Thailand Travel Advice May 20th 2014

The Australian Government today reissued travel advice for Thailand, following the invocation of the martial law today May 20th 2014.

The following is the full statement for Australian nationals, we hope to update with other government information as soon as possible.

“The Australian Government has been following events in Thailand closely, and with concern. We are seeking more details on the effect of the decision of the Royal Thai Army to impose martial law. The military has said that this not a coup and the caretaker Government remain in office.

“We encourage all parties to resolve their political differences through peaceful democratic processes. Australia hopes an election in which all parties agree to participate can be held as soon as practicable. Thailand has Australia’s goodwill and support as it tries to find ways to settle its political difficulties”.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade today reviewed and reissued the travel advice for Thailand. Australians should familiarize themselves with this information, subscribe to receive regular updates and register their travel plans on www.smartraveller.gov.au.

“The Australian Government urges Australians traveling to Thailand to continue to exercise a high degree of caution following the imposition of martial law across the country. We urge Australians in Thailand to pay close attention to the situation as it unfolds and to be aware of their personal security.

Australians in Thailand should avoid all demonstrations, political events and large scale gatherings, and follow the instructions of local authorities.

“The Government closely monitors and regularly updates all travel advisories. Australians travelling to Thailand, or elsewhere overseas, should visit www.smartraveller.gov.au.”

For other nationals you are strongly advised to check with your appropriate government department or your travel agent or airline prior to visiting Thailand.

Hiring Jet Ski’s in Thailand

Warning: Beware of the scams going on in Thailand’s Jet Ski Hire Businesses

Jet ski hire in ThailandOn the 9th of February 2014 David Rimmer, a journalist from Hertford, England, crashed his jet ski into a Speedboat while riding it in Phuket BeachThailand and then had to pay 200,000 Baht for the damage he caused.

Thats over £3600 stirling or $6000 US Dollars a substaintial amount of money in anyone’s books!

Mr Rimmer was pulled from the sea and eventually taken to Phuket Hospital and then the police station. Once at the police station there were negotiations between him and the speedboat owners about how much he should pay for the damage. After some bartering a settlement of 200.000 was agreed.

The British Embassy was contacted but said they could not help!

The Foreign Office travel advice for Thailand gives the following advice about hiring a jet ski:

“If you rent jet-skis or water sports equipment, satisfy yourself that adequate safety precautions are in place. Rent only from reputable, licensed and insured operators, thoroughly check for damage before use and insist on training.”

“Don’t hand over your passport as a guarantee against returning a jet-ski. Unscrupulous owners have been known to hold on to passports against claimed damage to the jet-ski.”

Mr Rimmer is now home safe in the UK, he says that because of this incident he will not be able to afford an overseas holiday for a while but feels fortunate that he was not more seriously injured.

Phuket Police claim they have no record of Rimmer attending the police station being involved in any negotiations about compensation for the damage to the Jet Ski and say any such negotiations were handled on the beach by the owners of the jet ski and Rimmer.

My thoughts on hiring Jet Ski’s in Thailand

The Jet Ski business on Thailand’s beaches is run by organised crime (Thai mafia). They make frequent payments to the local police for protection and for them to turn a blind eye to Jet Ski damage scams and extorting money from tourists. In this case the police facilitated the negotiations for compensation and I am sure received their ‘cut’.

Briefly don’t hire Jet Ski’s from the so called licenced bandits who operate on Thailand’s beaches especially Phuket and Pattaya you are just giving money to criminals.

If you MUST then photograph the Jet Ski before you take it out and make a note of any damage.

The Jet Ski scam centers around claiming you have damaged the Jet Ski while you have been using it. If you argue you are quickly surrounded by aggressive gangs of Thai’s and if you call the police they support the Jet Ski scammers rather than you ….they are not impartial.

This is a scam that has been going on for years, everybody knows all about it, large sums of money are involved and the police let it go on.

Thailand is a beautiful country and well worth a visit but like everywhere there are scams going on so take care especially when hiring a Jet Ski..

There are more details on how to avoid the Thai Jet Ski scam and others on our previous blog on the Top 10 Thai Holiday Safety Tips.

