Category Archives: A Life Upcountry

This Week in Thailand: 13th-19th August 2010

This is a review of what happened in Thailand during the last week based on topics that I tweeted. You can follow me live for latest news about Thailand @RichardBarrow.

Friday 13th August 2010:

Weekend 14th-15 August 2010:

  • Illegal drug shipments flood Thai border by @seacorro (ABC News) http://is.gd/eghjx in reply to seacorro #
  • While US couple have been sentenced for bribing ex-TAT chief, Thai system plods along at snail’s pace http://is.gd/egi05 #
  • Miss Universe 2010 Pageant: Miss Thailand Universe 2010 Fonthip Watcharatrakul Aims For The Crown http://is.gd/egK5b #
  • Northeast Thailand gets flash flood warning (Bangkok Post) http://is.gd/egKxQ #
  • Thailand’s war with the foreign media (New Mandala) http://bit.ly/cWldbv #
  • Torrential rains cause floods in parts of the North and the Northeast of Thailand – http://is.gd/ehlwS #
  • Thai-Chinese people will soon celebrate Sart Chin Day or Ghost Festival. #
  • They will also take part in ting krachaat which is giving rice to the poor. I will go to one tomorrow. #
  • British murder suspect Lee Aldhouse is sought by police for fatal stabbing of an American in Phuket http://is.gd/ehztX #
  • More details emerge about corruption allegations at Thailand Tobacco Monopoly http://is.gd/ei34V /BkkPost #
  • Late last night, Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Crown Prince, flew to Germany http://bit.ly/b1xPWB #
  • Just arrived at a Chinese temple in Taiban, Samut Prakan for their annual “ting krachaat”. http://twitpic.com/2euw11 #
  • 1000’s of poor people here already ready to receive rice & food from local Chinese-Thai. http://twitpic.com/2euxgu #
  • The poor are lining up for tickets & are being herded into tents http://twitpic.com/2ev5oy http://twitpic.com/2ev5th #
  • People are arriving to donate food which will be handed out in about an hour when the Governor of Samut Prakan arrives. #
  • All the food being offered to the Chinese Gods is making me hungry! http://twitpic.com/2evazw http://twitpic.com/2evb8k #
  • The smoke & smell of burning incense and the cacophony of sound at this “ting krachaat” ceremony is very overwhelming. #
  • They are about to open the gates. Get ready for chaos as 1000’s will stampede for free food. http://twitpic.com/2evxv8 #
  • VIDEO: Complete chaos at the moment as they stampede for free food http://twitvid.com/9DGOU http://twitvid.com/VMSQV #
  • Pushing & fighting as they try to get the free food. 1000’s here but still plenty of food. http://twitpic.com/2ew468 #
  • Video of Chinese opera. I guess it is for the Gods as no-one is watching. http://twitvid.com/B8KKP #
  • An hour later the crowds are still large & still plenty of food. As I leave more folks coming. http://twitpic.com/2ewghc #
  • That was my first “ting krachaat” of the season. More will take place all over Thailand this month at Chinese shrines. #
  • Photo Album for the “Ting Krachaat” ceremony this morning at a Chinese Shrine – http://bit.ly/aUjTjB #
  • Suan Dusit Poll: Many people think Thai politicians like to speak rudely, look down on others and are devious /BkkPost #
  • Thailand’s dengue fever toll jumps 83%: 50,000 cases and 63 deaths this year so far http://bit.ly/aYX4DZ #
  • Thailand will fix prices for bottled water at 7 baht (0.5-0.6 liter) and 14 baht (1.5 liter) http://bit.ly/9fL1WP #
  • The dark side to Thailand’s Tiger Temple by @Journotopia http://tinyurl.com/2aw6wzm #
  • The Thai schoolgirl who won 10 million baht in the world cup draw sent in 700 postcards! Her parents will buy a house. #
  • A new building at Burapha university in Chonburi has collapsed, at least 1 killed, 30 trapped inside /via @Tulip_Oum #
  • Photo: The collapsed building was under construction trapping workers http://j.mp/9hHW8U /via @Tulip_Oum #
  • Report on CH.9 about Burapha university said collapsed building was the new auditorium & definitely no students inside. #
  • Latest pictures of collapsed building http://yfrog.com/edf5dg http://yfrog.com/n3gd6g Still many workers trapped inside. #

Monday 16th August 2010:

  • CH.3 now reporting at least 3 workers dead in university building collapse. Rescue efforts continue through the night. #
  • There seems to be confusion among Thai media about number of dead in building collapse. From 1-4 dead so far. #
  • Thailand Tourist Police star in their own music video – 100,000 hits on YouTube – http://j.mp/9A7×4d #
  • American Tourist Murdered in Thailand (Fox News) http://j.mp/ciGKsZ #
  • Chonburi Governor: 1 confirmed dead, 2 missing in Burapa University building collapse /TANN #
  • RT @ThailandVoice: Bangkok Podcast interview with Bangkok Post columnist @voranai now online http://bit.ly/bSnbbX #
  • 16th July: Thai Peace Day – Historians point to forefathers’ sacrifices http://is.gd/ejwTW #
  • PM signs order to cancel emergency decree in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Ubol Ratchathani /TANN #
  • 19 Red Shirt leaders including Veera Musikhapong in Court for 1st hearing on terrorism cases, all deny charges /MCOT #
  • Yellow-shirt protester gets community service for trying to kill 5 policemen http://bit.ly/cD7Jf3 #
  • Manhunt in Thailand for British boxer (BBC) http://bbc.in/bgojEB #
  • The cabinet approves Defence Ministry’s proposal for navy to send ships to help fight pirates off Somalia /BkkPost #
  • RT @veen_NT: Government postpones enforcement on bottled water prices to Sep 1 after receiving complaints from businesses #
  • Watch the video & ask yourself, should the driver get more than 48 hours community service? http://youtu.be/c9bpEm5Jb48 #
  • Some great short videos on places to visit around Thailand. In Thai with English subtitles: http://bit.ly/bSO9PS #

Tuesday 17th August 2010:

