Dateline 11th August 2016
My favourite town in Thailand is in the news today for all the wrong reasons. A terrorist attack in this quiet, respectable, tourist town, two hours from Bangkok, has left one local street-seller dead and about ten wounded, some seriously. Of all the places I expected to be attacked in Thailand, Hua Hin is the last place I would have picked.
No one has claimed responsibility yet (12/08/2016) but it is being assumed that the terrorists are from the South of the country bordering on Malaysia where a group of insurgents has been causing problems for the past decade. Bombs and killings (usually of policemen) have almost attained normalcy there, but the terrorists had not moved further north, nor had they even ventured into the hot-spots of Phuket or Pattaya.
The latter two I fully expected to be hit after Bali. Pattaya is a town of somewhat sleazy hedonism, and it has often been thought that the more disapproving members of society might one day be tempted to release a bomb there. Likewise, Patong in Phuket, another place of girlie bars, ladyboy bars, and a place where drunkenness is tolerated, was a town that could be considered in the same way.
But Hua Hin, the favourite resort of the Thai royal family whose Palace along the seafront brings the royals to the town on many occasions, a place which is regarded as a resort for the more mature holidaymaker, and one that is home to many Europeans and Americans who have retired there to take advantage of the seven superb golf clubs in the town? Never.
The world is changing fast nowadays. Old certainties have gone and personal safety is now a worry for everyone. But I hope that I, and all the others who love Thailand and the lovely old town of Hua Hin, can continue to visit it and enjoy the friendliness, the hospitality and the very Thai way of doing things.
Terrorism will be defeated in the end. It may take time, but we must not let it alter our way of life. I, for one, certainly won’t allow it to alter mine and I hope to spend my next long-haul holiday in what is, still, the safest country to visit , bar none.
All Photographs copyright – Mari Nicholson