Thailand travel in the current political climate

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:13 am

Greetings,

With a few members in Thailand and a few talking of going there over the next year or so, I thought it might be a good idea to start up a discussion on the subject of travel to, from and within Thailand... and in particular Bangkok, which seems like the hub for public protests.

Is it safe to travel? What should travellers be wary of? Could riots cause delays in travel? Is it easy to dodge the "hot spots" or is their location unpredictable?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14651
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby thornbush » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:16 am

Looks like it's getting grave...

The Malaysian Embassy in Sathorn Road, Bangkok, Thailand has issued a travel advisory to all Malaysians to cancel or avoid travelling there in view of current escalating tense conditions and Malaysians who are already in Thailand are advised to ensure and exercise caution. They are setting up a 24 hour operations room to help monitor the situation and advise Malaysians in Thailand.
(The Star, Nation, Monday 13th April, 2009, "Malaysians advised to stay away from Bangkok")
Links:
http://thestar.com.my/
http://www.kln.gov.my/perwakilan/bangkok

By the protective power of all the Buddhas, May order and well being of all in Thailand be restored.
By the protective power of all the Dhamma, May order and well being of all in Thailand be restored.
By the protective power of all the Sangha, May order and well being of all in Thailand be restored.
Sadhu!Sadhu!Sadhu!

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
thornbush
 
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:22 pm

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby appicchato » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:44 am

retrofuturist wrote:Is it safe to travel?

Yes...99% of the country is carrying on normally...
What should travellers be wary of?

Not much...
Could riots cause delays in travel?

99%...no...Bangkok slightly less, but still a non issue...
Is it easy to dodge the "hot spots" or is their location unpredictable?

Yes, and not really...

I realize these answers are short and simplistic, but life goes on as usual except for the few spots in the news...that's today...and the guano may yet hit the fan...although I can't really see the Thais fighting each other (civil war)...and if the army moves in, well, that's sop here anyway...

Be well...we're tryin'... :smile:
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby nathan » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:08 am

I've been monitoring the radio and online news via sources such as the Bangkok Post, etc.. Not a good day in Bangkok. Latest news is an escalating conflict involving rioters, molatov cocktails, exchange of automatic gunfire between soldiers and protesters in Bangkok which has sent 70 people to hospital at last count. Nuts, I thought I finally found the coolest hotel in the core. Quiet, clean, friendly, courteous, vegetarian, no TVs, rooftop garden and inexpensive to boot - a zen paradise. Well, we'll see. I'm all set to depart for Thailand on approx. the 22nd of April but it is a day to day thing as far as accessibility goes. So long as the protesters don't shut down the airport or the gov't shut down entry to the country (seems unlikely as they are doing everything in their power to restore the tourist trade) I am going to go ahead with my plans. I did consider perhaps choosing a different airport in another part of the country but demonstraters have been shutting down major highways in many provinces lately and there have been heavy traffic fatalities all over the place during Songkran which appears to be essentially one long drunken ordeal. It looks like hopefully the end of that festival will probably relieve the pressure overall.

Most people there are telling me it is business as usual which makes sense to me. Our newspapers and media here are no different, only bad news is headline news. Strangely things always seem to go off the rails when I head off to a monastery. First time I went 9/11 and the last time it was N Korea threatening to launch a nuke towards Japan. Maybe WW III if I ordain? What up with that?
:cookoo:

May cooler heads prevail.
metta & upekkha
:namaste:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby cooran » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:19 am

Hello all,

There are 5,000 Australian ex-patriates living in Thailand, and additionally, holiday-makers.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has issued the following Travel Advisory:

Thailand overall - High Degree of Caution needed
Bangkok and surrounding provinces (Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Nakon Pathom, Ayuthaya, Pratum Thani) - Reconsider your need to Travel
Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla - Do not Travel

Summary

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution because of the high threat of terrorist attack and because of political instability in Thailand.
Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
We continue to receive reports that terrorists may be planning attacks against a range of targets, including tourist areas and other places frequented by foreigners.
We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Bangkok and surrounding provinces (Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Nakon Pathom, Ayuthaya, Pratum Thani) due to ongoing civil unrest.
A State of Emergency was declared in Bangkok and surrounding provinces on 12 April 2009. The duration of the State of Emergency is not yet known.
The State of Emergency bans the gathering of more than five people. There have been violent clashes between security authorities and protesters. The military may become involved in enforcing the decree and further violence is possible.

