Thailand Now Under Military Control: How Safe Are You Traveling To or From Thailand?

How will the military coup affect life in Bangkok? Photograph by FlyerTalk member JVPhoto. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by JVPhoto.

Due to a coup which occurred yesterday, Thailand is now under the control of Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is the general and chief of its military. Martial law has reportedly been established — complete with a nightly curfew from 10:00 in the evening until 5:00 in the morning until further notice, from which travel to the airport is supposedly exempt — and the constitution of Thailand has supposedly been thrown out…
…but what does that mean for you in terms of safety when traveling?
Well — considering that there has been deadly violence reported in Thailand in the months leading up to the coup — you are probably no more in danger now than earlier this year or since December of 2013 and may even be safer today than yesterday
…but let us learn from what FlyerTalk members have reported:
“I was just now watching CNN in the hotel, and the screen went to some Thai writing and chanting songs”, imparted FlyerTalk member Paella747, who seemed excited about experiencing a coup for the first time. “So I turned to BBC, and a few minutes later the same thing happened to that channel…. Knocking out all the channels? Wow….”
Apparently television channels may have already been restored.
Much of the unrest is apparently concentrated in Bangkok, according to FlyerTalk member travelisfree, who is currently staying at the Millennium Resort Patong Phuket. “In regards to the civil unrest… Obviously since I was told to stay in after 10pm, I went out at 11pm. It barely looks any different. I think things shut down early, but not everything. Plus, it’ll wash over… I hope. But no protests, no military.”
Schools are closed but all of the major airports are apparently open and operating as normal.
If you are traveling with a group, be aware that no gathering of five or more people can take place anywhere in Thailand; and that a violation of this order could result in no less than one year in prison.
“We flew into bkk last night around 1130”, posted FlyerTalk member travelinterpreters. “Found out about the coup and curfew when we landed and they made an announcement on the plane. We made it to our riverside hotel in record time. Our cabbie didn’t seemed too phased by everything. ANA gave us a paper as we exited the plane as proof that we just arrived into the county… I guess we were supposed to show it if we were stopped. There was a military ‘checkpoint’ about 10 mins outside of the airport, we just slowed down by kept driving right on through. It was was really odd to see the streets so empty! About the only cars we saw were other taxis, and big trucks.”
Rather than offer a recommendation, please allow me to say this: although I have no trips there scheduled at this time, I would have no qualms visiting Thailand. Bangkok is arguable the most volatile and “dangerous” — for lack of a better word — part of Thailand where your travel plans could be most affected; and even then I would have no hesitation about visiting there as well. “We have plans for six separate visitors to stay with us in Bangkok over the next month, along with trips to Chiang Mai and Phuket”, posted FlyerTalk member ThaiThai, who is based in Bangkok. The situation here is stable for now, and we do not plan to make any changes to our visitors’ travel unless things drastically spiral out of control. While nobody knows what the future will bring, I do not feel unsafe or in danger. Thailand is a beautiful country with such hospitable people – it would be a shame to miss out.”
Indeed it would.
If you do decide to travel to Thailand — especially Bangkok — keep yourself aware of the current events which are occurring daily. Be mindful of disruptions in your travels — such as delays or cancellations of bus or train service, for example. Realize that certain places, attractions and businesses may open late or close early — or perhaps not be opened at all until further notice.
In other words: take appropriate precautions — as you would no matter where you travel.

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