It was May 21, 2010; the tail-end of what was three months of political unrest between the Thai government and the “Red Shirts”, also known as the Bangkok riots – and we had just landed in Bangkok.
Two days prior, the army had marched on the Red Shirt’s headquarters in central Bangkok, launching an all-out attack, destroying 35 buildings including the Stock Exchange, banks, shopping centres, a TV station, and a cinema. A “do not travel” notice was issued for Bangkok. All the hotels in the vicinity were shut, tourists evacuated, and barricades built around them. Our hotel was one of these.
We were notified of the closure via email, and I then spent the next day (the day before we left for Thailand) frantically organising alternate accommodation on the outskirts of the city. Call us crazy (many did!), but through the tears and stress and mania, we decided not to cancel our plans. Too much had gone into this trip. Work had reached a crescendo of pain, and, after all, the whole point of it was that we were invited to a friend’s wedding in Koh Samui. We couldn’t back out now.
And I’m glad we didn’t – keep reading to find out why!
We hired the services of an honest Tuk Tuk driver for our first day in Bangkok. He took us everywhere from the temples to the riot-destroyed city center. Afterwards, we rewarded him with a nice tip and made his day – read on below to see his biggest of smiles!
I admit, I am slightly obsessed with Europe… Ok, that’s an understatement. My heart was set on Paris since I was a child, and since then I’ve dedicated many a paycheck to visiting my favourite part of the world. But my love of old-world Europe doesn’t come from a place of inexperience. I have been lucky enough to also have traveled through Japan, Thailand, India, Indonesia, and beyond… But given the choice, I will always pick the romance of the continent over the hullabaloo of Asia.
Is it because my Indian heritage makes anything European seem exotic in my eyes? Perhaps. But something happened to me the other day to make me wonder…
Paris or Bangkok – what’s your favourite?
Every traveler has a “flight from hell” story. Luckily for me, it didn’t happen until well into my traveling career – my parents taught me to only ever fly with Emirates or Singapore Air. But like most kids will do at least once their lives, I ignored the good advice, and on one fateful day in 2008, I sat contemplating my small savings account and suddenly gave in to temptation, settling on a $300 flight to Japan with Australia’s newest (at the time) budget airline; Jetstar.
…And boy, did I learn my lesson!