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Thailand: State of Emergency declared

Posted by bembot on 29/8/2008 at 05:52

hi!
we are scheduled to fly to bkk tommorow unfortunately, the PAD protesters have apparently decided to take their protest to the government house as well. would it be foolish and dangerous to push through with our vacation plans?

#1 bembot has been a member since 24/6/2008. Posts: 6

Posted by somtam2000 on 29/8/2008 at 06:27 admin

At this stage, the protest is localised to Central Bangkok. There are associated travel issues though, including the trains no longer running to some parts of the country, and there have been repeated reports of PAD protests blocking certain roads in and out of the capital.

Most pundits see the govt as showing considerable restraint in dealing with the protests, but it's not known how long this restraint will last.

Problems outside of Bangkok are close to non-existent, and talking to friends living in Bangkok this morning, people are saying it is business as usual.

So, assuming you're not planning on spending a lot of time around Govt House, and can leave Bangkok for elsewhere in the country, then I see no problems in going ahead with the trip.

However, keep an eye on news (unfortunately this is all coinciding with the Democratic National Convention in the US which the cable networks are obsessing over), as if matters deteriorate, it could all happen quickly.

As far as media coverage in concerned, the Bangkok Post is delivering far more balanced, less shrill news than The Nation.

Other sites following developments include:
New Mandala
Bangkok Pundit (heavy political content)
Absolutely Bangkok
Maew & more

I'll post more to this thread as I hear more.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,563
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Posted by somtam2000 on 29/8/2008 at 06:30 admin

Asia Times Online has a good summary piece on what is going on.

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Posted by bembot on 29/8/2008 at 12:10

wow! thanks somtam! will keep myself updated :)

#4 bembot has been a member since 24/6/2008. Posts: 6

Posted by somtam2000 on 29/8/2008 at 15:17 admin

The Nation is reporting the latest:
Hat-Yai airport blocked off by protesters
Road to Phuket-airport blocked

There's also been reports of some violence around Govt House, thought not a lot of reports so far.

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Posted by jmartin on 29/8/2008 at 18:16

We arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday - the day that protesters took over the television station. We had a little trouble getting around Bangkok by taxi on Wednesday as some of the roads were blocked, however by water taxi there was no problem.
We left Bangkok on Thursday and we are now in Kanchanaburi. As of today all rail service in Thailand is suspended indefinitely. Thai State railway employees have gone on strike in support of the PAD protesters. We know this because we tried to buy a ticket south from Banpong to Chumphon . Further, we have recieved some mixed information about our ability to go south even by bus? Employees of the railway and bus companies have told us we can only go back to Bangkok and try and go south, that we are not able to get a bus to Ratchanaburi to change to a Chumphon bound bus.
Does anybody have anymore information about this?

#6 jmartin has been a member since 10/9/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by somtam2000 on 29/8/2008 at 18:25 admin

"The acting president of Airports Authority of Thailand confirmed Friday evening that all flights to and from Phuket, Hat Yai and Krabi international airports were cancelled and the airports will be closed indefinitely."
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/read.php?newsid=30081911

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Posted by somtam2000 on 29/8/2008 at 18:29 admin

jmartin,

I'd be angling for the bus -- but I'd recommend not returning to Bangkok, rather head to Ratchaburi and try to get transport south from there...even if just to Hua Hin and work your way down from there... Or else stay in Kanchanaburi -- perhaps head west to Sangkhlaburi -- nice out there!

With the weekend now upon us, there's a possibility that the protest crowds will swell (as people don't have to work)... and things could change quickly. Keep an eye on the news and ask at your guesthouse/hotel for advice as well.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 29/8/2008 at 19:08 admin

Relevant sections from various country alerts:
Australia:
"There are on-going large political demonstrations in Bangkok, a number of which have been disruptive and blocked access to key buildings and roads. Demonstrations have also disrupted access to a number of major roads in other urban centres of Thailand. You should avoid demonstrations, political rallies and concentrations of military personnel, monitor the media and follow the instructions issued by local authorities."
http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Thailand

Canada:
"Since August 26, mass demonstrations are ongoing in some areas of Bangkok, with protestors disrupting traffic and occupying a number of government buildings. Protests and disruptions have also been reported in other provinces. It remains unclear when the demonstrations will end and there is a risk of confrontation between protestors and security forces. Canadians in Bangkok are advised to avoid large gatherings and buildings targeted by the protests, which according to latest information are centred around Government House."
http://www.voyage.gc.ca/dest/report-en.asp?country=290000

UK
"Major demonstrations are taking place in central Bangkok, in particular around Government House. On 29 August there were minor outbreaks of violence between the police and protestors at Government House. There is the possibility of further violent clashes between protestors and the police. You should exercise caution, avoiding this area and any other demonstrations or large gatherings of people. You should also keep yourself informed of developments, including by regularly checking this advice. See the Political Situation section of this advice for more details. "
http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/thailand

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Posted by somtam2000 on 30/8/2008 at 06:17 admin

The Bangkok Post has a new dedicated section to the PAD protests, including pictures. They've also got this story suggesting 90% of local holidaymakers are cancelling their travel plans.

