Thailand – evening curfew lifted nationwide

After having lifted the evening curfew in several places, as of today it has been lifted nationwide. Which is good news for tourists in general.

Party tourists though already got an earlier break as Phuket, Ko Samui, Pattaya, Hua Hin district, Cha-am district, Krabi province, Phang Nga province, Hat Yai district, Ko Chang and Ko Phangan (including neighbouring island Ko Tao) had the curfew lifted on the 9th. This was done to lower the impact on tourism.

For some more details involving the governmental side of things, check the Bangkok Post.

The beach bars will be full of people and drinks again instead of empty like this

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Thailand – man arrested for wearing “Peace please” t-shirt

They’re not kidding about the demonstrations in Thailand. Today in Bangkok a man has been arrested for wearing a t-shirt with the writing “Peace please” on it. This qualified as critiquing the current situation and the military coup.

The man has been living in Thailand for several years, so he was well aware of the situation and current laws. It is not clear if he was actively involved in a protest, though some sources seem to suggest he may have bean part of a small group of protesters. He may face up to 2 years in prison.

My advice to everyone who goes to a non-European country is to respect the laws, any and all of them. You can get away with certain things in Europe, but don’t expect the same kind of leniency in other countries.

The video below shows the man being arrested and taken away in a police car.

UPDATE: He was held for only a short time and so has already been released. It was to be expected that he wouldn’t be held long as the entire military coup is already under scrutiny and the attention of the world. Holding a foreigner for this reason would have put the current military government in a very unfavorable light.

UPDATE 2: The person in question has kindly and politely contacted me and requested the removal of his identifiable information. Which is his right to do. I have chosen to comply with the request since this article was written to make travelers aware of how things can work in other countries. It was not written to target the person in question or paint this person in any sort of negative light. This article does not imply that the person in question was not respecting the local law. I only want to point out that in certain countries it will be good to be aware of local laws (written and unwritten ones) and to respect them as it could get you into trouble if you as a traveler don’t do so and assume you can get away with it because you’re a foreigner or so.

Thailand military coup and tourism

Protests in Bangkok

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.

Koh Samet – Thailand

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Island hopping in Thailand is easy because of, well, the many islands. Each island is just a bit different, and some are quite different. Especially in atmosphere. Some are more party oriented, others are great to just relax on. But on most of them you can have a delicious dinner on the beach, just a few meters away from the water.

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Ayutthaya – Thailand

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The quiet town Ayutthaya is the place where you can see the famous “head in tree”. Many Buddha statues you find in the ruines are missing their arms and legs. This large head which was once on a statue had been placed against a tree. Over the years the roots simply grew around it.

Ayutthaya isn’t that big and the streets are divided up into blocks. So you can easily discover Ayutthaya by bike, which you can rent pretty much anywhere.

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