(MENAFN Press) In response to concerns for travel to Thailand due to the current anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has clearly defined the areas within Bangkok currently causing traffic concerns and congestion, prepareness by the authorities to ensure tourist safety and support, directives to tourists to ensure regular convenience of travel, as well as to reiterate that outside of certain areas in Bangkok all places within the kingdom are not affected by the demonstrations and it is business as usual.
The massive anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok have been peaceful and are taking place at Pathumwan intersection, Rajaprasong intersection, Saladaeng intersection (Silom Road / Lumpini Park), Lat Phrao five-way intersection, Asoke intersection, the Victory Monument roundabout and the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road. These seven areas link directly with 16 main roads - Sukhumvit, Rama I, Rama IV, Silom, Rajdamri, Rajprarop, Phaya Thai, Phahol Yothin, Asoke Montri, Rajadapisek, Rajvithi, Din Daeng, Pracha Songkhro, Vibhavadi, Lat Phrao and Chaeng Watthana. Therefore, parts or some lanes of these roads may be closed to traffic.
However, local commuters and tourists can commute to and from their desired destinations using the skytrain, the subway, the airport rail link or other public transport. Those travelling by private vehicles or public buses and vans can make use of the expressways, although some entrances and exits may be temporarily closed.
During today (January 14, 2014), the anti-government demonstrators are marching to some government agencies in different parts of Bangkok to call for civil disobedience in a bid to mount pressure on the Caretaker Yingluck Shinawatra Government to step down. In addition, two other anti-government demonstration groups are staging their protests at Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue and the Government House. Parts or some lanes of roads in the areas may be closed to traffic.
Business as usual
Life in Bangkok and throughout Thailand continues as per normal. All roads in Bangkok, excluding those described above, are open to traffic at all times.
Most businesses, including banks, petrol and gas stations, hotels, spas, restaurants, entertainment venues, cinemas, convention centres, shopping malls, superstores, convenient stores, pharmacies, hospitals and the likes are open and operating as per normal, albeit some changes in the opening hours. Some bank branches and petrol and gas stations in the rally areas may be closed for business today. Telephone - landline and mobile - and Internet services are available 24/7.
All means of transportation are operating as normal, albeit some route adjustments. All airports in Bangkok and throughout the country are open and operating as per normal. However, air passengers with flights departing out of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports are advised to allocate at least four hours prior to their scheduled flight departure time.
Thai Airways International has confirmed that flights operated by THAI and THAI Smile are operating with no flight delays. Passengers can check flight status at www.thaiairways.com.
To avoid getting caught in road traffic, local commuters and foreign tourists are advised to use the following means of transport in getting out and about in Bangkok.
The Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link's SA Express and SA City Line trains run between Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Bangkok downtown (Makkasan City Air Terminal and Phayathai Stations).
The State Railway of Thailand's (SRT) city train services run between Don Mueang International Airport and Hua Lamphong Station.
The BTS skytrain runs between Mo Chit and Bearing Stations (Sukhumvit Line), and between National Stadium and Bang Wa Stations (Silom Line).
The MRT subway runs between Bang Sue and Hua Lam Phong Stations.
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) operates several bus and van services throughout Bangkok. However, some 20 bus routes have been adjusted to avoid the protest areas.
About 6,000 taxis registered with Airports of Thailand (AOT) have been given special stickers to show that the vehicles are carrying tourists. Meanwhile, passenger buses bearing special signs issued by the Ministry of Transport can use the expressways free of charge.
Boat and ferry services on Saen Saeb Canal and the Chao Phraya River.
Elsewhere in the country, all means of transportation are also operating as per normal, including train services by the SRT and bus and van services by the Transport Co., Ltd.
Tourist assistance measures
A Tourist Care Centre is located at the Sports Authority of Thailand at Hua Mark Stadium and a Tourist Care Unit at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports.
A Tourist Help Desk is located at BTS skytrain Siam, Phaya Thai, Ekkamai and Wong Wian Yai Stations and MRT subway Hua Lam Phong Station.
