Thailand's Road to Democracy

    Christopher burslem toob copy
    01 Sep 2014
    Clock 40min      Length1.5mi
    2 ratings

    Pinklao Ferry Pier

    Pinklao Ferry Pier
    Thailand's Road to Democracy

    If you’ve made it to Pinklao pier, I want to congratulate you – I’ve been living and working in Bangkok for more than 20 years, but I still occasionally jump on the wrong boat and watch hopelessly as we go motoring past my destination. Still, there aren’t many better cities to miss your boat stop. This is a river city, and there is always something happening on the Chao Phraya. To really understand Bangkok, though, you sometimes need to stray from the waterside temples, hotels and markets. And that’s our plan today – a stroll through Thailand’s recent political history. Our target: Democracy Monument.

    I’m Chris. I took my first job at a local newspaper here in the late 1980s, and I’ve been watching the way Thais play politics with fascination ever since. With the constant changes in government, shifting political allegiances, military interventions, popular uprisings and so on it can get pretty confusing. Hopefully by the end of this 30-minute walk you will find it a little less so – or at least have some historical context to better understand Thailand’s recent troubles.

    The architecture of the Phra Pinklao Bridge, above us, isn’t exciting. There are no soaring towers, no dramatic arches, no brilliant color schemes, no historic charm. It’s just a stretch of highway slapped across the river, but as an entry point to understanding Thailand’s modern political history, it’s just about perfect.

    So, let’s start. As you leave the pier you’ll see a stairwell on your left. Don’t take it: go around to other side of the concrete column – I think it’s technically known as a bridge abutment – where you’ll find a similar set of stairs. Go up those, and we’ll be on the right-hand side of the road as we cross the river.

Similar Audio Tours in Bangkok

Green profile pic 400x400
Route image 2

River of Kings

Distance 4mi
Duration 120min
7 ratings

Sail down the Chao Phraya River with me, following the tourist boat’s route downstream. I’ll share the story of how Khao San Road first came to be, show you the canal to Siam’s ancient capital, and point out my favourite temple in all of Asia, and... More»

Locicon 41 Phra Athit
by Greg Jorgensen in Bangkok
23 Mar 2016
Chinatown bangkok walking tour

Chinatown Eats

Distance 1mi
Duration 30min
5 ratings

Chinatown is one of Bangkok's busiest, most interesting (and most neon-y) areas, and is known primarily for two things: gold shops and food. Since we're not here to buy gold, the food will have to do. We'll take a walk up one side of Yaowarat Road... More»

by Greg Jorgensen in Bangkok
15 Feb 2016
Red light

Red Lights, Hummus and a Beer Stop...or Three

Distance 1mi
Duration 35min
6 ratings

Bangkok's Nana area is known for one thing - its legendary nightlife centered around Nana Plaza, one of the city's best known red light districts. But there's so much more to see than just that. Tucked away in hidden corners and down narrow alleys... More»