Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
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Not sure if we've got a thread for the political trouble in Thailand, so I'll start this one.
I don't want to dwell on the ins and outs of the trouble - as foreigners here we are OK to observe, but it's unwise to get involved.
Instead I'd like to focus on whether Thailand is still safe to visit, and whether you can still travel here.
Well the good news is that Thailand is still open for business. Most of the protests are in the old part of the city and tourists don't visit it so much. Nonetheless, Khao San Road is quite near the trouble, as is the zoo Falcon and I visited last month.
The trouble does move around though. I am 3 Km away from Ramkhamhaeng, the scene of the worst violence over the weekend. This is pretty much a no-go area now, but there's no really much there for foreigners to see anyway. It's kind of cut off any chance of dating ladies from that area which is a shame as it was a good place to meet decent girls.
A very low flying helicopter has just gone past my condo, so I guess some more problems have been kicking off there.
The airports are still open here, and I've heard troops have been deployed to keep them safe.
Yesterday some of Bangkok's biggest shopping malls were closed. I took a look at the demonstration. The demonstrators were mostly middle class voters, and the atmosphere was good.
I've seen big protests in London (notably a 250,000 people demonstration by Tamils) but the big difference in Bangkok is that the police were nowhere to be seen . If it turns ugly, you're on your own.
As to the impact, I talked to a Chinese girl on wechat last night and she told me "Thailand is now not peace". I'm sure 2014 will be a bad year for tourism here, and that Chinese tour groups with go to Vietnam instead. On the other hand the baht is tanking, and cheap holidays in the sun are very tempting for millions...
Anyway, Bangkok is still open for business. I had a run in with a nasty British guy begging for money at the supermarket this morning. Honestly, your fellow countrymen are the biggest danger here .
I'll also add that the first train to test the Bangkok - Chiang Mai line (closed after safety enhancements) has derailed.
Now you see why I've rarely left Bangkok in all the months I've lived here .
Yeah, you're welcome to visit here. It's a good place to gain experience with ladies.
On the other hand, it's also a place where stupid things can go very nasty. I was buying my lunch in the supermarket and an English man came up to me asking if I spoke English. Well he came out with a story about his wallet stolen by ladyboys, then asks me for money. I refuse, he gets nasty, then he finally throws some coins at me and leaves...
WTF? I could have died for 40 baht. This is why Stickman Bangkok won't generally meet his readers.
Away from stupid incidents at the salad bar, the situation in Thailand is volatile, but the country remains open for visitors.
Here are a few photos from yesterday.
Yellow shirt rally in front of police HQ:
If you know Bkk then this is practically next door to Siam Paragon:
More protestors (Yingluck is Thailand's white legged prime minister):
Unlike 2010, these protestors are mainly middle class voters, who wonder where their taxes have gone:
If you're visiting Thailand then I'd advise you to stay well away from any political protests. Not least because there wasn't much in terms of crowd control (the police being barricaded behind their own barbed wire!!!).
This is about the only thing we agree on.
Personally, I have never had a problem with protests here and I've been thru several and covered a couple as a photographer.
If you have no need to go to or thru the area where the protests are, stay away. Also, don't say anything in public about them.
I just came back from the south of Thailand and went down Ramkamhaeng Blvd at 5:30 AM with no problems. Try going there now, at 3:30, and it will be more difficult. I may take a walk over with a couple of cameras later this evening to where the protests are...I live within walking distance.
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