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Thailand: Tourists in Danger?

Antigovernment protest organized by the “Red Shirts” in Bangkok is not over yet. Christian Lukey from www.sawadee.com, Thailand’s biggest travel website talks to us about tourists’ safety in Thailand.

Khao San Road - a tourist ghetto in Bangkok / Fot. Marek LenarcikThe embassies of many countries advised tourists to stay away from the protest areas which seems like a reasonable advice. Some of them, however, advised to cancel any unnecessary trips to Thailand. Would you agree with this advice?
To stay away from the protest areas makes total sense, even more so if carrying a video/photo camera. Tourists should not be encouraged to take politically motivated pictures. In general embassies have to be one step overprotective in order to ensure they are covered if anything major happens. As we saw in April last year year, the demonstration can turn a bit more violent, although it’s not the case now. The embassies, however, cannot ‘feel’ it when issuing travel warnings/advisories. I do not agree with the advice to avoid travel. Thailand is a large country with many access/departure points that are completely unaffected by the troubles. See Krabi, Phuket, Samui where business is as usual.

It seems like the political instability in Thailand became more visible in recent years, especially after the 2006 coup. As a long-term Thailand’s resident you must have been through a lot of similar protests and demonstrations like the one we are witnessing now. How do events like these affect daily lives of residents and tourists alike?
There have been a lot of changes, but no real demonstrations as we have seen with the yellow and then the red shirts. It seems fairly ‘new’ comparing to European countries to have ‘people on the streets’ in Thailand. Although the history of the past 20 years clearly indicates that the country is prone to fast changes in governments for the residents life goes on pretty much as if nothing happened. Sure, there may be disruptions due to the regime changes, but nothing really serious.

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