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What the hell is happening in Thailand?

  • somtam2000

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    If you're watching the TV news coverage of the situation in Thailand with increasing trepidation, I can't say I blame you.

    The situation in Bangkok is volatile and appears to be deteriorating rapidly.

    We'll be writing a longer post about this tomorrow because we want to wait and see what happens overnight -- and we'd advise you to do the same. Keep abreast of the news and we also strongly advise you to get onto Twitter and follow: @newley, @thailandtoday, @andrewspooner, @MAVinBKK, @luke_bkk, @bangkokpundit, @thaicam, @bangkok, @thai101, @babyexpat oh and us @travelfish.

    Don't know what Twitter is? It's sort of like Facebook -- give it a try. Don't know what Facebook is? Stick to Aljazeera and the BBC both of which have the best coverage (Aljazeera is more in depth).

    But don't panic!

    #1 Posted: 12/4/2009 - 18:58

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  • jareduk

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    Watching BBC news this morning back in the UK, BKK sounds like a brilliant place to be! Really looking forward to getting out there in a couple of weeks.... Not

    Lets just hope that things settle.

    #2 Posted: 12/4/2009 - 19:04

  • somtam2000

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    The situation appears to have further deteriorated overnight. Key events are:
    1) Around 4am soldiers fired shots and tear gas around the Din Daeng intersection (north Bangkok) as they worked to clear red-shirt protesters. Almost 100 people have been injured and received medical attention at nearby hospitals. There are unconfirmed (and I stress unconfirmed) reports of fatalities and the military hiding the bodies.

    2) The British Foreign Office has issued a warning concerning travel to Bangkok. The pertinent section reads:

    "In view of the deteriorating security situation anyone considering going to Bangkok should urgently review their plans. British residents in, and visitors to, Bangkok are advised to avoid any areas where demonstrations are taking place and to stay indoors as far as possible."
    Full British foreign office view of Thailand

    If you're in Bangkok now, we advise that you stay indoors -- it's not clear if public transport out of the city is still functioning (there were reports last night of the trains no longer running). The situation is extremely volatile.

    #3 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 07:52

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 386

    Haven't been out on the streets yet but so far Chiang Mai seems calm. I did see a group of the red shirts parade around yesterday. About 200 I suppose. The locals I talk to don't seem to care for their tactics. Will try to keep posted on what I see here.

    #4 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 09:12

  • somtam2000

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    Aljazeera reporting (10am GMT+8) large explosion in Bangkok, along with gunfire -- near to Victory Monument. Thai govt quoted as saying "Momentum will be ramped up today"

    If you are in Bangkok, we strongly advise remaining indoors.

    Thanks for the report Neosho -- most of this appears to be playing out in Bangkok only.

    #5 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 09:25

  • somtam2000

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    There are now reports that Hualamphong Train station in Bangkok is not operating. All trains are being stopped at Bang Sue junction. If you have a train out of Bangkok today, get your accommodation to confirm the train is still running.

    #6 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 09:38

  • somtam2000

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    The situation is continuing to deteriorate.

    If you're in Thailand, but not in Bangkok, we suggest you stay out of Bangkok -- simple as that. The situation is extremely volatile and unpredictable. We would not recommend travelling to Bangkok unless it is absolutely essential.

    If you're already in Bangkok and want to get out, here are some pointers:

    By air
    The airports are, as at 15:00 (GMT+8), operating normally - so you can still fly in and out of Bangkok. If you're flying out of Bangkok's new airport (Suvarnabhumi Airport) we'd suggest staying on outer Sukhumvit Road in east Bangkok (try Refill Now!) an airport hotel, or an outlying town -- for example Bang Saen, Chonburi or even Pattaya and transit into the airport for departure. If you're flying out of Don Muang, stay in Ayutthaya.

