Friday, May 28, 2010

We're all celebrating in the Bangkok office, the Australian Government have dropped their level 5 travel warning on Bangkok which means that we can recommence our trips departing Bangkok.  We will be doing so from June 7th, for more details visit

The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster ride for us all here in Bangkok.  We're all very happy that things have returned to normal.  It was a surreal situation throughout the time that I have been blogging as our life went on as usual for us all.  Turning up to work, going out for drinks with friends, spending time with our families etc...the exception being that we were dealing with re-routing trips, cancellations etc which we are not used to dealing with.  The staff in the office, our local leaders and our suppliers have been amazing, turning up to work every day and working hard to ensure that our travellers get the best "real life experience" they can under the circumstances as well as keeping everyone updated so that they had a safe experience.  With so many people here assisting us we had our ears to the ground and were able to stay one step ahead of the situation.  We were even ahead of the Australian Government, pulling all departures in Bangkok and diverting trips in country away from Bangkok a few days before the DFAT travel warning was raised to a Level 5 - "Don't travel to Bangkok".  At the forefront of our mind always, is the health and safety of our travellers and our staff and this was the reasoning behind our decision, we felt we needed to take the precautionary measure of avoiding Bangkok.  For staff that lived near or had to travel past the troubled areas in Bangkok to get to our office we provided them with rooms in one of our start hotels (our office is located in the same hotel) to ensure they were safe and were not risking their lives by travelling to the office.

Now we, our staff and suppliers are hoping that travellers return to Thailand ensuring they still have jobs and they can extend the hospitality and smiles that Thailand is so well known for and put behind the events of the last few weeks.  The government is working hard at healing the wounds both physical and emotional, the average Thai in the street are happy that peace has returned to Bangkok and want to get on with their lives and put the events behind them...this was evident when 4000 people turned up to the Rajaprasong area last weekend (main protest site) to volunteer and help clean it up - that community spirit that resonates throughout Thai society was evident as everyone chipped in to help.

Images that appeared in the news and on television over the last few weeks would have alarmed people around the world.  I can say from personal experience that although it was bad in the areas that were affected, it was very much centralised to one area and only spread in the last week of the protests to some other suburbs of Bangkok.  At no stage did I feel unsafe and I have a young family here in Bangkok.  When the crisis first flared I happened to be staying literally just around the corner from the main protest site and could hear the gunfire and explosions throughout the night.  For reasons I will not go into here I was unable to relocate for a few nights, these reasons were not due to the protests.  Even then I did not feel overly concerned, clearly we had to be smart about where we went etc.  I did feel sorrow though...the images that you probably saw on the television and in your newspapers is not the Bangkok and Thailand that I know and love.  I have called Thailand home for nearly 11 years, I have a family here and love and respect the people, their culture and their history.  I love the community spirit and sense of fun, I love how family orientated the people are.....and I looovvvveee the food.

From my family and the Intrepid family here in Bangkok, we look forward to seeing you back in the Land of the Smiles soon experiencing what we have the privilege of experiencing every day.

Intrepid Blog Bangkok.....signing off....Sawaat Dii Khrup.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Life has returned to normal for Bangkok inhabitants and so has the traffic.  A massive storm rolled in last night, which always spells disaster for the road conditions and it took me 1 hour to go 4 kilometres.  That's life... 

The government continues to work on a road map to reconciliation.  They are currently working on setting up an independent panel for an inquiry into the violence.  In addition to this it has been reported that the Prime Minister has advised that he has plans to have discussions with academics over which sections of the Constitution they feel need to be amended.  The constitution has been a bone of contention as it was brought in following the Coup that ousted the Taksin government in 2006.

Meanwhile the tourism industry and all those involved in it continue to hope that travellers will return to Thailand soon.

The Australian Governments Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) still has a no travel warning on travel to Bangkok which means we cannot start our trips here.  For more information on Intrepid trips in Thailand please visit .

Monday, May 24, 2010

Life returned to the streets of Bangkok today in the area that the protests were staged.  Workers returned to work and students returned to school after an extended break.  Over the weekend some 4000 volunteers turned up to help with the clean up of the area.

As expected traffic was bad this morning as the school term started.  Now it's time to head home and brave the traffic again.

Intrepid have updated it's website on the latest status of tours departing Bangkok in the next few days.  For more information please visit .

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I took my kids down to a park on the Chao Praya River and it was as busy as it usually is.  It would seem that life is doing it's best to return to normal in Bangkok.  The authorities continue the clean up of the affected areas of Bangkok and have announced an extension of the curfew til Monday night asking for understanding from people in Bangkok as they aim to find a balance between providing an adequate level of security in the capital while at the same time allowing people to go about their normal daily lives.

Tomorrow will see schools and government offices re-open after an extended break, so Bangkok's infamous traffic should return, it's going to take a lot longer to get into the office tomorrow.

The public transport system is back operating while inter-provincial buses and trains continue to operate normally as they have done throughout the crisis and Bangkok's International Airport remains open.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The cleanup continues in Bangkok.  It has been reported that the sky train will commence operations again tomorrow.  People here in Bangkok are enjoying the weekend as the government sets about the reconciliation process.  We have one more night of curfew tonight and we're all focused on the future and hoping that the wounds of the last few weeks events will heal quickly as Thailand moves forward.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's been a traumatic week here in Bangkok for all of us.  Positive signs are starting to show with the authorities announcing the Rajprasong intersection may be open again this afternoon with electricity and water reconnected, this would also see a return of public buses.  This is significant as this was the heart of the protest zone a few days ago.  The skytrain and underground remain closed though.

From a Intrepid trip perspective, we are still taking the precautionary action of not bringing any groups into Bangkok and we are strongly advising travellers not to enter on their own and asked them to pay attention to travel warnings issued by their embassies and governments.  The airport remains open and is not subject to travel warnings, so travellers are able to transit through on their way home.  For more information on Intrepid tours please refer to .

The weekend is ahead of us and Monday will see the return of masses of cars to the streets as kids return to school following extended school holidays. 

Hopefully now the healing process starts and Thailand as a nation can look forward, we will know more in the coming days.  Our leaders and suppliers are wondering what affect this has had on tourism, we're hoping that it bounces back quickly as it has done in the past...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The authorities have now announced that the curfew will be extended for the next 3 nights, with the timing changed to 9pm to 5am.