The ongoing unstable situation in Bangkok has prompted many governments to caution their citizens to be careful while visiting Thailand. The situation was caused by the elections held in Bangkok. The opposition party is boycotting them and the antigovernment protests sponsored by it have turned violent on several occasions. The current Prime Minister Yingluck Shiawatra is expected to return to power.
The tourist alert has been in place since the 22 January when the Thai government declared a state of emergency. The decree is in effect for a period of 60 days. It had caused widespread interference with the road traffic in the affected areas and caused street riots in other parts of the city. The emergency state empowers the government to declare certain areas off-limit, impose curfew, detain suspects without legal formalities and censor the media.
Caution is Advised
The elections were scheduled for 2 February and several alerts were issued for the tourists present in the city, by the Thai government along with the government of other countries. Although the city is deemed safe for the tourists the tourism authorities of Thailand has requested them to stay away from protest sites to ensure safety. The previous protests were marked by spurts of violence including attacks with weapons, sporadic gunshots and even explosions. The incidents were reported during the day and the nighttime.
The major issues faced by the tourists include restricted mobility. Six of the major intersections in the city are closed off due to regular marches and protests. Tourist areas like Asok, Ratchprasong and Silom are among the affected areas. Major hotels like Intercontinental Bangkok, Grand Hyatt Erawan and Four Seasons Bangkok are all located in these areas.
The local government expected protests at polling stations and requested tourists in the city to avoid certain localities including rallies, protests, demonstrations and marches of political nature. In case of any doubts, the tourists are requested to stay indoors in case of street movements. The tourists were asked to keep in touch with the current situation through social networking sites and local news channels.
The tourism authorities in Thailand have stated that the problem is affecting only the central part of Bangkok. The other parts of the city and the rest of the country are exactly as before. The main tourist attractions like the Temple of Dawn, The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha are all open for tourists. Still… the city and nearby provinces of Samut Rakaran, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi are not exactly tourist friendly.