It’s been almost six weeks since Thailand’s military took control of the government, resulting in Thailand’s 12th coup since 1932. The way the media around the world was handling it, you would have thought that everyone in Thailand was going to be blown to smithereens for just being out on the streets. Many governments have warned tourists that they shouldn’t visit. False reports have surfaced that you can’t get travel insurance for Thailand. (You can. The policy may not cover anything that happens to you because of the coup. For instance, a missed flight caused by effects of the coup will not be covered, but if you have a medical incident that happens to you, unrelated to the coup, you will be covered). Many people are still asking the question,
“Is it safe to travel to Thailand now?”
Life is pretty much going on as usual here in Thailand. While, it seemed to be the subject everyone talked about in the beginning, you don’t even hear that much about it now. All tourist attractions are open as usual.
There are, however, some pretty archaic rules that are being enforced that you should be aware of. For instance, whatever you do, don’t eat a sandwich in the presence of the military. I’m not kidding. I passed the military the other day, and I got wondering what would have happened if I wasn’t aware of this law and happened to be eating a sandwich as I passed by. Yes, people have been arrested for eating sandwiches, as the peaceful picnics the protesters have been having instead of protests, are now seen as a sign of dissent, and so eating a sandwich is seen as support for the protesters. Also, the Hunger Games salute is another gesture you can’t make here. It is considered the worst form of defiance.
Shortly after the coup was announced, there were some bombings in the south of Thailand, but this is an area of Thailand that tourists don’t usually travel to and one that you should stay away from for the moment. The military has even promised that all foreigners will be protected. (You should carry a copy of your passport and visa at all times).
As it stands at the moment, life is pretty much the same in Thailand. Some people have talked about a tourism boycott because they disagree with the military rule in Thailand. But, in the end, you would only be hurting the local families who are already hurting because of decreased tourism numbers in Thailand. My suggestion, if you are wondering if it is safe to travel to Thailand now, is to continue with your travel plans, but alert yourself to any new laws the military has created. Thailand is an amazing place, and the people who live there could use your support now. Just don’t show it with sandwiches.