I just attended a digital tourism conference organized by Digital Innovation Asia (DIA) and supported by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). In the said event, we were encouraged to write our first-hand experiences in Bangkok, so we can give travelers a true picture of what’s happening in light of recent political developments in Thailand. Read more…
Staying in Bangkok for more than a week, I heard of only a couple of weekend assemblies that were thankfully non-violent. There were sandwich-eating and Hunger Games references, but I didn’t hear of any untoward incidents. Protests are generally more contained now from how I see it, and the media seem to be veering away from coverage—their Miss Universe who resigned for her previous social media remarks was the one making headlines.
Much as I’d love to take a selfie with Thai soldiers like the locals, I wasn’t able to see much of them patrolling up and down the streets. There were only occasional soldier sightings—in fact, I only passed by a checkpoint once, and it was almost midnight.
I intended this article to be devoid of politics because their internal affairs are none of my business as a visitor, but I just want to note that the current situation in Bangkok is—save for the curfew—pretty much normal, if not more peaceful. I’ve been shuttling in and out of Bangkok for the past three months (read: six entry stamps from March until June), and I was there when protests were more out of hand but less highlighted by the media.
I say don’t postpone your trip to Bangkok at this point. Tourist attractions, transportation, malls, and practically most of the city operate as usual, and hotels are offering rooms at very attractive prices. Those into nightlife, meanwhile, should obviously do adjustments with their plans because of the curfew. Piece of advice though, just go clubbing from midnight until four in the morning—that’s how we roll in Manila, anyway.
In sum, the question remains if it is safe to travel to Bangkok. The short answer is yes. There have been no riots recently, and the protests, as mentioned, are contained only in certain areas and not citywide. However, vigilance and utter common sense should be practiced at all times, and visitors should be very obedient to the law these days to not get into trouble.
Updates for tourists on the situation in Thailand can be found at the Tourism Authority of Thailand website: www.tatnews.org/category/tat-releases/situation-update.
1. The Philippine Embassy in Bangkok constantly reminds Filipino citizens the following:
Follow security instructions by the authorities.
Remain indoors for the duration of the curfew.
Avoid non-essential movements within Thailand.
Refrain from taking part in protests and other political activities.
Carry valid identification documents with you at all times.
2. Curfew in Bangkok is still in place as of this writing, although it’s been recently shortened to just 12:00 AM until 4:00 AM. In contrast, curfew hours in tourist hotspots like Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui, Hua Hin, Krabi, Phang Nga, and Cha-am have been suspended.
3. Flights to and from Bangkok (BKK and DMK) depart and arrive as usual. Flights from Manila and Clark operated by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, and Tigerair Philippines operate as scheduled. Hence, the said airlines do not allow free rebooking or cancellation at this point.
4. Passengers with flights affected by the curfew are exempted from compliance. However, passengers are advised to take taxis to and from the airport, and are obliged to carry proof, including tickets and travel documents.
5. For emergency cases, the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok can be reached 24/7 at +66 8 9926 5954. For all other concerns, their numbers are +66 2 259-0139/40 and +66 2 258-5401. They also regularly post updates and advisories on their website and Facebook.
UPDATE: The curfew in all of Thailand including Bangkok has been lifted as of June 13, 2014.