On may the 22nd of 2014 the Thai military staged a coup. This would be the 12th coup in the past few decades. More recently the Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej has officially given his backing to the army chief who is now in charge of the country.
So, what to do if you’re going to Thailand or are there now?
Well, just enjoy. Try to stay away from demonstrations. Even though they are not allowed they do still happen and as past demonstrations have shown, they can get violent. Respect the curfew which starts at midnight and lasts until 5am (some sources say 4am). So there won’t be much night life as all the shops, restaurants and bars that are usually open until late at night are closed.
For some tourists that’s a big down side, as many of them go to Thailand to party. However, for others it’s a plus. In 2013 more than 26 million people visited the country. In the first 4 months of 2013 that came down to 9.1 million visitors. In 2014 this number has dropped to 8.6 million in the first 4 months. The tourist industry is impacted and tuk tuk drivers that make about $100/day now struggle to make $30/day. Harsh as it sounds, that means that as a tourist you have some more bargaining power. Also, whereas there would be waiting lines and many people visiting tourist attractions, there aren’t any now. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, like the Grand Palace, are almost empty at certain times of the day.
Be very aware of the curfew if you need to get to the airports. The situation at the airports is said to be normal. The shuttle bus between Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang is running as normal. Passengers for international flights can get to the airport but should have their flight ticket and passport at the ready. Make sure you leave to the airport on time though. Due to the curfew the Airport Rail link, the Skytrain (BTS) and subway (MRT) to Suvarnabhumi close at 11pm!
Should you have questions or need to contact the embassy of your country, that is not a problem. All embassies are open and reachable at their respective opening times and addresses. Some embassies in the country can be followed on their Twitter accounts, like “BEinThailand” for example. That’s the Twitter account for the Belgian embassy in Thailand.
Oh and as a side note. If you had planned to go to the Tailor Swift concert in Thailand you’re out of luck. The concert has been cancelled due to the situation and recent developments.