A Shuttle Bus Pick-up Point is located at Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn, Windsor Suites Hotel and Twin Towers Hotel. Each location has 1 bus, 2 vans and 1 boat on standby.
Rapid Tourist Police units and 50 volunteers are on standby to assist tourists who may require to travelling through the demonstration areas. In addition, accommodation near the airports will be reserved for tourists waiting or arriving late for their flights.
At Suvarnabhumi International Airport, an Airport Operation Centre is located at check-in counter row R, Departure Hall, 4th floor of the Passenger Terminal. Waiting areas have also been assigned for passengers missing their flights. Passengers can also seek assistance at the AOT Information Counter, Arrival Hall, 2nd floor of the Passenger Terminal.
Other major tourist destinations in Thailand
International tourists with flights arrive in Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang International Airports) can seek advice from the above airport or airline information counters. For those who wish to see Thailand's wealth of cultural and natural attractions outside of Bangkok, they can make use of the many daily domestic flights to get to the following destinations directly:
Chiang Mai: Located 716 km north of Suvarnabhumi Airport, 7-8 hours by car or just above 1 hour by plane. Attraction highlights: Wiang Kum Kam, Doi Inthanon National Park, Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park, Ang Khang Royal Project, Ratchaphruek Garden and many superb temples.
Phuket: Located 865 km south of Suvarnabhumi Airport or 9-10 hours by car or 1 hour 25 minutes by plane. Attraction highlights: various beautiful beaches and a trip to nearby gorgeous Phang-nga Bay, exquisite pool villa accommodation and luxury spa treatments.
Pattaya: Located 120 km southeast of Suvarnabhumi Airport or just above 1-2 hours by car. Attraction highlights: beautiful beaches, Lan Island, entertainment shows, zip line adventure, boxing lesson, shopping opportunities, floating market and various theme venues.
Hua Hin: Located 227.5 km southwest of Suvarnabhumi Airport or 2-3 hours by car. Attraction highlights: beautiful beaches, Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, Kaeng Krachan National Park, Maruekhathaiyawan Palace, floating markets and vineyards.
Ko Samui: Located 804 km southwest of Suvarnabhumi Airport or 10-11 hours by car and ferry or just above 1 hour by plane. Attraction highlights: beautiful beaches, Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park, pool villa accommodation and luxury spa treatments.
Khon Kaen: Located 458 km northeast of Suvarnabhumi Airport or 5-6 hours by car or just under 1 hour by plane. Attraction highlights: Thai Silk Centre, Chang-kra Orchid Garden, King Cobra Village, temples and Phu Wiang National Park - which demonstrates that the Isan Plateau was once home of dinosaurs.
Sukhothai: Located 439.7 km north of Suvarnabhumi Airport or 4-5 hours by car or just above 1 hour by plane. Attraction highlights: Sukhothai Historial Park, Si Satchanalai Historical Park, Sangkhalok Museum, Wat Maha That, Wat Phra Si Ratana Maha That and Wat Si Chum.
Bangkok: For tourists visiting Bangkok, it should be stressed that tourists have not been targeted in the ongoing political demonstrations. Tourist attractions and activities in Bangkok and throughout the country are open and operating as per normal, but tourists are advised to be vigilant and avoid areas where crowds may gather. This is because there may be traffic disruptions or delays, thus causing inconvenience.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is closely monitoring the situation, and would like to inform tourists and the tourism industry that all concerned public and private agencies will exercise utmost efforts to ensure tourist's convenience.
For live videos of various attractions in Thailand, tourists can download the Thai Live Cam mobile application available now in iOS and Android. See more at: http://livecam.tourismthailand.org/
For further information please contact:
Tourism Authority of Thailand, Dubai & Middle East Office
133 Sheikh Zayed Road, Apartment # 1804,
Dusit Thani Dubai, P.O. Box 450019, Dubai, U.A.E
Tel: 971 4 324 0184 Fax: 971 4 325 0187
Email: email@example.com ;
URL: www.TourismThailand-Middleast.org www.TourismThailand.org