The nature walks of Chiang Rai, Thailand are famous for their tranquillity, and the popular Elephant camps are a continuing favourite, and it appears that, at least for the present, the environment remains as it was before the coup. However, don’t be misled into thinking that the situation has been resolved, or that there is no risk of uprisings, protests, or worse.
In the months leading up to the coup, and just afterwards, in May and June, Chiang Rai was the focus of several demonstrations, and protests. Now that General Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of the coup, has been appointed Prime Minister, while martial law remains, The Director of Human Rights Watch in Asia, Brad Adams, observes that as Prime Minister, the General now has sweeping powers over the country, the military, and the NCPO, without accountability.
It remains to be seen where this situation will lead, but caution should be the watchword for visitors to any region, and, in particular, to provinces bordering on Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, and Malaysia.
Why? Because border regions and crossings have proven themselves vulnerable to attack by terrorist groups. The lack of terrorist activity at present, while welcome, holds no promise for the future.
Travel Safety in Chiang Rai, Thailand
Should you plan to travel to Thailand in the near future, and, in particular, to any border province, you will want to be informed and protected against any eventuality in light of the existing threats, and general uncertainty about the political future of the country.
- Before heading out on a tour or excursion of any sort, whether guided or not, it is best to check newspapers, social media, and your tour operator or hotel manager to be sure you will be safe wherever you plan to visit,
- Bring your Passport with you, but keep all other valuables in your hotel room safe,
- If you plan a hiking tour, wear protective clothing, and be sure to keep applying lots of insecticide to guard against insect bites which can result in Dengue Fever, or Malaria,
- Whatever the nature of your activities, hiking, trekking or climbing, don’t forget to keep yourself well hydrated at all times. Keep replenishing yourself with water or fruit juices throughout the day, even if you are not exposed to the sun,
- Drink only bottled water, and avoid using ice cubes,
- During the heat of the day, it is important to wear head covering and protect yourself with Sun Block,
- No matter how strenuous or challenging your activities might be, it is always a good plan to bring energy snacks with you…dried fruit & nuts, for example.
Travel Tips for Thailand
When touring the city area, it is important to remember that petty crime is a risk and just a little caution goes a long way.
1. Don’t go out alone if you can avoid it, and at night take taxis,
2. Leave watches, mobiles, and any flashy jewellery locked safely away at your hotel,
3. Do not make “deals” with taxis who will not use the meter,
4. Do not accept offers of any kind from strangers who suddenly wish to become your friend,
5. Do not let any stranger know where you are staying, and
6. Never let a stranger buy you a drink at any time.
It’s your holiday, and you want to enjoy it to the fullest, but one drink in the wrong place with the wrong person, or one small package of any illegal drug can lead to a very serious problem, and ruin that wonderful trip you have planned for so long.
Please remember to take the most important step at least 6 weeks prior to your departure for Chiang Rai, and call our Travel Health Clinic in London for an appointment to have all the vaccinations you need for travel to Thailand. At that time, we shall arrange a medical check-up for you, and advise you on any health risks you might be facing during your travels.
It is also highly recommended that you visit your G.P. well in advance of your departure to review all your medication and obtain any prescriptions you require for the duration of your trip.