Thailand is an increasingly popular tourist destination, especially with British travellers, and apart from its world-famous beaches, it has a lot to offer. Sadly, there is a dark side, which casts a pall over some of our favourite cities and regions.
Martial Law in Thailand
If you are planning to travel to Thailand, be aware that a state of Martial Law exists through the country, and the nightly curfew, imposed by the NCPO in May, (National Council for Peace and Order) is once again in force. Keep up-to-date with regular updates from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The FCO currently advises against all but essential travel to Preah Vihear and the Ta Krabey/Ta Moan near the Cambodian border due to fighting as well as the provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, and Songkhla near the Malaysian boarder due to terrorist activity.
Regarding travel advice for Thailand. Under Martial Law, the NCPO has considerable security powers, among which are:
– The authority to prevent public gatherings
– To restrict Media, set up checkpoints, and search for weapons
– The authority to detain individuals for publicly criticising the NCPO, Thailand’s military takeover, and the Thai Monarchy.
Apart from the very unsettling presence of the military in the streets of Bangkok, there remains the annoyance and inconvenience of regular disruptions in public transit services, street closures, and even blockages of Bangkok’s Central Restaurant/Club and Shopping districts. While these, by themselves, might only cause intermittent difficulties and frustrations, they will, no doubt, have an impact on the city’s economy, and a marked effect on the country’s tourist industry.
Since the May 22nd coup, much has happened that has changed daily life in the Capital, for residents and visitors alike, and there is general unrest and ongoing conflict between the military and terrorists who have claimed responsibility for random bombings of city centre buildings and hotels.
Staying Safe in Thailand
Protestors are still very much in evidence, and crowds or gatherings, whether intentional or accidental, draw the immediate attention of the military, so before venturing out each day, it is wise to check the news and to speak with the concierge at your hotel. Be sure you are aware of any problem areas, and do your best to avoid them and areas where streets might be blocked, as these change constantly.
Bear in mind that it is illegal to criticise the coup, or to make political statements in public. Avoid any protests or marches as some of these have turned violent, and participating can lead to your arrest.
It is most important that you contact your insurance provider regarding your travel plans, and be sure that you are carrying comprehensive Travel Insurance & Medical Insurance. Some insurance policies exclude coverage following a military coup.
Street crime is always a factor in Bangkok, even at the best of times, and it’s important to use caution when you are out walking. These simple tips could help make your visit much safer.
5 Tips for Staying Safe in Thailand
– Avoid carrying important papers, such as travel documents. Keep these safe in your hotel but remember to carry your passport with you, at all times. Tourists have been arrested for not producing their passports
– Carry only small amounts of currency
– Leave expensive watches and jewellery in your hotel safe
-Use ATM’s with caution. There is a danger of having someone “skim” your credit or debit card immediately after use. When using an ATM, look around you before entering sensitive information; shield your PIN and Password, and don’t count your cash in plain sight
– Be careful when visiting busy markets and nearby shops. If you pick up an object that you intend to purchase, pay for it before you begin looking in the next booth, as this can be mistaken for shop-lifting.
Staying Safe in Crowded Areas in Thailand
It’s just common sense that, with Martial Law in effect, your best bet is to avoid crowds, plan where you want to go, and use taxis, especially at night time. Be wary of taxis that offer a flat fee, which is almost always sure to be much higher than the meter, and insist that the driver turn on the meter before you agree to ride with him.
Watch out for motorbikes riding close to you, as there is always a risk that they will try to snatch away your shoulder bag, camera bag, or whatever you might be carrying. Electronics such as mobile phones, cameras, games, etc. are easy prey for thieves. Keep all valuables out of sight, or leave them at your hotel.
Vaccinations for Thailand 2014
Call to book an appointment at our Travel Health Clinic for a complete check-up, at least 4-6 weeks ahead of your departure. At that time we will advise you on all the vaccinations and medications you require for your trip to Thailand. See the list of necessary vaccinations on the Destinations page of our website.