At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, the Thai military staged a coup that, among other things, dissolved the caretaker government, suspended the constitution, banned gatherings of more than five people, and issued a curfew across the country that starts at 10 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m.
The curfew applies to everyone in Thailand, including tourists, and will take place nightly across the whole country until further notice.
Exceptions to the curfew will be allowed for travelers that need to leave or arrive in the country through airports, along with select groups of workers that are needed for night shifts, such as those in the aviation, hospital sectors etc.
However, what the army did not make clear is how travelers (and others) who do not have their own transportation should get to or from the airport, or place of work, during the hours the curfew is in place. All public transport closes down during the curfew, and it will be very hard, if not impossible, to find taxis as they are also supposed to be under the curfew.
Flights on Friday were operating as normal at all airports, though if this situation continues for too long there are likely to be numerous flights cancelled. There were also unconfirmed reports last night, that some land border crossings were closed very soon after the coup was first announced.
Travelers should give themselves plenty of time to travel to or from the airport, make copies of emergency numbers, and prepare all necessary documents in case they are asked for them at a military or police check-point.
AirAsia issued a statement that said "the airline highly recommends its guests to allocate no less than 3 hours of travel time to the airport and to stay up to date with traffic news to ensure they do not miss their flights. AirAsia wishes to remind all guests that check-in counters will be closed 45 minutes prior to departure time."
In its travel advice for Thailand, the UK government says the following, "There is a risk of a violent reaction to the army’s announcement. We recommend that you exercise extreme caution and remain alert to the situation. If you’re in any doubt about your safety, stay in your accommodation."
Already, some countries have increased their travel warnings about Thailand. Japan and Hong Kong are warning visitors to Thailand to adjust their travel plans, and avoid non-essential travel to the country. Many more of such warnings are to be expected.
Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has issued a statement that says, "Singaporeans should seriously reconsider visiting Thailand at the moment. The situation is unpredictable and volatile, and may evolve quite rapidly ... Singaporeans who are traveling to Thailand should exercise a high degree of caution and take all necessary precautions for personal safety, including purchasing comprehensive travel and medical insurance."
So, in light of these latest developments, do we recommend you to still travel to Thailand? When the demonstrations in Bangkok were ongoing, we suggested that you visit other areas of Thailand, such as the north or south, and save your trip to Bangkok for another time. Now the situation has again changed, and this curfew affects the entire country. We would recommend you check with your local government travel advisory, call your insurance company to find out what status you will have if you still travel, call your airline and hotel see what the status is with regards to cancelations, and also decide whether you want to travel to a country where you are not allowed out between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.© Asia Travel Tips