Among the roughly 800,000 Britons and countless Londoners visiting Thailand every year, a large percentage of them will find their way to beautiful Phuket Island. While resorts, restaurants and bars are basically still running normally, visitors should prepare for some changes, and familiarise themselves with the information in this Travel Alert.
Personal Safety in Thailand
Your personal safety, while abroad in Thailand, is of utmost importance, and due to the restrictions imposed by the military under Martial Law, much has changed since May of this year. Please take note of the following important information well before you arrive:
1- The curfew imposed under Martial Law in May of this year has since been lifted.
2- Peacekeeping forces are not very much in evidence in Phuket, but they are present, to control any protests or potential violence.
3- At the time of writing, we have learned that Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, (leader of the Coup) has now been unanimously elected as Prime Minister.
4- During Martial Law, no matter where, gatherings of protesters are considered illegal, it is illegal to criticize the coup, the government and the Thai Monarchy.
Have a safe and healthy holiday in Phuket, Thailand
The NCPO, and the Government, not to mention the Ministry of Tourism, are justifiably concerned about the inevitable backlash from the ongoing rash of protests, disruption, and general unrest, particularly in the Capital, and especially in the Northern Provinces, such as Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai. Please consult our special Alerts on news about these specific areas.
It goes without saying that the uncertainty of tourists who were planning to visit the country is beginning to have an effect, and
there is a marked downturn in visitors to Bangkok, and to Phuket as well.
In fact, however, few incidents of protest activity or violence of any kind have been reported in Phuket in the past few months. Could it be that this apparent stability is genuine, or is it, perhaps, due to a slight “blockage” in the news wires?
Travel Tips for Phuket
Protests and demonstrations aside, Phuket does have some annoyances that seem to be part of the scenery, and first-time visitors should be aware of what to expect. For example, when you look at travel brochures of paradise, with its sumptuous beaches, and turquoise seas, you dream of leaving all the day-to-day cares of home far behind you, and relaxing. Unfortunately, there is one annoyance that you will find waiting for you in Phuket…Traffic!
Road Safety in Thailand
Here is one instance where Phuket and Bangkok are somewhat the same…they both have serious headaches with traffic flow…and, more importantly, road safety. High-speed accidents, resulting in injuries and fatalities, as well as property damage, are increasingly common on Phuket, despite the NCPO’s big push for increased attention to Law and Order. The reasons for this run the gamut from careless driving, to drunk driving…drivers who ignore traffic signals, and those who are just thoughtless. If you have plans to rent a vehicle during your holiday, you might want to think first about the experience that could be in store for you on Phuket’s roads.
Street Crime and Pick Pockets
And, although it’s no secret that street crime, pick-pockets, and bag snatchers, for example is an ever-present problem in most of Thailand’s cities and resorts, the unwitting tourist will also encounter some very inventive varieties of beach crime on Phuket Island. It’s best not to walk on the beach at night, of course, but during the day, be on the look-out for people approaching you out of nowhere, acting a little too friendly, or asking if you want your picture taken. These scams will inevitably end up costing you more than your time.
This month, the Ministry of Tourism announced the establishment of a 20-million Baht National Fund to assist Tourist victims of crime and natural disasters. If there is any sign that crime is escalating, it would probably be this. Protecting yourself from these crimes and scams can sometimes take no more than pure common sense, but it’s probably a good idea to familiarise yourself with the dangers beforehand. Street violence against tourists is rare, but it does occur, usually during attempted theft.
Fish and Jellyfish
At the beach and in the water, take steps to protect yourself against fish bites and jellyfish stings, and make it a practice to wear generous amounts of insecticide at all times. Dengue Fever is more a danger than Malaria in Phuket, so be sure you are protected, no matter where you might be.
Travel Vaccinations for Phuket and Thailand, 2015
Please make a note to call our Travel Clinic in London to set up an appointment for a full medical check-up and a review of any and all vaccinations you will require for your journey to Thailand. Have a look at our detailed information regarding all of the travel vaccinations that are required for Thailand in 2014. Since many vaccinations must be administered at least one month before departure, it is important to schedule your visit at least 6 weeks prior to leaving.