My husband and I are arriving in Bangkok on the 7th of March.
Can anybody please provide an update of the political tension/unrest in Bangkok and the likelihood of the airport being shut down or other safety concerns similar to the 2008 protests?
We are flying AirAsia from Australia via KUL so it is possible to redirect our arrival in Thailand however we have booked accom already so would prefer to stick to our plans.
At this stage is there any clear indication of unrest occurring?
#1 smellel has been a member since 16/12/2009. Posts: 9
On Feb 26th, the Supreme Court will give their ruling on whether to keep or give back former PM Thaksin's 76 billion baht. The government is expecting problems from the red shirt supporters of Thaksin. The reds are gathering all week but have said they will not have a protest on the 26th. They will after though. They have pledged that all protests will be peaceful. After Songkran last year they do not have much credibility. I do not think you will see a closure or the airports again. The reds will also be trying for protests all over the country at the same time and not just in Bangkok. Rumors are flying from all sides involved so who can say what will happen. The government has said there are now 200 checkpoints in and around bangkok. As long as it stays peaceful the problems will be getting around a blocked route. Tourists will not be a target as the yellow shirts took a lot of heat for the airport blockade and everyone wants to avoid that publicity. I live in Ubon and will be going to Bangkok on the 25th and I'm not worried if that helps. Of course I could be an idiot also. LOL
#2 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
Just want to add that you can read the Bangkok Post (english) newspaper online if you want to keep up on the latest rumor or see what's happening.
#3 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
I'd be very very very surprised if the government let another airport closure happen. Bear in mind that when that did happen it was a demonstration by supporters of the current government. Clearly it seems the military supports the current government, and the military are poised to not let the red shirts get out of hand as they did last April. I would expect that any attempt at a demonstration at the airports would be stopped by the military, although I wouldn't expect the red shirts to try that in the first place. I should note that I was in Thailand last April and I went to Bangkok just three days after the riots, and the whole thing never affected my trip whatsoever. I certainly wouldn't worry yourself about it, especially since you'll be arriving well after the Feb. 26 court decision, but, then again you never know...
The military is now divided from what I hear. This is bad, bad news.
Sooner or later this is going to go off big style I just hope not to be there when it starts.
#5 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I don't think the military is divided enough to split into 2 groups opposing each other. The UDD (red shirts) are also divided in their tactics. The police and military will support this government if things turn bad. Sayadian, I do agree that this is not going to go away. If Thaksin eventually fades away, I think the reds will keep going because there is a segment of them that feel the fight is about justice for the common/poor people more than about Thaksin. The government/business leaders seem to ignore that fact. The poor are starting to get their voice and how the movement underfoot evolves will be interesting. Let's just hope peacefully.
#7 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
In all my time in Thailand and especially Bangkok during protests i've hardly seen anything. I've always felt and have been 100% safe. It is very very unlikely there is going to be any tension at the airports. There have been no serious protests this year and will probably continue like that - no worries.
#8 Risha has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 20
Thanks all for your comments, as an update:
It looks like the main protests are being planned for the 14th of March.
As an aside: given we are heading south-east to Trat, and many protesters are coming into Bangkok from Rayong, will we have trouble getting a bus in that direction on the 9th?
#9 smellel has been a member since 16/12/2009. Posts: 9
You shouldn't have problems as you'll be going in the opposite direction and you're giving yourself 5 days before the 14th. Seems like a good plan to head out of Bangkok on the 9th, just in case. Enjoy your trip, no matter what... I was in Chiang Mai last year when the rioting broke out in Bangkok in April, and although the images on the TV were a bit alarming, it had no effect on my travels. In fact, I went to Bangkok a few days after the rioting had ended and everything was already back to normal... So even if you see crazy things on the TV don't let it ruin your holiday; chances are it will be short-lived and relatively isolated.
Thailand - land of smiles, johnnie walker, and civil unrest (usually all at the same time).
It is possible that this could devolve into a civil war, but I consider that unlikely. However, this conflict is old, deep and at this point gets right down to basic disenfranchisement issues. It will not be easily solved.
