Demonstrations in Bangkok
August 30, 2008 11:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm flying to Bangkok tomorrow morning. What should I know about the current situation? I booked this months ago and am most definitely going, but I'd like to know what to expect.

From what I gather these demonstrations are generally peaceful. But there are anecdotal reports of violent clashes with riot police..

Are there tanks roaming the streets of Bangkok?

Do you think BKK will remain open?

posted by mrunderhill to Travel & Transportation around Thailand (6 answers total)
Check the biggest English-language newspaper in Thailand, The Nation and the International Herald Tribune's Asia page, which is usually pretty good since it's a collaborative work between a few different newspapers.

For a regional perspective not subject to Thai censorship regulations, try the South China Morning Post out of Hong Kong and the Straits Times out of Singapore. Even the Jakarta Post might have something.
posted by mdonley at 12:12 AM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks!
posted by mrunderhill at 12:23 AM on August 31, 2008

From your previous question I see you're headed to Singapore too. How are you getting there? Because at this time it appears the PAD have shut down the Phuket International Airport, as of my latest info.
posted by sharkfu at 12:38 AM on August 31, 2008

I fly into BKK on Thursday and I'm not too concerned. Though I have kept my eye on the situation.

From speaking to friends in Bangkok the demo's haven't troubled them, though they live away from where the main ongoing "sit in/out" is. Their local shops, food stalls etc. are still open as normal. The strike has stopped the (city to city, not the Skytrain or Subway) trains running.

There aren't any tanks/mobs roaming the streets.

I believe the King issued a message suggesting (ie. commanding) that the police should not disperse the demonstrators violently. Though I saw photos of some tear gas being fired, so that seems to have been translated into "not very violently".
posted by selton at 12:44 AM on August 31, 2008

I was slated to go on Wed, but the entire program I was going for has been canceled.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:28 AM on August 31, 2008

I just got back from Bangkok last night. There were no problems with Bangkok airport, only Phuket, Krabi and Had Yai. There has been some disruption to rail services as well (outside Bangkok). There was some talk of Thai Air staff going on strike, but as far as I know, that hasn't happened.

The demonstrations are more or less confined to the district where the government buildings are located. If you don't go near those, I doubt you would even know anything was happening. Things could change, but I'd say generally stay out of that area (Dusit). Previous coups and so on have been focussed in that area.

As my Thai friend said, in Thailand, "the unexpected is the expected". I can't say how this one will finish up, but it may happen in the next few days as the Prime Minister is still planning to go on an international trip. The military don't seem keen on getting involved, but their hand may end up being pushed as the police aren't having much luck.

Bangkok is very experienced at having coups and so on, even if something happens, I wouldn't expect a disruption to services for too long. Stay away from the government district, stay away from demonstrations and any gathering you see of police or military, do keep a small amount of cash (some baht and USD) in case of problems (some banks near the protests shut the other day for security reasons - my Thai colleagues also felt worried and pulled all their money out of the bank), keep up with the news.
posted by AnnaRat at 8:49 PM on August 31, 2008

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