Thailand has been in the news recently and it doesn’t look encouraging for travellers. Images of riots, chaos and violent demonstrations have made headlines on television and in newspapers around the world. If you’re travelling to Thailand be prepared with these up-to-date travel advices.
Due to the clashes resulting in violent outbursts between the Red Shirt protesters and the local security forces, travellers are advised not to go to Thailand unless it is urgent and essential. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office says, “we currently advise against all travel to some specific areas of Thailand and all but essential travel to other specific areas of Thailand.”
The Red Shirt protesters stormed parliament last Wednesday (April 7th) which pushed the prime minister to declare an official state of emergency in Bangkok. The city centre is currently being occupied by the protesters who have no plans of moving any time soon and while both sides, the Red Shirts and the city’s security force, have agreed on non-violence as of Sunday (April 11th) 21 people have died in the clashes and nearly 800 people have been injured. Foreigners in this area are advised to evacuate Bangkok to safer areas of Thailand and avoid the threatening areas altogether.
Advice for foreign travellers in Thailand:
- Use extreme caution throughout the country and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.
- If violence breaks out, stay indoors and stay connected to the local news/media for further instructions.
- Due to the declared state of emergency, some travel may be restricted.
- Carry your passport with you at all times, you may be searched at checkpoints and important intersections.
- Many protesters are stationed at Phan Fa bridge and Ratchaprasong Intersection. Businesses in this area are closed and there are major traffic disruptions. Please plan a detour if travelling to/through these areas of the city.
- Travel to Preah Vihean (Khaoi Pra Viharn) is highly unadvised.
- Outside of Bangkok it is not recommended to travel to Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat or Songkhla where there is extreme civil unrest as a result of the demonstrations.
According to Breaking Travel News, tourism in Thailand is expected to drop at least 20% following the demonstrations. Tourists are currently fleeing the capital, trying to find flights from Thailand at a time when tourists are usually flocking Bangkok to celebrate the Thai New Year in the country’s capital.
Travellers can find more information about the current situation on the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office website. For up-to-date information British nationals in Thailand can call 02 305 8333. Have any more news about the riots? Fill us in below.
UPDATE (May 19):
A lot has happened in Bangkok since this article was first posted and a re-cap and update is necessary. As of today Thai security forces surrounded the perimeter of the Red Shirt protest area and stormed the 3m thick barricade of tyres and bamboo. There are more than 5000 protesters inside, fighting in the name of “democracy”. The most violent clashes have taken place in Sala Daeng and Lumpini areas. As the Red Shirts flee they are leaving a trail of fire behind them, black smoke can be seen from all over the city. Despite pleas from other protesters and leaders for peace, the Red Shirts are fleeing violently, destroying and torching anything in their way that stands for what they are fighting against.
The Red Shirt group has threatened to set off explosives in department stores and large tourist areas so if you are heading out for the day, keep clear of these areas and check the news before leaving for the latest information. The top areas to avoid are: Ratchaprarop, Din Daeng, victory Monument, Lumpini Park, Sala Daeng, Silom, Sathorn, Klong Toey and Bon Kai.
Image source: telegraph.co.uk