In a crowded Bangkok bar, a Filipino singer belts out a ballad about a Vietnam vet who cannot help returning to Southeast Asia. On his seventh visit to the city, Australian Damien Waddell sips his beer and shrugs when someone mentions this year’s military coup.
"Doesn't bother us," says the 32-year-old sheet-metal worker from Perth, as he waits with his friends for a late flight home after a golf holiday in nearby Hua Hin. “We keep coming back."
That is Bangkok's story. Through a dozen coups, a tsunami, financial upheaval, floods and riots, the city keeps bouncing back. With each crisis, tourism numbers slump, stocks crash and investment dips, only to return stronger than before. A unique draw of ancient temples, modern hotels, exotic food, raunchy nightlife and 24-hour shopping makes the place an enduring destination.
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