Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Hua Hin before the ASEAN conference

My family and I recently took a few days holiday in Hua Hin. A very nice and normally relaxed resort just a couple of hours drive from Bangkok. We had been before a few years ago and decided the time was right to go again.

We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard just out of town and thought we’d be in for a nice, peaceful few days. What we didn’t count on was the ASEAN conference! It started the day after we left, but while we were there all the security was being ramped up, there were armed soldiers guarding every side street, police and security guys in black suits everywhere.

Our hotel was swarming with them, we had to go through an x-ray scanner every time we re-entered the hotel. Helicopters were circling overhead and they’d even coned off a lane in each direction of the main road through town, reserved as the “ASEAN lane”.

I am sure security is normally very tight at these events anyway, but it had been heightened even more after the recently abandoned conference in Pattaya. The government was embarrassed by red-shirted protestors (supporters of deposed PM Thaksin Shinawatra) and determined that this would not happen again.

All of this meant our stay in normally relaxed Hua Hin felt more like we were in London or New York, where you’re constantly on edge. We decided to get out of town for some day trips, but even that proved difficult due to the congestion caused by extra traffic, lane closure and blocked U-turns.

It just wasn’t meant to be so in the end we decided to spend more time than we’d have liked by the hotel pool and in the spa!

Don’t let this put you off Hua Hin, it’s a lovely place normally, we just chose the worst possible time to go! Just goes to show, do your research beforehand!

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