    By train
    Bangkok's main train station, Hualamphong, is not operating. Instead trains are terminating at the northern junction at Bang Sue station (near Chatuchak weekend market). This is worth a go, but if matters deteriorate further, it is very likely that the train network will shutdown totally as the authorities probably assume redshirts would use it to move in more protesters.

    Bangkok's western train station, Bangkok Noi, is still operating -- though the network is more limited. At least you can use it to get to Kanchanaburi (and then onwards from there).

    By bus
    The local buses run from three bus stations - at this stage they are all operating, and these are the best bet to get out of the city. Assuming it is still operating, both Ekamai and Morchit can be reached by BTS Skytrain (it's a bit of a walk to Morchit, but doable), the Southern bus station is on the far side of the Chao Phraya River, so get over to the Thonburi side and grab a taxi.

    #7 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 14:19

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 386

    6:15 pm. Just got back from celebrating songkran here in Chiang Mai. Everything is normal and crazy. Once again the red shirts roared through town to make a showing. Between the ski masks and kerchiefs over their faces they remind me of another group that once did the same thing in America. The Klu Klux Klan when they terrorized the blacks and anyone else they took a disliking too. Having a good time up here if anyone can make it.

    #8 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 18:20

  • annak07

    Joined Travelfish
    9th April, 2009
    Posts: 4

    Argh, I was going to book flights to Bangkok for mid-June - early-July. Do you think it's too risky to book flights now, for mid-June??? It is a couple of months away..so hopefully things will settle? or should I book flights to another place, such as Kuala Lumpur and then if the sitution improves, get a flight to BK..and if it doesnt, ill go and visit Bali or Vietnam, etc??

    #9 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 19:45

  • KevinH

    Joined Travelfish
    17th March, 2009
    Posts: 2

    It makes me sad to see this happening. I can't imagine what this is doing to tourism. First theres a global recession, then the airport is hijacked now this.

    It makes me nervous to go to Thailand in a couple months. Unemployment might be much higher, leading to increased levels of petty crime (theft, muggings, scams, etc.)

    #10 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 19:50

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  • Lotuslady

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Hi all, am new to this forum..have a holiday booked to Phuket & Bangkok early August 09...all what unfolded is so sad for all concerned such a beautiful country & was to be my childrens & my first trip there.

    Am I jumping the gun to cancel our hols or can things settle quickly ot tourists arent usually involved etc?

    would be grateful for any advice/guidence thanks

    #11 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 20:14

  • lucym3

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd April, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Hi,
    I'm flying to Singapore on Weds and was planning on travelling north through Thailand, probably being in Bangkok in about 2 weeks time. I've just heard on the radio that tourists are being advised to avoid travel to the whole of Thailand, although the FCO website says to 'review plans' for travel to the rest of Thailand. It seems like this is mostly happening in Bangkok, so I am unsure whether to just skip Bangkok or the whole of Thailand (which I'm not keen to do obviously!). Any advice would be appreciated. At least there's always Air Asia flights to fall back on I guess!

    #12 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 21:58

  • wide_open

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2009
    Posts: 8

    Hi all!

    My fiance and another couple are traveling to Thailand on Wednesday, landing in Bangkok about 10pm Bangkok time on Thursday. We are following this whole debacle as close as we can. It is our first trip so of course it would have been lovely not to encounter this, but I am willing to roll with it. Of course I am being extra cautious because I am traveling with my fiance.

    I'd like to thank somtam2000 for his updates, and am following all the twitter action. If anybody has more info or suggestions it would be greatly appreciated!

    #13 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 22:17

  • TheBronze

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd October, 2008
    Posts: 15

    OK.. Flying into BKK arriving Apr.30. We were planning on spending 4days in and around the city and have booked flights on may 4 to Phnom Penh.
    After spending some time in Cambodia, the plan was to come back to Bangkok to catch a train to Laos, than either flying or taking the train back to BKK by May25 to meet a friend before heading south to the islands (phi phi, samui, phangan, etc). We leave june10
    How would you recommend altering the trip or should I wait for 2weeks uand hope for things to clear up ? *crosses fingers*

    #14 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 22:20

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    I expect the military to put a fairly quick end to the current situation. Whether something raises it's ugly head from time to time in the future is anyones guess. Plus the north and northeast are the red shirts strong areas. I'm in Chiang Mai and seen on the news that they are still partying on Khao San Road in Bangkok.

