Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Street Vendors of Tha Tian:
How clean should Bangkok become?

Picture by I-Ta Tsai

Did you ever mind about the street vendors around Tha Tian market and pier or around Tha Chang pier in Bangkok? Did you feel, that they occupy your footpath? Well Bangkoks Metropolitan Administration minds. Bangkok City Hall ordered vendors at Tha Tian and Tha Chang to move to other sales venues arranged by the administration, as Bangkok Post reported. They should move to Thewes market, Sanam Luang 2 market, Talat Phlu market and a market in front of Rat Burana district office. According to Pol Mai Gen Wichai Sangprapai, an advisor to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, there are about 500 old and new vendors in the Tha Tian and Tha Chang areas who had erected stalls on footpaths for a long time. And why should they leave now? Because: The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has launched a campaign to tidy footpaths and improve the landscape around historic Rattanakosin Island to restore beauty to the area as part of the cultural heritage of Bangkok.

Well, did you ever have the idea, that street vendors are not part of the cultural heritage of Bangkok? Did you read "Four reigns", a novel by Thai author Kukrit Pramoj, and did this give you the idea, that there were no street vendors around the Royal Palace?

Pol Mai Gen Wichai of course has arguments. "I believe they will understand and cooperate because footpaths are public spaces for everyone to use, not for someone to occupy and make personal gains."

Well, also disabled people don't like it, when street vendors take over the foot paths. That's an argument.

But is Bangkok not also famous for the quality of its streetfood?

Picture by 246-You
Streetfood at Tha Tian

Therefore: Let's watch what happens now. The vendors of course are protesting against the plan of City Hall. A group led by Watchara Nimnak turned up at Government House to submit a complaint letter to General Prayuth Chan-ocha, chief of Thailands military junta, as Bangkok Post reports.

Get an impression from the area around Tha Thian Pier:
Good Morning old Bangkok: In the Neighborhood of Wat Pho

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Thailands Military Junta plans two Highspeed Railway Lines - serving as Connection with Southern China

The plans for highspeed railway lines in Thailand are back on track: Thailand military junta, National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), first put on hold the projects, when it took power in May. Now it has approved two high-speed train projects at a total cost of 741.4 billion baht according to Bangkok Post. The two routes will serve as a transport link between Thailand and southern China.

One route would travel 655km from the border town of Chiang Khong to Ban Phachi in Ayutthaya province in central Thailand. Another would see freight carried 737km from Nong Khai, across the Mekong River from Vientiane prefecture, to the Thai port and industrial estate of Map Ta Phut, as The Nation reports. The former project of the Shinawatra government included lines from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Bangkok to Rayong, Bangkok to Nong Khai and Bangkok to Padang Besar.

Map by Bangkok Post

The NCPO intends to bring down the costs of the projects from 500-600 million baht per km to a range of 350-400 million baht per km. Therefore the railways are planned for a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour instead of 200 kilometres per hour, announced permanent secretary for transport Soithip Traisuth according to Bangkok Post. This was to allow a possible shift to a higher speed train system in the future after more investment were put in,she said.

The construction of the two routes should begin in 2015 and be completed by 2021, said Soithip.

Also endorsed by the NCPO were six more metre gauge dual-track rail routes for a construction budget of 117.4 billion baht with construction to begin next year. These routes are from Chira junction to Khon Kaen (185 kms), from Prachuap Khiri Khan to Chumphon (167 kms), from Nakhon Pathom to Hua Hin (165 kms), from Mab Kabao to Nakhon Ratchasima (132 kms), from Lopburi to Pak Nam Pho (148 kms) and from Hua Hin to Prachuap Khiri Khan ( 90 kms ), as Thai PBS reports.

Read older stories:
Chinas Railway for Laos: Waiting for Thailand
Chinese money brings big change: A railway from the North of Laos to Vientiane and Thailand

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Eastern & Oriental Express derails
- and State Railways of Thailand now is plannung an insurance, that covers murder too

Picture by David Jones
The Eastern & Oriental Express train at the Bridge over the River Kwai

Two Japanese women were injured, when the Eastern & Oriental Express train derailed on Sunday 27 July 2014 at a curve in Ban Pong district of Ratchaburi province, near Sa Kosi Narai station, reports Khaosod. The train was traveling to the River Kwai Bridge in Kanchanaburi province. Five out of 18 carriages have jumped off the tracks, as Bangkok Post notes. Officials from the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) said acoording to Khaosod that heavy rain may have caused the train track to sink and widen, causing the derailment. But an investigation is ongoing. The railway line was closed and reopened on Monday after repairs.

