Safe to travel?

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by tonykiwi, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Hi Guys

    Not intending on starting a political thread at all but am looking for hopefully some confirmation of what I believe. Thaivisa seems to be full of conflicting information and to be honest, I can't be bothered with all the politics (and opinionated twats) that often sit behind it.

    Mid May I come to Bangkok for four days then on to London. I come back to Bangkok at the beginning of June and don't even leave the airport before flying to Chiang Mai for the month of June.

    My wife flies into Bangok 20th june and stays one night at a hotel close ot the airport before flying to Chiang Mai to meet with me next day.

    First, is Bangkok still 'business as usual' on the proviso I stay out of the problem areas? I have a hotel booked in Sukhumvit close to Asoke.

    Second, is it still 'business as usual' for touring the North and North East?

    My feelings are that all will be well and that despite the clear problems in Bangkok, Thailand is still a safe and comofrtable place to come to. I am however seeing things a bit differently this time as my wife will be not only joining me in Chiang Mai but also staying at Bangkok for the one night. For obvious reasons I want her to be 100% safe

    Thanks

    T
     
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  3. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Hi Tony,

    Just back from our local Dawn Service.

    Obliviously I have only the same information to go on as you... I was in BKK for Songkran last year when the busses etc were burned, obviously much smaller scale than this time...

    There is no doubt that you are going to be impacted while in BKK... there are areas that you will want to go that will be taken over by one protest group or another... the traffic will be even worse than normal, because these are main roads that are being blocked...

    I think the main effect is going to be on the people... At songkran last year, most of the Thai's just stayed inside, or played a little outside their appartment... people didn't want to travel into BKK central because of the rolling road blocks and fear of being caught up in trouble... I guess it is also hard to celebrate when that is hanging over your head like a black cloud... So you can expect the Thai's to be a bit less happy than normal...

    I think the chances of actually being hurt or anything are miniscule unless you go near the protest sites... even last year where the sites were mobile the intent wasn't to hurt passers-by... and no group has indicated an intention to attach tourist hotels or tourists...

    I think the way you will most likely be affected is if there is another Military Coup... in which case, last time you were still free to move around most areas, but there were tanks in the streets and check-points... remember that the protestors are for the most part only lightly armed, so it will be a quick street battle and they will be gone... I think the real risk is Army forces using this as an excuse to stage a coup... if that happens the Airport might be shut for a day...

    In the end, it isn't going to be the same trip as it would be withoput the protest, but I don't think you will be in any danger... you need to decide whether the effect it will have on your enjoyment is reason to go via HK, Singapore or Dubai instead of BKK...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  4. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Thanks for that input. Your thoughts are appreciated.

    To be honest, if I had not got the dentist to attend in Bangkok I wouldn't have been going there anyway. I can't change now to another hub without major cost so will have to currently stick with the original plan. If things turn nasty I am fairly confident that I have the ability to avoid problems. If it does trun bad I can always take an Air Asia flight out of Bangkok as soon as i arrive, doesn't really matter where it is going, and spend three days there until I am due to leave Bkk for London.

    The problem for us looking form a distance is that to a large extent we only have the media to go by. When they start using words like civil war and bloodbath it conjours up an often inappropriate vision of the truth. hence my reason for askiong those on the ground in Thailand.

    I am really hoping that the North and North East rural areas are fairly unaffected cus that is where I will go for sure when I return from London. If it looks bad for my wife by the time she is coming out we can try to change her Auckland flight and she would miss out on Thailand altogether. There is always an answer.

    Cheers and thanks again
    T
     
  5. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Mate, no problems there, they are all being paid 500baht a day to be in Silom :hiding: :bolt:

    Daewoo
     
  6. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Tony-

    Here in Chiang Mai and the surrounding areas, it's "business as usual" as far as the locals are concerned. Well, maybe that is not the appropriate saying as tourist business is definitely down. As far as disturbances or your safety, there is nothing to fear at this time. There have been a couple of demonstrations at city hall, and a couple of other small incidents, but more for show than anything else.

    The North is Red Shirt country. Not much to protest against here as they are mostly of like minds and anyone taking the other side would be vastly outnumbered. Even the Prime Minister canceled his visit here earlier this year. Once you are outside the city and doing the usual trips I am quite sure you will not see any evidence of the problems occurring elsewhere.

