Is it safe to travel to Bangkok now?
Political unrest and terrorist activities in Thailand have left some holidaymakers asking, is it safe to travel to Bangkok now? Foreign Office advice details the danger areas in the country, particularly near the Cambodian and Malaysian borders, and urges visitors to the capital to be wary of potential trouble spots.
Uwe Schwarzback Flick.com Uwe Schwarzback Flick.com
Trouble in paradise
Over 800,000 Britons visit Thailand annually, many of them combining beach holidays with a visit to the bustling capital Bangkok. With political upheaval throughout Thailand, and terrorist activities in some areas, there are understandable doubts about whether it is safe to travel to Bangkok.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have identified the most dangerous areas as the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla on the Malaysian border, with some concerns that terrorists might target western visitors.
In Bangkok itself, political demonstrations have resulted in outbreaks of violence. The protests have focused on Lumpini Park, with demonstrations at Ratchadamnoen and government offices at Chaeng Watthana. There have also been bomb attacks in the city.
Tourists are advised to avoid all protest sites and demonstrations and to monitor local news for the latest information of any unrest. Bangkok is a substantial city and large areas are untouched by the troubles.
One major consideration is the disruption to the traffic caused by the demonstrations. For this reason it makes sense to use the BTS transit system to get around, and to choose accommodation options within easy reach of the BTS. This also allows you to avoid one of Bangkok's perennial dangers: road traffic.
What's the latest?
Although it is safe to travel to Bangkok now if you take sensible precautions, the violence and unrest could escalate. Before travelling, keep a close eye on the latest news from the city and follow any updates or advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about potential dangers to western tourists.