Bryan Black from techno-rockers Motor flew into Bangkok to spin at Club 808 this week, despite official warnings from US and UK authorities to avoid the city unless travel was ‘essential’.
Chatting to Skrufff this week, Bryan said he’s been enjoying his trip so far, despite increasingly violent clashes taking place between ‘red’ anti-government protestors and soldiers in the centre of the city.
“The first few days here, I didn’t see one single red shirt, or any sign of any tension though in the last day or two shit has taken off,” said Bryan.
“Some locals have been throwing petrol bombs out of their windows at people on the street and many of the top hotels such as the Four Seasons and the Intercontinental are completely shut down. Having said that, I’ve been partying every night without any problems,” he said.
Guests at a number of Holiday Inn hotels and The Grand Hyatt were also moved to other hotels on Tuesday while on Thursday one person was killed and scores injured in grenade attacks close to the Red protestors’ encampments.
“They advised us not to go out of the hotel at night. There are police points all over, so it’s also hard to get around town too: plus today the Sky Train (subway) has been shut down,” Bryan continued.
“But the show must go on,” he added, “I’m playing tonight at 808Bangkok. I think the heavy sounds I’m playing tonight will be appropriate given all the tension and hopefully provide a safer outlet for people to lose their minds on the dance floor,” he said.
Official travel advice from Britain’s Foreign Office said ‘we currently advise against all but essential travel to Bangkok’, adding ‘the political situation in Thailand is volatile and tense. Violence could break out without warning.”
Bangkok based Portuguese expat and DJ manager/ promoter Carlos Javier (who manages Thai DJ Celeste) said the situation in Bangkok remains ‘upset and bitter’ though criticised overseas authorities for advising travellers to stay away.
“I don't know who is behind the media machinery of these US and British travel warnings but I feel that they’re over-reacting,” Carlos told Skrufff.
“You’re more likely to be killed in America than here: what the authorities are doing is basically damaging the tourist industry. I would like to say to anyone thinking of taking a vacation in Thailand: please do it. This is still the land of smiles.”
British DJ Graham Gold (who now lives on Full Moon Party island Koh Phangan) echoed Carlos’ sentiments.
“There are definitely less tourists here at the moment because they are heeding the various government agency warnings. But I would say honestly, if you have direct flights to Samui or Phuket then still come. I promise you will see, hear and feel nothing of the stuff happening in Bangkok,” said Graham.
“Or even if you have to go via Bangkok airport, that is so secure after the fiasco 16 months ago, that again, you won't be aware of anything at all. The weather is also totally amazing right now- it’s the height of summer and 38º in the shade. And you won’t see any red shirts either, unless someone is wearing an Hawaiian one.”
UK official Foreign Office advice: ‘If violence breaks out again British nationals are advised to remain indoors and to monitor the media and this website. Suvarnabhumi airport is operating as normal. The route to the airport from Bangkok city remains open. British Nationals should exercise extreme caution throughout the country . . .’)