Thailand Coup: Travel Advice

[Government Travel Advisories]

The recent declaration of a coup and subsequent take over by Thailand’s military has not surprisingly triggered an array of travel advice, advisories and commentary on the general health, safety, security and risk posed to travellers. The problem for travellers is, which one is the most accurate or relevant?

 

U.S Department of State

Thailand Travel Advice/Thailand Travel Alert

LAST UPDATED: MAY 23, 2014

The U.S. Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens reconsider any non-essential travel to Thailand, particularly Bangkok, due to ongoing political and social unrest and restrictions on internal movements, including an indefinite nighttime curfew throughout Thailand. The Department of State has advised official U.S. government travelers to defer all non-essential travel to Thailand until further notice.  This Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert issued on May 16, 2014, and will expire on August 21, 2014.

Source

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Thailand Travel Advice/Thailand Travel Alert

LAST UPDATED: MAY 28, 2014

On 22 May the Chief of the Royal Thai Army announced that the military had taken control of government. Martial law is in place and provides an enabling framework for the Royal Thai Army to take action it deems necessary to enforce law and order. Instructions can change rapidly. As a result there is an increased number of Thai soldiers in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces. You should allow extra time for journeys, including to Bangkok airports.

AA nationwide curfew has been announced from 10pm to 5am. Authorities have advised that the curfew will not apply to those travelling to or from airports, but departing or arriving travellers should have their passports and tickets with them.

An official information desk is available at Bangkok International Airport. You should continue to monitor the media for information and any updates.

Before travelling to Thailand check with your insurance provider that they will continue to cover for claims arising from the current situation. Some travel insurance policies exclude cover during a coup and your insurance may be invalid.

Source

Government of Canada

Thailand Travel Advice/Thailand Travel Alert

 

LAST UPDATED: MAY 28, 2014

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.

Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times. Carefully plan your movements throughout Bangkok, allowing for extra commuting time (including to the airport) and identify alternate routes in case of blockages. Avoid military installations and concentrations of security personnel. Follow the advice of local authorities and remain informed of current events by monitoring local media.

Source

Australian Government [DFAT]

Thailand Travel Advice/Thailand Travel Alert

 

LAST UPDATED: MAY 28, 2014

Exercise a High Degree of Caution

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Thailand due to the possibility of civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack, including in Bangkok and Phuket. The security situation remains volatile. You should pay close attention to your personal security at all times and where possible monitor the local media, including social media, for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • On 22 May, the military announced that it had taken control of the administration of the country. Martial law continues to be imposed and a nationwide curfew is in place between 2200 hrs and 0500 hrs until further notice. Authorities have advised that the curfew will not apply if travelling to or from an airport. Travellers should have passports and tickets with them when travelling to and from the airport. Travellers should be prepared to show their travel documents on demand.
  • Domestic and international flights are operating normally, though travellers should leave extra time to travel to and from airports. In Bangkok, some public transport services are ceasing daily services earlier than normal.
  • Since the military coup there have been a number of anti-coup demonstrations in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand, including in areas frequented by tourists. The military has arrested some participants for failing to comply with orders to cease protest activity. These confrontations are potentially volatile. Australians should stay well clear of all demonstrations, political events, ralies and processions and large-scale public gatherings as they may turn violent.

Source

 

Summary

Thailand Travel Advice/Thailand Travel Alert

The best that travellers can take from these collective advisories are:

  • Americans: Don’t go unless really, really important until 21 Aug
  • Brits: There’s been a coup, watch the news, allow more time for travel and check with your insurance provider
  • Canadians: Your call, but if it turns bad you pay for us to get you out. Watch the news.
  • Australians: “High degree of caution” but still go. Personal security, and other buzz phrases that provide no real advice is all we are saying at present.

 

Advice

Thailand Travel Advice/Thailand Travel Alert

Government travel advisories are for mums, dads, families and backpackers for the most part and have limited to no relevance to business travellers.

Intelligent Travel’s Thailand Travel Advice is:

Leisure travellers, check with your travel agent/airline operator/hotel as bookings and travel logistics may have been affected by the military takeover. Confirm with your insurance provider [yes, you should have travel insurance] that you are covered for this specific journey, to this specific destination at this specific time. You might find they follow the government advisories too and if you’re American, the government said don’t go so you might not be insured. Identify where exactly it is you are going to and if not right at or near where there are protests, military checkpoints or a history of demonstrations, you are most likely to have exactly the same kind of trip, with the usual health, safety, security and risk issues as before the coup. Access to some services, including routine and emergency medical provisions will be affected though, this will increase the risk while curfews and restrictions are in place. If you are a first time traveller to Bangkok, don’t go for the time being, mainly because there will be far less leisure activities for you to do while there and you won’t have the holiday you planned but also because if you don’t know your way around and how to respond in the event of an incident, you are the MOST at risk group at this time.

 

Business travellers, your company has an obligation to consider the situation, you the traveller, the situation as it pertains to your travel, the risks it poses to you and the mitigation/management processes you have in place for travel to Thailand and the specific city/location you are travelling to. You have an obligation to raise it and review the situation in light of recent changes. With that said, consider your personal experience with Bangkok, your current health status, preparations, updated knowledge, where you will be going in the city, what you will be doing and how long you will be there. Now add that to the current situation and what you company has in place for you before, during and in the event of change. If, after all those points have been reviewed, documented and both you and your company are comfortable with the residual risk, then go. Make sure you are more aware to change and the need to respond than usual though and don’t do anything not essential while there, for now. If during this process you find you or your company are not prepared, updated, ready or comfortable with the risk and reward, wait and delay your trip for another time when you are prepared or this has passed.


Travel Safety Experts
Travel Safety Experts

Travel health, safety, security and risk management experts