  • Some history on Preah Vihear Temple and the border controversy (The Nation) http://is.gd/ekKQl #
  • Red shirt supporters in Chiang Mai will hold their first gathering on Sunday (Bangkok Post) http://is.gd/ekL6z #
  • I’m on my way to TAT HQ on Phetchaburi Road. Have been stuck in traffic for 90 minutes now. I think I’m going to be late. #
  • I’m at RattanaKosin Exhibition Hall on Ratchadamnoen-Klang Avenue in Bangkok with the TAT. http://twitpic.com/2fhrby #
  • This is a picture of Loha Prasat, the Metal Castle, in Bangkok. http://twitpic.com/2fhuas #
  • Model of the Grand Palace at RattanaKosin Exhibition Hall. http://twitpic.com/2fi74c http://twitpic.com/2fi77o #
  • Having a great time learning about history of Royal Bangkok at RattanaKosin Exhibition Hall on Ratchadamnoen-Klang Av. #
  • At the moment there is a special promotion price at Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall of only 100B & 30B. No 2 price system! #
  • Excellent panoramic views from RattanaKosin Exhibition Hall. http://twitpic.com/2fio24 http://twitpic.com/2fio2c #
  • Rattanakosin Exhibition hall is on the Royal avenue near Golden Mount & Democracy Monument. http://twitpic.com/2fiv6q #
  • Website links & info about my trip today in Bangkok is on http://www.RichardBarrow.com. I will post more when I get back. #
  • VIDEO: Excellent views of Golden Mount & Loha Prasat from Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall. http://twitvid.com/1Q0MY #
  • We’re having lunch at S&P Maha Rat by the river. Looks delicious. http://twitpic.com/2fiyzb http://twitpic.com/2fiyza #
  • We’re now at the Arts of the Kingdom V at Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. Not allowed to take pics http://twitpic.com/2fjgi9 #
  • NO PHOTO: Arts of the Kingdom V at Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. http://twitpic.com/2fjgx1 #
  • On an audio tour of the throne hall. She told me to “press the numbers & pray”! (Thai for “play”) #
  • The inside of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall is absolutely magnificent. Really worth the visit. Exhibition is great too. #
  • The ticket for Arts of the Kingdom V at Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall is 150B or free if you went to Grand Palace first. #
  • Public Health Ministry: Death toll from H1N1 virus in Thailand from April 28, 2009 to Aug 7 this year is 245 /BkkPost #
  • A group of dancing policemen has become the latest pop sensation in Thailand with a YouTube video http://is.gd/eloES #
  • Helicopter carrying senior officials of Natural Resources Ministry still missing, search continues amid bad weather /MCOT #
  • Phuket Kickbox Killing: Security camera shows ‘Man in Black’ with knife – http://is.gd/elAUj #
  • Thailand Patriot Network activists staying overnight outside Parliament; announcing next move at 9am Wednesday /MCOT #
  • RT @Juarawee: +300 volunteers set to search for Permanent Secretary of the Natural Resources team in Naan ’til 2AM #
  • You can now download the latest PDF version of Muang Samut News, a local newspaper from Samut Prakan http://bit.ly/aa7vqK #

Wednesday 18th August 2010:

  • Search efforts continue at the break of dawn for missing helicopter in Nan province /TANN #
  • Thai Groups Denounce Web Censorship (Wall Street Journal) http://is.gd/emiBV #
  • 18th August: Today is National Science Day in Thailand. #
  • King Rama IV, Father of Thai Science, successfully predicted a total solar eclipse that took place on 18 August 1868. #
  • The Bangkok-Airport Rail Link will open on Monday. The trip will cost 100 Baht. No baggage check-in yet. #
  • Celebrated Thai pathologist arrives in Malaysia amid heavy security http://bit.ly/dsVPI5 #
  • Missing helicopter has been found in a jungle in Nan Province; 5 passengers presumed dead /via @suthichai #
  • [ThaiPhotoblogs.com] Miss Thailand Fonthip in National Costume http://bit.ly/amEVl6 #
  • Thailand blocks access to WikiLeaks website http://bit.ly/cfVGhI (someone tell AFP it opens for me http://www.wikileaks.org) #
  • Nothing like a bit of censorship and the ensuing publicity to make you go & take a look at what the fuss is all about! #
  • I had a brief meeting with the Inspector of Samut Prakan Immigration just now about the website we are doing for them. #
  • He is excited about my idea to invite questions on visa & immigration issues. He promises they will be answered. #
  • Our aim is to make the Samut Prakan immigration site the most useful & updated immigration site in Thailand. Let’s see! #
  • One problem he admitted is that he might be lenient with some rules at his immigration but cannot guarantee same elsewhere. #
  • AFP have now updated their story on “blocking” of wikileaks after reading our tweets about it http://bit.ly/dceO5X #
  • AFP: “Some users, however, reported that they were still able to access WikiLeaks within the kingdom” http://bit.ly/dceO5X #
  • “Censorship versus security: When is freedom of speech not freedom of speech?” by @smartbrain http://bit.ly/dpFyrJ #
  • 78th Province for Thailand called for in Kanchanaburi’s Thong Pha Phum district /BkkPost #
  • Bodies of senior Ministry of Natural Resources officials and airmen who died in helicopter crash reach Bangkok /MCOT #
  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand and Mastercard launch “Bangkok Welcomes You” campaign http://bit.ly/9JW7Tq #
  • AFP changes the title of their story from “Thailand blocks access to WikiLeaks” to “tries to block”. Just pull the story! #
  • ISP’s have been guilty before of putting up fake “This website has been blocked by ICT” notices. It is “self-censorship”. #

Thursday 19th August 2010:

  • King Power to set up Leicester FC academy in Thailand (The Nation) http://is.gd/enTY0 #
  • Five perish in Thai helicopter crash. King & Queen sponsor funeral (Bangkok Post) http://is.gd/enUgM #
  • When police act selectively: The case of the Bangkok scrap seller fined 133,400 baht (BkkPost) http://is.gd/enWLe #
  • Expressway Easy Pass has sold 180,000 units. In October you will be able to top up at 7-Eleven /via @thai101 #
  • Leicester football stadium to be renamed King Power Stadium in December after takeover by the Thai group /BkkPost #
  • Government urged to develop big attractions that can compete with Disneyland and Universal Studios http://bit.ly/bD6JGL #
  • Scouts making “som tum” in their Scout lesson at school this afternoon. http://twitpic.com/2g3jwp #
  • Scouts showing off the “som tum” they just made themselves. http://twitpic.com/2g3kkp #
  • Facebook app on iPhone has been updated. Thai language display problem has been fixed among other things /via @s_narut #
  • You can now see in realtime on your iPhone what seats are available in a SF cinema & then book it! http://bit.ly/9QZXRK #
  • Culture Ministry to seek amending of film & video copyright laws after garbage collector fined 133K http://bit.ly/dAGXsm #
  • Viktor Bout has been waiting in a Thai prison since March 2008. See pics of how much weight he lost http://bit.ly/aeaorx #
  • RT @Dedatos: How long will trip on Airport link to Bangkok take? => Only 15 minutes! But no baggage check-in yet #
  • RT @philipbkk: Can we go from Makkasan to Ramkhamaeng on Airport Link? => Yes and only 15 Baht #
  • State Railway of Thailand will install GPS devices at railway crossings to warn cars when trains are 1.2 km away /BkkPost #
  • The OTOP Midyear 2010 Fair starts this weekend 21-29 August at Impact Arena. #
  • RT @BangkokDi: Does the airport link stop in Makkasan? => Yes it does http://bit.ly/b3FY4A Map: http://bit.ly/ddvM9g #
  • RT @king_of_tonga: I finished reading ‘Escape’ by David McMillan => You might like to read the interview I did with him http://bit.ly/9EgwzD #
  • This is a map I did showing the route that David took when he escaped from Khlong Prem Prison http://bit.ly/bMTFUz #
  • This afternoon, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn returned from Germany http://bit.ly/cJMuju #
  • Wikileaks now goes on offensive and targets Thailand => RT @wikileaks: ThaiLeaks announced http://bit.ly/a3R9Ic #
  • I wonder how long it will take the government to block the new wikileaks site dedicated to leaking documents from Thailand #
  • Miss Thailand wins the “People’s Choice Award” at Miss Universe 2010 http://bit.ly/bEZRfM #