#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
hi, i know im echoing previous posts, but my friend and i will be travelling to phuket from siem reap on the 12th, we have to stop for an hour or 2 in bangkok. I got worried today when our guide here in cambodia mentioned that stopping in bangkok would probably not be a good idea, i had no idea anything was going on, so i switched on the news back in the hotel and they said that there are over 40 sites that may be bombed or come under attack!! i just want to know is it likely that the main airport be one of these sites? or is it likely that the airport would be affected, does anyone know? do you think it would be worth it to cancel our flights and try get to phuket from KL or HCMC or something? Sorry..just really nervous.
hmmmm. I'm flying to bangkok on the 17th and then bkk to hanoi the next day. I'm slightly concerned, i missed the last airport riot by a couple of days last time. I won't be worrying too much though.
#13 mellimoon has been a member since 13/3/2007. Posts: 11
The chances of any airport interruption are virtually zero. A bunch of red shirts will assemble at Sanam Luang in western Bangkok this weekend but it won't affect anything to do with tourism. Fingers crossed it will just be another day of shouting in a contained area. The whole redshirt voice is dimming down since the Feb 26th 30/46 ruling which appeased both sides pretty well. I wouldn't be worried at all.
I don't think it's all that productive to plan your vacation around what might happen. The probability that anything is going to go down that disrupts your trip is small and not worth considering at this point.
#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Talk of a civil is just total sensationalism spread on the Net by foreign armchair Thailand news 'experts' who have been indulging in just a few too many bottles of hooch. Apart from travel in a few areas of Bangkok, this whole protest thing isn't gonna affect anyone holidays in Thailand.
#16 Risha has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 20
While I agree that I would not change my travel plans over concern for this issue, make no mistake this is a serious problem in Thailand that could devolve into a civil war. Wars have been fought over lessar issues. I do not believe that will happen, but I do believe it's possible. The Thais are not a homogeneous people, the ethnic Thai have long dominated the political scene, and the non-Thai resentment, which is long standing, could result in serious violence at some point. It's not possible to disempower people without end and not expect negative consequences.
#17 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I fly into Bangkok and out the same day going back home to Ubon. I'm not real worried about the whole affair if that helps those that are a little worried.
Risha...It's would appear the government is preparing for the worst.
Madmac...I agree there are a lot of underlying issues that aren't going to go away.
#18 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
British govt advised against travel to certain areas within Thailand, to avoid protests and large group gatherings etc
Quite a lot of transport into Bangkok has been postponed for the two days (13/14th) and petrol sales halted, but fingers crossed the world should be back to normal by Monday. I'm just telling people if you don't need to travel to Bangkok this weekend - don't, and if you're already there, sit tight and stay away from the red zones.
I think we can agree this isn't going to kick off whilst HM King is alive.After that I'm very pessimistic.
#22 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
sayadian - good point. One can only guess what will happen to the country once HM passes on (long live the King), but I do worry about that future.
As far as right now, I just read (on Yahoo) that the red shirt leaders are "being vague" about how long their demonstrations will last, "preferring to say they believe the government will step down and call new polls within just a few days." So it doesn't seem like this will be all wrapped up by Monday... Remember the yellow shirt's takeover of the prime minister's compound - how long were they there - three months?
Probably the best source for unbiased coverage on events is Bangkok Pundit.
He has a live blog running here which is well worth keeping an eye on.
Let the fun begin. It looks like by now 100,000+ protesters have already gathered for this long-awaited showdown. Here's one media report:
I wouldn't necessarily let this change my plans of being in or near Bangkok, but I would definitely avoid the Sanam Luang area and any other places where large groups of people are gathering.
I decided to belay my trip to BKK for a week. But that change was easy to make.
#26 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I think the next 24-48 hours will be crucial to watch. Many pundits are seeing this as Thaksin's last go at it, so things could get ugly if the redshirts settle in yet get no leeway.
All the reports yesterday from friends who were out following and reporting on the protests reported on a jovial, near carnival atmosphere but it would be a mistake to assume that the situation continues in that vein.
I agree with others that by and large the protests should be avoided, and if you're able to rearrange your trip easily to avoid Bangkok over the next couple of days, I'd suggest that would be wise.