But tourists should be aware, that derailment is common on Thai railways, due to old facilities and a lack of proper maintenance. The State Railway of Thailand is now preparing to provide accident and life insurance to railway staff and passengers, as Bangkok Post adds. The insurance will also pay, when someone is murdered on the train. This after the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl, a passenger on an SRT train, has sparked public fear about railway services. She was attacked by an SRT worker on a night train from from Surat Thani to Bangkok earlier this month.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

After the Military Coup in Thailand: Informations you can trust


Thailands Curfew has been lifted countrywide: The National Council for Peace and Order announced the lifting of curfew nationwide Friday night with immediate effect. The military junta said there were no more signs of violece in the areas still concerned. (The Nation).

Thailands rice farmers are paid until June 22: Coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha said in his Friday night televison adress that debts owed to all farmers under the rice-pledging program of the former government of Yingluck Shinawatra would be cleared on June 22 as promised, and that 80% of 600,000 farmers had received money already. (Bangkok Post). Prayuth has announced also, that the rice-pledging program will not be continued. This means: The government will not garantee rice prices above the market prices anymore. (Thai PBS)


Junta-Leader as Songwriter: "Return Happiness to Thailand" (listen) is a song composed by no one other than General Prayuth Chan-ocha. The four-minute tune debuted on an army radio station on Friday,as Bangkok Post reports. "Gen Prayuth composed the lyrics to send his message to Thais and encourage them to be united again," said Col Kritsada Sarika, commander of the army band. There are comments about this: ploydonut writes: When I listen to this song, it make me smile and be happy and I do hope that he make one song every week for us or sing the song for us on the TV. (Bangkok Post)

Anti-coup leader Sombat Boonngam-anong has been catched: A test for Thailands military junta: How will she treat Sombat Boonngam-anong after he has been nabbed by police and soldiers in Chon Buri? (The Nation)

Curfew lifted in tourist areas in Thailand, but not in Bangkok and Chiang Mai: Thailands National Council for Peace and Order on Friday lifted curfew in Phetchburi’s Cha-am district, Prachuab Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district, Krabi and Phang Nga provinces. Earlier id had been lifted in Pattaya, in Phuket and on Koh Samui.(The Nation) The June 12 full-moon party on Koh Phangan will go ahead as planned after the army gave the operator the green light.(Bangkok Post)

Moves against corruption: The National Anti-Corruption Commission set up a committee to investigate assets of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and former minister who were involved in the rice-pledging scheme. Junta chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said Friday night that invesigations into alleged frauds in the rice-pledging scheme are pending and wrongdoers would be punished in line with the justice system. (The Nation).
Thai consumer confidence increasing after coup: Thai consumer confidence index increased for the first time in 14 months, reaching the highest score in four months in May on hope that the coup would bring about political stability, according to a survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. (The Nation)


Thai forces descend on central Bangkok to stifle coup protests: Thailand's military government sent thousands of troops and police into central Bangkok on Sunday to stop any demonstrations against its seizure of power, and some shopping malls and train stations closed to avoid trouble.(Reuters) Police reopen roads around the Democracy Monument at 11:30 Sunday after no protesters showed up. (The Nation). About 100 anti-coup protesters have gathered in front of Terminal 21 department store at the Asoke intersection. (Bangkok Post)

In junta-ruled Thailand, reading is now resistance: On Saturday evening in Bangkok about a dozen people gathered in the middle of a busy, elevated walkway connecting several of the capital’s most luxurious shopping malls. As pedestrians trundled past, the protesters sat down, pulled out book titles such as George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” — a dystopian novel about life in a totalitarian surveillance state — and began to read. Read more. (Associated Press)


Police shake-up cuts ties to Thaksin: Since the military took over administrative power last week, scores of high-ranking police have been removed from their posts for their alleged links with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The Junta moves in officers it can trust. (Bangkok Post)

On Koh Tao one would not know there was a coup or curfew in operation: "All businesses are operating normally and there has been no effect on night life or restaurants", writes Goodtime Adventures on tripadvisor.com.

