On the second Saturday in January, Thailand celebrates 'Children's Day'. A day of festivals and events aimed at Thai children. I went to central Bangkok to catch just a few of them, but right across the country, towns and villages have events laid on for their local children.
I'm heading off to the government area, where they should be plenty of tanks and helicopters to see and photograph. Up North, near Don Muang (the old Bangkok airport), they have a full airshow with flyover, it makes for great viewing, but not such great photography. On the way, I see Paragon shopping mall has a mini-fair running for the kids with a big wheel and old carnival stalls, and school football teams are competing at National Stadium.
A tuk-tuk from National Stadium BTS station should get me there. Right away I can a big red London bus coming down the street, owned by the Jesada Technik Museum, it's giving children a ride up and down the street in an old fashioned Double Decker. A trolley bus quickly follows also from Jesada. Jesada museum is a hand on, climb-inside-and-play type of museum, perfect for kids day.
Well the tuk-tuk driver isn't quite sure where the big tanks and guns are, so I start at a government office with bouncy castle and bouncy hamburger, face painting and kite flying. Thailand doesn't have many castles, and hamburgers aren't our national food. Why don't they make a bouncy temple or bouncy Tom Yum Pan instead??
Security staff give me directions, they point me down the road and I soon find where the tanks are. Above you can see a black hawk helicopter safety on the ground. The army helicopters have a bad reputation in Thailand. Last July one crashed in Kaeng Krachan National park killing 9, another was sent to recover the bodies, it crashed too, and a third. 17 people dead in total, all within the space of two weeks. After that the army grounded the fleet for checks. I hope they're not flying at the airshow in Don Muang!
The army has some specialist vehicles on show, above they show the water treatment truck, capable of turning out thousands of bottles of clean drinking water every hour. They had these out during the floods, since the water supply got contaminated.
Which brings me to this question, in my left hand, a bottle of Sprite 20 baht, made of kill-the-planet-plastic, sweet artificial, unhealthy. In my right hand, a coconut, nutritious, healthy, packaged in a biodegradable husk, has free coconut meat with it, 15 baht. We have companies promoting Pepsi and Sprite, but nobody promotes coconuts. There's no agency making coconuts sexy. Why not?
They had some statues of soldiers made from scrap parts welded together. This looks like the work of 'Degree Art' studios. I've covered their welded statue work before.
And finally to my tank! The army brought an impressive line up of tanks and vehicles to childrens day, I was hoping to see one helicopter, perhaps a solitary tank, but they had a whole line of them, support vehicles, aircraft, and even some bubble cars and micro cars from Jesada museum. The kids loved it!
Children's day, is everywhere in Thailand, on the second Saturday in January. Most events are in the morning and early afternoon since they're aimed at kids. On the map below I've marked the government buildings I visited, including some I haven't mentioned, a government office that looks like a Maharaja's palace was open to the public, think chandeliers and gold leaf, dancing competitions for that one.
View Childrens Day Central Bangkok in a larger map