars took place at Patong Beach, Phuket.
A panel of experts led by Dr Smith Dharmasaroj, former head of the National Disaster Warning Center and also a former head of the Thai Meteorological Department, staged a public discussion on disaster management as part of the tsunami memorial services on December 26 this year.
The discussion focused on the theme "Disaster Learning Model: What do Thai Children Learn from Natural Disaster" (in Thai language only).
The traditional "Light Up Phuket" candle-lit evening ceremony was held on Patong Beach (Loma Park section).
A service was also held at the Tsunami Memorial in Kamala, Phuket.
In Krabi province, there was a merit-making ceremony on Phi Phi Island and flowers were laid in
commemoration for the dead. Multifaith ceremonies were held.
They observed one minutes silence and gave stainless steel wreaths to an environmental conservation club to lay on the
20 metre deep sea floor, about 1,400 metres from Phi Phi Island.
This underwater tsunami memorial in Krabi province lies on the seabed of Tonsai Bay just off Ko Phi Phi Don.
It lies 20 meters deep and is 1.4 kilometers distance offshore.
The memorial was designed with 3 large granite markers (150 centimeters in height).
The creation of the memorial was shaped into an equilateral triangle representing the 3 elements (earth, fire and water).
It also has a granite marker that measures 80 centimeters high which stands in the centre of the other
The memorial's location can be seen by visitors through the water surface by the three yellow buoys
which move up and down.
On 26th Decemeber 2004, in the six provinces along the Andaman coast, namely Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Ranong, Trang and Satun, 5,395 people died, including Thais and foreigners.
The Thai cabinet designates December 26th every year as National Disaster Prevention Day.
6th TSUNAMI COMMEMORATION - 26th December 2010
The authorities in Phang Nga announced in 2010 that they were planning to only mark the tsunami anniversary "officially" every five years from now on.
But the villagers of Baan Nam Khem held a ceremony at Baan Nam Kem Tsunami Memorial Park. Many were holding pictures of their loved ones.
Meanwhile Phuket continued to hold "official" commemorations. In Phuket on 26th December 2010, memorial commemorations were held at Patong, Kamala and Mai Khao.
5th TSUNAMI COMMEMORATION - 26 December 2009
It has been reported that nationwide, 500,000 monks throughout the country commemorated the fifth anniversary.
The monks gathered throughout the country's 76 provinces.
In Phang Nga, a 1,000 Buddhist monks alms presentation took place in the early morning at 6 am in the main street in front of the police station at the town of Takua Pa (north of Khao Lak).
Also in Phang Nga, the main locations for the commemorative events were:-
- at the small fishing village of Ban Nam Khem
Memorial services were arranged at the Tsunami memorial park in Ban Nam Kem with three faith
ceremonies from 10 am.
Scores of photos of family and friends formed the centrepiece of the occasion. Education Minister Jurin Laksanavisit, chairman of the ceremony, laid a wreath in front of the picture of
Khun Poom Jensen, Princess Ubolratana's son, who died in the tsunami. Monks and priests chanted and prayed for the victims.
Elsewhere in Nam Khem, a tsunami safety centre is being constructed, with broad exterior stairways and about four levels of sanctuary. Nearby, the Nam Khem wat has a new white-painted temple.
- the site where the police patrol boat TOR 813 washed ashore on Petchkasem Road, Khao Lak (Bang Niang)
A remembrance ceremony was held here at 6.30 pm with interfaith ceremonies.
The Education Minister presided over the candle lighting ceremony and the release of lanterns here.
- and the cemetery at Ban Bang Maruan.
Ban Bang Maruan is a small village in Bang Muang sub district of Takua Pa, between Ban Nam Khem and Takua Pa town, and not far from Wat Rat Niramit.
It was officially opened on 26th December 2006 and covers 15 rai of land. There ia a grey sculpture of a triple wave.
The police department held a floral remembrance ceremony at 11.00am at Bang Maruan cemetery, where nameless victims are buried.
Representatives of 13 ambassadors observed a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cemetery. Pol Lt Gen Danai Wongthai
laid wreaths and paid his respects to the 398 unidentified victims whose bodies are buried there.
Also in attendence were Thailand's Education Minister, Jurin Laksanavisit, the Swedish Ambassador, Lennart Linner, Phuket Danish Consul Kenneth B.R. Karlsson, and briefly,
the US Vice Consul Charles C. Carson.
The Governor of Phang Nga, Yiamsuriya Palusukm, was also there. The diplomats met with Police Lieutenant General Danai Wongthai,
assistant commissioner of the Office of Forensic Science, which oversees the work of the Thai Tsunami Victim Identification unit,
and a large representation of present and former identification unit staff.
In Phuket, there was a wreath laying ceremony for families of victims from 46 nations at the Wall of Remembrance in Mai Khao (near the airport) between 08.30 and 12.00 in the morning.
The Mayor of Mai Khao made a speech at 08.30am. This was followed by Buddhist, Muslim and Christian prayers and one minute's silence.