Experience the Best of Rattanakosin in a Day

The latest museum to open in Bangkok, called the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall, is probably also one of the best. Located on Ratchadamnoen Road, it is not your traditional kind of museum. It is very much interactive and hands-on and uses modern techniques to teach you about the history of Bangkok in an entertaining way. The name of the exhibition hall comes from the original name of the capital before it was changed to “Krungthep Mahanakorn”. Rattanakosin also refers to the reign of the Chakri Dynasty. It is situated in a renovated four storey building which has some fine views of Wat Ratchanadda’s Loha Prasat building, known as the Metal Castle, and also the Golden Mount beyond.

Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall opens later than most places at 11 a.m. However, this is because it stays open later until 8 p.m. The panoramic views you can see here are in the coffee shop on the fourth floor. I am sure they will be just as beautiful in the evening with all the lights. The full price for the exhibition is 200 baht for adults and 50 baht for children. However, there is a special promotion until 31st December 2010 of 100 baht for adults and 30 baht for children. This is definitely worth the money and encourages you to go again. I am sure you will be happy to hear that there is no double pricing and everyone pays the same admission fees. The majority of the exhibit is bilingual in Thai and English. However, a wireless audio guide is essential for the video presentations. There is a 1,500 baht deposit for this equipment.

The museum was designed by the people behind the Dragon Generation Museum that I visited in Suphanburi Province. It uses the same concept where you go on a guided tour through the exhibition hall. At present you are taken through seven rooms but there will be two more next year. Personally I prefer to wander around museums by myself, but the tour guide gives you plenty of time to study the exhibits and also interact with them. Our entry and exit from each room is timed to perfection as most rooms have a multimedia presentation. The names of the rooms are: Grandeur Rattanakosin, Prestige of the Kingdom, Remarkable Entertainment, Renowned Ceremonies, Graceful Architectures, Impressive Communities and Sight-seeing Highlights. Before I forget, the museum is wheel-chair friendly.

The Prestige of the Kingdom Room contains this impressive model of the Emerald Buddha Temple and the Grand Palace complex. There are exhibits that tell you about palace life and also Royal ceremonies. You can learn about the performing arts such as the masked Khon dance, lakhon plays and puppet shows. There is fruit carving, Thai silk and different Thai architectural styles. At one of the last rooms they take your picture and then you are shown a cartoon presentation of the sight-seeing highlights of the area. Amazingly the faces of our group were placed into this cartoon which made everyone laugh. The tour lasted just under two hours. The time went very quickly as the tour was both informative and entertaining. I definitely want to go again as there was so much to take in and one visit wasn’t enough. I might go in the evening next time.

You can reach the Exhibition hall by public buses such as numbers 2, 3, 9, 15, 31, 33, 39, 42, 47, 59, 60, 64, 68, 70, 79, 82, 86, 157, 201, 503 and 509. It is close to the Golden Mount and Loha Prasart, the Metal Castle, so you could visit these places at the same time. Click here for map location. I was at the museum as a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and they also took us to the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall to see the magnificent Arts of the Kingdom V exhibition. This nicely complimented our morning tour of Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall. If you have already been to the Grand Palace, then you should have a free ticket for the throne hall. If not it doesn’t matter as it is only 150 baht and 50 baht for the audio tour. I wish to thank the TAT for being such kind hosts again and for inviting me to take part in this product testing trip.

This Week in Thailand: 6th-12th August 2010

This is a review of what happened in Thailand during the last week based on topics that I tweeted. You can follow me live for latest news about Thailand @RichardBarrow.

Friday 6th August 2010:

  • The Bangkok Post today, including the front cover picture, is in 3D. http://twitpic.com/2by5kt #
  • King Power is going ahead with it’s deal to buy Leicester City FC, an English football team, for 2 billion baht /BkkPost #
  • Singha paid Chelsea 400 million baht & Manchester United 350 million baht to be it’s official beer supplier /BkkPost #
  • I’m at Samut Prakan Provincial Court for student activities for Rapee Day. http://twitpic.com/2byv4g #
  • Picture of Chief Justice of Samut Prakan. A judge told me they have 8000 cases in one year. http://twitpic.com/2bywuj #
  • Students inside a courtroom in Samut Prakan. http://twitpic.com/2bz81r http://twitpic.com/2bz80d #
  • The witness stand inside a Thai court. http://twitpic.com/2bz8ct http://twitpic.com/2bz8d0 #
  • Samut Prakan Provincial Courthouse has 36 judges, 20 courtrooms & about 8000 cases per year. http://twitpic.com/2bzgbb #
  • VDO of witness in court being questioned. Verbal notes are taken by judge after each question. http://twitvid.com/4REMG #
  • In a Thai court they don’t have a jury. http://twitpic.com/2bzvt9 http://twitpic.com/2bzvsh #
  • Here is a story I wrote about “A Day in a Thai Court” http://bit.ly/anf8zg & a foreigner in court http://bit.ly/bOFiq1 #
  • Photo album of students activities at Samut Prakan Provincial Courthouse this morning http://bit.ly/d7m81X #
  • PM to meet with PAD leaders today to discuss Preah Vihear. They plan to rally at Govt House tomorrow /BkkPost #
  • Video I shot this morning inside a Thai court room showing procedure during a courtcase http://bit.ly/bohDPS #
  • CRES confirms PAD rally doesn’t violate emergency decree; gov’t prepared to listen to all parties on Phrea Vihear /TANN #
  • After deadly clashes, Thai opposition regroups (Reuters) http://bit.ly/9xiZtg #
  • Thai elephant believed to be one of the oldest in the US has died at Missouri Zoo http://bit.ly/dAxMrZ /via @babyfishie #
  • Thai Kings “Rain Making” Technology Set for Australia http://bit.ly/91v8I2 #
  • CRES bans PAD’s Saturday rally at Government House, citing law violation, group can send rep to talk with govt /MCOT #
  • Bangkok Dangerous Map updated with places to avoid this weekend due to yellow shirt rally http://bit.ly/b1nolL #
  • 6 companies of police and 3 companies of soldiers will be deployed to maintain law & order at Government House /BkkPost #
  • Thai police arrest Japanese man accused of faking own death for millions in insurance money http://bit.ly/94K8dQ #
  • Thailand aims to have the largest solar farm in Southeast Asia (CNET) http://bit.ly/aAMHw9 #
  • NATION: Yellow Shirt Rally will now be at the Thai-Japanese Stadium in Din Daeng on Saturday. Map – http://bit.ly/agh1GG #
  • Map showing restricted area around Government House. Face 2 years in prison if you enter now http://bit.ly/aRAJMK #
  • Civil society groups move to gather at Dindaeng’s Thai-Japanese Stadium (MCOT) http://bit.ly/bJ2tpI #

