Bangkok Security Notice for Tourists
September 04, 2008
For over 3 months of a mass demonstration by the People's Alliance for Democracy, Thailand has experienced some damage in its economic and tourism sectors. Although certain areas of Bangkok are affected by the street protest, downtown Bangkok such as business and entertainment areas of Silom, Sathorn, Sukhumvit, Siam Square, Pratunam and Petchburi are still fully accessible including all retail shops, shopping centers, restaurants, banks, embassies, office buildings. Bangkok Sky Train (BTS), Underground train (MRT) networks, Taxi and Bus services are still in operation.
For capital's major attractions, the Thonburi side of town featuring Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and Wat Rakang is not affected by the protest, so sightseeing and tours can be arranged as normal. At this moment, the Grand Palace, the Temple of Emerald Buddha and Wat Pho are all accessible, but tourists should take caution before visiting the historic district and update with local media whether or not the protestors would use Sanam Luang field in front of the Palace to hold further gatherings.
However, tourists should avoid the affected areas including some parts of Bangkok Rattanakosin Island, the Government House, the United Nation Building area (Makawan Rangsan Bridge) and Ratchadamnoen Road. Some local banks, including Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank and Siam Commercial Bank, closed all their branches around Ratchadamnoen Road for fear of violence in the area.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport operates as normal. So far there is no report of International flight cancellations or reductions with increased level of security. Domestic Flight operations through Phuket and Krabi airports are still operating according to schedules and same for other destinations. Future closure of the Southern airports by the anti-government group may be possible, but should only take a day or two at most to re-open.
Thai Airways International, Thai AirAsia and Nok Air cancelled some flights out of Hat Yai International Airport
where the protesters blocked the entrances and forced the airport to close again. Visitors travelling to Hat Yai for business or holiday should postpone their travel schedule till further notice.
Declaration of the State of Emergency
After pro-government and anti-government groups (the People's Alliance for Democracy) clashed in an overnight street battle that left one person dead and 44 injured, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej declared Bangkok under a state of emergency.
In response to the Thai Government's Declaration of the State of Emergency in Bangkok on 2nd September 2008, all tourists are advised to follow the security guidelines with immediate effect as follow;
- Prohibit any political gathering of more than 5 people.
- Stay away from some roads that will be closed during this period
- Stay away from demonstration areas
- Continue to monitor the local media to remain informed of developments and for further advice