The following are my most popular tweets about Thailand for July 2016 (click here for last month). They are not necessarily the most retweeted, but they are the ones that got the most engagement on Twitter.
1. Owners of tourist attractions in Thailand are becoming more innovative when it comes to attracting tourists. While some ideas are good, others are downright dangerous. Take this crocodile farm in Chonburi. They wanted to boost visitor numbers and so they came up with an idea to allow tourists to feed the crocodiles while on a raft. I am not sure about you, but I don’t think that looks safe. Would you go on it?
2. After the bomb blast at the Erawan Shrine last year, everyone was naturally jumpy when news broke of a car crashing into the shrine. Was it another terrorist attack? As it turned out, the female drover had some kind of stroke and lost control of her car. At least five people were injured. This video shows the moment the accident happened.
3. The last place you would want to be when a fire broke out is in a crowded shopping mall. A few weeks ago, there was a fire in the car park of The Emporium and people had to be evacuated. An earlier incident was in the restaurant area of the mall. This time there was a fire at a movie theatre in Pinklao. It started in the projection room and then spread quickly. The top floor and roof collapsed. Luckily no-one was hurt.
4. The new attraction for me this month was a giant seated Ganesha at Wat Phrong Akat in Chachoengsao. I am not sure why, but this province now has three very large Ganesha statues.
5. This is my favourite photo for this month. It shows two brothers on the back of a motorbike on their way to school. Presumably they were running late and there was no time for breakfast. So, they shared some cup noodles on the back of a motorcycle.
6. This year there is a classic movie festival at Scala Theatre in Bangkok. For only 100 Baht you can watch classics such as The Sound of Music and Doctor Zhivago on the big screen. There’s a new movie every month.
7. I tweeted before about a crazy looking cycle path around Dusit Palace in Bangkok. Some sections looked more like a racing track for BMX bikes as it twisted and turned and went up and over obstacles. They also cut some of the roots of the trees to make room for the track. As a consequence, some of these trees toppled over during a storm. Others look like they are dying and so are not being propped up.
8. I’ve lost track of the number of times that The Economist hasn’t been distributed in Thailand. I wonder if print subscribers get a refund? It’s not a ban because of a police order. But, it’s the distributors being preemptive or, to be more precise, self-censoring. Yet again there was an article about the royal family and they decided it would be too risky to print it. Of course, the publicity just makes people rush to the website to read the article online. Censorship never works. Just creates more publicity for the thing you are trying to block.
9. The recent coup attempt in Turkey was interesting as an observer from Thailand. Initially we weren’t sure if the Thai media would cover it. But they did, including the aftermath of what happened to the soldiers. What is interesting to compare is how the Thai and Turkish soldiers were treated after the coup. I wonder where that lady is now. Is she still happy that the army is still in power two years later and with no end in sight?
10. I know I shouldn’t have been surprised by this news item, but it was shocking to see such an array of weapons kept by public van drivers. To protect them from what exactly? Passengers who don’t pay? I hope all of them lost their license to be drivers.
11. It is nearly time for the national referendum and Thai people have to decide whether to say yes or no to the draft of the constitution. I cannot tell you how to vote otherwise I will end up in prison. I cannot discuss it either. Even tweeting this political cartoon might suggest to some people which way I am leaning. But no comment from me on whether they would be right or wrong.
12. The number of Chinese tourists on holiday is increasing compared to last year. During May alone, there were 738,570 Chinese tourists in Thailand. That’s a staggering 29% of the total number of foreign tourists.
13. During July, my sister and niece came to stay with me for three weeks. They weren’t so interested in doing the traditional touristy things such as visiting temples and floating markets. But, they wanted to visit the night markets to do some shopping. So, here’s out favourite night markets around Bangkok.
14. Just south of Hua Hin beach resort, there is this large Standing Buddha at Khao Takiab Beach. This is a unique view of this Buddha image that looks out to sea as you can only take this photo with a drone!
This is "Paknam Rama", an old movie theatre near BTS Samut Prakan station. Looks like a condo might go up here pic.twitter.com/2eqzt6Rkwr
15. My last tweet is of the local movie theatre in my neighbourhood. It’s been closed ever since I have lived there. It’s strange that they have left the building there for so long, even if it is a local landmark. But, now with the coming of the skytrain, it is on prime land. They have started to clear around the old theatre and so I presume they will build a condo here.
Thanks to everyone who engaged with my tweets during July. I got 12,700 retweets, 8,500 likes and 920 replies. The majority of my tweets are about Thailand, where I have lived for twenty two years. I tweet the good, the bad and the ugly about the country, but as many people have noted, I mainly only see the good. Please don’t blame me for that. I don’t get paid to tweet, nor do I accept payment for tweets. If I like it, I will tweet it. If you have an upcoming event or have opened a new attraction that might be of interest, then please let me know. See you on Twitter at @RichardBarrow.