Weekend 7th-8th August 2010:

  • Defiant PAD group to go ahead with rally at Government House (The Nation) http://bit.ly/crlG8s #
  • PM Abhisit said he would go to the yellow shirt rally in Din Daeng & listen to PTN’s demands this afternoon /BkkPost #
  • Will PM Abhisit be arrested for attending a political rally today? Did he go to listen to the demands at Ratchaprasong? #
  • 7th August: Today is Rapee Day (??????) commemorating Prince Rapee Pattanasak, father of Thailand’s modern legal system #
  • US Embassy warns of possible bomb threats against foreign embassies on Wireless Rd. Map: http://bit.ly/cklRAm #
  • I’m at the Provincial Courthouse in Samut Prakan. Everyone is wearing black for the wreath laying ceremony for Rapee Day. #
  • I seem to be the only media here so far. The Chief Justice came over to thank me for coming which was nice of him. #
  • RT @swongjitt: He didn’t go to Rachaprasong but he did invite those leaders to discuss live on tv. #
  • Small crowd at Government House in Bangkok despite SOE http://yfrog.com/necu5vj /via @vaitor #
  • Two rallies going on in Bangkok at the moment by yellow shirt supporters. Map marks places to avoid http://bit.ly/a1TqCq #
  • 10.15 a.m. Chaiwat on mobile stage at Government House http://tweetphoto.com/37303689 /via @nikhon_ #
  • Veera Somkwarmkid at the barricade at Government House http://twitpic.com/2cb3vf /via @_Willowtree_ #
  • Civil groups start gathering at Thai-Japanese Sports Complex and Government House (MCOT) http://bit.ly/98aOYf #
  • So far a low-key turnout of 100-150 protesters in front of Anti-Corruption building near Government House /via @thaicam #
  • Some great pictures from Government House rally by @_Willowtree_ Also there @thaicam & @fishmyman. #
  • Chamlong: PM Abhisit will come to meet members of TPN rallying against Cambodia at Thai-Japanese Stadium /BkkPost #
  • Police will allow protesters to rally at Government House until noon & will take action after the deadline /BkkPost #
  • Crowd with large flag moving to Police HQ http://twitpic.com/2cbq2x /via @_Willowtree_ Also map: http://bit.ly/c1sRIg #
  • RT @champkris: What does TPN stand for? ==> Thailand Patriot Network #
  • Live pic and map for Region 1 Army base in Bangkok http://tweetphoto.com/37327963 http://bit.ly/duQp5m /via @nikhon_ #
  • Activist Veera says his group ready to prolong its rally, gives PM 7 days to answer on Preah Vihear dispute /MCOT #
  • 12.35: PM Abhsit arrives at Thai-Japan Stadium in Din Daeng, ready to talk with Chamlong-led group via @veen_NT #
  • RT @forestmat: At Rama V monument approx 300 people. None at Gov House. Just saw a man with PAD guard shirt #
  • Photo album by @thaicam of the yellow shirt rally this morning in the Government House area http://goo.gl/photos/afh7 #
  • RT @Juarawee: PM is going to answer the Preah Vihear issues with protesters of Love the Nation network in a few moments #
  • PM Abhisit confirms that both protesters and government have same stance to protect the land /via @Juarawee #
  • Abhisit: “If I don’t protect our territory, I don’t deserve to be a Thai PM nor to be in this country /via @Juarawee #
  • I am on my way now to Ancient Siam for their Thai Culture Fair. But it looks like a storm is coming. Wind is picking up. #
  • Thailand Patriot Network rally confirms overnight stay on Ratchadamnoen Road near Government House (MCOT) #
  • Not easy to take pictures in the rain holding an umbrella! http://twitpic.com/2cey65 http://twitpic.com/2cey68 #
  • Parade about to start at Ancient Siam. Still raining. http://twitpic.com/2cfaai #
  • Rainbow at Ancient Siam. Waiting for the Governor to come so we can start the parade. http://twitpic.com/2cfgxg #
  • Sun setting behind the palace building at Ancient Siam, Samut Prakan. http://twitpic.com/2cfjz1 #
  • Governor of Samut Prakan has to go to the airport every time a member of the Royal Family comes or goes. Even at 3am! #
  • It’s raining and I am wet and cold. No fun taking pictures in the dark. I wonder if I can sneak away? #
  • Photo album for the wreath laying ceremony this morning for Rapee Day (??????????????????) http://bit.ly/aEbTnY #
  • Someone asked if I could post comings and goings of the Royal Family which I will do for a couple of weeks starting today. #
  • Today, HRH Princess Srirasmi, returned from a trip to Chiang Mai http://bit.ly/b01gRe #
  • Bangkok Post: Thai tobacco officials ‘took B62m bribes’ from US companies – http://is.gd/e804p #
  • Bangkok Post: Kicking drugs the army way – http://is.gd/e80JO #
  • There are more than 500 volunteer firefighting teams in Bangkok http://is.gd/e814S #
  • The Nation: PM reminds PAD Thailand lost Preah Vihear in 1962 – http://is.gd/e81Gt #
  • Shawn W Crispin, a “social danger” to Thailand & rep for Committee to Protect Journalists http://bit.ly/a5nC6r #
  • I’m at the Old Bang Phli Riverside Market in Samut Prakan for the opening of a new museum. http://twitpic.com/2cpp28 #
  • ‘Thailand Patriot Network’ continues rally outside 1st Army Region HQ, will announce next move this afternoon /MCOT #
  • Month long Thai-Myanmar border closure leads to shortages in Yangon – http://is.gd/e8lyv #
  • Phuket Lifeguards Search for Tourist off Karon – http://is.gd/e8tNv #
  • Network of Thai Patriots ends its rally in front of Army Region 1 HQ due to low number of demonstrators /BkkPost #
  • RT @netphoto: Red Shirt at a parkl near victory monument. http://twitpic.com/2crkeb #
  • PM: Can’t deliver response to activist temple demands within week http://bit.ly/9LHltQ #

Monday 9th August 2010:

