Thailand Political Developments – Where not to go on this Dec. 1st
Many expats and tourists can be frightened by the current demonstrations in Thailand and especially in the Thai Capital. Here is a release from Tourism Authority of Thailand:
The ongoing anti-government protests in Bangkok since early October have been normal to peaceful, and have mostly been taking places at non-tourist attractions. During November, although the gatherings and mobilisations of large crowds in different parts of the city at certain times have caused heavy road traffic, there have been no cases of chaos or violence. Tourists can still travel safely between their hotels, using road-transport, skytrain, subway and water-transport, to many attractions in Bangkok.
The anti-government protesters are mainly staging their campaigns at the following locations:
- Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue
- Ministry of Finance on Rama VI Road
- Government Complex on Chaengwattana Road
- Nang Lerng Junction on Nakhonsawan-Phitsanulok Roads
- Makkawan Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue
During today, the anti-government protesters have staged their rallies at the Department of Special Investigation, CAT Telecom Public Company Limited headquarters and TOT Public Company Limited headquarters, which are located at Government Complex on Chaengwattana Road, as part of their plans to urge civil servants to join the protests in a form of civil disobedience, following their ongoing campaigns undertaken at other government agencies since Monday (25 November 2013). CAT and TOT are normally open and operating during weekdays, but are providing 24-hour assistance through their Call Centre 1322 and 1100, respectively. Both have branch offices in other parts of Bangkok and throughout the country.
The anti-government protesters have also announced plan to rally to the following 10 locations tomorrow (1 December 2013):
- Government House on Luk Luang-Phitsanulok Roads
- Royal Thai Police on Rama I Road
- Metropolitan Police Bureau on Si Ayutthaya Road
- Ministry of Education on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue
- Ministry of Labour on Mit Maitri Road (off Din Daeng Road)
- Ministry of Interior on Atsadang Road
- Ministry of Commerce on Nonthaburi Road
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Si Ayutthaya Road
- Government Public Relations Department on Rama VI Road
- Dusit Zoo on Rajvithi Road
Meanwhile, the pro-government supporters are staging their campaign at Rajamangala Stadium on Ramkhamhaeng Road. The area is in the eastern part of Bangkok and far off from the above areas occupied by the anti-government protesters.
In addition, Ramkhankaeng University students are gathering at the main campus on Ramkhamhaeng Road in a bid to protest against the government. The University administration and police have stepped up security to prevent possible clashes between the students and the pro-government supporters, who are gathering at the nearby sport stadium.
Outside of Bangkok, the anti-government protesters are rallying at several provincial administration halls. Officials have confirmed that none of the provincial halls have been seized by the protesters. No chaos or violence has been reported. Although there were one or two cases of confrontations between the anti-government protesters and pro-government supporters, police was able to maintain peace and order in the areas.
For tourists visiting the kingdom, it should be stressed that foreigners and/or tourists have not been targeted in the ongoing political protests.
However, tourists are advised to be vigilant and avoid areas where crowds may gather. Given the large number of people expecting to attend rallies at the five main locations during today and tomorrow, roads around or within the areas maybe temporarily closed to traffic or there may be heavy road traffic at certain times. Tourists are advised to check travel route and road traffic situation to avoid getting caught in traffic.
The Royal Thai Army has advised the public not to panic if they see troops on the move during 1-2 December 2013.
A total of 12 battalions of royal guards from Prachin Buri, Chon Buri, Nakhon Nayok and Lop Buri and one cavalry battalion of royal guards from Bangkok will be travelling to an oath-taking ceremony for His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej’s birthday on 5 December in Hua Hin, Prachuab Khiri Khan. They will return to their bases after the ceremony.
It’s business as usual in Thailand.
Life in Bangkok and all other areas of Thailand continues as per normal. Tourist attractions and activities as well as businesses in Bangkok and other provinces are open and operating as usual.
For live images of Thai tourist destinations, check out these THAI LIVE CAM streaming cameras that present a number of stunning preset views of Thailand’s most famous and popular cities.
