Despite concern over ongoing political unrest in Thailand, it seems that the country’s tourism hotspots are largely unaffected by the Kingdom’s recent military coup. Thailand’s Tourism Authority (TAT) also welcomed the lifting of the night-time curfew that has been imposed on the country since 22 May.
The curfew, which lasted from midnight to 4am, was lifted in the capital Bangkok on the evening of Friday June 13 following an announcement from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). However, it had previously been removed in popular tourism destinations such as Pattaya, Phuket, Koh Samui, Hua Hin, Cha-am and Phang-Nga to ensure that visitors enjoying the country's attractions would not be inconvenienced.
Thawatchai Arunyik, Governer of the TAT, welcomed a return to normal for the Kingdom’s entertainment venues, restaurants and evening spas. "The nationwide lifting of the curfew shows the world that things are moving forward here in Thailand and that tourism has not been disrupted,” he told the press. “This latest announcement by the NCPO should help reassure everyone coming for a holiday in Thailand or to enjoy the country’s shopping, dining and nightlife attractions that it’s business as usual and that the famous Siamese smile has not dimmed,” he added.
According to tourists visiting Phuket, life in Thailand already seemed to be carrying on as normal, even before the curfew was lifted. “We have had a very pleasant stay in Phuket so far, and our connection through Bangkok to Phuket went smoothly as the airports have functioned normally throughout," said a 56-year-old British man who was renting a villa with his family on the island's west coast. "In fact, the only way you would know that anything unusual was going on would be to switch on the international news.”
Life has also been continuing as normal in the Thai capital, with local people and expat residents reporting that they have hardly noticed any military presence since the coup took place in May. Tourist attractions, malls, restaurants and embassies have remained open and nightlife venues re-opened their doors as soon as that the curfew was lifted.
“I have enjoyed every second of my stay in Bangkok so far,” said one Danish visitor travelling around Southeast Asia with her husband and children. “We have had no trouble visiting of the attractions on our Bangkok highlight list, and getting around the city has been simple. We are looking forward to more Thai hospitality when we travel on to Koh Samui,” she added.
It is not expected that any more curfews will be imposed in Thailand, which means visitors are free to enjoy the moonlit delights of the Kingdom at their leisure.
by MAX VEE