    #15 Posted: 13/4/2009 - 23:04

  • cubedweller

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd February, 2008
    Posts: 35

    I'm currently in Chiang Mai and everything seems normal. Was planning on heading back to Bangkok on the 15th, but I think I'll just stay up here a bit longer. A friend has to be at BKK to fly home on the 18th... not sure how we are going to manage that one..

    Does anyone know what's happening at the major tourist areas? Like Khao San Road?

    #16 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 01:21

  • carniepants

    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Hi!
    My friend and I already had our flight to thailand booked before all this increased. We would be in thailand from may1-25. we had not planned on spending too much time in bangkok. we had planned on doing a few days in cambodia, chiang mai, phuet area, and the islands on the east coast. we really want to do this trip but don't really know if we should go ahead with it.
    I was just wondering if it might be a good idea for us to fly into bangkok and just fly straight out to either cambodia or one of the other cities we were planning to visit. like will things be ok if we just skip bangkok?? is the area around khao san road alright??
    any help or ideas would be great!
    thanks!

    #17 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 08:39

  • somtam2000

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    Just to answer the above questions, we're working on a general story about what to do as well, which should be online later today.

    annak07: If you need to book now, I'd book into KL and organise a cheap flight up to Bangkok (assuming matters settle).

    Lotuslady: There's been no trouble (so far) in Phuket. If you're flying in and out of Phuket, then you've nothing to worry about. If you're going via Bangkok, I'd keep an eye on developments, but I wouldn't be cancelling a trip that isn't taking place for a couple of months.

    lucym3: So far the majority of the problems are in Bangkok, though there have been smaller protests elsewhere in Thailand. I'd say the majority of Thailand remains safe to travel in, but if you can avoid Bangkok, that's a good idea.

    wide_open: Congrats on getting hitched -- at your honeymoon will be interesting! Keep an eye on developments and I'd suggest organising your stay to spend as little time as possible in Bangkok.

    TheBronze: We'll be running a story on this later today, so I'll not answer you just now, but given you're a bit of lead time, I'd just keep an eye on developments.

    neosho & cubedweller: Songkran festivities on KSR were shut down yesterday. Press reports are suggesting around 80% (yes, 80%) of guests are checking out and leaving.

    carniepants: You've got some lead time, so I'd sit tight for now and see what happens.

    #18 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 09:17

  • somtam2000

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    Here's updated reports from a few foreign governments. Note these warnings tend to be very very conservative.

    AUSTRALIA
    We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Bangkok and surrounding provinces ( Nonthaburi , Samut Prakan, Nakon Pathom, Ayuthaya, Pratum Thani) due to ongoing civil unrest.
    A State of Emergency was declared in Bangkok and surrounding provinces on 12 April 2009. The duration of the State of Emergency is not yet known. The State of Emergency bans the gathering of more than five people. There have been violent clashes between security authorities and protesters. The military may become involved in enforcing the decree and further violence is possible.
    If you are in Bangkok or surrounding provinces, you should avoid unnecessary travel around the city or province. If you are departing Bangkok by plane, you should allow extra time to reach the airport in case of traffic delays. Flights in and out of Bangkok have not been disrupted. Travellers should check with airlines and other travel providers on scheduled services.
    You should avoid demonstration sites, political rallies, military deployments and concentrations of security personnel. You should also closely monitor developments and follow any instructions issued by local authorities. If you are in an area where demonstrators are gathering, you should leave the area immediately.
    Disruption in the city and other parts of Thailand, including to transport and other infrastructure, could occur. Demonstrations can develop quickly and with little warning.
    Full report

    CANADA
    OFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to Bangkok and Nonthaburi province, as well as areas of Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, and Ayutthaya which are affected by a State of Emergency, declared on April 12, 2009. The security situation remains volatile. Canadians in these areas should avoid all non-essential movement, exercise extreme caution, follow advice of local authorities, and closely monitor local media.