Meanwhile The Nation is reporting Samak has been granted an audience with the King...

At this stage, if you're able to alter your travel plans to remain outside of Bangkok, then that's probably a prudent decision.

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Posted by bembot on 30/8/2008 at 07:00

anyway to get to sieam reap through bkk and stay there for instead. we will still have t o go through bkk to and from there though....if there are no bus lines....

#11 bembot has been a member since 24/6/2008. Posts: 6

Posted by somtam2000 on 2/9/2008 at 05:48 admin

Early Tuesday morning, violence broke out between the PAD and pro government supporters. AT least one man was killed and a dozen have serious injuries. Details of what happened remain sketchy, but there are reports of shots fired and molotov cocktails being hurled around. Army sources have reported thousands of pro-govt protesters setting up camp not far from govt house.

More reading:
Bangkok Pundit
Bangkok Post
The Nation

Separately, rolling nationwide strikes are expected to start on Wednesday, reports the Bangkok Post. This will cause delays to THAI Airlines flights and around 80% of buses will stop running.

Given the above, especially the buses stopping, we'd suggest if you were planning on leaving Bangkok in the next few days, leave today -- as once the buses stop, it will be more difficult to get out of town. Pick an island, and go sit it out. The Gulf Islands -- Ko Samui Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao are all brilliant this time of year.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 2/9/2008 at 07:45 admin

A state of Emergency has been declared for Bangkok, effective immediately.

The Bangkok Post has a story on it here.

I'll post further details as they come up.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 2/9/2008 at 09:30 admin

The Straits Times has a good piece on the violence last night.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 2/9/2008 at 15:56 admin

The Nation is reporting that HatYai airport has been closed following protests by PAD supporters and all flights between there and Bangkok cancelled. No word on when the airport will reopen.

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Posted by swetez on 7/9/2008 at 14:14

i'm planning to go to thailand on wednesday. i'm heading into bangkok into suvarnabhum airport late at night. i was thinking about staying in bangok for a couple of days, and head to ko samet on friday by bus.
and then going back to bangkok next tuesday and heading into ayutthaya the same day.

is this a good idea? please offer any advice!

#16 swetez has been a member since 4/9/2008. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 8/9/2008 at 06:25 admin

The situation in Bangkok is currently in a bit of a stalemate -- I wouldn't alter the plans you describe above.

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Posted by Punchestown on 23/9/2008 at 03:59

Any update on things over there? We don't go until December - and hope (figure?) that things will be under control for peak tourist season!

#18 Punchestown has been a member since 25/8/2008. Posts: 8

Posted by BellsCinnamon on 3/11/2008 at 23:36

not to be an ass here, but it's Thailand. The country was under a state of emergency in the beginning of september as well, we partied those nights out in bangkok city and we saw little or nothing to it. Besides, its internal arguments, nothing to do with us- don't be paranoid, it's good to be wise, but stay safe like you normally would do in a big city, and you'll be fine.

#19 BellsCinnamon has been a member since 3/11/2008. Posts: 5

Posted by globalflyfisher on 10/11/2008 at 10:25

How exactly does a member living in INDONESIA comment on the political situation in THAILAND ???

This is regurgitated rubbish !!!!

The PAD protestors have occupied only the GROUNDS of Government House.

All parts of Bangkok and Thailand are AS NORMAL. Wth the exception of the IMMEDIATE area around Government House in Bangkok ALL of THAILAND & BANGKOK is operating as usual.

If you want to report on a situation like this do it with FIRST HAND information.

This is FIRST HAND inforamtion - I live in Bangkok.

Propagating such inflamatory and grossly exaggerated information is irresponsible and and act of extreme ignorance.

If you want to report on this make an HONEST report.

Perhaps I should begin reporting about hostilities, rapes, murders, frauds and kidnapping in INDONESIA - that's the gossip and headlines I read !

