How are things in Thailand?
September 28, 2014 7:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering a trip to Thailand in January. If you're currently living in Thailand or have visited recently, can you give me a sense of the political climate now?

Can't seem to get a read on how the coup has impacted day-to-day life. Are things stable? Does the military presence feel oppressive? Should I be concerned at all about visiting? I am a woman traveling solo, fairly experienced traveler but this would be my first time visiting Southeast Asia.

(Bonus points for suggesting things to visit if I go!)
posted by Mender to Travel & Transportation around Thailand (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm an adventure travel operator who operates in Southeast Asia. It's fine. Has been for months.
posted by HeyAllie at 7:58 PM on September 28, 2014

I was just in Bangkok and Penang in August. No indication at all that there was any kind of civil unrest, although a traveler likely wouldn't see anything if they stuck to the tourist areas. In Bangkok for Queen Sikrit's birthday, I didn't observe extra police or military, even for that event - the cities at least, seemed very stable and calm. I also expected the nightly curfew to be enforced, and didn't see that either.
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 8:05 PM on September 28, 2014

My father (who lives in Thailand) says the main way the coup has impacted daily life is the propaganda broadcasts every day, telling people how great things are going to be. And tourism is way down in a country where 40 percent of their GNP comes from tourism, so your business would be welcome.
posted by Soliloquy at 8:23 PM on September 28, 2014

I'm currently in Thailand, and have been here for a month now. I was in Bangkok for a few days and the only military presence I saw was a random highway checkpoint (that had lots of bored looking soldiers and didn't stop anyone). The Thai government's trying to increase tourism again by allowing a further 30-day visa exemption for many western passport holders.

As for things to visit, you should put Koh Tao on the list. It's mainly known for diving, but it's probably my favorite place so far in Thailand. I think it's also one of the cheapest places in the world to get your open water diving certification or any other advanced certifications. (Yes, there was a murder on the island recently, but murders of tourists are rather rare in Thailand. Most people maim/kill themselves riding motorbikes around. That said, try to avoid riding a motorbike.)

I'm currently in Phuket for a few weeks to do some muay thai trainig. It's great, but exhausting. If this isn't up your alley, I wouldn't stay in Phuket for that long. Koh Phi Phi is amazing and you should try to make it up to the Similan Islands. It's supposed to be absolutely gorgeous (though I can get back to you on this once I go in a few weeks when the national park opens).

Thailand's pretty solo female traveler friendly. I'm currently traveling with a friend (guy), but have met lots of other women who are here on their own and enjoying it greatly. Thailand's pretty big on the backpacker trail so you should be able to meet a lot of other like-minded travelers.
posted by astapasta24 at 8:28 PM on September 28, 2014

Yep. Was in BKK and Samui recently and all is well.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:34 AM on September 29, 2014

I've lived in Thailand for five years. Unless one speaks Thai and misses that TV channels that had to shut down, life goes on as usual with minor changes.

Except for the curfew in effect for a few weeks after the coup, the only changes I've seen are:
- Far fewer tourists
- More police checkpoints for drivers license, registration and motorcycle helmet.
- Drivers who are stopped at the above now pay the official fine and get a receipt. Before, some unknown portion of the money went into the police's pockets.
- Vendors operating on public land and paying the police to be able to do so have been kicked out, then allowed back in reduced numbers, in controlled areas and thus with reduced impact on traffic flow on the roads and sidewalks they occupy.
- Passing through immigration control at the international airport (BKK) has been faster because of more workers.
- Moderators on the local expat forum delete anti government posts almost as fast as they appear. But it's never been a good idea to draw the attention of the Thai government, regardless of how they became the government.

Initially after the coup there was more police and military on the street. That eased off quickly. Now when I see military they appear to be making field evaluations with local officials or police. I've yet to here on the local forum of anyone who had a personal encounter with the military.
posted by Homer42 at 5:49 AM on September 29, 2014

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