Connect with us

Thai Life

One night (and day) in Bkk

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

One night (and day) in Bkk | Thaiger

PHUKET: Last week I walked through the streets of Bangkok with Jesus. As we all know, the original J-Man could walk on water, but Thailand’s man of the moment, Suthep Tuangsuban was able to deftly part his way through the horde of followers along the city’s posh Sukhumvit commercial district with what appeared to be divine skill.How did I come face to face with the man leading the political movement to shut down Bangkok? Actually, it all began with a dawn start and that ominous first flight out of Phuket. After arrival and a quick trip on the Airport Rail Link and BTS I was fading fast and needed caffeine. Spotting a nearby Starbucks right on Ploenchit, it was time for a latte with an extra shot of expresso.

My mind slowly pulled out of the fog as crowds started to line the streets outside, first the megaphones squelched out and then those whistles started blowing. I calmly decided on a second cup just to dust out any remaining cobwebs.

Once my mission was completed, all hell was breaking loose nearby so I opted to head out front and have a look. There, just in front of me, with two majestic giant red, white and blue Thai flags waving in the cool breeze was Suthep.

The crowd was roaring, smartphones were everywhere with cameras aimed in all directions and out there on the street giving high five’s, raising his fist in defiance and taking selfies with his fans was clearly a man on a mission. I took some time and wandered down the street for a while with the demonstrators just taking it all in before realizing I was half an hour late for an appointment.

For those who have not been to Bangkok during the current crisis and have only captured the moment from social media and the news media, it’s hard to relate to the scene on the sois as it were. I can recall walking through the same areas in 2010 during the red shirt movement and a number of things have changed.

First is the merchandising. There is every manner of stall with branded slogans, national colors and everything imaginable including Angry Bird’s wearing red, club striped headbands donning t-shirts and Hello Kitty Bangkok Shut Down whistles.

Most of the key areas such as the Ratchaprasong intersection by CentralWorld and Asoke are fairly vacant during the daytime but as night comes, the street scene comes to life – food stalls, foot massage chairs, live music blasting from random stages and camping tents for protesters. Though the latter are being clustered and either have larger tents or netting over them as concern over errant grenades or bombs landing on them is the subject of much discussion.

In a way it’s a bit like Chatuchak Market on steroids.

I was able to talk to a few hotel general managers in the directly affected areas and occupancy has plunged down to 20-30 per cent and some cases lower. That given, hotels in the peripheral districts and budget and mid-scale properties are trading at reasonably higher levels.

For those travelling to Bangkok, the good news, if there is any, is that public transport is functioning well. Taking the Airport Rail Link train to either Phayathai or Makkasan stations and then shifting onto the BTS Skytrain or MRT is seamless. The secret is to take the City Line which runs more often and travelling light helps on the Suvarnabhumi marathon trek.

During the past few days, Bangkokian’s are starting to return to their cars and traffic is slowly getting worse, though again you can get to a number of areas quite easily depending on the time of day. Though I had visions of empty shopping malls on my mind, quick stops at Emporium and Siam Paragon found crowded houses, and there are plenty of foreigners around. Though one exception is the Erawan Shrine near the Grand Hyatt, which stood in near silence when I walked by.

The mood in Bangkok has been tempered by a type of winter vortex cooling trend and at night temperatures are down to 18 degrees. Perhaps this is a good thing and chilling out the locals. What is clear is that the support of many Bangkok people I spoke to remains startlingly clear – they want change and are prepared to wait it out.

Though as we all know, Thailand is not only Bangkok, and the views in the North, East, West and South are not necessarily on display in this microcosm, what is glaringly evident is that there is no end in sight to the present crisis. The great fog remains firmly settled over the city in what may come to be known as the “Selfie Crisis of 2014”. Stay tuned and keep your smartphone nearby.

Bill Barnett is the Managing Director of C9Hotelworks and can be contacted through C9hotelworks.com

— Bill Barnett

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Entertainment

Sex toys popular in Thailand despite conservative laws

Avatar

Published

on

Sex toys popular in Thailand despite conservative laws | Thaiger
PHOTO: In Thailand, sex toys are very popular and very illegal.

While Thailand is a conservative country with conservative laws, the underground sex trade and sex toy economy is a thriving not-so-well-kept secret. Thailand is famous for its LGBTQ acceptance and red-light districts, but many don’t realise that most drugs, gambling, soliciting for prostitution, sex toys, and even vaping are against Thai law.