  • Phuket Day of Beach Tragedies: One Tourist Drowns, Another is Missing, Feared Dead http://is.gd/e8tNv #
  • Global tourism industry wooing Indian weddings including Thailand’s TAT http://is.gd/e8RcS #
  • David Thompson, a world expert on Thai cuisine, opens a new restaurant in Bangkok http://bit.ly/cpQ4Ve #
  • Cambodia has written to the United Nations saying it’s ready to defend its territory http://bit.ly/9iQOaB #
  • Opening of Airport Link on August 23 a Potential Tourism Bonanza http://bit.ly/cmBVLA #
  • Teaching Thai orphans not to fear strangers by Richard S. Ehrlich (@CNNgo) http://bit.ly/bDzX2J #
  • Suthep: Foreign Ministry will inform UN that Thai troops are prepared to protect the country’s sovereignty /BkkPost #
  • ABAC Poll: Gross domestic happiness of Thai people increased slightly from 6.52% in June to 6.77% in July #
  • 18.8 billion coins are in circulation in Thailand, half of which are 1 baht coins /BkkPost #
  • Suthep denies govt used double standard in favor of PAD demonstrators (The Nation) http://bit.ly/b8Zz53 #
  • Thai Treasury expects to issue 1.2 billion new coins into the economy in 2011, a 15% drop from this year /BkkPost #
  • Finance Minister Korn has ordered a probe into the alleged tobacco scam at the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly /BkkPost #
  • Thai court opens trial against ruling party http://bit.ly/avsTxF #
  • Yet another drowning in Phuket http://bit.ly/a0Dikv (and yesterday’s story updated http://bit.ly/cqndRn) #
  • Police arrest Iranian man after 10kg of crystal methamphetamine, worth Bt30 million, found in his room in Asok area /MCOT #
  • Thai Superstar Bashed & Robbed on Pattaya Beach Road http://bit.ly/cXt3NU #
  • Wichean voted as next Chief of Police in Thailand (Bangkok Post) http://j.mp/bvZ122 #
  • Thai police arrest German graduates in Pattaya for internet banking theft http://bit.ly/9q64Il #
  • Thai health authorities are urging women not to wear fashionable black leggings to avoid mosquitoes http://bit.ly/agSAWD #
  • 25 Juvenile detainees escaped from a detention Center in Nakhon Pathom last night. 15 still on the run /via @Tulip_Oum #
  • 17 Red-shirt Leaders Face More Charges http://bit.ly/9lvQEK (TANN) /via @Juarawee #
  • Aussie chef (David Thompson) takes on the Thais by opening a restaurant in Bangkok http://bit.ly/cR1C9E #
  • Why is the David Thompson book “Thai Street Food” 2,295 Baht but in USA it’s only $37 (1,200 Baht)? http://amzn.to/9sDm7V #
  • Thailand all set to fight Somali pirates (Bangkok Post) http://bit.ly/b2lpBY #
  • According to Metropolitan BKK, Nahm will open beginning of September due to construction delay /via @ChrisWidmer #
  • Cambodian PM warns of possible violence over border dispute: “It may cause bloodshed” http://bit.ly/aQMuc4 #
  • A darling at Cannes for his starring role in “Uncle Boonmee”, Thanapat is a field hand in Thailand http://bit.ly/aX2jtJ #

Tuesday 10th August 2010:

  • Popeye encourages Thai children to eat fruit and veg, study – http://is.gd/eaeUE #
  • A German flew a yellow-and-red kite in front of Government House yesterday (The Nation) http://is.gd/eaCw1 #
  • Democrat dissolution trial begins (Bangkok Post) http://is.gd/eaCJF #
  • Canada briefed about a Thai ship of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka that could be carrying terrorists http://is.gd/eaD3W #
  • KBank adds Burmese language to some of it’s regional ATM’s to help migrant workers /BkkPost #
  • Bangkok 2010: Phetkasem, Ramkhamhaeng & Kanchanaphisek are most dangerous roads with 9, 8 & 6 fatal accidents /BkkPost #
  • The most dangerous intersections in Bangkok are Asok-Phetchaburi, Soon Wijai and Bang Na http://bit.ly/99c17H #
  • Thai students practicing for Mother’s Day ceremony where they will prostrate to their mothers http://twitpic.com/2d9hdc #
  • Workers preparing the stage for the Queen’s Birthday ceremony this Thursday in Samut Prakan. http://twitpic.com/2d9y8u #
  • Massive traffic jam of coaches coming off expressway at Bang Na. 1000’s of students heading to BITEC for Science Fair. #
  • The National Science and Technology Fair 2010 is on now until 22 August 2010 at BITEC – http://bit.ly/d6NRKG #
  • They’re expecting 1 million people to come here to the Science Fair at BITEC. I believe it! http://twitpic.com/2danb8 #
  • Central World to re-open at the end of September after 2,800 million baht renovation http://is.gd/eaTfW /via @bangkok #
  • I posted 47 photos on Facebook in the album “National Science & Technology Fair 2010” http://bit.ly/cyGWsY #
  • RT @bm_: Is there an off peak for science fair? Looks interesting but also very full. => I guess weekdays more school kids so try weekend #
  • NIDA poll: 69.55% want the government to push Cambodians out of the overlapping area near Preah Vihear temple /BkkPost #
  • ICT minister gets suspended jail term for defaming wife of former deputy prime minister Surapong http://bit.ly/9JWB83 #
  • School girl from Phra Pradaeng, Samut Prakan wins 10 million baht in the World Cup postcard draw #
  • The name & full address of the Thai schoolgirl who won 10 million baht has already been published on the net #crazy #
  • Teachers face death in Thailand’s troubled south (AFP) http://bit.ly/bJYuFw #
  • RT @GlobalMouthful: Someone should do a story on what she will spend it on! => I am sure she will have plenty of long lost relatives helping #
  • Body of drowned foreign tourist found on Phuket’s Karon Beach this morning http://bit.ly/9nxKfa #
  • PM affirms Thailand’s adherence to peaceful means in resolving the border dispute with Cambodia. http://bit.ly/blhlof #

Wednesday 11th August 2010:

