In spite of the political turmoil that brought Bangkok to a dangerous standstill on Monday and Tuesday, revellers determinedly got on with the annual Songkran water festival on Khao San Road. And because initial festivities were cancelled during the festival days, the holiday was extended by a further two days, ending Friday evening.
The Khao San Road is one of the most popular places in Thailand to celebrate Songkran as a tourist, as this pedestrianised street becomes one massive water fight, safe from traffic. However it’s proximity to some of the flashpoints of the prostest action of the United Front for Democracy against Dictactorship (UDD) made it a risky part of the city to be in.
Travellers who had to delay plans to visit the city now have a chance to join the fun, with two extra days added to the Khao San Road festivities. Furthermore, public holidays were declared across the country while the country recovers from the crisis that gripped the Kingdom over the previous weekend.
Bangkok’s streets had mostly returned to normal by Wednesday evening as the army successfully dispersed the crowd and brought an end to the violent standoff. Only two deaths were reported at the end of it all and the leaders of the so-called ‘Red Shirts’ – supporters of ousted and fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who were calling for the government to step down – called it off.
Although the State of Emergency remains in the capital, normality had returned by Thursday and it was safe to travel freely about the capital. Rumours of a coup were unfounded and the government appears to have the situation under control.