    The State of Emergency permits authorities significant additional means to restore order, including limiting the right to gather in groups. Travellers should expect a greatly increased security presence. Political demonstrations, some violent, are ongoing and security forces are engaging demonstrators in the streets in an attempt to restore order. Road blockades and significant traffic disruptions are occurring and train services have been impacted. Bangkok's main airports are operating normally.
    Full report

    UK
    We advise against all but essential travel to Bangkok. British nationals should also review travel plans to other parts of Thailand. British nationals already in Bangkok and other cities affected by the violence are advised to stay indoors and to monitor the media and this travel advice.

    A state of emergency has been in force in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces of Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathumthani, Nakhon Prathom and Ayudhaya since 12 April. Armoured vehicles are deployed in the capital and security forces are attempting to clear the streets. Several violent clashes have occurred between red-shirted supporters of ex-Prime Minister Thaksin and military and police units in central Bangkok and the seaside resort of Pattaya. During the early hours of 13 April, troops used tear gas and fired warning shots at one group of protestors who returned fire. There are reports of some 60-70 injuries. Some shops are closed and red-shirted protestors have blocked several road junctions with makeshift barricades and tanker trucks. This is making travel in some parts of Bangkok difficult. The Lao/Thai border crossing in Nong Chai is closed and there are reports of road blocks in Chiang Mai and Lampang in northern Thailand. Red-shirt leaders have threatened major protests in 50 cities throughout Thailand in the next few days.

    The main Bangkok railway station is closed. However the international airport and the main access road to it remain open. Transit through Bangkok airport has so far been unaffected. Foreigners have not been targeted by the protestors and there are no reports of British citizens being caught up directly in the violence. However, the situation remains volatile and unpredictable with a high risk of further bloodshed.

    The political situation in Thailand remains uncertain. Throughout Thailand, British citizens should exercise great caution and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings of people which might turn violent
    Full report

    USA
    The Department of State advises all American citizens residing in or traveling to Bangkok to monitor events closely, to avoid any large public gatherings, and to exercise discretion when moving about Bangkok. All demonstrations are unpredictable, and any demonstration can turn violent without warning. For this reason, the Embassy encourages all Americans to monitor local media for announcements of possible demonstrations and to avoid the areas where demonstrations might occur. If a demonstration is expected to pass near U.S. Embassy facilities, Embassy entrances and functions may be restricted, depending on circumstances.
    Full report

    #19 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 09:28

  • wessatong

    Joined Travelfish
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    Thanks somtam and others who are updating us on the sitch. Thanks esp to cubedweller, good to know that Chiang Mai is still relatively safe.

    Btw it may be good to follow this blog from the Thailand correspondent of the Straits Times. He says that of yesterday, residents in provinces such as Chiang Mai (!!), Udon, Lamphun and Lampang have started demonstrating. Also the friendship bridge at Nong Khai has been closed (this may warrant a posting to the Laos forum, somtam?)

    http://blogs.straitstimes.com/2009/4/13/bangkok-skirmish

    To Lucym3, Wideopen: I'm in a similar situation and have since rerouted my plans. I was supposed to go to Laos via Bangkok but now I'm heading via Chiang Mai instead.

    AirAsia is doing cheap tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai this week (maybe about US$60?), so you can always fly into Suvarnabhumi, don't leave the airport, and take a flight out.

    Alternatively, if you want to bypass BKK altogether, you can head to Kuala Lumpur and fly to Chiang Mai from there. I've booked a cheap flight from Singapore to KL on Tiger Air (about US$30), then an AirAsia flight from KL to Chiang Mai (about US$100).