  • 34 cultural Thai heritage items named (The Nation) http://is.gd/ec7SF #
  • Thai schools all over the country are holding ceremonies this morning for the Queen’s Birthday & Mother’s Day. #
  • No Thai visa for more short-stay visitors: Romania, Bulgaria, Malta, Andorra and San Marino http://bit.ly/c4AguZ #
  • Thailand ranked 21 in global malicious activities in 2009 (Bangkok Post) http://bit.ly/9jde9I #
  • Everyone wearing blue at school today for the Queen’s Birthday ceremony. http://twitpic.com/2djloi #
  • Blue is the colour for H.M The Queen of Thailand. Her Majesty turns 78 tomorrow. http://twitpic.com/2djnuf #
  • Short video clip of Thai dancing at Queen’s Birthday celebration at Sriwittayapaknam School. http://twitvid.com/0ZVWN #
  • Some students have already started to cry while listening to the mother’s day speech & songs http://twitpic.com/2djwe7 #
  • Thai students prostrating at the feet of their mothers. http://twitpic.com/2djz84 #
  • Burmese language on ATM’s in Thailand is supply & demand but Thai media slant says “Burmese takeover” /via @Thai_Talk #
  • Early this morning, Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsavali returned from her trip to Denmark http://bit.ly/8X4f01 #
  • I’m on my way to Samut Prakan Immigration to do my 90 day reporting. I didn’t forget this time so don’t need to pay the 2,000 baht fine! #
  • RT @alexqrbkk: 2,000 Baht fine if you forget to report to Immigration every 90 days. 4,000 baht if you are arrested. #
  • You can report to Immigration for your 90 days, 7 days early or 7 days late. Someone can go for you or can send by EMS. #
  • If you leave Thailand for a brief holiday & come back, you start counting the 90 days again from zero. #
  • How we bully our migrant workers (Bangkok Post) http://bit.ly/9uTmpb /via @Giles_iPresume #
  • Supreme Court rejects an appeal filed by Thaksin against the seizure of his assets worth 46.37 billion baht /BkkPost #
  • Officials at Samut Prakan Immigration office hard at work this morning http://yfrog.com/5j7kjlj http://yfrog.com/caecsj #
  • RT @thomasgires: 90 days reset is for residence reporting only? => Nothing to do with visa, it is for anyone staying longer than 90 days #
  • I’m working on official website for Samut Prakan Immigration, but difficult getting accurate info! http://bit.ly/az8Ezq #
  • Villagers work their farms in fear due to tense situation at Thai-Cambodian border (MCOT) http://bit.ly/b0f5hs #
  • Minimum wage from 151 Baht/day ($4.87) in Phayao, Phichit, Phrae & MaeHongSon to 206 B ($6.65) in Bangkok & Samut Prakan #
  • 19 Red Shirt leaders & supporters indicted on terrorism charges but not Thaksin yet (BkkPost) http://bit.ly/cyL5NI #
  • Greepeace were out protesting yesterday about contaminated water in Samrong Canal, Samut Prakan http://bit.ly/bjsNcN #
  • Contract killer from Thailand ‘may die in prison’ for murder of disabled divorcee http://bit.ly/bAtRsi #
  • This weekend is “Smile@Siam” where there will be stages set up at Siam Square, Paragon, Siam Center and MBK #
  • What happens when your motorcycle is stolen in Thailand by @freakingcat http://bit.ly/bK58kC #

Thursday 12th August 2010:

  • Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers in Thailand & around the world! Happy Birthday to The Queen, mother to all Thai people #
  • At 7am a lot of people in Thailand will make merit for the Queen by giving alms to monks. http://twitpic.com/2dtn40 #
  • Live pic from Samut Prakan Provincial Hall of local people getting ready to make merit. http://twitpic.com/2dto1w #
  • Live pic of giving food to the monks in Samut Prakan to make merit for the Queen’s Birthday. http://twitpic.com/2dtwsw #
  • Video clip of merit making this morning in Samut Prakan http://twitvid.com/4UVYX #
  • Releasing 1 million tiny marine animals into the Chao Phraya River for the Queen’s Birthday. http://twitpic.com/2dtz6r #
  • The merit making ceremony for the Queen is over. Next is a formal event at 9am to pay homage to portrait of the Queen. #
  • Photo album of merit making activities this morning in Samut Prakan for HM The Queen’s 78th Birthday http://bit.ly/bNjwGH #
  • [Blog] Merit Making Ceremony in Samut Prakan for H.M. The Queen’s 78th Birthday http://bit.ly/cL3DXP #
  • I am now rushing back to the City Hall for the next ceremony where local government officials will pay homage to a portrait of HM The Queen #
  • The Governor of Samut Prakan & other government officials for ceremony for Queen’s Birthday. http://twitpic.com/2duq2m #
  • Video clip of ceremony going on here now in Samut Prakan for Queen’s Birthday. http://twitvid.com/X7JU0 #
  • In full dress including ceremonial swords for Queen’s Birthday ceremony. http://twitpic.com/2duwqr #
  • The ceremony is now over. Time for a quick breakfast then to Ancient Siam for their Mother’s Day event. #
  • Picture of the waterfront & Chao Phraya River from Samut Prakan Provincial Hall http://twitpic.com/2dv6c6 #
  • Despite it being a public holiday in Thailand today, all shopping malls & tourist attractions are open as normal. #
  • BMA: Sukhumwit is the dustiest road in Bangkok with the worst air quality at Udomsuk Intersection (297mpcm) /BkkPost #
  • RT @ruxoz: http://twitpic.com/2dv6c6 – Color in this picture’s really interesting! => I used Pro HDR on my iPhone #
  • Air Quality in Bangkok is looking good at the moment. The PM10 column shouldn’t exceed 120 http://bit.ly/bjrLh2 #
  • Air quality charts for the rest of Thailand looking good. The PM10 column shouldn’t exceed 120 http://bit.ly/9LpgSf #
  • I’m at Ancient Siam in Samut Prakan to take pictures of their Mother’s Day activities. http://twitpic.com/2dwrpe #
  • This is a replica of the famous Preah Vihear at Ancient Siam which is in a border dispute now. http://twitpic.com/2dx752 #
  • RT @taprumy: Is the flag on the temple Cambodian or Thai? => Old Thai flag; White elephant on red background #
  • Wonderful views from top of Preah Vihear at Ancient Siam http://twitpic.com/2dxc6y http://twitpic.com/2dxc6w #
  • Prasat Phra Wihan at Ancient Siam is built on an artificial hill. http://twitpic.com/2dxctm http://twitpic.com/2dxcto #
  • RT @LisaMajesty: So we can stop the tantrums by starting rumour that TAT has moved the temple from the border to Bangkok? #
  • On my way to Erawan Museum (giant 3-headed elephant) to take pics of Mother’s Day activities. Today is free for mum’s! #
  • Internet is Latest Battleground in Thailand’s Heated Political Landscape (Voice of America) http://bit.ly/bhNiDi #
  • I’m on my way now back to City Hall Plaza in Samut Prakan for the final ceremony for the Queen’s birthday. #
  • Teachers from Sriwittayapaknam School getting ready for the Queen’s Birthday ceremony. http://twitpic.com/2dymql #
  • It looks very much like we are going to get VERY wet very soon! http://twitpic.com/2dyor2 #
  • Everyone running for cover. Are they having better luck elsewhere? http://twitpic.com/2dyrwd http://twitpic.com/2dyrwe #
  • Fireworks show is over and we are now having a performance of Thai dancing. http://twitpic.com/2dzee6 #
  • Leicester City Football Club have been bought out by a Thai-based consortium (BBC) http://bit.ly/9Z5EH9 #
  • Mass candle-lighting ceremony marks Queen Sirikit’s 78th birthday (MCOT) http://bit.ly/dCRqcz #
  • I was lucky with this pic as I was on the right side. But I think I might find myself in a few local newspapers! http://yfrog.com/nb5jjj #

You can follow me on Twitter @RichardBarrow for all the latest news about Thailand. I post about Thailand travel, food, festivals, major events and of course breaking news. Visit my Twitter Archives for everything that I have posted on Twitter over the past five months.

This Week in Thailand: 30 July-5 August 2010

This is a review of what happened in Thailand during the last week based on topics that I tweeted. You can follow me live for latest news about Thailand @RichardBarrow.