There were also multi-faith ceremonies comprising Buddhist, Sikh and Muslim in the morning at the Tsunami Memorial Park in Kamala (opposite the Prince Kamala resort) from 09.00 am.
The Christian ceremony was held here in the evening.
In addition there was a Buddhist religious ceremony at Loma Park (north end of Patong Beach, Phuket) in the morning from 08.00 to 12.00 hrs, including a condolence message from the Prime Minister to be read out.
There was also an exhibition on disaster risk reduction to educate members of the public.
9.30am Ceremony begins 9.45am Phuket Governor arrives 9.50am Speech by Patong's Mayor 10am Governor reads letter from PM 10.10am Silent remembrance 10.15am Buddhist, Muslim and Christian prayer services begin 11am Making merit for monks at Laempet temple, Patong
There was an evening ceremony at Loma Park, Patong between 18.00 and 19.00 hrs. Candles were lit and lanterns were released along the sands at Patong Beach.
4.30pm People gather 5pm Memorial bands play 6.10pm Officials arrive 6.15pm Speech by CEO, Phuket Administrative Organisation 6.25pm Massed voices of 100 choir members
6.35pm Poem recital 6.55pm Wreaths laid 7pm Candles lit along the beach front, band plays memorial music concert
Phuket also held Tsunami evacuation drills by the Royal Thai Air Force between 22nd to 25th December.
Medical personnel, rescue and search teams from 14 southern provinces of Thailand attended a training workshop in Phuket to
learn about EMS - Emergency Medical Services management for Disaster Medical Assistant Teams or DMAT during December 22-24 (at the Phuket Merlin hotel) before
taking part in the comprehensive exercise on December 25th. The event was arranged as part of activities in recognition of Thailand
National Day for Disaster Prevention which falls on December 26th, the day the tsunami hit the Indian Ocean in 2004. The participants
enhanced their skills to assist people with medical attention, transferal procedures and reduce risks of fatal cases.
The Phuket International Airport's multi-purpose hall was designed as a staged care unit. The exercise was planned to simulate a
Tsunami situation with some people stranded and an air transfer drill. All related personnel and Disaster Medical Assistant
Teams were expected to take action at their full strength to test out preparedness for both personnel and equipment.
Medical teams had a chance to practice setting up an emergency field hospital and transporting patients to the plane.
In Krabi four religious and wreath laying ceremonies took place at Phi Phi Island. It had been arranged by the local government of Ao Nang.
At 1pm, an evacuation drill was performed by 100 people at the Bt15 million tsunami evacuation building, which was formally opened on 26th December 2009.
It has been reported that this year's ceremony might be the last "official" memorial that the province will hold for the victims in Phangnga.
Some of the victims' relatives feel that the ceremony reinforces their tragic memories. It is also about their spiritual beliefs that the deceased people should have their next life.
The ceremony would also delay their rebirth. "We can never forget, but we must try to get on with our lives," a village leader has said.
For information on the Tsunami Warning System for the Indian Ocean please click on this link:-
KhaoLak - Phang Nga province held a quieter anniversary service this year
At the Bang Muruan Thai Tsunami Victim Identification Centre and Cemetery in Takua Pa, there are still nearly four hundred unclaimed bodies, which have been kept
in stainless steel containers, 1.5 metres underground. The graves are marked by alphabet and number markers.
Commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the tsunami held at the Cemetery this year was a low-key event.
The police department held a remembrance ceremony here and observed one minute of silence in respect of the victims.
Members of the Thai Tsunami Victim Identification unit placed large white wreaths at the memorial.
The Cemetery now has many sunflowers - villagers scattered sunflower seeds here a few months ago.
At the well maintained Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park, the local Bang Muang authorities and the tusnami victim network conducted joint religious ceremonies (Buddhist, Christian and Muslim).
Survivors had placed framed photographs of their loved ones on a large table. Subsequently the Thai Government Education Minister Jurin Laksanavisit led villagers to queue one by one to leave white roses in memory of those who had perished.
A ceremony took place at the marine police vessel Tor 813 at 8.30 am.
On the deck of the boat, flowers had been placed at a shrine on the bow.
Thais and foreigners laid flowers in remembrance of the victims. (The boat's location has become known as Soi Rua Tor 813 ).
In addition, a ceremomy commemorating the life of Khun Poom Jensen, son of Princess Ubolratana, eldest daughter of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was to be held.
Floating lanterns, to commemorate those who lost their lives, will be released at 6 pm.
The Thai Government actually designated Patong Beach, Phuket as the 'official' location for memorial services.
The Phuket authority held religious ceremonies and commemorative events however in at least four main locations on Phuket island.
In the morning there was a religious ceremony at the Dolphin (Loma) public park on the beach front in Patong, blood donations at and Spa hotel, and the 'Light Up Phuket' ceremony in the evening at Patong Beach.
The Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya was due to attend the 'Light Up Phuket' event in the evening.
