57. War and Peace in Bangkok

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!

in the pursuit of | Bangkok

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!

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