    That said; the situation is pretty fluid currently so I would keep an eye the situation as you prepare to leave. In brief; come and enjoy yourself. :happy2:
     
  7. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Appreciated Dave

    Maybe we get the ride together this time.

    Cheers

    T
     
  8. dirthonk

    dirthonk Ol'Timer

    Tony, I have ust been down in bangers for 3 days and there were no issues for me either. Same old traffic and stink everywhere, I had no problems at the airport or once in Bangkok. That is the current situation anyway. So just keep an eye on the news to see if anything drastic has happened i.e a coup. But barring that you are very unlikely to come into any difficulties or trouble, just wear a neutral coloured shirt!
    Dont let the pathetic politicians of this country( or any country) ruin your holiday in this still fantastic country.
     
  9. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Thanks Luke

    appreciated

    T
     
  10. Steve Merchant

    Steve Merchant Active Member

    In the last few weeks I have been knocking around Chiang Mai province, going up to Tha Thon, Chiang Dao Mae Suai, etc. and seen absolutely nothing in terms of unrest, demonstration, etc, There is always a small chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time so be careful in Bangkok which really is where its all happening. Apart from the lack of tourists, in what anyway is a quiet time of year, you wouldn't know there was any unrest at all in C Mai. Just as civilized as it always is. I do wear a lot of black these days, and no red or yellow.
     
  11. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Hi Tony

    In the FAR north - I live in Chiang Rai - its so quiet you could hear a pin drop. No tourists, and certainly no Red Shirts marching on the streets! Those brave or stupid enough to wear a red shirt in public are being paid 1000+ baht a day to be in Bangkok... Here, in one of the so-called Red strongholds, there's growing resentment against the red shirts and the ongoing damage being done to the economy. I've not seen any public demonstrations - actually, the only overt Red shirt presence I've seen in the past month was the pickup truck at the central market last night, with a big photo of Mr T, very muted loudspeakers, and selling red t-shirts...

    Basically, safety in the north is not (and has not) been an issue... Avoiding the protest spots in Bangkok is certainly sensible, but life in the provinces goes on as usual. Hell, I was living in Soi Rangnam (Pratunam) when the last coup occurred. The bombs that went off at New Year 2006 were ALL within 2 city blocks of my apartment, and I never saw any tanks or troops anywhere except the MBK / Siam intersection! :)
     
  12. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    36 hours and i am on my way to Thailand.

    How are things in the north at the moment. I have four days in Bkk where I'll keep out of trouble but wondering about Chiang Mai and North. Any updates?
     
  13. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Nothing ever Changes anywhere Tony!!! Bad Media and Publicity depicts Thailand as a War Zone but it is confined to different Areas which are easily avoided!!! They were really Taking Action last Night so Hopefully it may well be finished soon and if We are Lucky things can return to normal So all the Wimpy, No Guts Tourists who were so easily Scared off can come back. I have been in Bangkok twice during the Low Life Red Siege and never saw anything different? Went to Khon Kaen Bike Party after others Backed out in Fear and again never saw anything and Had a Fantastic Time!!!
    If You believe the Media No One would ever Travel anywhere!!! Have a Great Trip!!! :happy2:
     
  14. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Thanks Ian

    I have four days in Bangkok next week but will stay away from the known trouble spots. 12 days in UK then up to CNX for the month. Really looking forward now :)

    I am sure to call in and see you

    cheers

    T
     
  15. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    The Sunday after the bike party in Khon Kaen, I saw the traffic was very heavy, and came across about 50 pick ups in a procession filled with Red Shirts, that were waving flags and banners. i was filled with with fear, totally unable to move as they opened their mouths for terrible boot shaking sounds of Isaan music to roar forth. Continuing this way through more than 4 km of Khon Kaen streets they paralysed the whole town, as everyone was trying to understand the message they put forth.
    Later someone explained it was a song about a poor girl who had been let down by her boyfriend who had left her pregnant and run away. She was hoping life would be kinder to her.
    Having left this message with the townsfolk, they moved on, leaving the town to go about its business.

    So yes life much as normal here.
     
  16. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Hi Guys

    Just about to check out of hotel for the airport after an 'interesting' time in Bangkok. On a personal note, I know there are other forums where you can get information from the locals on how things are (I am not too interested in news reports on TV or papers) but I put mopre credibility on peers reports through this site. I therefore hope David will forgive me for non motor cycle related tiopic, however it is relevant I think.

