Tourism As Usual Amid the Political Protests in Bangkok
Published on Dec 19, 2013
When you see 30-second news clips on TV, where all the action from an entire day or two is condensed into a fraction of that time, it’s easy to be misled. All too often TV news is baby food spoon fed to the masses with little context or background.
Though many countries have issued travel warnings about the state of ongoing protests in Thailand the situation is very much tourism as usual. There has been little violence. No tourists have been injured. No essential services (flights, trains, buses) have been disrupted. And very few tourists have cancelled their trips.
For the time being, the big issue for visitors is sporadic traffic gridlocks in Bangkok from protest marches. Travelers wanting to visit some of the city’s most venerable attractions, like the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or backpackers staying around Khaosan Road, will find themselves in the thick of things. The area around the Democracy Monument has been squatted by several thousand protestors for weeks now.
Even here, at ground zero, there is no angry mob and the atmosphere is serene, except for the constant blowing of whistles and some rants from rabble-rousing politicians. Many travelers walk around the area with no hassles and no strife in sight. True to that spirit for turning any occasion into a party, musicians perform on the stages between political speeches and the crowd sings and claps along.
Outside of the capital, in the other major hotspots for sun-seekers, like Phuket and Koh Samui, or up in the “northern rose” of Chiang Mai, there have been few, if any, disturbances.
Now that an election has been called for February 2nd, it’s hoped that the protests will continue to simmer quietly on the backburner. Like any situation of political turmoil, there remains the possibility of volatility. Just keep an eye out, use your common sense, and make the most of your stay in the kingdom.