We have written this blog to inform travelers on the burning question: has the military coup affected tourism in Thailand?
In order to understand the current measures taken by the Thai Military and the resulting consequences we have to let’s look at some of the key recent events:
- • The year 2006 the Thai military ousted Thaksin Shinawatra in a coup. A former Thai business tycoon, he held the office of Prime Minister from 2001 till 2006. He won this office largely by promising billions of baht in subsidies to Thailand’s poor Northeastern rice and rubber farmers. This caused huge problems with Thailand’s economy and he was eventually tried and convicted by Thailands Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for abusing his political powers and embezzling billions. He has lived in exile since then.In the years from 2007-2011 Thailand found itself in a political turmoil. Governments were elected then accused of election manipulation and withdrawn from their administrative positions by the Military or due to the power of political protesters.
- • On the 3th of July 2011,Yingluck Shinawatra, without being previously involved into politics, became the first female prime minister of Thailand. Her political party slogan was “Thaksin thinks, Thai people act”. She was not only the first female minister but also the youngest sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. She was reviled by the public and thought of as a political puppet and somewhat of a joke by Thailand’s elite.
- • On 7 May 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that Yingluck would have to step down as the Prime Minister as she was deemed to have abused her power by appointing a family member to a high- level government office without the support of her constituents. (Hodal, Kate. “Thai court orders Yingluck Shinawatra to step down as PM”. theguardian.com. Retrieved 7 May 2014.)This move followed six months of political deadlock as protesters rallied against Ms Yingluck’s government.
Consequences of the curfew
- • Political gatherings of more than five people banned, with penalties of up to a one-year jail term, 10,000 baht ($307) fine, or both. (Unless you are a political activist, this will have no affect on your vacation)
- • Curfew hours are 12 a.m till 5 a.m. This is only enforced in the densely populated areas such as Phuket or Bangkok, and even then as long as you carry your passport and the address of your hotel, you should be fine.
- • Mandatory check points at the entrance to all major towns , and provincial borders (although I have yet to hear of them stopping a bus or a train)
Contrary to what you may have heard:
- • Overnight Buses / Planes are operating normally (no one will arrest you for being at a train or bus station between the hours of 12:00 and 5:00)
- • The social media site Facebook was not blocked (feel free to post, tweet, and chat to your hearts content!)
- • The national television was providing information on the first day of the coup has since returned to normal broadcasts. (Should you want to watch television in your hotel room, you may do so uninterrupted)