If you are in Bangkok or surrounding provinces, you should avoid unnecessary travel around the city or province. If you are departing Bangkok by plane, you should allow extra time to reach the airport in case of traffic delays. Flights in and out of Bangkok have not been disrupted. Travellers should check with airlines and other travel providers on scheduled services.
You should avoid demonstration sites, political rallies, military deployments and concentrations of security personnel. You should also closely monitor developments and follow any instructions issued by local authorities. If you are in an area where demonstrators are gathering, you should leave the area immediately.
Disruption in the city and other parts of Thailand, including to transport and other infrastructure, could occur. Demonstrations can develop quickly and with little warning.

There is an ongoing border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia relating to land adjacent to the Khao Pra Viharn temple (Preah Vihear in Khmer). There were instances of fighting between Thai and Cambodian military troops in October 2008 resulting in some injuries and fatalities. Australians are urged to be particularly vigilant if travelling to these areas and to monitor local media.

We strongly advise you not to travel at this time to the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla or overland to and from the Malaysian border through these provinces due to high levels of ongoing violence in these regions, including terrorist attacks and bombings resulting in deaths and injuries on an almost daily basis. Since January 2004, more than 3300 people have reportedly been killed and many more injured, including a number of foreigners. If you are in these provinces, you should consider leaving.
http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/ ... e/Thailand

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7510
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby nathan » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:49 am

Yeah, our gov't sites here, in Canada, have been posting roughly the same stuff for at least a year now. They should post it about our cities as well.
:tongue:

Not to make light of anyone's suffering, it is real enough, but given that there are millions of Thais and only thousands of demonstraters it is more or less the same as a big party/protest most anywhere and you need to exercise at least as much caution most anywhere in the world these days. Beyond that you can still appreciate life and continue to apply your practices particularly the Brahmavihara practices, which I have become confident will see one through most of the worst kinds of crisis even if you are in the thick of it.
:anjali:
Last edited by nathan on Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby salmon » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:51 am

i reckon more people get killed because of songkran than the red shirt protests!

as long as you avoid the hotspots (which i expect most will since the hotspots are commercial areas and people here are going to the "forests") you should be fine.

be well. be safe. :)
~ swimming upstream is tough work! ~
User avatar
salmon
 
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:55 am

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby gavesako » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:58 pm

It is interesting to see the involvement of Buddhist monks on the political scene, similar to the 1970s when the Sangha became very politicized:

"Back at Red Shirt central, a pair of Buddhist monks calmly ate rice and curry, as angry protesters milled around them, brandishing photographs they said proved that soldiers had fired directly at the Red Shirts. "I came not to protest but to cheer up people who are fighting for justice," said Pramaha Chartree, from the Sotorn temple. Last summer, at nearly the very same place, other monks said almost the same thing — but in support of the Yellow Shirt crowds who had camped out in front of Government House. When even monks find their loyalties divided, there promises to be no easy karmic fix for this predominantly Buddhist kingdom."

http://bangkokpundit.blogspot.com/2009/ ... egins.html

If you find more evidence of this trend, you can post it here.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
User avatar
gavesako
 
Posts: 1378
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm
Location: England

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby SeerObserver » Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:57 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

With a few members in Thailand and a few talking of going there over the next year or so, I thought it might be a good idea to start up a discussion on the subject of travel to, from and within Thailand... and in particular Bangkok, which seems like the hub for public protests.

Is it safe to travel? What should travellers be wary of? Could riots cause delays in travel? Is it easy to dodge the "hot spots" or is their location unpredictable?

Metta,
Retro. :)

One suggestion would be to try and book a flight itinerary to land in Phuket or Chiang Mai. Both cities have their own respective international airports. It is the general impression that most (if not all) disruption in international travel and what not is based on Suvarnabhumi airport in BKK. Please mention any incidences that aren't as noted if an incorrect impression has been formed.
User avatar
SeerObserver
 
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:52 pm
Location: USA

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby salmon » Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:36 am

The protesters have surrendered. Should be safe to travel there now :thumbsup:
~ swimming upstream is tough work! ~
User avatar
salmon
 
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:55 am

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:27 pm

I have not been following Thai politics much. For those of you who have or have an opinion on the matter; which side is right, if any?

