Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Returning to Bangkok was a lot more simple than getting to Siem Reap. The only downfall in a land crossing to Thailand was that you only get a 15 day visa as opposed to 30 days if you fly in. I also later found out that Thailand was giving free visas for 90 days or more till June, 2009 because of the lack of tourism. From the border I took the train the rest of the way. It was only ~$1US for a six hour trip. Or you could pay $8US for a minivan and get to Bangkok in four hours. I had lots of time and it was nicer to take the windowless train to see the countryside. When I arrived in Bangkok I learned that Songkran was starting the next day.

Songkran was Thailand’s three day New Year where the entire country had a huge water fight. It gets so crazy that people on mopeds, and sometimes cars, get into accidents as buckets of water are splashed on them from all directions. Khao San Rd. was packed with people holding a Supersoakers in one hand and a beer in the other. It was every kids dream except 99% of the crowd were adults.

Unfortunately there was no escape from the madness. My hotel was in the dead center of all the action in the tourist area and as soon as I stepped outside I was drenched without mercy. I then proceeded to stay in my air-conditioned room with wifi for the majority of the time. During the middle of the celebration there were violent protests in the downtown town area (~3km away). I was completely oblivious to the entire situation along with the rest of the tourists until an announcement was made on the streets loud speakers for everyone to disperse.

Sure it died down on Khao San Rd., for about four hours, and then everything picked up again like nothing happened. Meanwhile things were much different outside my tourist bubble, the protests continued till the next day and at one point there was car with hundreds of bullet holes at the end of my road. It was later reported that it was an assassination attempt on some Media Mogul with government ties. After all the commotion stopped the government extended Songkran to compensate for the disruption. It then became even more intense…

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