Happily, protesters in Bangkok have now started to dismantle their barricades in key parts of the city, so hopefully the bevy of negative headlines about safety in Bangkok that has swamped the media in the past few months will now disappear – for despite the impression that Bangkok has been a city under siege, nothing could have been, or is, further from the truth.
And despite a delicate political impasse that has put a question mark over the future of Thailand’s (now interim) government, life and business in the vast majority of Bangkok, and throughout the rest of the kingdom has been perfectly normal through the past few months. And hopefully now that the barricades are coming down, the selective images and footage of street marches, police battling protesters and clogged intersections will now be replaced by reality: tourists and locals eating, socializing, shopping and enjoying all this vibrant city has to offer.
To be sure, there are political issues in Thailand. There have been protests, mostly peaceful, which may continue. The People’s Democratic Reform Committee has moved its supporters to Lumpini Park in Bangkok’s business district where they are gathered, quietly and orderly, listening to speeches and watching a giant screen.
There isn’t the slightest hint of trouble, and Bangkok is a far cry from the situation in the world’s real trouble spots such as Kabul, Kiev, Baghdad and Beirut, and in fact, it is not even close to the situation in New York, Chicago or other major western cities where assaults and concerns about personal safety are everyday issues and occurrences.
Hopefully, Thailand’s political issues will be solved in the coming months as the two sides are talking and there is confidence the impasse will end soon. In the meantime, it is perfectly safe to visit Bangkok and the rest of Thailand and do the same things travellers have always done in this friendly, welcoming city and country. For in reality, life and tourism in Thailand, other than for some minor traffic inconveniences in Bangkok, has been continuing throughout the past few months in a completely normal manner.