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Backpackers pack their bags and leave Bangkok in droves

Common sense seems to have prevailed amongst travellers and they have abandoned Bangkok in favour of other parts of Thailand and South East Asia.

This is very bad news for Thailand and the tourist industry which makes up such a large part of the economy in that country, but individual safety concerns have to supersede these concerns for now.

An uneasy calm seems to have descended on Thailand for now, but no one is denying that the problems which led to the recent unrest have not been solved, but rather brushed under the carpet and oppressed by the force of the Thai army.

While these political challenges remain unresolved we can expect to see sporadic protest and it would not surprise many if these occasionally turned violent.

We should also point out that the violence was not restricted to Bangkok but did spread to other parts of the country, most notably the popular northern city of Chiang Mai.

For now the FCO has changed its travel advice (25th May 2010) for Thailand and Bangkok (and Chiang Mai) in particular; it advises ‘against all but essential travel to Bangkok’, rather than the previous advice which was ‘against ALL travel to Bangkok’.

This may not be reassuring, but in effect it reflects that fact that the situation in Bangkok in particular has calmed down, but could easily flare up again at any time and without warning. This advice excludes transit through the airport which is deemed to be ‘safe’.

Travellers should also inform themselves of curfews which are still in place and vary in different areas of the country. If you find yourself in a curfew area, make sure you observe it; local police / army will not discriminate between locals and tourists and police / army in areas under curfew tend to be more on edge than normal; not a great combination in a country where all police carry guns.

For the latest advice from the FCO on Thailand, please Click Here.


To view the original article Click Here

Source – Independent on Sunday 

Date – 23rd May 2010