Thailand has long been an iconic tourist destination. Known as The Land of Smiles, this country amazes first-time visitors with its hospitality and friendliness (and the attitude of sabai-sabai, or relaxing) of Thai people. These qualities have made trips to Thailand go well, even in times of political crises and military coups. A serious historic event which would have left streets empty in many other places of the world? In Bangkok, you would just have foreigners taking pictures with tanks! Yet, after the deadly bombing on August 17 this year, which in Hindu Erawan Shrine in downtown Bangkok, the place packed with locals and tourists, Thai tourism industry was hit harder than ever before.
With tourist arrivals tanking, Thais are now taking matters into their own hands on social media to show the world that tourism in Thailand is still alive and kicking, and the country is safe to visit. The campaign called Thailand Standup Challenge was started by Facebook user Dhanapol Phanngam who wrote: “Let’s join forces against violence through peaceful means. Tell the insurgents that we are not afraid. We will show Thailand the way the international community sees it. Let’s invite them to come to Thailand and experience what we’ve experienced.” To participate in the campaign, which has already gone viral, a person must take one or more photos of an attraction anywhere in the country, and share it on social media using the hashtags #ThailandStandupChallenge and #StrongerTogether. Then the participant challenges two other people to post their photos within 24 hours.
Thailand, especially Bangkok, has long held a special place on social media. Bangkok’s posh mall, Siam Paragon, was rated the most Instagrammed place in the world in 2013, and international Suvarnabhumi airport was the most popular airport on Instagram. So it was just a matter of time until this Thai-led campaign went viral – and it did.
Posted by Thais and expats living in Thailand, these images show different sides of Thailand – from gorgeous beaches and attractions to the Thai ways of life and little things that make every trip memorable to visitors.
Wai Pyo, a Burmese living Bangkok, tells about his entry:
I saw this at the door of a house on Bamrung Muang Road in Phra Nakhon District. The house owner offers free water for any passerby. Impeccable Thai hospitality at its best!
More photos can be found here and on Facebook and Instagram by following hashtags #ThailandStandupChallenge and #StrongerTogether.