The customs department confiscated more than 4000 sex toys just last year, and owning or selling these toys carries a 60,000 baht fine or up to 3 years in jail. The strict laws are in place to align with the traditional Buddhist Thai society but seem very contrary to the underground sex industry Thailand is known for.

The need for sexual privacy rights and relaxed laws governing sex has been gaining popularity for years with the juxtaposition of strict laws and hedonism creating a very profitable black market. Bangkok’s red-light district is estimated to be worth US $6.4 billion, and in districts like Soi Cowboy, Nana, Patpong and Silom, sex trade and sex toys are sold openly even though it violates the law. The sex industry is thought to comprise up to 10% of Thailand’s gross domestic product. Then there’s Walking Street in Pattaya, Bangla Road in Phuket, etc, etc.

Still, Thailand is a Buddhist country with traditionally conservative values so laws are unlikely to change anytime soon. Even sex education in Thailand is geared towards the negative consequences of sex and not open to sexual rights or embracing sexuality, according to a UNICEF report in 2016. Those who oppose decriminalising sex toys and the sex industry believe that embracing it legally would lead to a rash of sex-related crimes.

Others argue that decriminalisation would be liberating and empower women by reducing the stigma of being sexually free. It would allow a modernized view on sexual well-being. It would also likely reduce teen pregnancy rates, by removing the negativity towards those who need or use contraceptive.

Nisarat Jongwisan has been fighting for the destigmatisation and legalisation of sex toys since 2018 when she appeared on a TV program speaking out against the Ministry of Culture. She now intends to use the Thai parliamentary mechanism for creating a petition and gathering 50,000 signatures, which would allow her to submit a bill to the parliament for a vote.

With strict laws, the black market will continue to grow. While sex toys and the sex trade can be criminalized, sexual desires are not easily quashed, and people will find ways to satisfy them. Without any regulation, black markets can profit freely, selling sex toys with no concern over fair pricing or quality control. The global sex toy industry sold nearly US $34 billion dollars last year, and with continued lockdown and the closures of entertainment venues, these sales are set to only increase, even in the face of Thailand’s conservative laws.

SOURCE: Vice

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Thai Life

“Mommy, there’s a snake!” – Expat in Phuket shares her story

Thaiger

Published

on

By

“Mommy, there’s a snake!” – Expat in Phuket shares her story | Thaiger
Pope's pit viper / Stock photo by Thai National Parks via Flickr

The following story was written by Amy Sukwan, an American who has been living in Thailand for 7 years.

To share a story with The Thaiger, click HERE.

“Mommy, there’s a snake!” my 8 year old daughter Eliza said, waking me up in the middle of the night.

I came out of our modest bungalow in Phuket at some unholy hour in the middle of the night, to see what my daughter’s whole “snake” thing was about. In the light of our front porch light, about 3 metres from our front door, 3 of our cats were surrounding something that looked at first to me to be a stack of rotting bananas.

“Eliza it’s nothing.” I tried to assure my daughter. Right at that moment the rotting bananas rose up into an aggressive posture as 3 cats circled it, hissing viciously. It was a surreal sight in the porch light.

“Mommy can you kill it!” My daughter begged me, as the thing, about four feet or over a meter long, lashed at one of our cats, who was quick enough to jump away. The snake had a big head that I could see in the porch light. It was distinctively mallet shaped, in what I was pretty sure was the viper class.

As much as I wanted to go back to sleep and pretend that this was all a bad nightmare, I now had a crying, frantic daughter who was terrified for her cats and a situation that I was quickly recognizing was pretty bad. Mai dee.

I needed to call in backup – my Thai husband. Eliza was already screaming his name. “Ka! Loon Ka!” My 8 year old screamed.


There are many venomous snakes in Thailand. Most people know about cobras but the viper class is the most deadly in the world, as vipers are both unpredictable and very difficult to charm. I was looking at a pit viper of some sort, I was pretty sure.

Snakes normally don’t bother you if you don’t bother them. But interactions are most common late in the dry season in Thailand, as it is now, in late March, as the snakes slither around houses in search of water. Thais don’t want them around for obvious reasons. You don’t want venomous snakes to breed and make babies close to your homestead.

