Thailand: Is Bangkok Safe for Foreign Tourists?

Travel Advisory

Anti-government protesters set up venues at seven sites in Bangkok, hoping to pressure Yingluck Shinawatra to step down. Pro-government demonstrators are likely to stage counter demonstrations outside Bangkok.

Thailand-PAD_Demonstration_Bangkok_photo_credit_Mark_Micalief

A line of armed demonstrators from the People's Alliance for Democracy (พันธมิตรประชาชนเพื่อประชาธิปไตย) or PAD political group at Democracy Monument, at Thanon Ratchadamnoen Klang, Bangkok, Thailand, in 2008. Photo Credit: Mark Micalief.

Demonstrators have set up rally venues at the following locations in the Thai capital: Pathumwan intersection (the new main stage), the Victory Monument roundabout, the Lat Phrao five-way intersection, the Government Complex on Chaengwattana Road, Lumpini Park (Silom intersection), the Asoke intersection, and the Rajaprasong intersection.

All of which raises the question: is it safe for travelers to visit Bangkok? Or should they give the city a wide berth?

A friend that visited Bangkok a couple of weeks ago complained that some of the shopping malls she was hoping to visit were closed during her short stay.

A couple of years back I visited Bangkok when Red Shirts from the countryside (not to be confused with the current demonstrators, who are largely middle-class Bangkokians) marched on the city.

Business as Usual

Based on my experience and what others have told me, tensions tend to be concentrated at rally sites when political upheavals sweep the city.

Things are pretty much 'business as usual' in most other parts of Bangkok. What I read in the local newspapers each morning was pretty much at odds with what I saw when I ventured out and explored the city the rest of the day.

Translation: as long as you avoid 'trouble spots' you will probably be okay.

One of the biggest worries would be if demonstrators were to close down the airport the way Yellow Shirt protesters did a few years back, leaving travelers stranded in the Land of Smiles.

Protest leaders have promised not to do this – and the government has pledged not to let it happen – but you never know.

Measures to 'Facilitate' Tourists

Thai authorities and the tourism industry have today announced measures to facilitate tourists visiting Bangkok during the planned massive anti-government demonstrations, which intensify today (13 January 2014).

“The measures are the results of a meeting between all authorities involved and several major travel and tourism organizations,” says Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

“Our aim is to ensure safety and convenience to tourists while travelling within Bangkok and to and from both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports during the current ongoing anti-government demonstrations.”

 

 

 

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