Sunday, December 1, 2013

Is it Safe to Travel to Bangkok?

As anti-government protests turned violent in the weekend with 4 deaths and no end in sight to the conflict, those who had plans to go to Bangkok are asking the same question : Is it safe to travel to Bangkok?

On Sunday Siam Paragon and CentralWorls, two major shopping malls in Bangkok, were closed. Certain areas in Bangkok are definitely to be avoided for tourists. But the simple answer to the question of "is it safe to go to Bangkok?" is depends. It is quite easy to avoid protest areas and you can spend a whole week in Bangkok without witnessing any protests and coming across any protestor. But you need to be careful about where you are going in Bangkok.

The answer is depends because you should follow your own embassy's security alert. Also check your travel insurance for any flight delays because once the demonstrators has occupied entire Bangkok International Terminal and many travelers could not leave Bangkok for days.

The main ongoing protest area is along Rachadamnoen Avenue including Democracy Monument in Bangkok has now expanded to include protests at a number of government buildings in central Bangkok. There have also been demonstrations at provincial halls in many provinces outside Bangkok, including Phuket. Violence, including gunshots, was reported overnight on 30 November/1 December in the area of Ramkhamhaeng University in the Bang Kapi district of Bangkok.

Is it Safe to Travel to Bangkok?

Consult your hotel staff if you are unsure about the safety of your destination. Also make sure that you avoid all protests, political gatherings an demonstrations. You may think it is cool to photo those kind of conflicts but you may endanger your life if you do so. Do not forget it is generally safe in Bangkok even during violent demonstrations but during these conflicts, real bullets fly in the air.

Here is the official travel advise from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore:

At around 7pm Bangkok time on 1 December 2013 , the Thai Government announced that members of the public should stay indoors from 1 December 2200hrs to 2 December 0500hrs.
The Internal Security Act (ISA), which was imposed on 25 November 2013, remains in place. It covers all districts of Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani’s Lardlumkaew district and Samut Prakarn’s Bang Pli district (which includes Suvarnabhumi Airport). Political demonstrations have now expanded beyond the main protest area at the Democracy Monument along Ratchadamnoen Avenue and are taking place in various locations within Bangkok, including at some government buildings. Protest areas may also include popular tourist areas like Silom Road and Ratchaprasong intersection, and new locations for street protests could be announced at short notice.
Singaporeans who wish to travel to Bangkok during this period may encounter increased security presence and traffic congestion. They are advised to stay away from large crowds and demonstrations, monitor local news and developments closely, take all necessary precautions for personal safety, and purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance. In addition, Singaporeans are encouraged to eRegister with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at so that we may contact you should the need arise.

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