    Hope that helps!!

    #20 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 10:00

  • Lotuslady

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2009
    Posts: 2

    somtam2000

    thanks for your reply..we are flying into Bangkok first then onto Phuket
    staying for 10 days then back to Bangkok for 2 before coming home.

    I'm assuming hopefully that everything can be controlled by August of course..but who knows.

    Am glad I found this forum though will be looking through it, I have never been to Thailand before & would hate to canc all our plans

    #21 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 10:16

  • wide_open

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2009
    Posts: 8

    Hey guys, thanks for the replies. We got together as a group and decided just to stay at a hotel near the airport, and then the next afternoon we got flights on AirAsia (for only $150 for 4) to go to Krabi. Hopefully be able to begin the vacation there, and be able to calm people down, but it's not looking good. It doesn't help that our families view of this comes from the lead off story on the evening news tonight saying "Bloodshed in Thailand."

    I would never attempt to put any of us in danger, but it's pretty hard to convey to people that we are totally avoiding the areas, and will keep an eye on it. They just think we're going into a war zone. I have a friend in Koh Tao, who isn't the least concerned, and a couple people that have been there told us not to worry. I just want to get it to our families that things will be OK.

    #22 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 10:19

  • gaberhodes

    Joined Travelfish
    30th December, 2008
    Posts: 2

    Just left Chiang Mai last night on the overnight destined for Bangkok. Everything was calm in Chiang Mai (with the exception of roving gangs of water-throwers). Never would have guessed that something was going on in Bangkok. We got off the train in Ayuthaya to wait out the situation in Bangkok because we are traveling with 2 small children. Everything here (ayuthaya) is calm and quiet. Busloads of tourists are visiting the ruins. Can't decide whether to push on for Bangkok tomorrow or figure out another agenda. Bangkok doesn't sound like a lot of "fun" right now.

    #23 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 10:22

  • somtam2000

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    There has just been a report on Thai TV (Channel 7) quoting Veera Musikapong (one of UDD/redshirt leaders) as leaving the protest to go home -- others though, one assumes the hardcore, is staying.

    The govt is also offering free buses to protesters to leave while simultaneously threatening large fines if they stay.

    One assumes the govt is trying to whittle down the numbers before taking more drastic action to clear them out... it's not over yet.

    gaberhodes: What are your plans onwards from Ayutthaya -- if you are heading further south to the islands, you can head south via Supahnburi, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi and then further south -- that way avoiding Bangkok -- let me know where you plan to head and I'll try to help out.

    #24 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 11:11

  • wide_open

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2009
    Posts: 8

    Well that is good to hear. I'm following it on Twitter, which has been amazingly helpful. In a perfect world when I wake up everything will be calm again, and we won't have to explain why we are still going. But it isn't a perfect world. Hope for the best for everybody.

    #25 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 12:00

  • cubedweller

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd February, 2008
    Posts: 35

    wide_open: which Twitter feed are you following? I looked at a few of the ones that somtam2000 posted but they all seem rather vague as to the actual situation.

    Chiang Mai is still fine and peaceful aside from the tons of people out in the street playing with water -- albeit not as many people as there were yesterday and the day before. I haven't seen any roving gangs of protesters at all since I've been in Chiang Mai.

    #26 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 13:23

  • DLuek

    TF writer
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    Another possibility for people looking to fly in/out of SE Asia and avoid BKK is Singapore. From there you can fly Jetstar, Tiger or Air Asia to practically anywhere for very cheap, and flying through Singapore is cheaper than Kuala Lumpur from the US I know, probably from elsewhere in the world too.

    I'm in Chiang Mai and all is fine here, though I am relieved to have gotten across the Friendship Bridge the day before it closed.

    Jai Yen (Cool Heart) - let's hope the Thais keep that in mind,

    DL

    #27 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 14:30

  • alhamaqi

    Joined Travelfish
    7th April, 2009
    Posts: 7

    Update: Anti-government are being suspended to allow Thais to celebrate the Thai new year until Wednesday of next week.