At the Mai Khao Wall of Remembrance, a religious and wreath laying ceremony for victims from 46 countries took place in the morning.
A religious ceremony and commemorative event was held in the morning at a public park in Kamala, north of Patong.
The fourth location was at Bang Duk hill in Mai Khao.
All the the ceremonies focused on simplicity in respect of victims, while raising public awareness for a safe community.
The Thai government has declared Dec 26 as National Disaster Prevention Day to increase public awareness on disaster preparedness and response.
Six provinces were affected by the tsunami - Phuket, Phangnga, Ranong, Krabi, Trang and Satun.
As part of the National Disaster Prevention Day theme, Phuket will be the first of the six provinces to hold a disaster evacuation demonstration this year.
The Thai Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation joined hands with Phuket province to conduct an evacuation exercise by airlifting and transferring
injured from a supposed tsunami to be treated at a field hospital. The drill ran on December 23rd as part of a workshop during December 22-26th at the
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation College in Bangjo of Thalang district, Phuket. It is thus assumed that such comparable prevention exercises will be conducted
and rotated each year between the six provinces.
The Moken sea gypsies have released a special song album called "From the heart of Andaman". The songs were composed by locals and volunteers, and feature the
way of life of the Moken people. This community suffered many losses in the tsunami. The Moken sea gypsy survivors wish to be officially recognised as Thai citizens.
These songs will be played at local Andaman communities on the 4th anniversary of the tsunami, as a way of remembering the tsunami victims within their community, and of bringing awareness to the plight and status of their surviviors.
Sea gypsies ( Moken ethnic groups and Urak Lawoi ) have lived in the area for more than fifty years, but are unable to register their births - which in turn severely restricts their other basic rights.
They hope there will be a balance between the way of life of local communities and tourism. Currently there are numerous land eviction lawsuits in progress.
Some local communities now contribute a few baht every month to a special fund - "Protection of Local Land, Resources and Culture Fund".
Baan Nam Khem Tsunami recovery
The fishing village of Baan Nam Khem (7 kms south of Takuapa) seems to at last have made a reasonable recovery from the devastation of the tsunami which killed at least 800 villagers, a figure which probably represents the highest ratio of deaths for any small village in Thailand.
During the tin mining era of the 1970's, the village flourished but had a slightly chequered reputation, attracting a few rough types and various female companions.
Peace returned to the village when this era came to an end and locals resumed fishing activities, returning to a simple way of life;
Ban Nam Khem changed into a peaceful fishing village.
Now nearly four years after the tsunami, they have rebuilt their village and replenished their fishing boats, and life is returning to normal. In addition, more tourists are coming.
Visitors can view the local port and watch working trawlers dock and their crews unload catches of fish. There is also the small island of Kho Khao, one kilometer across the bay, with a couple of high end resorts.
A tsunami memorial park has been established. In terms of attempts to create lasting memorials to the tsunami victims, this memorial is regarded by many as most appropriate and meaningful. The gardens include a memorial wall that curves like a wave.
In association with the memorial park, there are three tsunami fishing trawlers on display, albeit subsequently repositioned on some open ground.
The stories of, and damage caused by, these sixty ton vessels being swept ashore during the tsunami are now being told to visitors.
The trawler Sri Samat ('the daemon') was carried by the tsunami waves through the centre of the village, demolishing many houses and causing a lot of deaths.
The Krisana Sakorn ('blue angel') was also swept through the village, but amazingly mainly through relatively open ground, and caused far less deaths and damage.
A third vessel is part of the official memorial.
Meanwhile a few kilometers up the road, the unique charms of the regional town of Takua Pa, are very slowly starting to attract a few tourists.
Takua Pa boasts ancient culture and historical sites. Tourists can visit a wall built more than two hundred years ago to protect citizens from
attacks by Ang Yee (Chinese gangsters). At Talad Gao (an old market), visitors can see the local lifestyle and admire old townhouses in Sino-Portuguese
style reflecting the prosperous commerce of ancient times. Takua Pa is also famous for its Chinese-style baked cakes.
Small Tsunami Memorial Park at Laem Pom ( Baan Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park )
The fishing village of Baan Nam Khem is just a few kilometers north of Bangsak beach, and 7 kms south of Takuapa.
The village lost proportionally the most of its inhabitants in the tsunami of any village in Thailand.
Just south of the village is the tiny enclave of Laem Pom. It now has a small local tsunami memorial park.
The Baan Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park covers five rai (two acres), and was initiated by Army Chief of Staff General Lertrat Ratanavanich, who coordinated with local and international organizations in seeking financial support for the project.
It was constructed by the Army Engineer Department. Work began on 22nd June 2005 and was completed on 25th December 2005.
The Ban Nam Khem Memorial Park consists of a memorial walkway, an open space for commemorative events,
and a pavilion to appreciate the scenery. There are two buildings, one for showing places of interest and
the other for selling local products. Two walls were built along the memorial walkway. One is engraved with the
names of those killed in the tsunami, and the other wall features wave-like curves in black.
A statue of Kromluang Chumphon Khet Udomsak, the founding father of the Royal Thai Navy, is placed in the park.
Also referred to as Prince Abhakorn of Chumphon, or the Prince of Chumphon, Kromluang Chumphon Khet Udomsak was a son of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V. He was educated at the Naval Academy in the United Kingdom and
served as Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy. His statue has been erected in several coastal provinces, and it is most revered by the people of Thailand, and especially by mariners.
Sadly however despite the ravages of the tsunami, it has been reported that a long-running bitter land rights dispute still continues between the local villagers of Laem Pom and a well-connected Thai developer.
All of the buildings here were destroyed or severely damaged in the tsunami, and most were rebuilt in 2006, but unfortunately the issue is apparently still not resolved.
'Khun Poom' patrol boat Tor 814
On 31st March 2008, at Phuket Rassada Port, two new patrol boats were officially commissioned to patrol the Andaman waters.
The new patrol boats are Tor 635 and Tor 814.
Tor 814 is named Khun Poom , in memory of Khun Poom Jensen, the son of HRH Princess Ubol Ratana Rajakanya, and will replace patrol boat Tor 813, which remains grounded at Bang Niang as a memorial to the disaster.
Tor 814 Khun Poom will be serving as a patrol boat tasked with ensuring people's safety at sea, especially during the peak tourist season.
Khun Poom Foundation for autistic children
The Khun Poom Foundation was founded by HRH Princess Ubol Ratana Rajakanya, and is responsible for building new facilities for autistic children.
You may also contact Khun Somboon Arsirapoj (a Khun Poom Foundation Committee Memeber) on +66 89 488 5045
Autistic Foundation of Thailand: Tel +66 2 866 7125
Special Education Centre of Autistic Foundation: Tel +66 2 247 4685
3rd TSUNAMI COMMEMORATION - 26 December 2007
A small morning memorial ceremony took place at 9.00am at Bang Niang (location of washed ashore police patrol boat Tor 813). There were speeches and flower offerings in remembrance of the tsunami victims.
It marks the formal recognition of the patrol boat as an official tsunami memorial. At the time of the tsunami this police boat was guarding Prince Bhumi Jensen, Khun Poom (son of Princess Ubol Ratana) whilst he was jetskiing off the beach.
The Prince died in the tsunami. (A second (military) patrol boat Tor 215, in the vicinity at the time, and which was also assigned to provide security for Khun Poom, has never been found and is presumed sunk/destroyed).
At the Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Monument, from 8.00 am onwards, there was a multi-faith religious ceremony involving Buddhists, Muslims and Christians, a floating boat ceremony by the moken sea gypsies, and a community discussion
on the topic of lessons learnt and problems associated in recovery from the tsunami.
At Bang Muruan (Thai Tsunami Victim Identification Centre and Cemetery), ceromonies began at 1.00pm.
A special service for five religions took place.
And on the previous day (25th December) local Burmese gathered to mourn at Wat Bang Muang (Wat Rat Niramit).
HRH Princess Ubolratana graciously presided over an evening ceremony at Chong Fah beach (Bang Niang). The ceremony and the remembrance were also attended by 22 foreign ambassadors, diplomatic members and representatives from two international organizations.
They all came in respect of those who perished and in support of local people in the Andaman region as well as families and friends of the victims.
The evening ceremony began at 6.00pm starting with Buddhism, Islamic, Christianity (both Protestants and Catholics), and finally Sikhism faiths.
At 7 pm, Princess Ubolratana arrived with her daughter Khun Siri kit-ti-ya to preside over the ceremony.
The Princess and her daughter viewed the exhibition, to remember Khun Poom Jensen, the beloved son of the Princess.
It showed photos, Khun Phoom's Home, and a project which is being constructed at Wachira Hospital in Phuket, for the education and development of children.
There were also exhibits of Phang Nga province's emergency preparedness on display.
On-Chanok NaThale, a local student who lost her father in the Tsunami and is now studying at a Rajaprachanukroh school under HM the King's Patronage read out a poem in Thai.
The song 'Tears in Heaven' was then sung by Wasu Sang-singkaew.
A member of the Princess's club for youth 'To Be Number One' then sang 'Eternal Love'.
The Princess gave a speech in Thai, before lighting a candle and observing one minute of silence.
After that the Princess released the first of 5,395 floating lanterns (one for each victim) up to the sky, as a tribute to those who lost their lives.
The Final song was 'Wind of Hope'.
At Ban NamKhem, the construction of an outdoor museum is about to get underway on a 5 rai plot of land. It will comprise a simulation of the tsunami,
exhibition and information centre. The two fishing trawlers (Chokesiriporn and Srisamut) which were washed ashore in the 2004 tsunami, will form part of the museum, and accordingly
the trawlers will be moved about 200 meters to achieve this. A concrete warning tower will also be built so that visitors can appreciate views around the
museum. The museum is scheduled for completion in 2008.
