Two months after Neil Armstrong returned from his “small step” onto the lunar surface, 50 years ago today, he came to Bangkok along with the crew of Apollo 11.
Bangkok was one of 24 stops on the moon landing victory-lap. Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan, were the only other stops in Asia.
Given the bloody intensification of its war in Vietnam that year following the Tet Offensive, the United States included Bangkok as a gesture toward its best ally in the region.
Armstrong and astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins (and their wives) were received by the country’s then military leader, Thanom Kittikachorn (and his wife) on October 28, 1969 at the Government House. Thanom welcomed the astronauts with gifts while his wife, Jongkol Kittikachorn, handed gifts to their wives.