Travel Photo Thursday — January 30th, 2014 — Election Time in Chiang Mai

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Destinations, Thailand - Chiang Mai, Travel Photo Thursday | 34 comments

Welcome to week 162 of Travel Photo Thursday. The firecrackers have been going off fast and furious this morning, as Chiang Mai’s Chinese community prepares for this weekends Chinese New Year festivities. I was trying to remember how many years I’ve been in town for these celebrations, and I’m guessing 5 0r 6. The weekend is sure to be fun with the parade tomorrow, a concert in the middle of Chinatown, and the huge street food area serving up delicious food. However, I digress! Thailand has been in the news a lot these days, and it’s far from good news. The demonstrations in Bangkok, which have resulted in a February 2nd election being called, have sadly claimed lives and injured many. Here in Chiang Mai there have been daily gatherings at Chang Phuak Gate. Thankfully, they have been peaceful. I’m sharing with you today just a few of the random shots that took one day during my travels around the city.  For any travelers thinking of traveling into Chiang Mai right now, you can see from these shots that all is peaceful at the moment. Election day is February 2nd.

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Waiting for the speeches to begin. The atmosphere was almost festive.

Waiting for the Speeches

Talking Election in Chiang Mai

Ready to Vote in Thailand

He spoke passionately for the cause…

Election Fever

And this is exactly what it’s all about…

Respect My Vote


Have you ever traveled in a country when there were major demonstrations and/or political related gatherings going on? Have you ever canceled or postponed your travel plans because of demonstrations?


This is the 161st edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.


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  1. Happy Chinese New Year! I can imagine how festive it has to feel there…even Chinatown here in NYC gets super decked out, and the parade is always a blast!

    • Hi Jess. Same to you! I’m sure NYC is a great place to celebrate CNY!

  2. I’m glad to see this peaceful demonstration in Chiang Mai. I admit I haven’t followed everything that’s going on in Bangkok but here’s hoping some things will be resolved with this election. I hope you get to enjoy the Chinese New celebration there this weekend. The only demonstration we’ve encountered so far has been in Madrid but thankfully that was peaceful despite the large crowd.

    • Hi Mary! I think this weekend should be a lot of fun. There are loads of people in town for the celebrations.

  3. We were in Istanbul at the time of some of the demonstrations there. The ones we came across in Istiklal Caddesi were handled fairly and firmly by the police. I certainly didn’t feel unsafe! I hope the gatherings continue to be peaceful in Chiang Mia and you have a fabulous time celebrating Chinese New Year.

    • Hi Jenny! Thanks! I think it is just going to be party time in CM this weekend.

  4. Yes Nancie, we were caught in the red shirt protests on arrival in Bangkok in April 2010. We had been out of contact in Laos and had no idea about the protests. We literally were put out of our taxi from the airport because it was stuck in a protest inspired traffic jam. Then the shooting started. Some Thai teenagers took us to the river to bypass the trouble spot, put us on a ferry and told us how to access our hotel without getting shot – (It was right in the middle of the fighting). We have a soft spot for Thai people since then. :)We saw some protestors who had been shot and were being carried to the river beside us. It was very frightening. Fourteen people died that day. The protests in Chiang Mai are looking peaceful. Take Care.

    • WOW, Jan! You really were in the thick of it. You were so fortunate to have some Thais help you out.

  5. I always think of the Thai people as being peaceful and gentle and not the warring type. I hope my image endures.

    • Hi Leigh! I hope it does too. It would be nice to see Thailand quiet down for a while.

  6. I really hope Thailand can resolve the issues without further violence. I’m hoping to visit the country for a month this summer and it would be unfortunate to encounter bloody protests. Hopefully the elections will bring solutions among the parties involved..

    On a happier note: happy Chinese new year! I hope to take part of said festivities at some point. Never experienced them myself..(yet!)

    -Maria Alexandra

    • Hi Maria! I agree. I might be back this summer. Who knows, maybe we will have the chance to meet up!

  7. We were in Spain during demonstrations but didn’t cancel or postpone our trip. It can be a little unnerving but thankfully the demonstrations didn’t affect us. Glad you pointed out that it’s still safe to visit. Hope the voters get what they’re looking for.