The Provincial Authority of Phang-Nga is also aiming to acquire land at the location of the washed ashore police patrol boat at Bang Niang. The intent is to
develop the area as an historical site.
Unfortunately, in September 2008, piles of sand (in a cordoned off area of land) obscure the view of the historic boat. It has been suggested that the owner of the
land, in front of the boat, was asking for too high a price for the land, and so the local authorities have been unable to purchase it.
The boat can still be accessed by a small piece of public land and a wooden bridge.
Tsunami Memorial Sculpture
The Thai Culture Ministry implemented a project called Tsunami Memorial Sculpture in which three artists were invited to make a memory of art for the Tsunami victims.
The three scupltures have been placed in three different provinces (Phang Nga, Phuket and Krabi) in Southern Thailand.
At Khao Lak, a sculpture by the Swedish artist Lars Englund was chosen, and inaugurated on 22nd July 2006. It is called "Stability" and is part of
the Stable series that Englund did in the 1990s. It is in the vicinity of the patrol boat 813 at Bang Niang KhaoLak.
The second sculpure was also inuagurated on 22nd July 2006, in the Rama IV park at Kamala, Phuket province. It is named "Mind of Universe", and was designed by the young Thai artist Udon Jiraksa from Nakhon Si Thammarat.
The artwork is like a big round airy ball where the many interconnected metal wires are lines that provide a pattern within the sphere.
The concept symbolizes the idea that anything that happens also affects other things in the vicinity.
The third sculpture, "Hold me close", is made by the New York-based French artist Louise Bourgeois and was inaugurated in a ceremony February 26, 2007 in Noparatthara Beach, outside of Ao Nang in Krabi province.
The artwork consists of two sculptures made of bronze, one a children's hand which grips on a rock in water, and the other two pairs of hands in which the fingertips meet.
The concept is that the Tsunami tragedy shows us how fragile our lives are, and accordingly how we need to stay close and help each other.
They are located in a peaceful woodland, now called The Tsunami Memorial Park, in Hat Nopparat National Park.
TSUNAMI - Two Years On
With prayers, flowers and tears, mourners paid tribute to their loved ones on the second anniversary of the tsunami.
Ceremonies were held by both local communities and the Government. Morning services at Bang Niang and Ban NamKhem were timed to coincide with the time that the tsunami hit KhaoLak on that fateful day in 2004.
At the site of the washed ashore police boat, at Bang Niang, Thai and foreign survivors and relatives joined a quiet but poignant service, led by Saktip Kraierk (Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports).
They paid tribute to the victims and observed a minute of silence. Thai police laid incense and flowers. Relatives and friends also lined up to lay flowers on the stage, while a traditional Thai band played soulful music.
Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya, who lost her son in the disaster, and who was herself a survivor, presided over a candelight evening ceremony at Bang Niang (Chong Fah beach) organised by the Government of Thailand.
The service commenced with religious rites for Buddhists, Christian Catholics and Protestants, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.
After KhunYing Tipawadee Meksuwan (Minister to the Office of Prime Minister) gave an opening speech, Princess Ubolratana gave an emotional tribute to her son and all the lost loved ones who the tsunami took away. There was also an exhibition on the life of her beloved son,
Khun Poom Jensen, and the set up of the Khun Poom Foundation for autistic children (established in January 2005 with the Princess as founder).
Poems of condolence were read by victims' relatives and survivors. Thai student On-cha-nok Natale (who lost her father in the tsunami) read a Thai poem. Khunying Jamnongsi Rattinsing read her own poem in English. Nathan Oman, a Thai Nepalese boy, who nearly lost his life, gave a speech.
After a one minute silence was observed, Princess Ubolratana began the lighting of the candles and the release into the sky of the first of 5,395 lanterns - representing all the tsunami victims in Thailand. The lanterns symbolise a wish for the souls of the departed, a wish for a peaceful and beautiful
journey and a release of the pain and sorrow of their families and friends below.
At Ban NamKhem, a morning ceremony was chaired by Khunying Tipavadee Meksawan from the Prime Minister's office. This fishing village is listed as being the hardest hit, by the tsunami, of any local community and the recovery process has been especially difficult for many Thai survivors here.
The religious ceremony at Ban Bang Maruan cemetery (Ban Muang TakuaPa) for anonymous victims was attended by the Governor of Phang-Nga Vinai Buapradit. Buddhist monks, Muslim clerics and Christian priests took turns blessing the victims, as their individual religions were
also unknown. The national flags of countries that had helped the Royal Thai Police with victim identification, in the aftermath of the tsunami, were raised to the top of the poles at the ceremony. Police cadets paraded past the ceremony in honour of the victims.
Memorial Services at Khao Lak
The Government of Thailand has announced that commemorative ceremonies will be held in Khao Lak on 26 December 2006 to mark the
second anniversary of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami.
A list of events is shown below. The events are open for anyone affected by the tsunami to attend. Attendees at the
memorial event at Ban Bang Muruan Cemetery, must have photo identification to enter. The Thai Prime Minister and a
member of the Thai Royal Family plan to attend the evening ceremony at Bang Niang.