Isn't there democracy in Thailand? Or is there too much corruption to simply wait for a new election?
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8038
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby appicchato » Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:28 pm

Hi David,
TheDhamma wrote:...which side is right, if any?

Both, and neither...each has some good points, but at the same time seriously not good ones...
Isn't there democracy in Thailand? Or is there too much corruption to simply wait for a new election?

In theory, yes...and yes...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:55 am

Every spring, people get liverish and raise a ruckus. It generally dies down again when summer opens the heart.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby cooran » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:28 am

Most countries have a divide between city and rural. So does Thailand. The current demonstrators, mainly from the rural areas, have returned home away from Bangkok now the Songram holiday is over (apart from the extra holidays which the government allowed in order to clean up the mess). The previous demonstrations which ousted Thaksin, were mainly city based demonstrators. Most of the friends I have in Bangkok supported the previous demonstrators and were jubilant at the ousting of Thaksin. The current demonstrators (rural people) want him back. Most countries play a sport - Thailand has coups, preceded by demos. But they wear "Club" colours, wave signs and shout slogans - and a few destroy property and assault people - just the usual football louts.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7510
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:20 pm

Okay, thanks Bhante, Pink, Chris.

Yes, we have similar a divide between rural and urban in the U.S. too. In general, the rural is more conservative, Christian, and Republican and the urban areas are more liberal and progressive, but there are some exceptions.

But we don't go to violence or coups over these differences, okay, usually we don't anyway. :tongue:
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8038
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby nathan » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:57 am

We have strong democratic institutions in this country but the last time we had anything even mildly approaching this kind of revolutionary activity in this country our government instituted martial law almost overnight. I am quite certain they would do so again under these kinds of circumstances, to a widespread majority of approval, no doubt.
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:17 am

nathan wrote:We have strong democratic institutions in this country but the last time we had anything even mildly approaching this kind of revolutionary activity in this country our government instituted martial law almost overnight. I am quite certain they would do so again under these kinds of circumstances, to a widespread majority of approval, no doubt.
:anjali:


what country is that?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5741
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby appicchato » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:54 am

Manapa wrote:what country is that?

I believe he's referring to Canada...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby Lampang » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:49 am

Other than the obvious risk of getting between rioters and soldiers and thereby getting shot, there's nothing to worry about. It's all over now but when it starts up again - as it surely will - there's no danger to foreigners from either the red shirts or the yellow shirts (though the blues I wouldn't be too sure about). I was at the Paragon shopping centre on Saturday (the first and only time I've been there, I hasten to add) when the UDD turned up with their armoured personnel carriers. It was all surprisingly light-hearted and nothing like a riot in England (or, I imagine, the States). The reds have real grievances and one can only support their demands; the yellows (farcically named the People's Alliance for Democracy) propose the establishment of an appointed legislature and are really a fascist organisation, closely allied to elements of the military and the royal family. They have no interest in democracy and are utterly contemptuous of the rural and urban poor. But despite the chasm which separates the two sides, and the really hideous disparities in wealth and opportunities between the urban elite and the rural majority, the violence over Songkran was really an aberration. And if you look at it in terms of statistics, catching a tuk-tuk across Bangkok poses a far, far greater risk to your health than any number of riots.
User avatar
Lampang
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:26 pm
Location: Thailand

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby nathan » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:19 pm

Manapa wrote:
nathan wrote:We have strong democratic institutions in this country but the last time we had anything even mildly approaching this kind of revolutionary activity in this country our government instituted martial law almost overnight. I am quite certain they would do so again under these kinds of circumstances, to a widespread majority of approval, no doubt.
:anjali:


what country is that?
Yes, Canada.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_crisis

May all beings come to know true joy, kindness, compassion, peace, truth, wisdom and freedom.

None of which depends upon the governance of any given realm. A great deal can be learned by studying what someone like William Blake had to say about the foolish and the wise both as subjects and as rulers. He said something to the effect that "a fool suffers under the most benevolent ruler while the wise live in peace under the most cruel tyrant."
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Next

Return to Lounge

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests