What's Up with Thailand?: Recent History

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Kalboz, Nov 20, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Kalboz
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    In the recent months, we have had sever monsoon rains that led to the current flooding situation throughout most of central Thailand affecting tourism in Bangkok and surrounding areas (Kantchanaburi, Auytthaya, etc.). However, this is not the first event in recent history to devastate the Thai tourism, this is just the last episode of many that taking its tool on the tourism industry taking a ripple affect on the workforce and dependent secondary sectors. Events started in 1997 as follows:

    The Asian financial crisis of 1997: prior to the crisis, the baht was pegged at 25 to the US dollar but after the baht crashed it was THB 52 to the dollar. Thailand did not recover until 2001. Two years later, it was able to pay off its debt to the IMF two years ahead of schedule.
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    Abandoned structure near Saphan Taksin victim of the financial meltdown of 1997

    SARS of 2002-03 & H5N1 of 2004: Although SARS did not affect Thailand, it was rampant throughout East Asia (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam). The stigma negatively affected Thailand's tourism sector resulting in deep discounts in flights and accommodations to and throughout Thailand. The Bird Flu Virus started in 2004 and caused less than 20 Thai fatalities and continued the cycle of the bargain Thai travel sector.

    Boxer Day 2004 Tsunami: This Tsunami was the deadliest in recorded history with 11K estimated dead or missing, 10K injured, and 7K displaced in Thailand alone. Many other countries, especially Australia and those in Europe, had large numbers of citizens traveling in the region on holiday. Both Sweden and Germany lost over 500 citizens each in the disaster. Damage to the Thai economy was minor because losses in the tourism and fishing industries are a relatively small percentage of the GDP. However, damage to infrastructure is an overriding factor. In some areas drinking water supplies and farm fields may have been contaminated for years by salt water from the ocean. The tourism sector did not recover until late 2005.
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    Patong Beachfront businesses

    2006 Thai coup d'état: and the resulting political turmoil throughout the rest of 2006. I was in Thailand during this coup and personally witnessed as scores of foreigners immediately exited the country. I was staying at the Plaza Athenee, which had plenty of availability all of the sudden.
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    Military Coup: Tanks at the Royal Plaza Bangkok September 2006

    Airport seizures of 2008: After Thaksin party regained power through elections in mid 2008, his opponents (Royalists, the elites, and military supporters) formed an opposition movement called People Against Dictatorship (PAD). On the evening of 25 November 2008, a convoy of hundreds of armed PAD members dressed in yellow blocked the two ends of the road in front of the terminal building of Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok's main airport and an important regional hub and blockaded the main road to the airport, aiming at resisting the landing of the prime minister's flight. PAD members armed with clubs, iron bars and knives, with some wearing black balaclavas, then entered the terminal, much to the surprise of the thousands of travelers inside. AOT, eventually decided that all Suvarnabhumi flights were suspended, leaving thousands of travelers stranded in the airport, this action led to the official closure of the airport. PAD yellow shirts did not leave BKK until the constitutional court dissolved the government and BKK resumed flight operations on December 4th mainly evicting thousands of stranded travelers. This action caused a severe blow to the tourism high season of 2008-2009.
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    BKK Airport yellow shirts seizure 2008

    14th ASEAN Summit and Protests of 2009: The summit was convened in Pattaya from April 10 to April 12. However, it was aborted on April 11 when hundreds of pro-Thaksin protesters (red shirts) forced their way past security forces into the venue. Many of the visiting leaders had to be evacuated by helicopter to a nearby military airbase, although none were injured. The protests were part of the 2008–2009 Thai political crisis and were not directed at ASEAN leaders but rather at Thailand's government ... yet another blow to the tourism sector!

    2010 Thai military crackdown: The protest was by red shirts who camped themselves in Central Bangkok and the resulting military crack down lasted 5 weeks in April and May. The fighting caused about 100 deaths including several foreigners, $1.5 billion in damages, curfew in the capital for the first time since the 1992 coup. The damage to both Bangkok's infrastructure and Thailand's reputation was severe and lingered for many more months affecting the tourism sector negatively.
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    The aftermath: Damage to CentralWorld Ratchaprasong Bangkok 2010

    2011 current flooding ... and the saga continues ...