While matters, as they stand, remain largely calm, one shouldn't underestimate just how quickly things could go seriously pearshaped. This is a very volatile situation.
i found a site that the Tourism Authority of Thailand set up to inform everyone about the rally situation in Bangkok and other provinces. It's pretty up to date by the day and the hour, so it's pretty reliable. If you're in Bangkok or coming to Thailand, I strongly advise you to check it out.
Hope it can be of some help to you!
#28 jaatravel has been a member since 15/3/2010. Posts: 6
interest post here,
I'm in Bangkok for another month and I went around town during the protests but the area where I live is not affected (downtown area), so as long as you don't go to the areas that are told not to go (protest area), it's perfectly normal.
(Actually, traffic is a lot less now because people are taking precautionary steps and avoid coming out) Just relax and enjoyyyyyy
#29 jimmylads has been a member since 15/3/2010. Posts: 1
From what I read in the paper (Bangkok Post) last week the Reds only have enough money to last 3 to 5 days. Unless Taksin coughs up some more of his billions that is. As the saying was in the 70's "What if they gave a war and nobody came?).
#30 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
Remember, though, this conflict is not about Thaksin. He's a short term issue and funder. But if he died tomorrow, the conflict would continue.
#31 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I don't think it will be over that quickly. Now they're going to pour a bunch of their own blood at government house in a symbolic protest - weird and gross - but it certainly shows they're serious, and I don't expect the Reds to back down so easily. Even so, as long as it remains non-violent the whole thing hopefully won't affect travel too much. Thailand has got to be the only country in the world where the government crumbles and the tourists don't even hear about it until they get home.
Hi there, just need some advice on traveling to Bangkok. I arrive on the 19th and depart on the 21st to Cambodia by bus. I'm monitoring the posts and news and get the sense that I'll be fine as long as I avoid the protest areas. However, the blood spattering news has got me a little concerned about the safety and accessibility of traveling around there. I'm not necessarily concerned about safety.
what are your thoughts on the ability to
a) getting from the airport into Bangkok by road
b) getting to the bus station and grabbing a bus from the main bus station and heading out to the border
I've heard traffic is disrupted, but can't find any news on transportation networks as of today, which may be a good thing.
#33 slightlymoreadvanced has been a member since 16/3/2010. Posts: 1
Friend of mine landed at the airport today, and got a taxi straight into Sukhimvite. No problems at all.
#34 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
dont' worry, just take the cab or wtv to get into town, everything's quite the same.
the blood spattering is just a show of discontent (and creativity or stupidity). At least there's no fighting or violence.
my brother just came in from Laos the other day and everything is fine.
#35 timelytravelingtravler has been a member since 17/3/2010. Posts: 4
Just got a call from same friend on Sukhimvite road. It's clogged with protestors, stopping vehicle movement around Soi 11 and making walking even more difficult than it usually is. He advised waiting until things settle down a bit before I go there.
#36 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
The traffic congestion around Sukhumvit Road Soi 31 didn't excetly last very long this morning, 2 hours at most. Now, there are no red-shirts left on the streets of Bangkok. And they have yet to mention any protest plans for tomorrow. Anyway, what was the big fuss and need to reschedule any visit to Bangkok. On Sukhumvit Road there is the skytrain (BTS)!! Traffic congestion?? Well, get out your cab and jump on the BTS instead.
Traffic in Bangkok, as well as Sukhumvit, is as normal.
#37 Risha has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 20
I like the skytrain too - but it doesn't always go to where I am going.
I actually prefer motorcycles, but they aren't exactly the safest mode of transportation.
Glad to hear things have cleared up, since I am planing on meeting some friends on Friday and need to stop by the embassy.
#38 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
any of you got affected by the caravan protest that went on today around Bangkok?
I only used the BTS (skytrain) and everything seemed pretty normal, just redshirt protesters driving by.
#39 timelytravelingtravler has been a member since 17/3/2010. Posts: 4
i checked on the site i went to again, and they posted what areas not to go to again (the updated version)
also, they have an official announcement on their protocols and procedures to handle the issue, so it's worth a look on.
#40 jaatravel has been a member since 15/3/2010. Posts: 6
Nick Nostitz has just had a great wrap on the protests published at New Mandala. The photos are excellent and the piece is well worth a read.