Tourist attractions are open and operating as per normal.
Historical attractions, theme parks, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, local markets, temples and river tours are open and operating as per normal.
To avoid heavy road traffic at certain times, tourists can use BTS Skytrain, MRT Subway, ferry, boats and hotel’s converted rice barges to many attractions, such as, the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Temple of Dawn, ASIATIQUE The Riverfront, and Siam Paragon and Terminal 21 Shopping Complexes.
Outside of Bangkok:
Tourist activities in Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phang-nga and Krabi, for instance, are operating as per normal.
These provinces’ administration halls are located in official designated areas, and are not where tourists normally go to or where tour companies include in the tour programme.
International and domestic airlines are operating flights between Bangkok and Thai cities, as well as destinations around the world, as per normal.
Thailand’s main gateway, Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Bangkok and all other international and domestic airports throughout the country are operating as per normal. Transportation to and from Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports into central Bangkok as well as into tourist destinations southeast and southwest of Bangkok; such as, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Samet and Ko Chang are operating as per normal.
Suvarnabhumi Airport has advised air travellers of possible heavy road traffic and a lack of taxis resulting from the protests in Bangkok. Commuters are advised to use public transport such as BTS Skytrain, Airport Rail Link, public buses and vans, and limousine services. Air travellers are also advised to allocate more time before flight depart or at least three hours.
The State Railway of Thailand and the Transport Co., Ltd., (inter-provincial bus service) are operating as per normal. The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority is operating its city bus routes as per normal, although some routes are temporarily rerouted.
There is no reason at all to avoid Bangkok, which remains a popular tourist destination. However, tourist can also spend their holidays in other Thai cities, which are located within 1 or 2 hour travelling time from Bangkok.
Getting around Thailand
- Bangkok, located 30 kilometres from Suvarnabhumi Airport or 30 minutes by car or 15 minutes by Airport Rail Link. Mass transit networks including BTS Skytrain, MRT Subway and city buses are operating as usual.
- Chiang Mai, located 716 kilometres north of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 7 hours 44 minutes by car or 1 hour 10 minutes by air.
- Phuket, located 865 kilometres south of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 9 hours 50 minutes by car or 1 hour 25 minutes by air.
- Pattaya, located 120 kilometres southeast of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 1 hour 17 minutes by car.
- Hua Hin, located 227.5 kilometres southwest of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 2 hours 40 minutes by car.
- Ko Samui, located 804 kilometres southwest of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 10 hours 34 minutes by car and ferry or 1 hour 5 minutes by air.
- Khon Kaen, located 458 kilometres northeast of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 5 hours by car or 55 minutes by air.
- Nong Khai, located 630 kilometres northeast of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 7 hours 5 minutes by car.
The Thai Government has announced the enforcement of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in all districts of Bangkok and Nonthaburi, Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan and Lat Lum Kaeo district of Pathum Thani until 31 December to maintain law and order.
The law does not prohibit nor obstruct peaceful demonstration held within the bounds of the law, but it enables security agencies – police, military and civilian – to effectively prevent and mitigate, as much as possible, undue disruption or impact on the safety of the general public.
Tourists need not be alarmed of the presence of security forces and checkpoints in Bangkok. Police are deployed to provide security in the city. Security has been stepped up to prevent ill-intentioned people from inciting violence. Traffic police are also stepping up efforts to ensure traffic flow in the city.
Useful contact numbers:
Tourism Authority of Thailand Call Centre 1672
Thai Traffic Police Call Centre 1197
Thai Tourist Police Call Centre 1155
Bangkok Tourism Division Call Centre +66 (0) 2225 7612-4
Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (city bus service) Call Centre 1348
State Railway of Thailand Call Centre 1690
Transport Co., Ltd., (inter-provincial bus service) Call Centre 1490
Airports of Thailand Call Centre 1722
Thai Airways International (THAI) Call Centre +66 (0) 2356 1111
Bangkok Airways Reservation Centre 1771
Nok Air Call Centre 1318
Thai AirAsia Call Centre +66 (0) 2515 9999