(A) Tentative - Programme of Memorial Services on 26 December 2006 Phang-nga Province, Thailand
Organised by Local Authorities
1. Tsunami Victims Memorial Service at Ban Namkhem, Phang-nga Province (Baan Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park at Laem Pom, 8 km before Takua Pa town)
Arrival of guests at Ban Namkhem, Phang-nga Province
Arrival of H.E Khunying Dhipavadee Meksawan, Minister attached to the Prime Minister's Office (TBC)
Speech by Minister attached to the Prime Minister's Office
Minute of silence. Laying of flowers by Minister attached to the Prime Minister's Office
Laying of flowers by relatives of victims and participants
Religious memorial services (Buddhism and Christianity)
2. Tsunami Victims Memorial Service at Tambol khuk khak, Phang-nga Province (Bang Niang - site of police boat Tor 813 )
Arrival of guests at Tambol khuk khak, Phang-nga
Arrival of H.E Dr Suwit Yordmanee, Minister of Tourism and Sport (TBC)
Minute of silence Laying of flowers by Minister of Tourism and Sports, relatives of victims and participants
3. Tsunami Victims Memorial Service at Ban Bang Maruan Anonymous Cemetery
(Ban Bang Maruan is close to the centre of Takuapa town)
Arrival of guests at Ban Maruan Anonymous Cemetery
Arrival of Pol Gen Kovit Wattana, Commissioner-General, Royal Thai Police
Speech by Commissioner-General, Royal Thai Police and presentation of plaques
Laying of flowers by Commissioner-General, Royal Thai Police, relatives of victims and participants
(B) Tentative - Programme ofthe 2nd Tsunami Commemorative Ceremony at Chong Fah Beach, (Bang Niang, Khao Lak), Phang-nga Province
Evening of 26 December 2006
Organised by the Royal Thai Government
The 2nd Tsunami Commemorative Ceremony at Chong Fah Beach, Phang-nga Province
Arrival of guests
Arrival of Prime Minister / representatives of the Royal Thai Government
Interfaith memorial services, approximately 5 minutes for each Buddhism, Islam, Christianity (Roman Catholic and Protestant), Sikhism and Hinduism
Arrival of Princess Ubol Ratana Speech by Princess Ubol Ratana
Lighting of candle by Princess Ubol Ratana Minute of silence Lighting of candles by participants and floating of candles
End of ceremony
Phuket - Tsunami Day 26th December 2006
To mark the second anniversary of the tsunami tragedy, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Phuket Provincial Administration Office and Patong Municipality will jointly host ceremonies
on 26 December to remember and honour those who fell victim to the December 2004 tsunami.
Tsunami Day Memorial Services
Visitors and guests assemble at Loma Park, Patong Beach
Address by Chief of Patong Municipality
Tsunami Day memorial service
Guests remember and honour those who lost their lives in a merit-making ceremony.
A Buddhist merit-making and blessing ritual is performed by nine monks.
Participants make merit-making offerings to the monks.
The Buddhist monks offer blessings.
Visitors and guests assemble at Loma Park, Patong Beach
Arrival of H.E. Dr. Suvit Yodmani, Minister of Tourism and Sports.
Chief Executive of the Phuket Provincial Administration Office (PAO) presents a welcome address
Address by the Minister of Tourism and Sports
Performance by the Ban Sam Thong School choir
Wreath-laying and Candle-Lighting Ceremony
H.E. Dr. Suvit Yodmani, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Chief Executive of the Phuket Provincial Administration Office and Chief of Patong Municipality will lead guests in a remembrance ceremony.
Flowers and floral wreaths will be laid, candles will be lit and traditional khome loi floating lanterns will be released in memory of the deceased.
This event has been organised by the Phuket Japanese Association. It will be held at the Andaman Tsunami Victims Monument at Kamala Beach on Tuesday 26th December 2006, from 12:40 pm to 4 pm. Formal dress is requested for attendees.
The ceremony schedule is as follows:
12:40 pm-1:20 pm:
Mourning ceremony, a minute of silence for the victims.
Speech by Kazushi Miyashita, President of the Phuket Japanese Association.
Speech and eulogy from Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit. Eulogy from Hideaki Kobayashi, the Japanese Ambassador to Thailand. Eulogy from Tetsuji Banno, President of the Japan Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok. Eulogy from Panlop Thi-aree, of the World Fellowship of Buddhists.
2 pm-2:35 pm:
Japanese monk blessing ceremony.
2:50 pm-4 pm:
Finale and refreshments.
Tsunami Wall of Remembrance - Mai Khao, Phuket
The Wall of Remembrance has recently been renovated, and painted in white with attached names of the victims and flags from 45 nations on the wall.
In the morning, of 26th Decemeber 2006, there will be a religious ceremony with chanting from the monks. They will receive relatives of the
victims who will be coming to pay respect and place wreaths, on the 2nd anniversary of the tsunami.
