Happy Sunday, Bangkok!
This week we’ve been battling against the storms and humidity that are so typical of this time of year in Thailand. Major news stories gripping the nation include the remnants of Dinosaur Planet — the closed Dinosaur Attraction near Phrom Phong BTS — going up in smoke after a fire there on Friday. The park is currently being demolished to make way for — you guessed it — another mall.
Always nice to go out in style.
Let’s see what else has been entertaining and enraging Bangkok this week…
- 1 News
- 2 Blogs
- 3 Forum Threads
- 4 YouTube
- 5 Twitter
- 6 Instagram
In the latest spate of raids looking to weed out foreigners who have violated their visas or committed crimes, police in Bangkok this week raided spots in Nana and Khao San Road. 16 foreigners were arrested, most of which were Indian or Pakistani, according to the deputy tourist police chief. This was in response to the fact that recent raids on foreigners have mostly targeted those of African extraction.
Those arrested were caught on charges of entering Thailand illegally, overstaying their visas and various other related crimes.
A very sad news report this week described four siblings falling from a fourth floor apartment in Bangkok, one of whom died, two of whom are in the Intensive Care Unit and one who suffered a broken leg. It transpires that the children were the subject of a long-running custody dispute between their Thai mother, 36-year old Rattikarn Prakaikaew, and their Swiss father, Marcel Borel, who divorced 4 years ago.
In light of the accident, which came about when the children, aged 5, 7, 10 and 11, climbed atop a piece of wood on the balcony that was being used for storage and eventually gave way under the three youngest’s weight, Borel has filed a police complaint against his ex-wife. Rattikarn’s family, who were supervising the children at the time of the accident, have since vowed that they will not allow Borel custody of the three remaining children.
Khao San Road is in the spotlight again this week after the tragic death of 24-year old Leo Alexandre Le Gratiet, believed to have been stabbed to death after he intervened in a fight between a Thai man and a French backpacker.
Le Gratiet was reportedly drinking at an outside bar when he first broke up the fight, but the Thai man — known as Peh — later returned with a knife to confront the Frenchman again. Intervening for the second time between them, Le Gratiet was fatally stabbed and Peh later arrested, after initially fleeing the scene.
A recently updated, fascinating, blog post here from expat author Jim Algie, on visiting the notorious Klong Prem to see his friend, ‘the prisoner’ — a man convicted of killing his business partner, sent down for 25 years and currently awaiting the result of his final appeal to the Supreme Court.
Algie visits during the bucolic-sounding ‘Klong Prem Family Picnic’ — the one day a year that prisoners can make physical contact with their families and friends, for a two hour period only. The rest of the year, visitors are restricted to a once-a-week visitation, for 20 minutes, conducted by telephone through plexiglass windows.
It’s a grim yet incredibly insightful window into Thai prison life — from the spiritual optimism of the Thai inmates to the incredible corruption at play in every level of the prison hierarchy and the complete lack of rehabilitation available to prisoners.
As Algie says, “The only thing you learn in a Thai jail is how to become a better criminal and how to exploit weaker links on the food chain.”
An instantly relatable post here on the Dan About Thailand blog from a seasoned expat of 10+ years, which details the daily frustrations that a life in Thailand holds for many expats and foreigners. Ultimately though, Dan hits on the reason why so many of us live here anyway — there’s something about it that makes us happy and allows us to put up with the other stuff.
The author’s epiphany comes via a Pattaya night market, and it’s probably true that when these quintessentially Thai experiences no longer tickle your pickle, it’s time to up and leave.
An interesting Reddit thread here on the Thai locations you’ve visited once and will never go and see again after a negative experience there. The number one culprit? Phuket. Thailand’s largest island is apparently serving up disappointment after disappointment to the expats and tourists who visit. The problem is largely the taxi mafia, overinflated prices and the attitude of the locals and tourists already there. Go figure.
Think I’ll walk to work today. pic.twitter.com/MMPogzopn5
— Ian (@iamKohChang) May 1, 2018
The last time I went to the airport I booked a taxi using @GrabTH. It took 20 minutes to arrive on my Soi & cost me 574 Baht plus tolls. Today I hailed a passing taxi on my Soi. Took 5 minutes. Cost me 330 Baht. That’s a 244 Baht difference for the same taxi ride. Why? #Thailand pic.twitter.com/uWAJcpcXxK
— Richard Barrow in Thailand (@RichardBarrow) May 3, 2018
The sudden spring of #Thai fine dining restaurants popping up, each with their own gimmicks, is proof that everyone is chasing that #Michelin Star. How about just concentrating on putting out good food? #Bangkok #Thailand
— Nianne Hendricks (@niannelynn) May 3, 2018
— Dan About Thailand (@dan_thailand) April 30, 2018
— Paul Risley (@pauldrisley) May 1, 2018
Lost your dog? pic.twitter.com/1XzLKdM4Jj
— Stickboy Bangkok (@StickboyBangkok) May 2, 2018
Next time you’re at Thai immigration and they say “you’ve aged a bit since this photo was taken” say “yes, I had it taken just before I joined the end of the queue”
— Phil / Ajarn.com (@Ajarncom) May 2, 2018
🌏Elephant Nature Park – Chiang Mai, Thailand 📷@our.kind.life «Splattered with mud and couldn’t be happier watching elephants graze along the hillside. Spending a day at @elephantnaturepark highlands was so enlightening. Elephant tourism is whatever tourists decide it should be–where you spend your money shapes the future!! So say no to bullhooks, forced tricks, riding, and abuse. Instead support organizations like ENP who rescue, rehabilitate, and reshape the future of elephant tourism with a focus on healthy elephant-tourist interactions.» – See more: Backpackerstory.org / @backpackerstory_org Contribute: Facebook.com/backpackerstory Travel blogger/Instagrammer: backpackerstory.org/contribute
And that’s been The Week On Sukhumvit — see you next time!