With political turmoil in Bangkok still going strong, and three more people killed last night after a drive-by shooting and grenade attack at a PDRC anti-government camp in Bangkok, more than 50 countries are advising against travel to Thailand, or cautioning against it, under certain conditions.
Travel alerts for Thailand in May, 2014, are still going strong — almost six months after some of them were first issued – and, as anti-government protests continue, more countries are adding Thailand to their lists of countries they recommend you avoid or think carefully about visiting.
Russia, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in their travel alerts for Thailand have recommended their citizens avoid travel to Thailand completely or, if they do decide to travel to the kingdom, to avoid staying in Bangkok and go elsewhere instead.
United States officials, as well as those from the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Canada have also issued travel alerts for Thailand warning their nationals to think carefully about visiting the country, due to political turmoil and the very real threat of the violence escalating.
Some have even warned, if the current political protests continue and the violence does escalate, Thailand could quickly see a descent into civil war — something nobody wants to happen.
The Security Message for US Citizens from the American embassy in Bangkok says this about visits to the city:
Although violence is not expected, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Thailand enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Meanwhile, if you are planning a trip to Thailand in May, 2014 or later, should you visit or should you avoid the country entirely and go somewhere else?
Honestly, as much as I love Thailand and think every tourist should experience this fabulous country at least once, I’d recommend either avoiding unnecessary trips to Thailand at the moment, and maybe choosing a neighboring, more stable country, instead. At least until the political situation becomes more stable.
Or, if you do decide to take a chance, avoid a prolonged stay in Bangkok and head to places like Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hua Hin and Koh Samu instead. All places where it’s not likely the political problems would reach. At least for the near future.
No, it’s not remotely dangerous in most areas of Bangkok at the moment, but with the political situation being so volatile and attacks on protesters occurring at an alarming rate (there have been almost 30 deaths in the last few months), that could change quickly.
And, sure organizations like the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) and certain Thai governmental bodies are still insisting Thailand is perfectly safe. But with constantly falling tourist arrival numbers since anti-government protests began in October, what else would you expect?