Joyce has a trip to Thailand booked and is supposed to fly out next week, but she’s not sure it’s safe to travel after the coup d’état by the Royal Thai Army.
My friend and I have a holiday to Thailand planned for next week. We booked months ago and have been looking forward to it for some time, but we’re worried about the political developments and what a coup d’état really means, it sounds quite frightening. Should we still travel or would we be safer staying at home?
A. The Royal Thai Army has taken control of the country, largely due to the unstable government and threat of violent protests. There is a curfew in place between 10pm and 5am, so late nights are out of the question, but if your flight arrives during such times, you can still make the trip between airport and accommodation, just have your travel documents ready. Whether you decide to travel is really of your choosing, however, you may wish to consider the following:
- Stay away from rally sites, most of which are in Bangkok. The anti-government groups’ rally sites are situated in areas surrounding Government House – at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue and Chamai Maruchet Bridge on Phitsanulok Road – and at Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road as well as at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue (a camping site). The pro-government group’s rally site is on Aksa Road in Bangkok’s western outskirts. There may also be other sites once you arrive and you should be mindful of where you wander.
- If you can change your plans to avoid staying in Bangkok, you may wish to consider this option. If you are travelling in and around Bangkok, especially to the airport, give yourself plenty of time, as there may be roadblocks or heavier traffic than normal.
- Check your travel insurance. Policies vary but most insurers will not cover delays, loss or injury as a result of actions undertaken as part of the military coup. If you decide to cancel your holiday, it is unlikely to be covered by your insurance
- Ask your travel agent what options are available to you should you wish to delay or cancel your travel plans. Some will allow changes or cancellation free of charge. Airlines are starting to offer no fees on changes for those who wish to change their flights.
- Register your trip details at Smartraveller.gov.au and continue to monitor the site for updates.
It’s worth noting that all flights, tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, transportation, etc. are operating normally, within curfew hours, but this may change.
If you do decide to take your trip, follow the instructions of local authorities, so if you’re advised to leave Bangkok, do so and exercise a high degree of caution when out and about.
Lastly, if your travel includes the destinations of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla, then the Australian Government has issued a ‘do not travel’ advice for these areas.
I hope you have a wonderful time and enjoy the truly lovely country which is Thailand.