Friday 30th July 2010:

  • At about 3am @js100radio reported an explosion on Soi Rangnam on Phaya Thai Road in Bangkok. One person badly injured. #
  • Sadly, with the news of another bomb explosion, it looks like it is time for me to do a Bangkok Dangerous map again. #
  • World Heritage Committee postpones decision on Cambodian’s management plan until next year #UNESCO /TANN #
  • Grenade in plastic bag explodes on Rangnam Rd near King Power; one person seriously hurt – Map: http://bit.ly/9×0dRO #
  • Map of Bangkok Dangerous (July-August 2010 edition): Latest explosions & demonstrations in Bangkok http://bit.ly/cQ2mmT #
  • RT @DwightTurner: It’s never a good thing when @RichardBarrow makes a map of your neighborhood #Bangkok http://bit.ly/cN4uC7 #
  • RT @GLivingstone: We’re due to visit Bangkok in 10 days time, should we reconsider? => Bangkok is a big place. Should be fine. #
  • 16-yr-old boy to report to juvenile detention ctr today. If detained, Chiang Rai Reds will tie red ribbons /via @Thai_Talk #
  • Veera has been freed on a Bt6 million bail. He has to report to court every 15 days and can’t leave Thailand /via @tulsathit #
  • Dep PM Suthep says he is not satisfied with work of Thai intelligence units in wake of bomb blasts /BkkPost #
  • In 1 year at Suvarnambhumi, 5,454 illegal taxi drivers and 9,142 guides have been arrested & fined 500-1,000 baht #
  • New law at Suvarnambhumi this month. Illegal taxis & guides will now face up to 5 years in prison http://bit.ly/bndrxG #
  • SOE: Bangkok, ChiangMai, KhonKaen, NakhonRatchasima, UbonRatchathani, UdonThani, SamutPrakan, Nonthaburi, PathumThani… #
  • PAD told to be careful at their upcoming Thai-Cambodia border rally (Bangkok Post) http://bit.ly/9BKysc #
  • UNESCO: Thailand’s potential withdrawal from the WHC would not affect the status of any of its World Heritage sites. #
  • Cambodia: Thai threats of noncooperation with UNESCO were an “insult” to the world body http://bit.ly/bKloXZ #

Weekend 31st July – 1st August 2010:

  • Video interview from a secret location abroad with Jakrapob Penkair by @seacorro for ABC’s Lateline http://j.mp/d6zp0Y #
  • Over the past 4 years, there has been a 40% increase in obesity among Thai children under the age of 6 /BkkPost #
  • Photo exhibition at BAAC in Bangkok: Cultural Landscape from the 4 Regions of Thailand. Until 22 August. #
  • 32% of population in Thailand are in urban areas. Indonesia 48%, Malaysia 68% & South Korea 81% http://bit.ly/aTCB1v #
  • The Straits Times interview with Thai PM Abhisit http://bit.ly/cKTWD4 #
  • I’m on my way to the island Koh Phi Sua Samut in the Chao Phraya River to check on progress of the bridge. http://yfrog.com/5l19wj #
  • Phi Sua Samut island in Samut Prakan has a fortress which will be a new tourist attraction. http://yfrog.com/86k9ij #
  • Phra Samut Chedi used to be on a island too. You can still see where they used to tie up boats. http://yfrog.com/5xxfjij #
  • The Paknam Train Monument looks finished. This commemorates the first railway in Thailand. http://yfrog.com/0rvxdtj #
  • 2.24pm: M79 found in Government House, undetonated. Bomb Squad attending – Map: http://bit.ly/b6ZPM5 /via @Tulip_Oum #
  • At the moment, it is looking like the grenade found at Government House was left over from the time it was occupied. #
  • TIME WARNER: Hangover 2, which will start shooting in Autumn 2010, will help “promote tourism” in Thailand /via @veen_NT #
  • Thai-Cambodia border ‘normal’ but Thai military on high alert (MCOT) http://bit.ly/b84rwh #
  • Stop the oil drilling, Koh Samui islanders tell government (The Nation) http://j.mp/93TzTi #
  • Tourists to face closer monitoring in Thailand as process is computerized http://j.mp/9trrZt #
  • If you stay at a Thai friend’s house, they must report you to immigration within 24 hours http://j.mp/c2JlBB #
  • 1st August: Today is National Thai Women’s Day (??????????) in Thailand. #
  • PM said the [yellow shirt] rally outside UNESCO Bangkok made WHC postpone discussions on Preah Vihear to 2011 /BkkPost #
  • For those of you interested, you can read or download the Thai Immigration Act online here: http://bit.ly/cNhDV1 #
  • Picture of the new large aqueduct crossing Sukhumwit Road. http://yfrog.com/cb29957770j #
  • VIDEO: Great to see such an enthusiastic crowd of supporters at this Thai football match. http://yfrog.us/0eq67z #
  • I am taking pictures at the Samut Prakan FC vs. Prachinburi United football match in Bang Phli. http://yfrog.com/mal0jj #
  • They have at least five foreigners in Samut Prakan FC team. At present we are at the top of Division 2. #
  • Red Shirts are now doing regular mini-demos every week in Bangkok. Nothing for tourists to be concerned about. #
  • Picture of red shirt protesters at Democracy Monument “The Killing Fields” http://twitpic.com/2an1sy /via @netphoto #
  • PHUKET: This year’s monsoon season has brought with it a sad rise in the number of drowning deaths http://bit.ly/caOVX3 #

Monday 2nd August 2010:

Tuesday 3rd August 2010:

  • The latest victim of the Red Shirt crackdown has died bringing the total to 91. He was cremated on Sunday /BkkPost #
  • Happy 46th Birthday to PM Abhisit who marked the occasion by giving food to monks in front of his house. #
  • Thai students at Sriwittayapaknam School using their smart ID card to buy food. http://twitpic.com/2b4jx4 #
  • Video showing students at Sriwittayapaknam School using smartcards to buy food. http://twitvid.com/QEHEW #
  • 16 year old student who held a banner “I see dead people at Ratchaprasong” will be rehabilitated http://bit.ly/cJTRhf #
  • Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has been selected as the new national army chief replacing Gen Anupong Paojinda /BkkPost #
  • 25 years in Thailand’s sex industry @cnngo http://bit.ly/dkDIIT #
  • RT @bm_: How many tourists are there at any given time? => Thai Immigration chief says 80,000 daily http://bit.ly/bPMRlD #
  • A man, 60, was arrested for sending SMS messages deemed offending the monarchy to VIPs including PM Abhisit /BkkPost #
  • The Queen of Thailand and CNN (Andrew Marshall @djinn9) http://bit.ly/bhWANZ #
  • Extended ABC interview with #redshirt in hiding Jakrapob Penkair by @seacorro http://bit.ly/bdrkb0 #
  • Cabinet resolves to maintain VAT at 7% until September 2012, citing fragile economy / MCOT #
  • Thai Queen: “I feel proud that you stood up to respond to the foreign journalists in a forthright way” http://bit.ly/9ilEXL #
  • Thai Cabinet approved a proposal to create a new province in Isaan called “Bueng Kan” /via @MaewNam http://bit.ly/bLomAM #
  • The Criminal Court has rejected a new request for the release of UDD leader Korkaew Pikulthong on bail /BkkPost #
  • Many people in government & other organizations are taping messages for The Queen’s birthday. These will be shown on NBT. #
  • Today the Governor of Samut Prakan videoed his segment that will be broadcast on NBT on 12th Aug http://bit.ly/9vLLe5 #