    #28 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 14:49

  • somtam2000

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    Here is a link to the best collection of pics I've seen so far from the riots in Bangkok -- absolutely outstanding.

    http://13maysa.multiply.com/photos/album/147/13MAYSA_Bangkok

    #29 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 18:49

  • wide_open

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2009
    Posts: 8

    cubedweller - Sorry I took so long to reply. I'm following Bangkokbill, Thaitourism, Thailandtoday and Travelfish. It seems that Bangkokbill and Thailandtoday were actually traveling around Bangkok and snapping pics during the activities.

    To anybody that hasn't checked out the link above, definitely do that, as that is some great photography. Thanks for that Travelfish!

    #30 Posted: 14/4/2009 - 21:16

  • hospitalbed

    Joined Travelfish
    15th April, 2009
    Posts: 7

    Original plan was to land in BKK on April 28th, hang out 3 days, and then fly north to Chiang Mai . Might just fly right out of BKK to Chiang Mai now, spend some time there, and then fly down to the South islands. Things are looking more promising now however. Would like to explore BKK a bit, as it is my first time in Thailand.

    Thanks to @travelfish and others for all their tweets that have kept me in the loop on this situation! *fingers crossed*

    #31 Posted: 15/4/2009 - 00:44

  • chatz

    Joined Travelfish
    7th March, 2009
    Location Ireland
    Posts: 17

    howz it going

    i know your not mystic meg or anything however in your experience has anything like this ever happened before in thailand and if so how long did it go on for. Like so many other traveller this is my first time to SE Asia and i had planned to go towards the end of september. now at the moment i haven't got anything booked but my itineary started off in and around bangkok heading northwards to laos, cambodia and then vietnam. however after recent events my travel companions want to back out, but not me! so to buy my self some time i thought that i would fly inyo bangkok, then get a flight to vietnam and work backwards, does this sound like a sensible plan or should i just forget about SE Asia for a while? its just that i planned on booking flights and stuff within the next two week or so...


    plus, with all that is going on, do ya think travelling fares will get cheaper or pretty much remain the same?

    #32 Posted: 15/4/2009 - 07:56

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    hi chatz,

    the short answer is yes, this kind of thing happens in thailand. but with the exception of the international airports being shut down a few months ago, i've never seen the civil unrest in thailand threaten the tourist or expat communities.

    i suspect that the current situation will be relatively short-lived, and if i had to predict something, i'd predict that the military will either engineer or enforce a solution sometime before the end of the month. in the past, once that has happened, it is followed by a period of relative calm and stability for about a year, at least until the next election is scheduled.

    having said that, i think you are wise to be cautious, but there is no reason to panic yet. for example, we've already purchased our tickets to/from bangkok for the december/january timeframe, and i'm not worried.

    if i were in your shoes, however, i might consider flying in and out of kuala lumpur or singapore, just like several others have suggested in this thread, and then take regional flights to/from thailand. it is a good strategy, and one that gives you quite a bit of flexibility. if things are still not calm, or flair up again when you are planning on visiting, then you can still visit malaysia or indonesia or laos or cambodia and still have a great time.

    as for prices, i suspect that the mid- to upper-range stuff will be much cheaper, so you'll have a chance to enjoy a real splurge in a first class place at bargain prices. but most budget and backpacker places are already working on a shoestring budget, so they won't have as much wiggle room with discounts, meaning folks like us won't save all that much as a result. hope that helps. regards.

    #33 Posted: 15/4/2009 - 09:31

  • Joshq

    Joined Travelfish
    29th January, 2009
    Posts: 16
    Total reviews: 3

    Hi Chatz

    We arrived in Bangkok the evening after the coup happened in 2006. We had news an hour before checking-in for our flight that the coup was going on. Due to me being a stubborn so-and-so, my girlfriend and I left for Bangkok against her mums wishes (making me super popular with her mum.)

