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Mr. Pearce and his wife and children were certainly not put off coming to Thailand by the protests in Bangkok. The family have been coming to Thailand for many years and have a very sensible approach to the unrest in the capital. The report says –
Only a few blocks from where police were firing tear gas and water cannons at protesters hours earlier Melbourne man Shane Pearce says he is not worried about the violence.
“One thing about the Thais is that they keep it very much to themselves … they never go out to harm other people just to get their message across,” he said near his hotel in Bangkok’s Khaosan Road tourist precinct.
Mr Pearce, his wife and two children aged two and six were in Bangkok during unrest in 2010 and have made the city a stopover again on their flight from Melbourne to Austria where they now live.
“There was barbed wire last time we were here but it didn’t really worry us,” he said.
“The Thais are just great with kids,” he said.
Despite the government declaring on Sunday night that Bangkok residents should stay indoors between 10pm and 5pm Mr Pearce said Khaosan Road, an area popular with backpackers one kilometre north of the Grand Palace, was “buzzing” with activity.
“The nightlife is fantastic,” he said.
Mr Pearce said some of his family and friends in Melbourne have been concerned about their stay in Bangkok.
“It’s a personal decision – possibly putting yourself in harm’s way, but as I said we have been here before and it has always been fine,” he said.
Despite a coup in 2006, cycles of destructive political unrest and massive floods in 2011, tourists continue to come to what Thais promote as the “Land of Smiles” in record numbers.
Bangkok was this year named the world’s most popular tourist destination in the Global Destination Cities Index, with almost 16 million visitors expected by the end of December.
Many of the tourists are passing through the city on their way to resort destinations in the hilly north or to beaches in the south.
December and January is the peak of the Thai tourist season when the weather is mild at the end of the rainy season.
The most popular Thai destination for Australians is the island of Phuket in the south where an average 20,000 Australians holiday each month.