During the recent protests in Thailand, a number of countries issued travel advisories warning against travel to Bangkok. Some embassies also advised against travel to other parts of Thailand. Most countries have now relaxed these advisories, but some tourists may still be wondering whether it is safe to visit Bangkok or other parts of Thailand at the moment.
The recent violence in Thailand occurred in a relatively small area of the Thai capital and it shouldn’t be forgotten that throughout the latest round of political turmoil, the majority of Thai people have gone about their normal daily business. The same is true for the majority of tourists who were unaffected by the violence in Bangkok. Nobody can second guess what will happen in the future, but it’s clear that the end of the latest round of protests does not signal an end to Thailand’s ongoing political problems.
Obviously, nobody can guarantee that any country is completely safe to visit. However, if you are thinking about changing your trip to Thailand it’s worth remembering that popular tourist spots such as Ko Samui, Phuket and Krabi have been totally unaffected by the recent problems in parts of Bangkok. In other areas of Thailand, the only direct affect of the violence in Bangkok was a night-time curfew that was briefly put in place as a precautionary measure. A few weeks on from the end of the anti-government protests, the usual traffic jams have returned in the Thai capital and most shops, banks and bars in and around the former protest zone are open for business. Some charred buildings will still need to be repaired or rebuilt, but life goes on in Bangkok as it does in the rest of Thailand.
At the moment it is tourist low-season in Thailand and the full impact on visitor confidence may not be revealed until the approach of high season towards the end of the year. When previous problems have occurred in Thailand, it has been European and Western visitors who have proved to be the most resilient. Thai tourist officials already appear confident that visitors from Australia, North America, Scandinavia, Ireland and the United Kingdom will continue to visit Thailand. The biggest challenge for the Thai tourist industry is likely to be in restoring confidence to the important Asian market. In the past, the tsunami, SARS and bird flu have all impacted significantly on visitor numbers from China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. These same countries have also been the most sensitive to the various political protests that have taken place in Thailand at regular intervals since the military coup in 2006.