If you are not sure if a snake is venomous or not, a good rule of thumb is to look at its head size in proportion to its body size. If the snake head is close to the same size as the rest of its body, and the snake is generally more wormlike in appearance, it is probably not venomous. If the head is large, say two or more times the diameter of the body, it might be poisonous. This does not constitute medical advice. If you get bitten by a snake, you should go to the hospital.


My husband woke up as Eliza was screaming for him. He came out groggily but as soon as my daughter pointed at the snake he saw the problem. “No good! I kill!” Ka said as he grabbed a machete from our kitchen rack. He wasted no time in coming to this decision.

So after being bathed in the surreal sight of three cats circling a hissing, striking, and very likely deadly serpent under our porch light, I got to be treated to an even weirder view. Ka went full Steve Irwin on the snake as he danced around with the machete. The viper sideswiped and tried to strike him. Then, it suddenly backlashed and made contact with his knee. Both me and Eliza cried out from the sidelines.

“She bit me!” Ka said as he macheted the viper’s mid body, and then its neck. Among my many shortcomings is a complete inability to gender snakes. So I will remain with my husband’s classification of the viper as female.

The snake stilled over the course of several minutes as my eight year old screamed in terror. It still seemed to be wiggling even five minutes later, though its body slowly stilled. Ka helped me put it in a plastic bag.

“You go hospital now!” I screamed at him.

“No worries. She don’t bite me with poison.” Ka seemed sure of this. He’d grown up on a 50 rai spread of backwoods in Phuket and was something of a designated snake killer.

My husband had tracked and killed a 5 foot long snake months before, which he had assured me had no poison, but which he had not wanted around the house. I was able to identify that one through Google images and a snake discussion group as an Indochinese Rat snake, which was indeed not venomous.

There was only one bite mark on his knee the viper had come in from an unusual angle and only one fang had punctured through. But I could see from closer inspection of the now dead snake what I had already known. It looked like a dark green Pit Viper. She was about 4 feet long, or maybe 130 centimetres. The poor girl had probably been looking for water.

Symptoms of a poisonous snake bite include pain at the site, swelling, and changes in heart rate or breathing. Needless to say Ka is still alive and well, and probably had enough experiences of snakes to know that this was a dry bite, or one without venom, as about 50% of snake bites are. I wouldn’t have taken my chances on this, though.

The reason that poisonous baby snakes are thought to be more deadly is not because they have more venom, but because they always release venom when they do bite. I prayed in Buddhist style for the snake to have a better life next time, as she had made merit by not killing either our cats or my husband. But for the amateurs out there, I wouldn’t advise going to Steve Irwin about these things. Normally snakes bite you because you bother them.


It turns out that sometimes you chase the story. And sometimes the story chases you.

I’d seen a recent post on The Thaiger asking for guest bloggers to share their stories regarding Thailand. I think I laughed out loud on reading it. After 7 years in the “Land of Smiles,” with 2 Thai husbands and after giving birth to 2 children here, I’d like to think I’ve seen it all. I probably have 10,000 stories.

But what do I want to write about? Should I mention my early days as a farang in Thailand, during the time when I was working as an OPC for a timeshare? Do I want to give advice on making visas, as an American staying in Thailand or for a Thai going to America? Should I talk about going to Thai hospitals? Or maybe I should write something about Thai Buddhist funeral proceedings? I’ve put my first husband and both my mother and father in law in the ground at Wat Prathong. Should I talk about ASQ and travelling during Covid madness? Or should I mention the Full Moon Party on Koh Pha Ngan? I’ve been to five of those, personally.

This weekend I was harvesting cashew fruit with a Thai friend of ours in Phuket who has a large spread of family land. We burnt the cashew nuts, and I thought that this would make a great story, as many farang ask me about growing and harvesting practices in my little outback area. Unfortunately a quick Google search revealed that cashew nuts are dangerous, even to people without allergies, as they contain a chemical close to poison ivy. Only professional processors should deal with cashew nuts, in short. I’ve been eating the fruit and burning the nuts for years. But I gathered that life is too dangerous. So much for that story.

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Food Scene

Thai Airways food landing in 7-Eleven next month

Avatar

Published

on

Thai Airways food landing in 7-Eleven next month | Thaiger
PHOTO: Yum yum, it's airline food 'on the go'

Warning. Some low-altitude turbulence is coming to a 7-Eleven near you. Thai Airways has cooked up a new money-making scheme during Covid-19 to sell its airline food in 7-Eleven. Set to take off on April 15, the mostly grounded and indebted airline will attempt to offset its losses during the pandemic by selling food in the ubiquitous convenience store and other supermarkets throughout Thailand.

