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Help a Traveller » Thailand

Is Bangkok safe for tourists despite the martial law?

So we're leaving for our trek across southeast Asia this Friday. Our last 7 days are scheduled in Thailand, with 3 of them in Bangkok, and the rest in Phuket. Considering the news, do you think we should bypass Bangkok and head straight to Phuket or should we avoid Thailand entirely right now? We thought we'd ask an experienced traveler. Thanks! - Angelica (Guest)

bangkok martial law tourist safety preview
I am living in Chiang Mai right now and can tell you with certainty that the martial law is not as big a deal as the international media makes it out to be. Throughout Thailand and especially in Bangkok, the streets are safer and the traffic flow is MUCH better. I hope they don't impose curfews, though, or you guys won't get to enjoy Bangkok nightlife. You know, sitting on the sidewalk swigging Chang beer :)

That said, do take note that the anti-government protesters are going ahead with their rally this weekend, despite the military's instructions. They plan to stage the rally from May 23 to May 25 on Sukhumwit Road -- so it's best not to stay in any of the hotels in the area. On Monday (May 26), they plan to gather a million people on Sanam Luang next to the Grand Palace. I don't know whether their plans will push through but it's best to avoid those areas.

Bohlin
ASIA HOPPING RECOMMENDATION

Going to Bangkok? Stay Safe in These Hotels:


The Mayfair Suites is located away from martial law-affected areas. Rooms start at just $50.

Avoid hotels in the Sukhumvit area and stay in these low-key bed and breakfasts.

I wouldn't worry about the martial law. I don't think it will affect tourist safety in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or the rest of Thailand. I was searching for information on this a while ago and saw pictures of tourists taking selfies with tanks and soldiers! I also emailed a Thai contact and she assured me that everything is normal.

I agree with Rina. There seems to be no threat to tourist safety despite the martial law. I myself am planning a trip to Thailand in June and started going to different forums and reading news articles about this, and so far all I've seen are happy tourists taking selfies with the military. Gotta love Bangkok!


Sebastian F.
I emailed a British friend of mine who currently lives in Bangkok, and this was his reply when I asked about tourist safety issues now that Thailand has declared martial law:

"It's overblown in the media. It's safer now that the protest groups are contained. They can get a selfie with a tank!"

Hello! I'm currently in Bangkok, staying in the backpacker district (Khao San). You're unlikely to notice a difference. Beer continues to flow as usual and the pad thai lady is still serving up her usual plates of heavenly noodles. Tuk-tuk drivers are competing for tourist business, as usual. Nothing much has changed.

Walking around yesterday, we did see a few armed soldiers guarding buildings, plus some checkpoints near trouble spots. Use your common sense. Avoid the trouble spots and you'll be fine. Here's a map you can look at. Stay away from the red zones:


View Protest Sites in Bangkok in May 2014 in a larger map

Agdis G.
Curfew Implemented

It looks like things have taken a turn for the worse.  A nationwide curfew is now in place -- you can't be out on the streets between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Bohlin
The curfew does not apply to those traveling from and to the airport. Because of the martial law, there are check points everywhere in the city, so you need to have your airline ticket and passport plus other relevant travel documents with you.

The Thai army maintains that it will l ensure the safety of tourists / foreigners, but is advising everyone not to take part in any public gathering. IMPORTANT: No more than five (5) people are allowed to gather in public places (including Khao San). If you’re traveling as a group of 6 or more, you might raise a red flag.

For Canadians:

If you're going to Thailand, you are required to register with the Canadian embassy in Bangkok or online: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration


Agdis G.
Hi again. Here are some updates. The main protest sites in Bangkok are at Ratchadamnoen and the Chaeng Watthana government complex. Stay away from those areas. The UK government has advised against non-essential travel to certain provinces, including Pattani, Narathiwat, Songkhla, and Yala, as well as the Thailand - Malaysia border and the Thailand - Cambodia border.

Bohlin
Do note that under martial law, most travel insurance is invalid and travelling in Thailand without it can be risky.

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