About 1,300 soldiers and police were dispatched to the Victory Monument on Thursday to prevent another demonstration against the coup: After several rallies the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Thursday closed all roads to the Victory monument for about three hours from 3.30pm with troops and police in anti-riot gear. (Bangkok Post). From 6.20 pm the roads were reopened.


Thai military rulers appoint anti-Thaksin advisers: Thailand's junta has appointed two retired generals with palace connections as advisers, the former defense minister, General Prawit Wongsuwan, and former army chief General Anupong Paochinda. A Reuters report in December revealed that Prawit and Anupong had secretly backed the anti-government protests that undermined the government of Thaksin's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra. (Reuters)

Facebook shortly blocked: Thai Facebook users were alarmed on Wednesday when the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry blocked access to the site at the request of the military, but the junta blamed the brief shutdown on a technical problem. (Reuters)

NCPO holding 76, freezes assets of four more: The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is still detaining 76 people who have turned themselves in, and has frozen the assets of four other people who defied its order to report to the junta leaders: Charupong Ruangsuwan, former interior minister and leader of the Pheu Thai Party, Chaturon Chaisaeng, former education minister and key figure of Pheu Thai, Prasit Chaisrisa, former Pheu Thai MP for Surin, and red-shirt activist Sombat Boonngam-anong. (Bangkok Post)

Despite its Red Shirt reputation, Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai, has remained calm since the coup: A week into the coup, army troops continue to be a highly visible presence on Chiang Mai's streets with bases set up at two of the main gates that ring the old city. (Al Jazeera)


Curfew reduced: Now from midnight to 4am: Thailands military junta announced the reduction of curfew time. New time from Wednesday: From midnight to 4am. Shopping Centres reacted quickly: On Wednesday back to normal: Open from 10am to 10 pm (The Nation)


Rice farmers are getting paid:
Rice farmers across Thailand were delighted as payments under the rice-pledging scheme resumed Monday under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). (The Nation). 90 billion baht are going be paid out in the next month according to Bangkok Post.

Suthep Thaugsuban free on bail, appears at court: The leader of the anti-government protests, Suthep Thaugsuban, on Monday was released on bail after appearing in court for his involvement in the political violence in 2010. He was indicted in the Criminal Court on charges of murder and attempted murders for allegedly ordering the military crackdown on red-shirt protesters in 2010, causing 98 deaths and hundreds of injuries. (Bangkok Post). He had been kept in military detention. (The Nation)

Royal endorsement for Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO):  The coup leader said Thailands King had formally endorsed his position as head of the NCPO. . (Bangkok Post) The annoiuncement by King Bhumibol Adulyadej was published on en.khaosod.co.th.

Thai "Red Shirts" cornered: With leaders rounded up and soldiers deployed in their rural heartlands, Thailand's "Red Shirts" have gone to ground but experts say they will regroup. Read more by AFP.


Yingluck Shinawatra: The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) released the former prime minister from an army camp on Sunday night, an army source said. (Bangkok Post). But the junta continued actions against the political clan of her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra. His only son, Panthongtae,  was taken into custody at Chiang Mai international airport. (Thai PBS). And Chiang Mai police boss Krit Kittilue was transferred to another post on Sunday. (Bangkok Post). Later it was reported, that this transfer was cancelled. (Bangkok Post) Chiang Mai is a stronghold of the Shinawatra family and the Redshirts. Therefore the situation here is delicate, as Reuters describes. 


Yingluck Shinawatra: The former Prime Minister, her elder sister Yaowapa Wongsawat and husband Somchai are in military custody at a safehouse in Saraburi, the centre of the Army Calvary force. This was confirmed by Channel 3 reporter Thapanee Ietsrichai according to Thai PBS TV. Yingluck’s close aide Mrs Supakarn Suprakarn, a member of Chiang Mai provincial administration said all were safe and still living comfortably. Thapanee tweets on her Twitter that Ms Yingluck was escorted to the Adisorn barrack of the Cavalry Centre. Read also Chiangrai Times.

