I have read the travel warnings and understand the diplomatic unrest in certain areas. My mother-in-law (Thai native) recommends I do not travel at this time. We went on a family vacation for new year 2006-07 when the coup just started and had no problems!I plan on backpacking solo this time and head up north to Chaing Mai/Rai. Any advice/ recommendations? (with my work schedule this is my only opportunity to travel)I plan on July 2-July 16
I wouldn't worry. Political unrest comes and goes. Most of it happens in Bangkok but flights will still run. If you stay up north then you will hardly notice. These protestors are tools. They fail to respect elections. Most of them are just sheep and some of them get paid to protest.
IMO Rai doesn't offer much. When you get to CM hire a car and go for a drive. Chiang Dao cave and then onto Pai and Soppong for Lot cave and onto Mae Hong Son. Or do a tour if you don't want to drive solo.
I'm American and have been living in Bangkok and regularly traveling all over Thailand for the last 3 years. I feel that Thailand is safe, at least apart from the treacherous roads but that's no different from any time. Even when the protests were widespread all over Bangkok it wasn't much of a problem to avoid them, and the violent incidents were isolated to the areas where protests were taking place. Foreigners haven't been targeted at all. Right now it's business as usual in Bangkok apart from Lumpini Park and around Government House. The unrest in the far south has been going on for years but hasn't come close to foreigners outside of sporadic bombs in Hat Yai (maybe one every two to three years). The north and everywhere else is peaceful as always. Personally I feel far less safe walking around in Brooklyn than I do anywhere in Bangkok, even near protest sites. Things can change -- if Yingluck is ousted the red shirts might return and that could lead to another crackdown like the one in 2010, but even that had little effect anywhere else in the country and transport functioned as normal.
Of BKK - I stayed in Mo Chit area in mid-January and saw some demonstrators, but no disturbance, still easy to get a cab. Did realize when I was back in mid-February that area around Asok Station is the hub of rallies and there it was very busy with some closed streets, but no problems with safety, in fact a lot of interesting opportunities to get first-hand perspectives on what was going on. Biggest hassel was the glut of street-hawkers who'd taken over the area to take advantage of the new market for Thai flags. This was meant to be a serious time for the protests and travel warnings, but I felt fine.
I agree with the gents above. The diplomatic warnings are extremely cautious by design. Any travel carries with it some risk, but as long as you avoid crowds and protest areas, you shouldn't have any problems. Use good judgement, just like you would anywhere.
If you haven't yet, register with the U. S. Embassy and sign up for their travel warnings and announcements. You can do this online. Keep an eye on current events just in case something weird like an airport takeover happens again. But that seems unlikely at this point. Good luck and let us know how it goes. Cheers.
Ya, Thailand is one of the best and safest place to visit. As an American, I recently visited Thailand and its was seriously a great fun over there. In my opinion everyone must visit Thailand once in life.
#7 sampitter has been a member since 23/4/2014. Posts: 3
I don't live in Thailand or claim to understand its complicated political undercurrents. But I recently returned from a month-long solo journey overland through the west and south, where people were uniformly kind and calm toward me. I saw some big, loud rallies up close and never felt threatened in the least. However, I was always on guard for news of an unexpected change in leadership or monarchical succession, which could suddenly tip the scales toward violence. My advice: don't let this hypothetical interfere with your trip in any way -- just register with your embassy, stay on top of the news while traveling and have a plan B for exiting Thailand using an alternative airport in the highly unlikely event of an unexpected uprising. And have fun!
The OP is referring to the specific warning from the US State Department. Before I went over in January the elections were about to be held and the Canadian government actually recommended that all travel plans be cancelled and those already in Thailand should leave - they play it extra safe.
"Simple google search tells u which places r dangerous."
Pretty much. Of course you always have the occassional "Oh it can be that bad. I'm not going to bother anyone. I respect everyone's culture" types and they think they'll be fine in the Hawdramaht.
If I were you I'd change nothing in my plans and just go for it. But please do stay aware of the news while you're there, since a major unexpected event could suddenly erupt in widespread violence. In the unlikely event that happens and airports get shut down, you will be glad you figured out a couple alternative ways to leave the country. Sometimes a strong intuition will push or pull you in the right direction.