Bangkok update - 'business as usual'

Bangkok update - 'business as usual'

The Thai military has formally seized power in the country, introducing martial law and imposing a curfew across the nation. Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., a nationwide curfew is in place that will apply to both locals and tourists. There will, however, be an exception for tourists who are flying into or out of the country after 10 p.m., according to a military spokesperson. Air passengers in Bangkok whose flights leave from Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports have been advised to leave at least four hours’ journey time in order to reach the airports before their departure. The Thailand Tourism Authority stated: “The army are sending soldiers and vehicles to escort protestors away from rally sites to end the protests. During this time, we advise tourists currently visiting Bangkok to avoid areas where rally sites are situated as there will be large crowds.” The Australian government has advised travellers to carry their passport and flight tickets with them when travelling to and from the airport, and to monitor the media for information on restrictions and possible disruption. Tourists were urged to exercise a high degree of caution in Thailand in general.

On 23 May, Euro-Center, a global assistance company, issued the following statement: "On day two of the Thai army taking over the government governance in Thailand, business and daily life is as usual in Bangkok and elsewhere in the country. There has been some information regarding isolated incidents of gun-shots being fired over night at a protest site in Bangkok, but with no official or verified reports of casualties or injured. The present authorities has assured safety and protection for all including foreigners in Thailand. However, curfew restriction from 10 PM to 5 AM are still in effect. This in turn has implications such as that shopping centers are closing earlier in the evening and public transport operating hours are adjusted to the curfew periods. Today the BTS (Sky train) and MRT (subway) announced service hours between 6 AM to 9 PM. For up to date information please follow respective transport companies official information channels, including web-sites or social media regularly. All airports in Thailand, including the two airports in Bangkok, are  functioning as normal. Authorities has informed that the curfew will not be applied to anyone travelling to and from airports, but all travellers need to have their passport at hand and tickets printed out. TV broadcasts and other media outlets has been restricted and transmissions have been replaced by military media channels. There is a possible risk that these restrictions could  be extended to affect the Internet including social media channels. Please also be reminded to always carry your passport with you at all times. This is extra important during a martial law situation with curfew restrictions. Follow official media channels, embassy websites, local media very closely, as the situation could develop with little or no notice. Euro-Center Thailand office are still continuing their service with contingency plans in place without disruptions from Bangkok. Please also allow plenty of extra time when travelling to from and around Bangkok, and keep yourself informed and updated via your tour or travel agent, air-line and transport company."

The following sites were listed as ones to avoid: Government House at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Avenue; Chamai Marichet Bridge on Phitsanulok Road; Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road; Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue; and Aksa Road. So far, no governments have warned against travel to Bangkok in particular, or Thailand in general. The ITIJ website will be updated as the situation develops.

The UK Foreign Office said the Chief of the Royal Thai Army has assured the safety of all foreigners. "A number of media outlets have been taken off air and there is a risk that this could extend to the Internet. The military media channels are continuing to broadcast. As the situation is evolving you should monitor local news and social media for developments," it said. "There is a risk of a violent reaction to the army's announcement. We recommend that you exercise extreme caution and remain alert to the situation. If you're in any doubt about your safety, stay in your accommodation." UK tour operators have been busy contacting clients in resort to advise them of the curfew measures being put into place.

business and daily life is as usual in Bangkok and elsewhere in the country