Senate dissvolved, Police chief sacked: National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has ordered the dissolution of Thailands Senate. Police General Adul Saengsingkaew had been moved to an inactive post in the Prime Minister's Office. He has been seen as loyal Thaksin Shinawatra. (Bangkok Post)

Money for the rice farmers: Coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha has announced he plans to use a national budget to pay for the rice that farmers. They have been waiting for the money for months without receiving it from the Shinawatra government. The state rice-buying scheme was one of the key policies in the populist electoral platform that brought ousted premier Yingluck Shinawatra to power in 2011. It was criticized by opponents who played a role in driving her from office for running up huge losses and being riddled with corruption. The scheme boosted rural incomes but made it impossible for the government to sell the rice on the export market without incurring big losses.(Bangkok Post, Reuters)

Anti-Coup-Protests: For 8pm a protest against the #ThaiCoup was announced on Facebook. People are asked to take pics of themselves holding candles. Anti-coup protesters demonstrated at Chang Puak Gate (North Side of moat). See pictures on Twitter. Protests as well on Pahonyothin Road, at Victory Monument and on MBK Skywalk in Bangkok, see pictures on Twitter.


TV: CNN, BBC and the normal program of Thai TV Stations have been shut down by the military. But internet ist not shut down. Thai TV CH. 3, 5, 7, 9 & 11 will go back on air Friday afternoon but not ThaiPBS.

Border crossings: There are no problems for internationaltourists entering and leaving Thailand by airports. On land borders Military is preventing Thai persons from leaving Thailand. Read more on The Nation. But it seams, that holders of passports can cross borders (The Cambodia Herald). No problems are reported in Twiutter by tourists.

Border Thailand/Laos:
Nong Khai border crossing restricted. Massive traffic jams atThai-Lao Friendship Bridge
Border Thailand/Myanmar:
Myawaddy-Mae Sot Border Crossing was briefly closed and reopened, development unclear.
Border Thailand/Cambodia:
Chong Chom Border crossing closed

Chong Sa Ngom Border Crossing closed
Aranyaprathet/Poipet border crossing: Restrictions

Read more:

Soldiers, selfies and a military coup: The unusual state of tourism in Thailand (CNN).

Thailand coup: Military leader summons politicians.Ousted leader Yingluck Shinawatra, the acting PM and his government, and protest leaders were among those told to report in to the army.(BBC) Later in the day a military-spokesman said, that Yingluck Shinawatra is beeing detained for some days, with her her sister and brother-in-law.(Reuters) On her Facebook-Page until now no notice about this.

Richard Barrow, a blogger in Bangkok, is reporting on twitter.com/RichardBarrow. Former PM Yingluck reports to NPOMC at Royal Thai Army auditorium in Thewes area. Taxi Services at Suvarnabhumi Airport are available for 24 hours. Tourist are allowed to travel to and from airports also d uring curfew from 22pm to 5am. Friends report that land borders in Nong Khai and Pailin (Cambodia) are closed.

Thai journalist is protesting against censorship on picture.

Ousted prime minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan has reported to the junta's new National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC), (Bangkok Post).

Nine roads in Bangkok which were earlier occupied by either pro- or anti-government protesters remained closed or partially closed on Friday morning. (Bangkok Post)
NPOMC prohibits 155 persons from travelling abroad, among them Yingluck Shinawatra. (The Nation)

UDD, PDRC leaders remain detained, others released (The Nation)

Thailands Junta, the "National Peace and Order Maintaing Council", has quickly opened a Facebook-Page.

"Everyone sit still" - Thai general calmly declares his coup How Thailand's army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha gathered the leaders of pro- and anti-government protests for a closed-door meeting and how they saw themselves suddenly trapped.(Reuters)

Thailand militarisation is symptom of accelerating global system failure. Crippling fossil fuel dependency, climate volatility, rocketing debt levels are propelling protests, radicalising the state. This writes Nafeez Ahmed.