    I am due back June 2nd to will be looking for some information on the lay of the land in and around the North, not only for my own benefit but also because my wife is due to join me 20th June. I need to make some decisions as to whether to ahead for her, for both, or for me.

    I am guessing that if you avoid trouble spots all should be well but not being sure where those trouble spots are. Reposts say problems in and arund Chiang mai now although Thai Visa contributions seemt to indicate exageration.

    Anyway, I hope to keep to schedule and look forward to getting back next month. If I don't make it, it will have been a bloody long way to cart my helmet and safety gear around the world for nothing

    cheers

    T
     
  17. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Hi Tony,
    Hell Mate if this isn't finished in a Month there will be nothing to Come Back to!!! My Guess is it should be Pretty much over in the Following Week? I figure the Army and Police are Finally Getting Tough? They put up with the Red Shirts Sitting Down Town having a Party for a couple of Months While getting Paid, but all this Burning and Looting after it was supposed to be Finished has been the Last Straw!!! I heard last Night anyone caught Looting or setting Fires will face the Death Sentence!!! ( If they don't get Shot First ) That should slow them down? Probably go back to the Village for a While and Lay in their Hammocks drinking Lao Kao till someone Else decides to Finance another Peaceful Protest??? :take-that:
    See You in Chiang Mai.
     
  18. mikerust

    mikerust Ol'Timer

    After the "protesters " looted the 7-11 and the end of the soi yesterday, tried to set fire to and loot the ATM at Bangkok Bank and the curfew was announced, I had a great nights sleep.Soi very quiet and not even woken at 3.30-ish by the garbage truck.
    This morning I though Oh well no garbage pick up for a while but bless 'em they came around at 8.45. Same guys, same noise.

    As someone said "The dogs bark and the caravan moves on"

    To the OP. Plan to return and if you are concerned ask at the last minute, although you can erase the Town hall in Ubon from your sight seeing list. :roll:

    David, I'm starting to resemble my "revered old git" categorization could we be changed to Sage Rider or something :lol-sign: ?
     
  19. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    I happen to be in CM for a few days and last night was near the Nariwat bridge when the burning tyres or whatever they were had set fire to the tarmac. The bridge was closed, but took a small detour and got to the Kafe OK. Later they lit one burning tyre outside Starbucks at Tapae gate, but put out in a few minutes. I mention these because I saw them, some other places saw some action, which I did not see and will not report third hand. There is a curfew and people were not supposed to be on the streets after 8pm.
    This morning the bridge road surface being repaired, other things looked as normal, by the bridge 2 burned out fire trucks, presumable set on fire to stop the tarmac fire being extinguished. It appears that these people wanted to make a statement, damage certain property, but not intending to hurt people. They did their business, with little interference from authority, and dissapeared. Things seem to be much as normal around CM today, but again a curfew until Sunday am.
     
  20. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Thanks gents, just arrived at heathrow for the next twelve days in UK. Spoke to 'er indoors' who told me about the news reports on NZ TV referring to a declaration of civil war and government advising not to travel even for essential.

    i think the sensible thing is to take the advice of those there. My thoughts are to continue with the trip and not be deterred. It seems such a shame that the good people of thailand (guest houses etc) suffer because of this.

    I would appreciate this thread being kept updated for myself and probably others also interested.

    cheers guys, all is appreciaed
     
  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Come on over.
    Once you're on your bike & up country in the rural areas that you want to spend your time, you will more than likely not see any difference to how it was the last time you were here.
    FYI today I flew in from Hanoi - Bkk - Chiang Mai & did not see anything different passing through the airports.

    If you have to overnight in Bkk near the airport or don’t want to go into the city, then check these out

    http://www.greatresidencehotel.com/index.html

    http://www.thailand-limousine.com/index ... le&Ntype=6
     
  22. Craypot

    Craypot Ol'Timer

    Great hotel recommendation. I stayed at the airport Novotel a week ago and the rate was something like 6,000baht without breakfast. it was a ripoff.
     
  23. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Mike
    Sorry I missed you on the weekend. Love to catch up to you in August - September. Make sure you keep in touch.

    I stayed at the Great Residence with Meow on the way out to Hanoi & it was ok, but the taxi driver said the Valentine was better & much much closer - next time.
     

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