    On arrival in Bangkok I did the safe thing and constantly checked updates etc online and also called the Australian Embassy. That being said, we took the advice given and stayed away from government buildings and so on.

    At the time, the situation was a little tense in Bangkok, but once we were out of Bangkok it was like the coup wasn't really happening.

    My advice would be not to cancel your trip, but to monitor the situation closely leading up to your departure and, if need be, book to a destination close by.

    I am so glad I didn't can my trip like the girlfriends mother wanted us to. I had a wicked time in Thailand. Just keep an eye on the news before and during your adventure and adjust your itinerary if need be.

    #34 Posted: 15/4/2009 - 10:24

  • somtam2000

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    Have just posted a story as follow-up to the whole shebang -- including advice for those wanting to steer clear of Bangkok. You can read the story here:
    http://www.travelfish.org/feature/141

    #35 Posted: 15/4/2009 - 13:07

  • jareduk

    Joined Travelfish
    13th November, 2008
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 21

    Good news everybody,

    I have been checking the FCO website often and the UK has now removed Bangkok from their 'all but essential travel list', no longer invalidating your travel insurance.

    See: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/thailand

    Thailand
    Still current at: 15 April 2009
    Updated: 15 April 2009

    This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Summary and the Political Situation section (update on the situation in Thailand). We no longer advise against all but essential travel to Bangkok.

    enjoy the backpacking.

    Jared

    #36 Posted: 15/4/2009 - 17:42

  • stirr

    Joined Travelfish
    30th March, 2009
    Posts: 3

    Hey Hi,

    My partner and I flew into Bangkok on Tuesday the 14th of April. Stayed in a hotel just out of the city(fasted taxi ride ever!!no bangers trafic!!). There was a strong presence of the Thai Army about but that was about it, we toyed with the idea of heading back to the airport and flying down to Krabi but as I have traveled around SE Asia a bit we decided to stick it out, moved to Sam Sen Sam Guest house (on the advice of TF what is the best guest house in Bangkok!!) Take the advice fastastic place , great restaurant near by on the river bank, Today we enjoyed the festivities of the Songkhran Festival in great force, it was good to see the Thai people letting their down after the last couple of days. Lots of laughs and no signs of the current political situation, we feel very safe and will head out again tomorrow to enjoy all the things that Bangkok has to offer. We are staying hear till Sunday night.

    Be Safe not sorry

    Abby

    #37 Posted: 15/4/2009 - 21:07

  • fivesilver

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd August, 2008
    Posts: 39
    Total reviews: 7

    Arrived in BK Thursday afternoon. Except for armed soldiers here and there around 'flashpoint' areas (e.g. the Democracy Monument, you wouldn't guess anything was up. We've spent the first 24 hours in the Banglamphu area acclimatising (37C & humid right now) - I'll post again as we get out around town in the coming days.
    One development is that Sondhi Limthongkun, founder of the 'Yellow Shirts', has just been shot - we'll have to wait and see quite how that'll affect things in the next few days.

    #38 Posted: 17/4/2009 - 19:41

  • hospitalbed

    Joined Travelfish
    15th April, 2009
    Posts: 7

    Hey fivesilver.

    thanks for the update on what its currently like in BKK. Keep us posted if you are able to over the next couple of days. It will be interesting, as you mentioned, to see what the effects of the Sondhi shooting are. Planning on flying in on the 28th.

    Cheers!

    #39 Posted: 17/4/2009 - 21:23

  • Zouk

    Joined Travelfish
    18th April, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Hello Fivesilver,
    I am flying into Bangkok in a few days, arriving on the 22nd and with today's events it looks like the situation is most uncertain, therefore your updates are very much appreciated. Keep safe and pls let us know on further developping events, thank you.

