Sunday, January 26, 2014

Talking Politics

As someone who actively promotes Thailand as a tourist destination, I think it would be remiss of me not to address the current ‘elephant in the room’ - the brewing political situation in Thailand. As I write, protesters amass in the streets of Bangkok, demanding the resignation of the democratically elected government; and while the protests have been largely peaceful, reports are just in that 28 people were wounded in an explosives attack, while in another location, an unidentified gunman opened fire on the protesters.

The situation is extremely volatile, and to be frank, there is no end in sight. While I don’t pretend to have detailed knowledge of Thai politics, I do recognise that there are two extremes and very little middle ground. On the surface, it appears to be a class war; but it is so entangled in a long and complicated history, it is difficult for me to summarise.

Instead, I’ll provide links to two articles which I think explain the situation far more concisely than I possibly could.

The bottom line for people planning a holiday to Thailand, however is ... is it safe to travel there?

The Australian government travel advisory site,, warns Australian tourists to “exercise a high degree of caution” if holidaying in Thailand. They advise Australians to avoid all protests and major intersections where crowds have gathered; and to expect traffic delays and disruptions during this period.

Visitors to areas other than Bangkok are also warned to avoid demonstrations, especially in Phuket and Chiang Mai.

Note that they do NOT advise reconsidering travel plans or not travelling to Thailand.
The protests are not targeting tourists, and demonstrations tend to be localised.

While it is highly unlikely that the current situation will impact on your holiday in Thailand, please just be aware that shit happens anywhere in the world. Exercise commonsense and caution, avoid any sign of trouble, keep away from the crowds and focus on having a good time.

Go and find yourself a deserted beach, a hammock and a fresh coconut to sip on - and enjoy your vacation in the Land of Smiles!

Avoid the elephant in the room, but not the elephants!

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