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Bangkok’s State of Emergency: a guide for tourists

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Travellers advised to stay away from the city’s hotspots

A state of emergency has been declared in one the world’s best-loved destinations, Bangkok, and in its surrounding provinces, including the Thai capital’s number-one airport Suvarnabhumi.

But what does it actually mean for tourists? Should you cancel your holiday there? Australia’s Yahoo!7 website tries to answer these questions.

The state-of-emergency decree gives security forces the power to set curfews, detain people without charge, censor the media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare buildings, streets or areas off-limits. It will last for 60 days, from January 22.

The nine people killed and hundreds injured so far during the current protests are all locals. But there is always the possibility that bystanders could be injured if the violence escalates.

There have been small protests in Phuket and Chang Mai, but the focus is Bangkok, specifically the intersection of Silom/Sala Daeng/Rama IV roads; the intersection of Asoke (Ratchadapisek) and Sukumvit Road; the Ratchaprasong intersection; the Pathumwan intersection; the Victory Monument; the Lat Phrao intersection; and the government complex at Chaeng Watthana.

Unfortunately, the civil unrest could yet impact visitors to the country. While some travel insurance covers “unforeseen events”, exemptions from cover may include civil commotion, acts of terrorism or the military taking power. Travellers are advised to check with their insurance companies.

“Our advice to travellers is to stay away from the hot spots and use caution and common sense whilst travelling in Thailand,” says Phil Sylvester, a travel safety specialist with Travel Insurance Direct in Australia. “There has been no indication that tourists are being deliberately targeted and the protests are currently confined to predictable, definitive locations.”

Yahoo!7

[pictured: Protesters camped near Victory Monument; photo by Taguelmoust]

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