    What do you think? The Gods (Buddha!) are upset with Thailand and its society, or are these just normal occurrences that all modern societies face today?
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
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  2. cennas
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    I'm here at the moment and as much as I try not to read the news while on vacation, I can't help but seeing the headlines on the front page of Bangkok Post while trying to get to the sports pages. There's this talk about angry locals threatening to open up sluice gates and also about the pardon for Thaksin. Let's just hope these don't escalate into something bigger.
     
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  3. Kalboz
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    Yes indeed all normal ... thanks cennas for the report and keep us posted as your time allows on what developes :)

     
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  4. Kalboz
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  5. kwai
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    It could be manbearpig* flu for all I care; the more we try to protect the public from it the worse it will be once it eventually spreads.

    Containment of the virus allows it to mutate toward a more viral entity while the human population has no (or at least very little) time to adapt to it.

    But my viewpoint is obviously much different from the WHO.

    *South Park reference
     
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  6. Kalboz
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    Is this the new big event to hit Thailand: Escalating Protests in Bangkok Raise Fears of Clashes
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    Photo by Seua Yai
     
  7. Travelsavant
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    Heading to Bangkok tomorrow, is my timing a total disaster? I'm following the protest rallies & appears that more expected today. Wondering if I should stay longer in Singapore & extend time in Hong Kong & skip Bangkok; any suggestions?
     
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  8. flynow

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    I would play it by ear!!
     
  9. Kalboz
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    The situation was escalated today when the demonstrators forced their way into the Minstry of Finance to force civil servants to stop working! But it seems that many just having a good 'ol time :confused:
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Kalboz
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    Another update: Travel-warning threat looms over tourism
     
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  11. Kalboz
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    I guess this is just a guess! 400K tourists cancel travels to Thailand
     
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  12. Steven Schwartz
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    Kal-

    If that's what the protesters look like, I'm guessing most of the guys there are not really protesting! Happy New Year to you and your family

    Hard to believe it's almost a year since our amazing rip. You might remember that we were supposed to go with another couple who had to pull out when they found out that their daughter was pregnant and due to deliver during our trip. They rescheduled everything for this January and are not happy about the news.
     
  13. Kalboz
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    Greetings Doc and happy new year to you & yours also :)

    On the protesters, I hear ya, some get paid to attend while others participate just for fun! :confused:

    Your friend should not worry as he will encounter less hoards of tourists, and have a better value in terms of accommodations ... and, hence, better experience so long as he stays away from the hot spots. Assure him that despite of Thailand long tremulous political history, none of the protests/violence was ever directed against foreigners. Rather, the whole thing is home grown Thai on Thai squabbling! Here is a primer: Five questions you want answered about Thailand's political tumult
     
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  14. Kalboz
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  15. IDGflygirl
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  16. Kalboz
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    I am going with wife & two kids (ages 3 & 5) next week - no change in plans here! ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
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  17. Kalboz
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    Thai opposition names intersections to be blocked during the occupied Bangkok: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/loc...-be-left-open-but-govt-vehicles-to-be-blocked
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    12/23/13 - Sukhumvit 21 at Asok Intersection - Photo by Andy Zingo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andyzingo/
     
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  18. IDGflygirl
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    We are now going to Chiang Mai, instead!:)
     
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  19. estnet
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    The biggest problems for tourists, if u use common sense and avoid protest sites is just getting around! The already gridlocked traffic gets impossible in different areas (depending on protest site) and the public transit can't handle the increased crowd, plus skytrain and mrt dont go everywhere.
    even without protests it took an hour to go from MBT to Central by road on a holiday because of a broken water pipe in front of Paragon - a trip that would usually take 10 minutes or so.
     
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  20. Kalboz
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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  21. Kalboz
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    [​IMG]
     
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  22. Singapore Flyer

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    Will be in less than 4 weeks. Eek. You around @Kalboz?

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  23. Kalboz
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    No, we canceled our trip for January ... hopefully will be there in April for Songkran festival. 4 weeks is a long period in Thai politics and things can improve considerably by then, or, things can get uglier! :eek:
     
  24. Singapore Flyer

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    so true...time is extremely relative. So is location. A few blocks and all is calm.
     
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  25. Kalboz
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    Mr. Chapman, SGS GM, is assuring on TOBB that all is well at Asok area of Sukhumvit including access to BTS & MRT.
     
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