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Quiet Bangkok: Go jogging or cycling in Benjakiti Park

See the location on Benjakiti Park Google Map

Benjakiti park: Ratchadaphisek Road, between Rama IV and Sukhumvit Roads. This park has been built on the Tobacco Monopoly land, where there used to be factories and warehouses, and has been opened 2004. There’s a lake and people are jogging and cycling here on separate ways that stretch for two kilometres around the lake. "Bangkok’s prettiest green space" according to travelfish.org. Open daily from 5am till 20 pm. The main entrance is a 10-minute walk south of Asok BTS station. The back entrance is a two-minute walk from Queen Sirikit MRT station. A bike rental kiosk is not far from the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.

Picture by 246-You

Picture by 246-You
Benjakiti Lake

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

99 Sois in Bangkok - are you going to help?

Picture by larryoien
Evening in Soi Rambutri

Picture by fernando leyder
Soi Lalai Sap

Picture by drburtoni
Sukhumvit Soi 11

Picture by drburtoni
Soi Cowboy

Picture by UweBKK
Ratchada Soi 10

Picture by jose.jhg
Sukhumvit Soi 38

Picture by Mark Fischer
Sukhumvit Soi 3

Picture by antwerpeneR
Around Washington Square, Soi 22

Picture by drburtoni
Sukhumvit Soi 11

Picture by Mark Fischer
Sukhumvit Soi 4

Picture by marhas
Soi Pratu Nokyung

Picture by alykat
Soi Wat Phai Tan

Picture by drburtoni
Soi Ari 1

Picture by jfantenb
Charoen Krung Soi 60

Picture by Ian Fuller
Sukhumvit Soi 5

Picture by chinnian
The Emporium, Sukhumvit Soi 24

Picture by UweBKK
Sukhumvit Soi 15

Picture by marhas
Soi Pansook

Picture by Ian Fuller
Sukhumvit Soi 23

Picture by euke_1974
Sukhumvit Soi 89

Picture by hewy
Sukhumvit Soi 19

Picture by tvenchus
Above Sukhumvit Soi 8

Picture by Ian Fuller
Soi Sala Daeng 2

Picture by antwerpeneR
Soi Wanit 2

Picture by hewy
Sukhumvit Soi 31

Picture by Michael LaPalme
Soi Arab

Picture by gerrypopplestone
Soi Sukhumvit 86

Picture by joshua alan davis
Sukhumvit Soi 6

Picture by CharlesFred
Soi Raja Kru

Picture by captain
Soi Chanasongkram

Picture by David McKelvey
Soi Kasemsan 2

Picture by jfantenb
Sathorn Soi 3

Picture by Urban Mixer
Soi Langsuan

Picture by marhas
Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong

Picture by Ian Fuller
Soi off Charoen Krung

Picture by Blemished Paradise
Sukhumvit Soi 33

Picture by Ian Fuller
Silom Road, between sois 9 and 11

Picture by steynard
Soi Long Tha Klong

Picture by jfantenb
Sukhumvit Soi 41

Picture by чãvìnkωhỉtз
Samsen Soi 3

Picture by moirabot
Soi Texas

Picture by jfantenm
Exercise in the park off Soi Rangnam

Picture by Earthworm
Soi Santi Sook

Picture by -AX-
Soi Lat Phrao 26

Picture by marhas
Soi Samphaeng

Picture by m-louis
Soi Saint-Louis 3

Picture by permanently scatterbrained
Silom Soi 20

Picture by jfantemb
Suan Plu Market at Sathorn Soi 3

Picture by norsez
A beggar in Soi Tonson

Picture by Miguel Navaza
Thong Lo Soi 9

Picture by Ian Fuller
Soi Chang Muang

Picture by Ian Fuller
Soi Convent

Picture by Ian Fuller
Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant, Sukhumvit Soi 12

Picture by Dan Lindberg
Charoen Krung Soi 34

Picture by Journey Jeff's Pix
Soi Abac 8

Picture by adaptorplug
Off Trok Sin - also known as Sin Alley, Soi Dinso. A muay thai fighter's home the day before his next bout.

56 sois until now - 56 faces of Bangkok. Here I would like to show 99 sois of Bangkok. Are you going to help? If you have pictures of sois, that are not yet shown, please send them to hasmartin (at) bluewin.ch. And allow to publish them here!

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