The Mai Khao cemetery used to be the central identification area for bodies of the victims, before the remainder of the unidentified bodies were later moved to Ban Bang Maruan cemetery (close to the
town of TakuaPa).
International Tsunami Museum - Khao Lak
On 21st December 2006, an international tsunami museum opened in KhaoLak. The museum is open daily and is situated opposite the 7-eleven at the Petchkasem/Bang Niang Rd intersection.
It is close by the patrol boat located at Soi Rua Tor 813.
This quiet location introduces visitors, in a subtle and ethical way, to the tragic events of 26 December 2004.
Child's View - A boy with a rope looped around one leg dangles upside down over the side of the washed up police patrol boat 813 in Bang Niang Village Khao Lak.
The photographer was Kapkaew Leebamrung, an 11-year-old girl in Grade 6 from Baan Nai Rai Village, who was participating in a Unicef project.
12-year-old Wongsakorn Songsaengchan chose to photograph a traditional funeral mound
42 victims from his indigenous Moken community were buried here.
The Book "Children of the Tsunami: Khao Lak - A Story of Hope" (Hardcover 100 pages)
This book is about how the children (many of whom were orphaned by the Tsunami) coped with their loss.
It is a beautiful and sometimes heart wrenching collection of stories, poems, and pictures by the children of Khao Lak, illustrating how they are dealing with their loss and grief.
It is also a story of hope, humanity and triumph over despair.
The material for the book was compiled by the students of Bangkok Patana School, the British International School in Thailand.
This project is a charity venture and is the creation and product of the hard work of over 100 amazing children.
All profits from the sale of "The Children of the Tsunami" will go back to the education and schooling of the children in Khao Lak and the tsunami affected regions of Thailand.
Publisher: Sirivatana Interprint Public Co., Ltd
Language: English (Hardcover - 12 Nov 2005)
Author: Robin Nagy and Children of the Tsunami Ltd.
TSUNAMI - One Year On
** There is a video of the Tsunami Remembrance Ceremony ** at
On 24th December 2005, over 1,000 Moken Sea Gypsies, Thai villagers and tourists held the first ceremony, remembering the victims of last year's tsunami, at Ban Tung Wa beach ( 2 kms north of Bang Niang), KhaoLak.
A colourful bird-shaped boat containing flowers, incense, candles, tobacco, salt, chilli and trimmings of human nails and hair was released into the sea in accordance with the Moken belief that all evil and bad luck will float away from their lives and community along with the boat.
Buddhist monks prayed for the souls of the dead. This was part of a three day people's commemoration organised by a village leader of Ban Thung Wa.
Tsunami Remembrance Ceremony 26th December
One Year in Memory of the Tsunami
The following is a short video of the 2005 ceremony (Click the Play button to view)
Several thousand Thais, and foreign survivors and relatives of those who lost their lives held a minute of silence as they marked the first anniversary of the tsunami disaster.
At Bang Niang, hundreds lined up to sign books of remembrance in the shadow of the washed up police patrol boat, (which now stands as a memorial to the catastrophe) 1 km inland.
The day long government sponsored memorial had followed a weekend of smaller services including candelight vigils, simple prayers and floral tributes.
In the afternoon Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra laid a foundation stone for a tsunami memorial in Khao Lak.
There was an orchestral musical performance and at dusk the Prime Minister presided over an inter-faith service, when Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh prayers were read. In a speech he said he had learnt from the tsunami "the fact that much beauty
lies in the heart of mankind", in a reference to the outpouring of help from around the world.
Two young survivors of the tsunami - 11-year-old Tilly Smith from England and 10-year-old Thai Patiwat Komkla - read two poems. The first poem was written by noted Thai writer
Khun Ying ChumnongSri Harnjaneluck Rutnin. The second poem was written by poet Naowarat Pongpaiboon and was called Jaruek Thorranee Phibat Phai (which means, essentially, 'tsunami poem') -
the poem invokes the memory of those who died and the collective suffering and hope of the survivors.
"... It wasn't devastation or death that won the day It was humanity that triumphed The shining victory of generosity, courage and love ..."
Tilly Smith was on Mai Khao beach Phuket on 26th December 2004. As the sea initially receded quite dramatically, she immediately recognised the tell tale sign of an approaching tsunami. She had remembered the words of her geography teacher, Andrew Kearney, at Danes Hill school in
Oxshott, Surrey (40km south west of London). Her adamant and persistent warnings of impending danger are credited to saving one hundred lives. Tilly Smith is from a country that may never see a tsunami and yet her knowledge was still able to save lives.
Patiwat Komkla survived two days and one night at sea by clinging to a coconut palm trunk, after being swept from the shore by the tsunami. He was spotted by a Navy helicopter rescue team.
Thai Princess Ubol Ratana Rajakanya, who lost her son Poom in the disaster, represented the tsunami victim's next of kin, and thanked foreign visitors for their "love and support and caring - our souls are with them".