#20 globalflyfisher has been a member since 6/10/2008. Posts: 1

Posted by somtam2000 on 11/11/2008 at 05:15 admin

Hi globalflyfisher,

Thanks for your opinion.

As you may have noticed, the initial post was back in August, and, as a resident of Bangkok you'd be no doubt aware that over the weeks following, parts of the nations train network were shut down, PAD protesters blocked access roads into Bangkok, airports were closed by PAD protests and a State of Emergency declared. If you don't think that's a situation potential visitors should take into account when making their plans, we'll have to agree to disagree.

Where possible we'd linked to original news sources so our readers could better inform themselves of the situation -- we've also got researchers based in Bangkok who we collected opinion from.

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Posted by expatudon08 on 25/11/2008 at 16:36

there is real trouble brewing that is for you which way it goes I just don’t know but i hope it does not get out of control i love Thailand and the people

#22 expatudon08 has been a member since 25/11/2008. Posts: 6
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Posted by exacto on 26/11/2008 at 01:12

Yahoo news is reporting a violent protest at the new international airport where PAD supporters stormed through police lines and departing flights were halted. It sounds like the situation is still fluid, but at last report inbound flights were still arriving.

If the article is still available, the link was:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081125/ap_on_re_as/as_thailand_political_unrest

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Posted by snowyogini on 26/11/2008 at 03:27

Hello, is it safe to Travel to Chiang Mai? i am skipping BKK and flying directly into chiang mai mid dec. I know that's a few weeks away and i will keep and eye on everything. I have heard things are fine up there, just making sure!
thanks

#24 snowyogini has been a member since 26/11/2008. Posts: 2

Posted by somtam2000 on 26/11/2008 at 06:01 admin

As exacto says, the situation is fluid.

I'd have non concerns about flying into Chiang Mai -- nor about travelling in the country for that matter. That said, it seems the protesters have ratcheted up tensions again (they're trying desperately to provoke a coup), so I'd advise keeping a close eye on the news.

As far as I can see there have not beens reports of escalating violence overnight, so should wait and see what today brings.

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Posted by wendiynn on 29/11/2008 at 16:11

My Husband and Myself are traveling from USA to Bangkok on January 4th 09 I see there are a lot of problems we are to go for a month to the hill trible of karen and then travel cambodia and laos tell me all you know about the airport problems and whats the worste that can happen what happens if you get in and cant get out. all so if we cant fly do to problems on their side what happens to our unrefundable tickets we bought them 5 months ago. HELP !!!!

#26 wendiynn has been a member since 29/11/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 1

Posted by Tilapia on 29/11/2008 at 22:01

Your airline should have travel advisories, and should be able to provide a lot more info than what you would get on this site. Go to their website or give them a call to find out what's going on. Your tickets may not be refundable, but they might be re-routable. I take it that you didn't buy cancellation insurance?

I'm supposed to fly into Bangkok one week from today. I doubt that the airport will be open, but I try to remain hopeful. My main destination is Laos, so I will try to re-route my flight to Phuket and work my way to Nong Khai. Or, I will go to Kuala Lumpur and grab a flight from there to Vientiane.

There's nothing you can do but sit and wait and see what happens. However, you can develop contingency plans A, B, and C, so you'll have back-up should things not go as hoped. So, start doing some reading and making some phone calls and find out what your options will be.

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Posted by rockiesgirl on 29/11/2008 at 22:22

Hi, trying to leave Thailand right now from the Kraabi area, thinking of heading south into Malaysia to fly from KL, most foreign affairs have a DO Not travel advisory for passing through HatYai. Any insights on this? Is there a reason that Malaysia isn't included on this on this site? Thanks for any insights.

#28 rockiesgirl has been a member since 29/11/2008. Posts: 1

Posted by Tilapia on 30/11/2008 at 00:05

The airlines have travel advisories that outline what they are doing for passengers who are to arrive at, or depart from airports in Thailand. Many are only allowing passengers to make changes (usually refunds or re-routings) 48 hours before flight time. It should soon become clear to them that even if the PAD is removed from the airport (they are not going to be leaving on their own ... they are in there for good and are expecting a fight) there will be a long period before flights can safely come and go.

The advisories say nothing about security issues within the country or at border crossings.

From what I've read, all border crossings are open for business. I have also read that there are fears that PPP/TRT may start to take over their own points of interest, such as train stations, border crossings, bus stations, etc. Time will tell. Whatever happens in Bangkok, it will not be good and it will have effects throughout the country.

