Shutdown Bangkok

Shutdown Bangkok

Bangkok never ceases to amaze me. Every time I visit this city something crazy and different happens and today was no exception.

I didn’t plan on writing much about this current trip to Thailand. I’ve been here many times before and I’m only really here right now to complete an underwater videography course on the island of Koh Tao. I want to fully concentrate and focus on this course and besides; Thailand for me is not enough of an adventure.

Bangkok Protest 4Bangkok Protest 2

However, I thought that what I saw and experienced here today was certainly worthy of taking some photos and video. Perhaps this was even Thai history in the making?

I arrived in Bangkok at around 10:00am, took the train from the airport into town (which is a new service since I last came – and very good). My hotel was in the Sukhumvit area so I got off the train at Asok station. What happened here was certainly not what I was expecting in a million years!

Bangkok Protest 4

Looking back, deep down I knew something was afoot because there were loads of Thai people on the train wearing T-shirts printed in the colour of the National flag with slogans like “shutdown Bangkok”, “down with the government” and such like.

Bangkok Protest 6

As I was motioning up the escalators from the underground station I could hear chanting and whistling growing ever closer then I was funneled right into the thick of a full blown anti-government protest.

So picture me; Jet-lagged, smelly and sweating – sporting a huge heavy backpack being pushed in the opposite direction I wanted to go by thousands of people under the beaming Asian midday sun! Great!

Bangkok Protest 7

There was nothing I could do to fight it – I just had to go with it. In hindsight this would have been a great time to get out my camera and video me in the middle of it all but it was the last thing on my mind at the time. All I could focus on was removing myself from this situation.

Bangkok Protest

After what felt like an eternity (probably only 30 minutes) the procession marched past a side street on Sukhumvit Road so I spotted my escape and managed to wriggle through the crowd and away from the protest. What a relief!

From there I looped back on myself via a different street and got to the Sky train Station I wanted to get to in the first place. I finally made it to my hotel. Dumped my belongings. Took a shower. Grabbed my camera and headed for the streets again.

All these photos are still images taken from the video I shot of the action. I’m currently editing the video and will upload in the next few days. Its pretty epic and you get a real sense of the passion of these people. So watch this space!

On a different note, Bangkok now has really good and efficient public transport within the city, so its now even easier than ever to travel this great country. You can get from the Airport to the main Train Station (Hua Lumpong) with only 1 change in about 30 minutes and costing less than 100 Baht (£2). Compare that to London the other day – It took me nearly 2 hours to get from Kings-Cross to Heathrow. And cost over £10!

 

Well Done Bangkok!! Shame on you London!

 

But remember here – always expect the unexpected and nothing is what it seems!

 

Sam

(Currently en-route to Koh Tao)

 

 

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