It’s a clever strategy for a struggling company, but will customers take the bite? Surely a few crispy pork and rice dishes will knock the edge of that 300 billion baht debt!

Claiming that their busy flight schedule has always previously stood in the way of the airline’s foray into the fast food market, Thai Airways now has the supply (and time) with most flights grounded by the pandemic’s decimation of the travel industry and less hungry mouths to feed in the sky.

The first meals schedule to arrive on the shelves of 7-Eleven just after the Songkran holiday are Thai Airways’ halal chicken biryani dish, and the traditional Thai dish nam phrik long ruea, crispy and fluffy fish and sweet pork served in a fermented shrimp chilli paste. The primary push into the food industry will be more unusual meals to stand out in 7-Eleven’s selection.

The question remains whether the food selection will fly off the shelves, but the airline’s hopes are high after their airline launched pop-up restaurants in September and the public ate it up. It seems that, contrary to a million stand-up comedy jokes about how terrible airline food is, people have really missed it with so much cancelled travel due to border closures and restrictions.

Thai Airways hopes this creative departure from their main business will help bolster the struggling airline, who were previously denied a government bailout after declaring bankruptcy last year. They have tried everything from the pop-up restaurants to jumbo yard sales to renting out flight simulators. Even with the sharp reduction of flights due to the pandemic, flying will still be the company’s main mealticket, but they hope meal sales will make up for low ticket sales until the travel industry recovers.

So stow your tray table and fasten your seat belt as we see if the 7-Eleven offerings of Thai Airways’ food takes off.

(The Thaiger has a better solution. Let 7-Eleven lease Thai Airway’s grounded planes and run the whole business instead)

SOURCE: Coconuts Bangkok

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading
Burmese prisoners granted amnesty on first day of Myanmar’s New Year | Thaiger
Crime2 hours ago

Burmese prisoners granted amnesty on first day of Myanmar’s New Year

Myanmar junta leader to attend ASEAN summit, activists appalled | Thaiger
Politics2 hours ago

Myanmar junta leader to attend ASEAN summit, activists appalled

Siam Bioscience says July due date of locally-produced AstraZeneca vaccine still feasible | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Siam Bioscience says July due date of locally-produced AstraZeneca vaccine still feasible

Covid UPDATE: 1,767 new infections for Sunday, Bangkok and Chon Buri lead the way | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 1,767 new infections for Sunday, Bangkok and Chon Buri lead the way

New restrictions for domestic flights effective along with other nationwide restrictions today | Thaiger
Transport3 hours ago

New restrictions for domestic flights effective along with other nationwide restrictions today

The Queen sits as a lonely figure as she bids farewell to her husband Prince Philip | Thaiger
World7 hours ago

The Queen sits as a lonely figure as she bids farewell to her husband Prince Philip

Grim milestone: 3 million Covid-19 deaths worldwide | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Grim milestone: 3 million Covid-19 deaths worldwide

Songkran’s 7 dangerous days: 2,365 road accidents, 277 deaths | Thaiger
Road deaths19 hours ago

Songkran’s 7 dangerous days: 2,365 road accidents, 277 deaths

Officials not worried Thailand remains on US currency watch list | Thaiger
Economy21 hours ago

Officials not worried Thailand remains on US currency watch list

Thai Hotel Association pushes “hospitels” – hotels as hospitals | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)22 hours ago

Thai Hotel Association pushes “hospitels” – hotels as hospitals

Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break. | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)23 hours ago

Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break.

Covid UPDATE: 1,547 new infections, restrictions start after midnight tonight | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Covid UPDATE: 1,547 new infections, restrictions start after midnight tonight

No Covid-19 national curfew or lockdown yet for Thailand | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

No Covid-19 national curfew or lockdown yet for Thailand

Covid-19 brings surge in gold and cryptocurrency investment | Thaiger
Thailand1 day ago

Covid-19 brings surge in gold and cryptocurrency investment

Nightlife venues ordered to close after midnight tonight, nationwide ban on serving alcohol | Thaiger
Thailand1 day ago

Nightlife venues ordered to close after midnight tonight, nationwide ban on serving alcohol

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | Thaiger
Thailand1 month ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | Thaiger
Phuket2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23 | Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Follow Thaiger by email:

Trending