Over the past 48 hours I have struggled to write a post about Bangkok, starting and stopping four or five times. After the first bomb went off at the Erawan Shrine I started receiving texts and private messages, “Are you still going to Bangkok?”, was the question everyone was asking. My answer, a resounding, “Yes”.

I’m not one to cancel travel plans because there’s trouble in my destination. It will take a lot more than a bombing, in a city that rarely sees this type of violence, to cancel my travel plans.

From what I’ve read online, and learned from friends living in and near Bangkok, life has not been disrupted. The city is on high alert, as it should be, but everything continues to run as normal. In other words, there is no reason to change my travel plans, no reason to avoid Bangkok or Thailand.

The acts of terrorism that occurred this week were most likely targeted at the government of Thailand, in an effort to make the city of Bangkok, and the country, look bad. It’s meant to scare the locals, as well as foreigners, and it’s working. Many tourists are cancelling their trips, or re-routing to avoid Bangkok completely.

It makes me sad.

I fell in love with Thailand five years ago. The Thai people are some of the kindest, most friendly people I know. I’ve had older men guide me to my guesthouse in the middle of the night when I was lost. My laundry lady in Chiang Mai use to come find me at the night market to tell me my laundry was ready for pick-up. I’ve had taxi drivers attempt to give me rapid fire Thai lessons while stuck in traffic, and joined hostel workers for a street side dinner at one of their favourite vendors.

Every time I return to Thailand, I spend time in Bangkok. I love spending a day exploring along the Chao Phraya river with my friend Peung (when we’re both in town), and going to Nana every week to buy shawarma from my favourite vendor. There are so many markets to explore, and stumbling onto a new one is always the highlight of my day. Chinatown holds a certain fascination with me, and sometimes escaping the heat by hanging out at Siam Paragon or Central shopping malls is a must. On really hot days I sometimes crave a McDonalds soft serve ice cream. Bangkok is not without its challenges. I’ve had more than my share of arguments with tuk tuk drivers who think I am gullible enough to believe that their crazy prices are normal. And I admit to hating Songkran (mind you, I was struggling a lot personally during that time and should have been somewhere else). Some have made comments about my weight, but for the most part I don’t acknowledge them, it’s not a Thai thing, it’s a human thing. It happens everywhere, I just choose to ignore the comments.

I have been looking forward to my return to Bangkok for weeks. I’ve packed my bag, and started counting down my days. I know where I’ll be staying, it’s a neighbourhood I frequent often. I’ll be celebrating my 40th birthday in Bangkok, and exploring as many streets and canals as I can. I’ll be eating street food, checking out the food truck scene, and spending time with my expat, and Thai, friends.

I will travel the same way I always do, and I will be sharing my travels and adventures with all of you.

About The Author

I'm a travel writer and photographer who specializes in bespoke travel experiences. I write about boutique, savvy and cultural travel. My writing has been featured in Outpost Magazine, Travel + Escape, and UP! Magazine.

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7 Responses

  1. Kathryn

    I can understand cancelling travel plans if it’s a situation like a natural disaster and tourism is going to be a drain on resources but cancelling plans because of terrorism attacks is just letting the bastards win.

    Reply
    • Pamela MacNaughtan

      I feel the same way. After the earthquakes in Nepal I wanted to go there, try to help, but then sat back and realized that wouldn’t be a good idea. What can I offer? Nothing that they need right now, I would just be someone extra for them to worry about and they have enough to worry about as it is right now.

      One of the great things about Thailand is that they don’t back down easy, they will stand up and keep going.

      Reply
  2. Susanne

    Great that you don’t change your plans! Me neither, I’ll be in Bangkok Sept 13th for 2 weeks, and I got the same questions. I didn’t even think about canceling my trip – there’ve been bombs going of in London and Madrid too a few years back and nobody questioned me about visiting these cities. I’ll be careful as always and everything will be fine. I can’t wait 🙂 I love your Bangkok bucket list btw, great stuff!

    Reply
    • Pamela MacNaughtan

      Thanks Susanne. I hope to update the bucket list when I get back to BKK on Sep 10th.

      I completely agree with you, nobody thinks twice about going to London, Madrid, Boston, New York – all of which have had severe bombings. If there was some anti-government protests happening I might look into whether the neighbourhood I was staying in was in a safe zone, but cancelling or changing my plans because of the bombings this week seems silly.

      Reply
  3. Wendy Mayo

    Super excited to hear about your Thailand adventures. I am going next year. I am a little nervous because I have never been to a country where I didn’t speak the language (I am Spanish-English fluent). D0 you speak Thai?

    Reply
  4. Leigh

    Totally agree and wish you a wonderful trip! I had plans to celebrate my 30th birthday in London, just after the subway bombings in 2005 and got the same worried calls and emails about canceling. Of course we still went and had a fabulous time.

    I always say I’m more likely to get hit by a bus on my way to work than anything else….you just gotta live your life!

    Reply

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