Last night, on the evening of 7th April 2010, the Prime Minister of Thailand declared a State of Emergency for Bangkok and certain districts in surrounding provinces. Although this in itself may sound scary, it in no way means that Bangkok has suddenly become dangerous. Life goes on as normal for most people. The fact of the matter is that the State of Emergency does not affect ordinary people or even foreign tourists. We do not have martial law. We do not have tanks on the streets. There is no night time curfew. People are still going to the malls, watching movies and relaxing in night clubs. Basically life is going on as normal. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful and I urge you to keep a close eye on the news. At the moment it isn’t a good idea for you to visit any of the red shirt rally sites. In fact, Bangkok is a big place and some tourists that I spoke to said they hadn’t even come across any of the protesters yet.
URGENT UPDATE: Yes, Bangkok is now Dangerous after crackdown from army left at least 15 dead. See www.ThailandVoice.com for latest blogs.
Bangkok Dangerous Map of Rally Sites and Blocked Roads
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For tourists visiting Thailand, it should be stressed that foreigners have not been targeted in the on-going political conflict. However, foreigners are advised to be vigilant, and avoid areas where crowds may gather. Travel to all other parts of the kingdom has not been affected. Tourism activities in all other areas continue as normal. Both city airports (Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang) are operating as normal. All other international and domestic airports in Thailand remain fully operational. Spas, golf courses, fitness and recreational centres, and other tourism attractions in all other areas of Bangkok and in key destinations around Thailand are not at all affected and remain open for business. Temple and palace tours around Rattanakosin Island (Koh Rattanakosin) – the site of the ancient capital and historic heart of Bangkok – have not been in anyway affected by the UDD/’Red Shirt’ protests.
The Red Shirt political activities are limited to the following demonstration sites in Bangkok at:
- Ratchadamnoen Avenue (Panfah bridge)
- Makkawan Rangsan Bridge near Government House
- Ratchaprasong intersection
For security reasons, the following department stores and shopping malls around Ratchaprasong intersection and Siam Square remain closed today – CentralWorld, Zen, Big C Rajdamri Superstore, Gaysorn Plaza, Amarin Plaza, Siam Center & Siam Discovery Center and Siam Paragon.
DEPARTMENT STORES, SHOPPING MALLS AND WEEKEND MARKETS IN ALL OTHER AREAS OF BANGKOK ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS AS USUAL.
Central Chidlom, Central Silom Complex and all other branches of Central Department Store, MBK Shopping Centre or Mah Boon Krong on Rama I Road, Platinum Fashion Mall in Pratunam, Erawan Bangkok, Peninsula Plaza on Rajdamri Road, Emporium Department Store and Shopping Complex (Sukhumvit 24), and all branches of Robinson Department Store, The Mall Department Store and other shopping centres and malls, as well as weekend markets, in all other areas of Bangkok, including Yawarat (Bangkok’s Chinatown), are also open for business as usual.
To avoid traffic congestion, it is best to travel by BTS Skytrain or the MRT (Bangkok Subway).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ 24-hour operation centre provides foreigners with further information. Please call +662-575-1023, +662-981-7225, +66-88-022-1540 or +66-88-022-1541.
TAT recommends that foreign tourists and visitors to Thailand call the 24-hour Tourist Police Hotline — 1155 — for the latest updates on traffic conditions and roads to avoid.
The TAT Hotline and Call Centre — 1672 — operates from 08.30 – 20.00 hrs [8.30 am to 8.00 pm] daily. TAT recommends that foreign tourists and visitors to Thailand call 1672 for tourist assistance. In the event that further coordination or facilitation is needed, they will be directed to the nearest TAT Tourist Information Centre.
(Information supplied by Tourism Authority of Thailand. Pictures by Getty Images and AP)