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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Situation Update: Thailand Political Developments

Inline images 1
Image: Reuters
Issued at Bangkok at 18.00 (GMT+7) on 27 November 2013

For tourists visiting the kingdom, it should be stressed that all of the locations occupied by the anti-government protesters in Bangkok and other provinces are not tourist attractions. Foreigners and/or tourists have not been targeted in the ongoing political protest. However, foreigners and/or tourists are advised to be vigilant and avoid areas where crowds may gather.

Apart from causing heavy road traffic during the anti-government protesters' marches to government offices, there has been no report of chaos or violence en route or at in any of the protest locations.

In Bangkok, the anti-government protesters are staging their protests at the following locations, which are not tourist attractions:

Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue
Nang Lerng Junction on Nakhonsawan-Phitsanulok Roads
Sanam Luang on Ratchadamnoen Nai Avenue
Makkawan Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue
Ministry of Finance on Rama VI Road
Government Complex on Chaengwattana Road
Ministry of Information and Communication Technology
Ministry of Justice and its Department of Special Investigation

The anti-government protesters are also gathering at the following government agencies, which are not tourist attractions:

Ministry of Tourism and Sports on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue
Ministry of Transport on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on Ratchadanoen Nok Avenue
Ministry of Commerce on Nonthaburi Road
Ministry of Energy on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road
Ministry of Labour on Mitmaitri Road
Ministry of Industry on Rama VI Road
Ministry of Social Development and Human Security on Damrong Rak Road
Ministry of Culture on Borommaratchachonnani Road
Ministry of Public Health on Tivanond Road

Meanwhile, the pro-government supporters are staging their campaign at Rajamangala Stadium on Ramkhamhaeng Road. The area is in the eastern part of Bangkok and far off from the above areas occupied or targeted by the anti-government protesters.

Outside of Bangkok, the anti-government protesters are campaigning at provincial city halls of, such as, Trang, Songkhla, Satun, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chumphon, Yala, Ranong, Pattalung, Surat Thani, Phuket, Phang-nga and Chai Nat. Officials have confirmed that none of the provincial halls have been seized by the protesters. No chaos or violence has been reported.

All tourist attractions in Bangkok, such as, the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha on Na Phra Lan Road and Vimanmek Mansion on Rajvithi Road, Siam Paragon on Rama I Road, river tours along the Chao Phraya River, as well as elsewhere in Thailand, are open and operating as per normal. To avoid heavy road traffic in Bangkok, tourists can use water-based transport to visit the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Tourist activities in Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phang-nga and Krabi, for instance, are operating as per normal. These provinces' administration halls are located in official designated areas, and are not where tourists normally go to or where tour companies include in the tour programme.

However, tourists are advised to check travel route and road traffic situation as well as avoid areas where crowds may gather in Bangkok and other provinces. This is because there may be heavy road traffic at certain times and thus causing inconvenience.

In Bangkok, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) has temporarily rerouted 12 city bus routes to avoid getting stuck in the areas where large crowds gather. In addition, given the large number of protesters, roads around or within the vicinity of Democracy Monument, Government House and the Parliament may be temporarily closed to traffic.

International and domestic airlines are operating flights between Bangkok and Thai cities, as well as destinations around the world, as per normal.

Suvarnabhumi Airport has advised air travellers of possible heavy road traffic and a lack of taxis resulting from the protests in Bangkok. Commuters are advised to use public transport such as BTS Skytrain, Airport Rail Link, public buses and vans, and limousine services. Air travellers are also advised to allocate more time before flight depart or at least three hours.

Life in Bangkok and all other areas of Thailand continues as per normal. Tourist attractions and activities as well as businesses in Bangkok and other provinces are not affected, and continue as usual as seen in these THAI LIVE CAM streaming cameras that present a number of stunning preset views of Thailand's most famous and popular destinations including Chiang Mai, Ko Samui and Nong Khai.

Thailand's main gateway, Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Bangkok and all other international and domestic airports throughout the country are operating as per normal. Transportation to and from Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports into central Bangkok as well as into tourist destinations southeast and southwest of Bangkok; such as, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Samet and Ko Chang are operating as per normal. The State Railway of Thailand and the Transport Co., Ltd., (inter-provincial bus service) are operating as per normal.

Getting around Thailand

Bangkok, located 30 kilometres from Suvarnabhumi Airport or 30 minutes by car or 15 minutes by Airport Rail Link. Mass transit networks including BTS Skytrain, MRT Subway and city buses are operating as usual.
Chiang Mai, located 716 kilometres north of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport or 7 hours 44 minutes by car or 1 hour 10 minutes by air.
Phuket, located 865 kilometres south of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport or 9 hours 50 minutes by car or 1 hour 25 minutes by air.
Pattaya, located 120 kilometres southeast of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport or 1 hour 17 minutes by car.
Hua Hin, located 227.5 kilometres southwest of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport or 2 hours 40 minutes by car.
Ko Samui, located 804 kilometres southwest of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport or 10 hours 34 minutes by car and ferry or 1 hour 5 minutes by air.
Khon Kaen, located 458 kilometres northeast of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport or 5 hours by car or 55 minutes by air.
Nong Khai, located 630 kilometres northeast of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport or 7 hours 5 minutes by car.

Tourists need not be alarmed of the presence of security forces and checkpoints in Bangkok. Police are deployed to provide security in the city. Security has been stepped up to prevent ill-intentioned people from inciting violence. Traffic police are also stepping up efforts to ensure traffic flow in the city.

The Thai Government has announced the enforcement of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in all districts of Bangkok and Nonthaburi, Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan and Lat Lum Kaeo district of Pathum Thani until 31 December to maintain law and order.

The law does not prohibit nor obstruct peaceful demonstration held within the bounds of the law, but it enables security agencies - police, military and civilian - to effectively prevent and mitigate, as much as possible, undue disruption or impact on the safety of the general public.

Useful contact numbers:

Tourism Authority of Thailand Call Centre 1672

Thai Traffic Police Call Centre 1197

Thai Tourist Police Call Centre 1155

Bangkok Tourism Division Call Centre +66 (0) 2225 7612-4

Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (city bus service) Call Centre 1348

State Railway of Thailand Call Centre 1690

Transport Co., Ltd., (inter-provincial bus service) Call Centre 1490

Airports of Thailand Call Centre 1722

Thai Airways International (THAI) Call Centre  +66 (0) 2356 1111

Bangkok Airways Reservation Centre 1771

Nok Air Call Centre 1318

Thai AirAsia Call Centre  +66 (0) 2515 9999

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