The chartered plane carrying the Beijing Olympic Flame arrived on early Friday in Bangkok, the 12th leg of its global torch relay after finishing the last stop in New Dehli, India.
The plane landed at the Sixth Airport of Royal Thai Air Force attached to the Don Mueang airport in north of Bangkok at 2:25 a.m. Friday (1925 GMT, Thursday), April 18.
The Olympic Flame delegation from Beijing, headed by Jiang Xiaoyu, vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee of Olympic Games (BOCOG), was welcomed by Thai officials including General Yuthasak Sasiprapha, President of National Olympic Committee of Thailand (NOCT), NOCT Secretary-General Major GeneralCharouck Arirachakaran, vice secretary-general Valin Tansuphasiri, as well as Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Zhang Jiuhuan.
Yuthasak poised for photos with Jiang holding the flame lantern, after the latter touched the Thai ground before an army of photographers and reporters waiting to catch the moment.
This is the first time the Olympic Torch Relay, initiated at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games, is run on the soil of Thailand. Bangkok is the 12th leg of the global tour of the Beijing Olympic Flame.
On Thursday, banners and billboards have been set up with the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay slogan "Light the Passion, Share the Dream" and logos dotted the sides along the route.
Starting at 3:00 p.m. (0800 GMT) Saturday afternoon, 80 torch bearers, selected from distinguished representatives from different walks of life including government officials, athletes, company executives, artists, students, educators, social workers and Thai-Chinese community leaders, will run through a 10.4-km-long route in Bangkok that covers the city's most re-known landmarks and historic sites.
A grand welcoming ceremony will be held Friday evening in the Bangkok headquarters of Kasikorn Bank, with Thailand's crown princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the second daughter of King Bhumibol known for her keen interest in Chinese culture and extended trips around China, presiding over the ceremony.
Thousands of children and blooming flowers will line the Bangkok streets along the route for the Olympic Torch Relay, as the city is ready to receive and welcome the Olympic Sacred Flame, Bangkok officials told Xinhua.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) estimated more than 30,000 spectators will show up to witness the Olympic Torch Relay on Saturday.