  8. No, I’ve never encountered and protests while traveling, but I’ve mainly traveled within the US. I’m not yet a world traveler. 🙂 I think protests would scare me to death, especially if I wasn’t expecting anything arrived clueless.

    • Hi Tonya! Yes, I’m sure it would really unnerving to arrive somewhere and suddenly to find yourself in the middle of demonstrations!

  9. It is sad that lives are lost and enjuries happen when people are trying to bring about change. They must really believe in what they are fighting for.
    Have a wonderful weekend ahead. I would love to experience Chinese New Year. We were in Kuala Lumpur during the Mooncake festival a few years ago – I loved the colour and sound and music and movement and food of the festival.
    And of course as an ex-dragon-boat paddler I know about the lion and dragon dances.

  10. Oh Nancie between your New Year’ and Marcia’s Super Bowl posts I am almost dizzy with excitement. Love the festivities related to New Year and of course, “Go Seahawks!! It is weird to be in Hawaii and so far from all the PNW festivities for our beloved team but your TPThurday has given us a taste of celebrations!!!

    • Hi Jackie! Glad that I could be of service :)…I hope your Seahawks go all the way!

  11. The Chinese New Years fireworks will be going off nightly in Penang for a few weeks. I’m glad that people are able to speak their opinions up in Chiang Mai and hope that the Feb 2 election is peaceful, too. Malaysia had a big election last year. There were enough rumors about possible riots if the current party lost that I stocked up on food, water and supplies in case if it wasn’t safe to go out for a few days. It turned out to be fine, but the streets were strangely empty as other people were also worried. The only riot I’ve been in was a football (soccer) riot in Munich. I remember seeing a door being ripped off a police car and beer steins being thrown.

    Budget Jan – That is an incredible story. I’m so glad you got through it safely.

    • Hi Michele! I always think of Malaysia as being very calm politically. That shows how bad I am at keeping up with the news! I would have done the same as you did. It never hurts to be prepared.

  12. Thanks for the update on the protest activity up that way. I was guessing that it would be pretty quiet up there, but assume that people are concerned about having their elected government pushed out of office!

    We were in Thailand shortly after the original military take-over of the government that started all this way, way back when. I keep hoping for a peaceful solution, but that’s tough when a powerful segment of a country refuses to accept the elected government of the majority. It’s a tragic situation.

    • Hi Cindy! Yes, it is tragic. The other thing is that most people don’t realize what is going on behind he scenes and who is actually pushing the “buttons”. Tommorrow is election day, so it will be interesting here!

  13. Happy Chinese New Year, Nancie. How wonderful that you’ve been able to enjoy the celebrations for a few years now.

    I’m glad to hear that the demonstrations in Chiang Mai have been peaceful – let’s hope that continues on election day.

    • Hi Carolyn, and thanks! CNY is always a fun holiday here. Lots of dragons, music, and food!

  14. I hope you have a happy and safe Chinese New Year. I’ve been watching some of the shenanigans in Bangkok with some disbelief, and hope that Chiang Mai continues to be peaceful.

    • Hi Johanna! Everything is still quiet here, and the CNY festivities have gone without any trouble. I am staying away from Bangkok. Unless someone really has to go there, why would you?

  15. Happy chinese new year! Thanks for the update. Hopefully things remain peaceful in Chang Mai. Love the pictures.

  16. We were in Bangkok in 2005 en route to Cambodia. We came back from breakfast, picked up the paper in front of the door and saw in bold letters “COUP DE TAT!” and we thought, that’s interesting, where? We saw it was in fact in Bangkok. Then we wondered whether we would be actually heading to cambodia that day or enjoying the hospitality of the US Embassy. It being Thailand, though, it was a fairly polite Coup and we had no problems.

    • Also, I keep trying to use your Pinterest button and can’t get it to work, just FYI.

      • Hi Eileen, Most of my photos here are hosted on Flickr, so you can’t pin directly. Sorry for the confusion.

    • Hi Eileen! Yes, even in the thick of it the Thais continue to be polite to tourists!

  17. Hi, Happy New Year! Thanks for the update. Hopefully CM will still stay in peace as I am going to CM the day after election.

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