Good idea to head towards Malaysia. Also, keep in mind that at the moment there is no leniency towards foreigners who are forced to overstay their visas. 500B per day is a hefty price to pay for a situation that you have no power over.

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Posted by snowyogini on 1/12/2008 at 11:04

Are all airports in thailand closed right now??? i fly into chiang mai on the 15th of dec. wondering if i should postpone my trip??

#30 snowyogini has been a member since 26/11/2008. Posts: 2

Posted by thaiyaikit on 1/12/2008 at 11:51

It is only the two Bangkok airports are closed. All others are open, including Chiangmai. If you are coming from overseas and have already booked a direct flight to Chiangmai there should be no problem. But best to check with your airline - most are now carrying information on their flights into Thailand on their website homepage.

You might also find it helpful to read the "Bangkok Post" or "The Nation" newspapers on-line. Both are published in English and have special hourly reports on the political crisis.

Hope this helps!

#31 thaiyaikit has been a member since 20/9/2008. Posts: 32

Posted by somtam2000 on 1/12/2008 at 13:47 admin

Sorry for the late answer on this -- I had a very important two-year-old's birthday to attend ;-)

wendiynn: January 4th -- I would expect this all to be sorted out by then -- don't worry... yet!

Tilapia: I wouldn't have your hopes up for Bkk being open next week -- at this stage, reports are that the AOT will need a week to get the airport up and running again once the PAD bugger off. Routing through KL I think is a good approach.

snowyogini: At this stage only Bangkok's two airports are closed.

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Posted by MONALIZA on 1/12/2008 at 19:29

Hi!
I have a flight to Bangkok on December 4th... meanwhile my air company's flights are heading to U-Taphao airport. It should be somewhere near Rayong.... do have any idea which good places are around and where should i stay there?
Also which transportation is from there to Bangkok or the Golf islands( Samui/Phangan)?

thanks!

#33 MONALIZA has been a member since 10/9/2008. Posts: 1

Posted by Thaiman on 2/12/2008 at 03:10

U-Taphao airport is not far from Pattaya and I'd suggest you'd be better off heading there than Rayong.I should also imagine that there would be plenty of buses,taxis etc willing to take you to Pattaya.

#34 Thaiman has been a member since 12/11/2008. Posts: 201

Posted by Tilapia on 2/12/2008 at 05:36

I'm flying on Cathay Pacific on Sunday. They are sending two flights per day to Utapao, however they are NOT TAKING PASSENGERS INTO UTAPAO. There are several reasons for this, and one is because they believe there is too much instability in the country.

If you are flying to Thailand from overseas, and if your intended destination is Bangkok, I suggest you contact your airline immediately to find out what your options are. I JUST found out that I would not even be able to board my flight in Toronto if I had a ticket with Bangkok as the destination. I'm now looking at re-routing into Singapore (for an extra $150 RT) and then catching a flight north, depending on what's available.

Don't assume because flights are going into Utapao that you can get onto one of them. None of the airlines want any more stranded passengers. Also, don't assume that you can just hop onto another flight to another town. Many are completely full and have been for months. Start making your phone calls and making your contingency plans.

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Posted by Punchestown on 3/12/2008 at 20:19

Hi all. So we are supposed to head to Thailand (for our honeymoon, no less!) via Bangkok on the 14th, before heading south to Krabi. Our airlines don't travel via Singapore or elsewhere where we could get a flight directly into Phuket. I'm hopeful that now that the airport is being cleared we'll be ok - any thoughts?
Also - our hotel in Bangkok (where we stay at the end of our trip around the 26th) has now asked for the balance of their payment before the 7th (even though the original booking didn't ask for it until the 12th). Does that seem right to you? Do you think they are just trying to get their money - even if we don't make it at all? (I figure we'll know what is going on by the 12th, but maybe not by the 7th).
Thoughts? Thanks!

#36 Punchestown has been a member since 25/8/2008. Posts: 8

Posted by neosho on 3/12/2008 at 21:39

China Air rerouted me to Chaing Mai. The only problem is the long wait in Taipai and arrival at 1:30am in Chaing Mai. I leave today (Dec 3) from USA. Haven't bothered to book a room yet.

#37 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386

Posted by somtam2000 on 5/12/2008 at 08:05 admin

Media reports are now saying the airports have re-opened but different carriers are recommencing on differing dates. As the Bangkok Post reports there are concerns that the airports have been reopened too quickly and that systems etc have not been as comprehensively checked as they should have been.

The Bangkok Post story is here.

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