    #40 Posted: 18/4/2009 - 02:19

  • seriouslee

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Hi all

    For those travelling to Bangkok from Australia I thought you'd like to know that the Australian government, like its British counterpart, has reviewed its travel advisory. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website now states:

    "This advice has been reviewed and reissued. It contains new information in the Summary and under Safety and Security: Civil Unrest/Political Tension (we no longer advise travellers to reconsider their need to travel to Bangkok and surrounding provinces)."

    Which is happy news for me as I'm just about to book my travel insurance for my trip that will take me to Koh Samui via Bangkok. I will of course still monitor the situation in the lead up to my trip in June.

    #41 Posted: 18/4/2009 - 11:18

  • somtam2000

    admin
    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7080
    Total reviews: 24
    Places visited:
    At least 113

    Thanks for the updates all.

    There's a good piece in the New York Times that does a good job of summing up some of the challenging issues Thailand faces -- you can read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/18/opinion/18thitinan.html?_r=1

    #42 Posted: 18/4/2009 - 18:21

  • hospitalbed

    Joined Travelfish
    15th April, 2009
    Posts: 7

    Just wanted to comment that Canada has lifted the travel warning to Bangkok today. A little later than most countries, but it's better late then never!

    #43 Posted: 21/4/2009 - 09:19

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 954
    Total reviews: 14

    Arrived in Bangkok this morning, and it's business as usual here - nothing out of the ordinary (of course, what is ever ordinary in the big mango?). Anyway, I drove around the city today and didn't even see any evidance of what went down last week.

    Looks like 'Jai Yen' won out after all, at least for now.

    Peace

    #44 Posted: 21/4/2009 - 17:40

  • TheBronze

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd October, 2008
    Posts: 15

    Hi there. Ill be arriving in bkk from Canada(glad to hear our government finally lifted the warning) in one weekish.. I heard reports that the thai lao friendship bridge had been closed. Is this still the case or is it business as normal through the kingdom?

    #45 Posted: 22/4/2009 - 12:36

  • somtam2000

    admin
    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7080
    Total reviews: 24
    Places visited:
    At least 113

    As far as I know it has been reopened.

    #46 Posted: 25/4/2009 - 07:42

  • brucemoon

    Click here to learn more about brucemoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    Hi

    It's now May, and travel into and around Thailand is back to normal.

    One query for potential western travellers is whether the recent (April) events could return (either evolve over days, or 'flash' up).

    A couple of articles written by external observers shine a quite interesting light on the basis for the tensions over the past couple of years.

    If you're interested, go read (1st):

    http://inside.org.au/thailands-royal-sub-plot/

    and then, the more recent comment at:

    http://inside.org.au/thailands-royal-sub-plot-thickens/

    - - - -

    Essentially, the articles suggest that a re-arrangement of power brokering in Thailand has fuelled the red/yellow protests. The articles infer that future 'politicking' may need to be undertaken differently to achieve success.

    The economic implications from the overt demonstrations (especially to international tourism) has not been lost on the Thai Gov't. Elsewhere, observers suggest it is likely the economic implications will fashion any future political manouverings.

    Cheers

    #47 Posted: 6/5/2009 - 15:06

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6408
    Total reviews: 10

    Friendship Bridge II, between Muk and Savankhet, never closed. Don't know about the one between Nong Khai and Vientiane.

    #48 Posted: 11/6/2009 - 01:22

  • thailand_as-
    ia

    Joined Travelfish
    7th July, 2009
    Location Germany
    Posts: 37
    Total reviews: 2

    to this time i was on koh chang in thailand and i dont felt any difference, it was just in bangkok. the rest of thailand was ok

    #49 Posted: 8/7/2009 - 22:44

  • traveling2u

    Joined Travelfish
    16th May, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Thailand is back to normal already. I been Bangkok last week, just seem like everything okay.

    #50 Posted: 5/8/2009 - 21:18

  • whiteelepha-
    nt

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd July, 2009
    Posts: 15

    traveling2u that might be because this thread is four months old!

    #51 Posted: 5/8/2009 - 22:18

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