There was a further one minute of silence, followed by a musical performance ("the wind of hope"). Then candles were lit and 5,000 paper lanterns, with inscribed messages in remembrance of tsunami victims, were released into the night sky, in an emotional tribute, with scores of people weeping and holding candles, hugging loved ones, or standing quietly on the beach gazing at the soaring lanterns.
Tsunami Remembrance Ceremony Information
In memory and honor of victims we lost, to celebrate life for those who survived, and in gratitude of the generosity and sympathy extended to Thailand in the aftermath of the tsunami, the Royal Thai Government will host a commemorative ceremony on 26th December 2005. Next-of-kin of victims/missing persons and the injured are cordially invited to attend the interfaith memorial service
and the Laying of the Tsunami Memorial Foundation Stone Ceremony in remembrance of the lost souls. Many of the injured and next of kin will stay as guests of the Thai government.
Between 10.00am - 11.00am on 26th December 2005, simultaneous memorial ceremonies will take place at six venues:
- Bang Niang Beach (Khaolak) and Baan Namkem (between Khaolak and Takuapa)
- Phi Phi Islands (Krabi province)
- Patong Beach, Kamala Beach and Mai Khao Memorial Wall (Phuket).
The Tsunami Memorial Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony will take place at Haad Lek Beach (small beach), KhaoLak-Lamru National Park. This is a very small cove on the headland just south of the Park HQ.
This event will be presided over by the Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at between 3.30pm and 5.00pm (VIPs and next-of-kin only). Five finalist memorial designs, submitted by Thais and foreigners will be presented.
The Prime Minister will lay a foundation stone. HRH Princess Ubol Ratana Rajakanya will be an honored guest and will deliver an address. There will be a musical performance and a poetry reading by children.
The Inter-faith open memorial service (Buddhism, Christianity (Roman Catholic & Protestant), Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism) will take place at 18.00 hrs at Chong Fah Beach (Bang Niang, Khaolak)
About 1,700 foreign guests and 5,000 Thais are expected to join these events. In addition fifty national leaders and other international personalities, including former US president Bill Clinton, are expected to attend.
Tourism and sports (eg. an international food festival, an international fireworks competition, world tennis competition including stars such as Serena Williams & Lindsay Davenport, cross year marathon, and Tour of Siam 2006 international bike race) are highlights of the second part of the commemoration, from 27th December 2005 to 3rd January 2006, in which Phuket will feature largely.
The world's biggest cartoon book "Hope after Tsunami Disaster" will also be produced.
Please follow the links below for additional information and the tentative program of events:
The deadline for registration for the Tsunami Memorial design competition was 15th November 2005, and the deadline for submission of designs was 6th December 2005.
Designs were submitted from 379 individuals and teams, from 43 countries.
The names of the top five design team countries, which were announced on 15th December 2005 at Le Meridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort, are Australia, China, Finland, Spain and USA.
Each of the five teams received one million baht for making it into the final of the design competition.
A conference was held from 21st January to 24th January to further discuss the memorial project, and any amendments by the finalists had to be submitted to the international panel of judges by 2nd May 2006.
On 18th May 2006, the results were officially announced. A Spanish based team, in collaboration with Phuket based Naga Concepts (Thailand) Co. Ltd was the winner with their design "Mountains of Remembrance".
They will receive the contract from the Thai government to work on the memorial itself. The winning design will be showcased in an exhibition in Bangkok from 1st to 15th June 2006.
The Spanish-Thai design was chosen over entries from four other finalists, from Finland (runners up), Australia, USA and China. The jury made their decision after considering feedback from visitors to the Architect '06 exhibition in Bangkok in May, and from local people surveyed at Takuapa District office.
The winning design is intended to represent "a temple hidden in forest, light, nature and silence". It will recreate an artificial piece of nature, integrated into the Khao Lak Lamru National Park. The scheme combines references from several cultures and religions, and provides an iconic landmark and place
of reflection for the families of victims and survivors of the tsunami disaster as well as for the general public.
A path through the forest, with meeting points and resting areas, will lead to the memorial site and then to the sea. At the highest point, five towers will be erected in a cluster:-
the Memorial tower (for reflection and meditation), the Museum tower (with a lookout platform), the Warning Centre (for education), the Amphitheatre tower (for presentations), and the Restaurant and Shop tower (for relaxation).
The project is now in the assessment process regarding its impact on the environment, and modifications to the blueprint may be made to minimise impact.
On 25th December 2006, the Ministry of Culture postponed the start of the construction of the Tsunami Monument, until a full environmental impact assessment
has been carried out.
On 4th April 2005, in keeping with the Buddhist tradition of releasing the spirit of the deceased 100 days after death, many memorial ceremonies were held across the country, including Khaolak. In actual fact, a three day memorial was organized with the final day coinciding with the 100th day.
During the ceremony on the final day, a minute of silence was observed at the time the first wave struck on December 26. Each person present then released a white balloon with a white paper tail - a representation of the human spirit.