Monday 15 November 2016
King of Thailand Bhumiphol Adulyadej passed away
On Thursday 13 October 2016 the King of Thailand Bhumiphol Adulyadej has passed away at the age of 88 years. There is a period of mourning in which many social activities are limited. Festive activities will not be allowed in this period. Bars and pubs will be limitedly opened, though music may be turned off or at low volume and alcohol may be served limitedly. We expect that hotels and restaurants will be opened normally. Extra safety or security measures may be possible. For the rest Thailand is safe and hospitable as before. There are no restrictions on tourism and we do not expect unrest. The passing away of the King of Thailand is very Thai and has nothing to do with tourism. Thai understand that tourism is an important economic factor for their country and they will do their best to make tourists feel at home.
We do have few recommendations. These are more than well intended courtesy recommendations. Try to follow the below recommendations as strictly as possible. You will avoid problems during your stay in Thailand, and it will surely benefit your contact with the Thai people:
» Respect the feelings and sensitivities of the Thai people, the local habits and the limitations that the authorities will enforce on social life. These limitations are legally binding and will strictly be enforced.
» Avoid critical remarks or discussions about the Royal institution. Same for the Bhuddhist religion. Never make a remark about the King or the Royal House that can even remotely be interpreted as critical or disrespectful. The Royal House with the King as head is a very sensitive subject for the Thai. Any criticism, however small or well intended, will not be tolerated by any Thai and is punishable with imprisonment.
» Show respect when the Thai national anthem is played (every day at 08:00 and 18:00hr on TV, in airports, railway stations, busstations and public buildings). Stop your activities and stand up. The Thai do so too.
» Dress respectfully in accordance with Thai culture and Buddhism. Wear sober clothing. For men it means shirts with sleeves (T-shirts, poloshirts) and trousers below the knees. Poloshirts and T-Shirts are allowed but boxer shorts or shirts without sleeves not. Women need to have knees and upper body completely covered (long sleeves, long skirt or trousers). Recommended colours for clothing are black, grey and white. Dark blue is also acceptable but do not wear bright colours or yellow, orange red etcetera. Sexy clothes, bare shoulders or clothes that show naked belly or back and disrespectful or offensive clothing are not allowed.
» Behave appropriately and respectfully. For instance, do not make pictures or selfies during mourning ceremonies and do not display exorbitant behaviour. The past week has shown that most if not all tourists understand the impact of the King's passing away and have adapted their behaviour and the clothes that they wear accordingly.
» Always make sure that you can identify yourself (passport or copy on your body, in case of a copy then also copy your visa or entry stamp in your passport).
» Be wise and keep these sensitivities of the Thai in mind at any time. The grief of the Thai people about the King's passing away is genuine. You are in a different country with different norms, values and laws in a period where the country is in great mourning. In part the above recommendations are prescribed by law, and you can get into a lot of trouble if you don’t.
Political situation in Thailand
Thailand has a military government that gained power via a bloodless coup in May 2014. The coup was not violent and the army does not exercise an oppressive regime. Citizens are hardly limited in their freedom, roads are not blocked, the media are left fairly free in what they publicize and there is no martial law or curfew. Law enforcement is much stricter than before the coup, Thailand may have had a reputation in the past of being easy on law offenders, but nowadays that certainly is not the case anymore. We more than strongly recommend to adhere strictly to the law under all circumstances. That includes not overstaying on your visa, not trying to obtain fake official documents and particularly not getting involved in drugs for instance at the full moon parties.
Travelling and tourism in Thailand
Thailand is safe as before. No special precautions are needed for visiting Thailand. There is no negative travel advice for Thailand. All our journeys are run as usual. People in Thailand live their lives as usual. There are no demonstrations. Cities and provinces are peaceful. Businesses operate as usual, shops and shopping centers are open normally same as banks and government institutions. The measures that the army is taking are pretty much accepted and welcomed by the majority of the Thai people. You will find similar reactions when checking various websites on the situation in Thailand.
Regarding newspaper articles and TV broadcasts about Thailand, we recommend that you don't believe everything that is published in the media, especially the sensation tabloids. There is occasionally speculation in news reporting but very often news is untrue, photo's are carefully selected on publicity value and stories are sensationalized beyond reality. Read and double check with several credible sources of information to form your own judgement and draw your own conclusions. We do recommend though to stay away from public gatherings and demonstrations and to follow the reporting of (social) media and newspapers. As usual, allow extra time when travelling througout the country and to & from airports.
There are presently no special circumstances. We advise against all travel to the Preah Vihear temple in Sisaket province due to a higher than normal risk on border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia. We also advise against all but essential travel to Thailands four southernmost provinces Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla due to frequent bomb attacks and arson by muslem insurgents. These areas are far outside regular tourist destinations and most tourists will not go there anyway. Also travelling by train to these regions should be avoided. Everywhere else in Thailand the situation is calm and normal. Traveling in Thailand is possible as usual. We recommend that you keep yourself informed about the situation in Thailand via the media. If you have questions about your journey to Thailand then please .
We recommend readers of this newsletter to also follow the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your own country, as well as the local media in your own country (newspapers, radio, TV, internet) and the Thai online newspapers The Nation and Bangkok Post. Other informative website pages are:
Country information Thailand of the USA Consular Affairs in Thailand.
Thailand Reise- und Sicherheitshinweise of the german Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
Foreign Travel advice Thailand of the UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
TAT news latest news of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, see the Latest Media releases;
With best regards,
Your Thaitraveldreams team.