Multiple bomb explosions across Thailand have killed four people and injured dozens more, raising the question is the country safe for tourists?
The Thailand bombs happened in areas popular with tourists – Hua Hin, Phuket, Surat Thani and Phangna. It is still yet to emerge whether these attacks were targeting tourists directly. Or what the exact motives were behind them.
But this is the first time that such bomb attacks have spread from the troubled south of the country into tourist areas.
There is just no way of knowing whether more bombs will go off. The chances of being struck by an explosion are relatively low – but that doesn’t lessen the fear that affects everybody when they see the terrible pictures in the news.
So in the short term, the answer to whether Thailand is safe, is yes. But visitors should be careful about where they go. Avoid the deep south areas.
What the embassies are saying
In the short term aftermath of the attacks foreign embassies around the world have urged their citizens to be extra careful.
- The British embassy in Thailand has warned tourists to ‘extreme caution’ and avoid public places.
- The Australian embassy in Thailand has warned visitors show a ‘heightened caution’ in the country and follow the advice of local authorities.
- The U.S. embassy said travelers should avoid the affected areas and ‘maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.’
In the long term, Thailand will remain on international embassies’ list of countries that are not considered safe.
Already have a flight booked?
People have already booked a flight and hotels in Thailand should not cancel their journey. There are more than 16 million visitors a year to Thailand and it would be impossible for every one of them to be hit by bomb blasts.
However, when bombs happen it is not just the immediate physical impact that affects tourists. Roads, bars, restaurants and other places are closed. And there’s an increase in security and general feeling of fear. These all affect tourists.
If you have a holiday to Thailand in the coming weeks and months, you will feel the heightened security. Expect more passport checks and police presence at popular areas and attractions and at busy stations.
The future… there WILL be problems
Another point to consider is that these kind of attacks and unrest are likely to get worse. The military government has virtually banned democracy, leading to deep feelings of resentment and disenfranchisement from the significant opposition support in the country. Elections and referendums have become a sham, and the only way for them to make themselves heard is through violence.
I predicted that after the referendum there would be a lot of problems if the opposition group lost. In fact, I’m predicting that the domestic unrest is going to get much worse.
The military regime seems intent on tightening their hold on power, not reducing it. Many, many people in Thailand are unhappy with this.
Plus, Thailand’s king is on the brink of death. When he passes away, there is likely to be more unrest. Opposition supporters are likely to use the instability as a chance to cause unrest and claw back some power.
There are likely to be more attacks and bombs in the future. There will definitely be more protests and demonstrations that will bring chaos to the country.