Unrest in Thailand Continues

BANGKOK, 15th Jan 14 – 46 out of 68 embassies and consulates in the Thai capital Bangkok have advised their nationals, especially any in Bangkok, to avoid staying at or near political rally or demonstration sites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_qZUQtE7Ho

Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism announced this Wednesday that forty six (46) countries have issued travel warnings to their citizens including the Canada, US, Brazil, Mexico, Ireland, Great Britain, France, Sweden, Germany, Spain Austria, Portugal, Greece, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Romania, Finland, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, Russia, Slovak, Kazakhstan, Czech, Poland, Turkey, Israel, the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Japan, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.

Most embassies have continued to update their alerts following the People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s intention to hold rallies at major Bangkok intersections until the end of the week in an attempt to force the caretaker Thai government to step down. Citizens of the forty six (46) countries have been advised to avoid the rally sites as they could escalate into violence. They have been advised they should allow extra time to travel to the airport and transport hubs.

The East Asian countries, especially China, have advised their citizens, especially those already living in Bangkok, to monitor the situation closely and to avoid any protest sites. Hong Kong still maintains the red travel alert they raised earlier in the Thai capital.

Filipino and Taiwanese nationals have been advised by there embassies not to wear red or yellow while in Bangkok.

Over 800,000 UK nationals travel to Thailand each year mostly without incident according to the UK’s Foreign Office figures. No doubt the heightened tensions in the country will have an effect on visitor numbers to Thailand over the coming months, especially to the countries capital Bangkok, which is where most of the unrest is currently centered.  If you are planning a holiday or business trip to Thailand you can check out the latest travel advice from the UK government here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand

Related posts:
Latest Unrest in Thailand,
Top 10 Safety Tips for Travel to Thailand
Holidays to Thailand

Visiting Chiang Mai gets easier!

Chiang Mai opening new tourism routes linking 4 more countries to the North.

CHIANG MAI, 3 January 2014

The Chiang Mai Tourism Association has unveiled a new master plan to for extra tourism routes which will connect Northern Thailand with China, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma) and help boost the local business, tourism and trade.

Visit Chiang Mai ThailandSarawut Saetiao President of Chiang Mai tourism board said his association had been in discussions with the local government and private sector units about the launch of new tourism routes into the North Thailand region. The new routes will link the eight provinces of Northern Thailand with, Southern China, Northern Laos and Myanmar. Local business, trade, tourism and investment are all expected to benefit as a result of the new deal.

Statistics show that this New Year holiday period, Chiang Mai province and  Northern Thailand has seen significant increases in the numbers of both Thai and Chinese visitors and tourists, with  tourism revenue  expected to grow by 10%.

There is a  national Thailand goal to achieve an annual increase in tourism revenue of 2.2 trillion baht in the year 2015, the Tourism Association is very confident that the Chiang Mai region and other provinces in the North will be able to make a significant contribution, estimated to be up to 80 billion baht of the total amount.

Vacations to Thailand are relatively cheap for western visitors so if you are considering a holiday in Chiang Mai or as part of a tour of Thailand please feel free to contact us for more information and assistance in planning your vacation, whatever your budget!

Latest News on Unrest in Thailand – Jan 4th 2014

Thai protesters say there no plans to shut airports or transport in protests as a result of the latest unrest in Thailand

BANGKOK, January 3, 2014 – Thailand’s latest anti-government protest movement reassured all Thai tourists Friday that it had no plans to target Thailand’s major airports or public transport system during their planned “shutdown” of Bangkok City later this month.

Thai Anti Government ProtestsThe protesters, who are seeking the removal of the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and to put an end to her family’s political dominance in Thailand, say they will occupy the centre of Bangkok from 13th January 2014

Called “Operation Occupy Bangkok“it does NOT involve the closure or the disruption of the citys major transport facilities. “Trains, Public buses, BTS sky-trains,underground trains, and public boats will all operate normally,” the protesters said on its English-language Facebook page.

The demonstrators have said they are to set up protest stages around Bangkok, to prevent government workers from conducting business and to cut off power and water to government offices as well as to the home of the prime minister and her cabinet.

The demonstrators also plan several protest marches in the Bangkok area starting from Sunday to build pressure ahead of their occupation attempt.

Thai stocks and shares and the Thai baht currency have all fallen sharply in value on concerns that the deepening crisis will scare off foreign tourists and international investment.

Latest Travel Advice for UK Residents:  Thailand Travel Advice

As always we will keep all our readers updated on the latest news from Thailand and Travel Related News from around the world.