US State Department issues Thailand travel alert

by Ned Levi on November 27, 2008

By now, you’ve probably heard about the anti-government protests in Thailand which have closed Bangkok’s airports. Yesterday the US State Department issued a Travel Alert for US citizens traveling or residing in Thailand, asking every citizen there to register with the State Department, or contact the US Embassy in Bangkok directly.

The US State Department issues Travel Alerts to disseminate information about short-term conditions within a particular country that pose “imminent risks” to the security of U.S. citizens.

The situation in Thailand doesn’t look like it will be resolved soon. Both sides seem to be digging in. Pro-government and anti-government protesters have clashed and there have been reports of gunfire between them. Early Wednesday, there were explosions at two Bangkok airports which wounded four people and triggered the closure of the airports.

The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which is leading the protests, is occupying the airports and has threatened to not leave until the Prime Minister resigns.

Thousands of travelers are stranded at the airports. The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok advises Americans to “stay away from the airports given the potential for violence and civil disobedience.”

When the US State Department issues a call for US citizens to register with the Department and/or the local Embassy, citizens need to take that very seriously, as it means the State Department is taking the situation seriously, and believes it might become grave. When such situations occur, they immediately begin to plan and make all preparations to protect US citizens, including creation of an evacuation plan.

Only by registering will the local Embassy and the State Department know a citizen is in the country, and therefore be able to assist that citizen.

When trouble, such as public unrest or disorder, occurs in a foreign country in which your are visiting or residing, it is always a good policy to contact the Embassy there to find out what’s going on, and if you have Internet access check the State Department’s Travel Alerts.

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  • http://yahoo(windowsinternetexplorer jim bull

    What is the safety aspect at this time upon my arrival on 6-24-09 at BKK airport of trouble, should I cancel my trip? Have a Thai friend meeting me there at around midnight, will it be safe then or not for he and wife to pick me up at the airport or not, Is it safe at all, Always thought the thai people were very friendly peop;le myself, only met the ones in the states and they said more than likely it woulld be Ok for me to go. Due to me planing this trip for over a year, wonder if I should or should not go. Also could you supply the US Embassys phone #number in BKK for me so, that upon my arrival, could notify them that I was in country. Will be going on to Roi-ET after a few days to rest up in BKK after plane trip to there,
    Thank you for Youre Attention in this matter
    Jim bull, [email protected]

  • Ned Levi

    Jim, I can only give general advice about the country by reporting what I know.

    Especially in Bangkok, I would suggest you need heightened awareness of your surroundings, you need to remain vigilant with regard to your personal security and you should avoid crowds and demonstrations, if you run across any.

    Personally, I’d give a call to your Thai friend and ask him directly how things are, but reports generally indicate Thailand has settled down since the problems of the last quarter of last year, however, the underlying political problems continue between the various groups in the country.

    The U.S. Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand. The central switchboard number is (66-2) 205-4000; the American Citizen Services Unit number is (66-2) 205-4049; and the fax number is (66-2) 205-4103. The website for the U.S. Embassy is Questions regarding American Citizen Services can be submitted by email to [email protected]. The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai is located at 387 Wichanyanond Road, Chiang Mai 50300; the telephone number is (66-53) 107-700 and the fax number is (66-53) 252-633.

    I suggest you do three things:

    1. Check out the State Department’s Thailand Country Specific Information. Anyone traveling abroad should check out the State Department’s Country Specific Information for countries to which they are traveling.

    2. Call your friend and ask him about the situation in his country.

    3. Go over to Talking Travelers, our Forums, and ask questions there. You can get excellent discussion, talk and advice from experienced travelers and travel professions there.

  • http://AT&T/Yahoo JIM BULL

    8-24-09, TO: NED LEVI
    Wish to thank you for the return advice, that you sent to me on 15 Jun 09, sorry about that, and just gotten around to seeing it till now, but my stay in Thailand turn out to be wonderful and the country is really pretty, the people friendly and nice, at least up in and around ROI-ET, THAT is, can not say about the other parts of thailand excrept the ones, that my friends took and show me. Just wish to thank you, and to also let you know will be returning on the 9-2-09, and all my Thai Friends are really looking forward to me retuning for the 60days, and hopeful a 30day extension I plan on trying to get.
    Just have these coments to people coming to Thailand, 1-Have injections need (for health wise).2.Bring anti-bodie ointment/cleaning solution/band-aids, and there malaria tabs, if havn’t received a injection for this. Well could go on but will stop here.
    Just wish everyone who come to Thailand likes it as much as I have become to like the country, respect there culture, and there customs an should be able to get along find with the Thai People of Thailand.

    But do wish to Thank Ned Levi, thanks for your good advice and take care, and keep up the good advice.
    Your Truly
    Jim Bull From California

  • Ned Levi

    Jim, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write to me. There is no doubt in my mind that my readers are the best.



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