Wednesday 4th August 2010:

  • Mother gives birth to a baby girl while stuck in a traffic jam in Bangkok. http://twitpic.com/2bdj41 #
  • Songsak: Creation of the 77th province would “rid the country of bad luck” as 77 is an auspicious number /BkkPost #
  • Suthep warns of car bomb threats in Bangkok’s business districts this month incl. Silom & Yaowarat /BkkPost #
  • National Science & Technology Fair starts this weekend at BITEC 7-23 August 2010. About 1.3 million visitors expected. #
  • BkkPost: Government receives warning on possible “car bombs” in Bangkok business districts – Map http://bit.ly/acTjBw #
  • Suspect in bombing near King Power arrested, implicates masterminder; police seeking warrant /MCOT http://bit.ly/ciDGSw #
  • Prosectors defer again until Oct 7 decision whether to indict 9 PAD leaders with the seizure of Govt House /BkkPost #
  • Thai “Red Shirt” arrested over blast http://bit.ly/bfMYmx #
  • Bangkok changes colour (Aljazeera Video) http://bit.ly/cmaVFb #
  • Photo Gallery: Bangkok’s shophouses, in all their chaotic, cramped glory @CNNGo http://bit.ly/cjc58J #

Thursday 5th August 2010:

  • A Thai soldier using a “bomb detector” on the Thai-Lao border in Nong Khai http://yfrog.com/myma4j /via @silentfoot #
  • Is @KornDemocrat very tall for a Thai person or is @PM_Abhisit just very short? http://twitpic.com/2bkmnd #
  • 16 years ago I towered over everyone at my school. Now, due to drinking milk every day, many are just as tall as me. #
  • RT @silentfoot: @KornDemocrat is very tall, I’ve seen him in person. @PM Abhisit is just average I think? #
  • Only around 10% of the Thai population are estimated to be paying income tax /BkkPost #
  • Australia issues travel advisory to 10 provinces in Thailand, incl Bkk, after terror warnings from govt /TANN #
  • Travel advice for Australians: High degree of caution for Thailand (overall level has not changed) http://bit.ly/9j8KXW #
  • RT @SuraphonTAT: International tourist arrivals at Phuket Airport July ’10 total 115,226 – 40.92% increase on July ’09 #
  • Suthep warns PAD not to converge on Govt House this Saturday or they will be charged under emergency law /BkkPost #
  • Military shakeup could derail Thai peace moves (Reuters) http://bit.ly/98OL2v #
  • Thai Baht Rises to 15-Week High on Inflows; Intervention a Risk (Bloomberg) http://bit.ly/cBmmLL #
  • The first railway in Thailand went from Bangkok to Paknam in Samut Prakan http://bit.ly/chGnf8 #
  • Russian conductor pulls out of BBC Proms after he is accused of raping 14-year-old Thai boy http://bit.ly/dqaIfF #
  • Phuket PAD off to Bangkok for Preah Vihear protest http://bit.ly/a4rYhF #
  • Al Jazeera TV is ready to compete with CNN & BBC in Asia and will set up an office in Bangkok soon /via @somkiatonwimon #
  • Vets Treat Elephant Land Mine Victim In Thailand http://n.pr/dhv3cq #

You can follow me on Twitter @RichardBarrow for all the latest news about Thailand. I post about Thailand travel, food, festivals, major events and of course breaking news. Visit my Twitter Archives for everything that I have posted on Twitter over the past five months.

Top photo by Getty Images

Bangkok’s Other Golden Buddha

A 60% Gold Sukhotai style Buddha, a 200 year old Chinese/Thai temple, the first school ever built in Thailand and all just five minutes walk from the Khao San Road. One wonders how this missed all the tour books.

Wat Mahannaparam Worawihan lies on Tanao road which runs between China Town and Ratchadamnoen Road, the area between Dinso and Tanao is now a government family area constructed in the 40’s as modern architecture was thrown up alongside the traditional wooden houses. The planners hadn’t thought much about cars and few roads exist in this tiny enclave. Prior to this the Ratchadamneon area was Paddy fields dotted with feudal landowner’s mansions, which in turn would have been surrounded by cramped clusters of servant’s and labourer’s homes. This pattern repeats itself over much of old Bangkok. A quick walk around any part of the city will reveal terraces of small wooden houses and single rooms and usually quite inaccessibly at the centre a large wealthy teak mansion with surrounding garden. Dinso Guest House, Dimso Road and Villa Guest House, Samsen Soi 1, being examples of these where tourists can stay.

The rice when harvested would have been sent to warehouses in the appropriately named Khao San Road and then sold on by Chinese merchants. This old way of life ended in the late 30’s/early 40’s when dictator Phibun Songkram decided to create Rachadamneon Road, Democracy Monument and the government buildings which loom over either side of the road. The paddy fields and people, mostly Chinese merchants and labourers had to go. Phiboon unleashed the army to remove the people and destroy their homes and the familiar landscape of today was created.

Wat Mahannaparam Worawihan itself for the 150 prior to the clearances had served the Chinese labourers and merchants and the mix Chinese/Thai style of the architecture attests to this. Next to the temple is also the Wat Mahannaparam School, nowadays a small bilingual school but holds the honour of being the first school ever in Thailand dating back over 100 years, previously the only education available was from monks.

Inside the temple resides a huge Buddha in the Sukhothai style, the very first Thai capital in the north. Sukhotai Buddhas art-wise are regarded as the finest from Thai history. Sukhothai was quite a rich kingdom and its Buddhas traditionally had a high percentage of gold. Wat Mahannaparam Worawihan’s Buddha is a mere 60% pure meaning it could only pay off the national debt of a smaller nation compared to the famous Golden Buddha just down the road at Wat Trimit which clocks in at over 95% purity, though apparently has less artistic worth than the 60% one. The Sukhothai style Buddha has a few features to look for, the Buddha has a wry smile on his face which all is unique to Sukhothai Buddhas and symbolizes how prosperous and happy the kingdom was, also the Buddha has downcast eyes, another Sukhothai feature, so the Buddha is looking directly at the people paying him respect and showing he is listening to them.

Behind the temple a maze of winding alleyways is well worth a wander, with century old wooden houses and newer government employees homes from 50 year ago or so. Many of the houses are for sale but unsalable, the central location putting the land price in the 10’s of millions but there being no roads, there is no car access meaning not only could any affleunt new buyer not own a car, they couldn’t get building materials in to renovate their new home.