Do’s and Don’ts for Travelers During the Thai Coup

foreign-correspondent badge finalSo you’ve already booked your flight to Thailand, and the Thai coup has you a bit worried. Well, you don’t really need to be, but I understand why someone would.

Is Thailand safe right now? Yes. Even though there is an almost constant presence of the military, it’s just as safe and perhaps a bit more since the coup was announced.

How does the coup affect tourists? The curfew will most likely be the only inconvenience tourists will face. Currently the curfew is from midnight until 4 a.m. However, it’s fine for tourists to be out during the curfew if you are traveling to or from the airport.

So for visitors, here are some dos and don’ts to follow during this time in Thailand:

Do’s and Don’ts for Travelers During the Thai Coup

Do

1. Follow the news

Pay attention to any new developments or announcements. Since martial law was enforced, all international news channels, like BBC and CNN, have been taken off the air. You can still access their websites though. Download your favorite news app and keep your eyes peeled.

2. Carry your identification

If you need to be out during the curfew, carry some type of identification with you such as your passport — at least a copy — or your driver’s license.

3. Take photos

You might consider snapping pictures of the military lined up outside the cinema or eating McDonald’s while on their break. Taking coup selfies with an armed solider is one of the latest trends that Thais are doing and posting on social media. The soldiers apparently seem fine with it and might even give you a thumbs up, too. Obviously, don’t be too intrusive or aggressive.

Don’t

1. Criticize politics or the coup in public

Thailand is not the place to express your political opinions publicly. In general, while in Thailand, it’s best not to. Especially right now, tensions are a bit high since the U.S. government criticized the coup and some Thais are unhappy about the disapproval and the fact that western countries intervening. So, just keep your opinion to yourself.

2. Stay out during/past the curfew

It’s just not worth the risk. A friend of mine recently tested her luck and stayed out past curfew and was consequently escorted out of the pub. She was lucky that she was just simply told to go home. I would not recommend doing that as the fine for staying out is up to two years in prison and/or a 40,000 (roughly $1,200) baht fine.

3. Be too afraid or worried

The situation in Thailand is pretty calm from what the average tourist can see or feel. It might not be ideal or normal to go on vacation with a curfew and to see armed soldiers everywhere, but in Thailand it really is fine.

If you do happen to come during the coup, you’ll be living through history — with maybe a coup selfie as a souvenir.

About Kaitlin Kimont

Kaitlin KimontKaitlin is based in Bangkok, Thailand currently working as a freelance writer and English teacher. She’s making her way around Southeast Asia one country at a time, all the while gaining a subconscious, perhaps conscious, addiction to MSG and Thai milk tea.

Follow her on twitter @kaitlinkimont.

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