Since 1 December, demonstrators had been attempting to forcibly enter Government House and the Metropolitan Police Bureau. Protesters on 2 December used homemade petrol-based explosives and threw rocks, to which the police responded with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse protesters in the vicinity of the two buildings.
Travel Advice Summary
• Travel to Thailand and to Bangkok can continue. We reinforce the need for persons to maintain an enhanced awareness of the current situation and to avoid all protest activity.
• Personnel should monitor the situation closely to be able to avoid protest action.
• Normal traffic conditions in Bangkok can be extremely congested. Because of current events, personnel should be prepared for a higher level of traffic disruption in central Bangkok and particularly in the vicinity of areas that become affected by protest activity. We continue to advise that travellers pre-arrange and re-confirm all transport before arriving in the city.
• Business travellers conducting meetings in the city should be confident in their transport arrangements and what support is available to them. Basic journey management planning should include identifying alternate routes that circumvent protest areas as they occur, reconfirming meeting locations and times, factoring in additional time to travel between meetings, and ensuring suitable means of communication are carried at all times.
• Expect, but not be unduly alarmed by, a heavy security force presence in public areas on Bangkok.
• In the event of encountering protest activity or large groups of police personnel, vacate the area immediately; do not stop to watch or photograph protesters. Once safe, establish communications with your organisation following existing protocols and alert others.
• Organisations and businesses in Bangkok should review any existing business continuity plans as a precaution and ensure their staff are fully briefed on the current situation.
Ref: International SOS
This was my 3rd trip to bangkok and i realized most of the taxi driver has changed and refused to go on metered and asked for flat rate. But 1 thing i would like to share is though some of them asked for flat rate, there are still kind ppl out there and they charge on flat rate could be due to difficult living and the terrible traffic condition in bangkok, etc.
My unforgettable experience was i flagged down a taxi from platunam area and it was raining and massive jam... the 1st taxi asked for very high rate and shouted on us 'get down from my car and take your luggage, FUXK U' when we were not agreed on the high flat rate that he offered and he has yet to move his car... then we subsequently flagged down another pink taxi (if im not mistaken) and he offered a reasonable flat rate so we take it. Along the way, i realized the picture shown in the license doesn't look like him so i asked and he told me he rented the taxi for night shift... then when we have arrived our hotel (I-Residence in silom) and paid him the rate that both have agreed then he left. After 10 mins in the hotel, then only i realized i left my bag consist my passport, wallet and iphone5 under the front passenger seat. I almost fainted as the next day i need to go back to my country and i have no passport now... But based on our previous short communication with him while in the taxi, my sense tells me that he is a kind person and therefore i have good faith on him and believing he will return my bag to me if he see it before other passenger see it... so i waited outside the hotel for 5 mins and he really came back to return the bag to me... but due to i have yet to recover from previous trauma and i don't have much cash with me,,, i gave him a very little tipping for his kindness which make me feel so regretted till now... wish him good luck and good returns ahead...
We were walking to Grand Palace at 10am when about 200yds from the site we were stopped by a well dressed man and asked whether we were going to Grand Palace. Then he started saying that the temple will open after 1pm and we will not be allowed inside in our half pants. We listened to him and were confused. He suggested that I will arrange an alternative site for u on payment till 1pm and then we could visit the Grand Palace . I was not convinced and we moved on. Another 50 yds ahead we were again confronted by a Tuk- Tuk driver repeating the same thing. I was confused and thought of going to the alternative site. But somehow wise senses prevailed and we moved on. When we reached the Grand Palace it was open for visitors and we had a very nice time there.
Just be cautious of your luggage weight and what you carry in your hand luggage as the customs at the Bangkok airport is quite strict. They will just throw away whatever that is not allowed to carry in your hand luggage where you will feel sorry for it later on. Hence, all over quantities of perfume, liquids in any form, creams, wines/liquor to be put into your other luggage and do not carry these at any point in your hand luggage.
I noticed that the lady vendors can be very rude at times to you if you do not buy anything from their shop or outlets on the road after going through the products. They sometimes do not understand that we need to inspect the stuff before purchasing as we need to identify if its the right product for us. This happens mostly in the street markets and occasionally at shopping malls too. The language is also a major barrier here as they hardly speak English. Be polite and smile and be nice to them, sometimes this works.
Well I was there last month as well and stayed for two days, HAPPY is your sim card they have really affordable internet packages for week and DONT I repeat DONT dare buy the Freedom Sim they charge 1 Baht per minute unless you buy a package for internet. Hope you have fun.
This was an experience of my parents in bangkok
While they were on walking in front of Shibuya 19, in front of Pantip
A man who looks arab came and ask that they wanted to see Myanmar currency
so my father shows the 1000 kyat bill and they saw the dollars
then the arab bastard grabbed the money
my mother grabbed it back (the money was in a envelope)
they went on
when they checked 8x$100 bills were missing
just to blame the arab
this kind of case was previously reported earlier
in my opinion they are doing this kind of case around phloenchit and chitlom and pratunam
when they report the police
the police just didn't give a damn
so just be rude too them instead of regretting
When travelling to Bangkok or anywhere through Thailand ALWAYS carry and use a strong Mosquito Repellant at all times. Like all tropical areas travelling here makes you suseptible to Malaria and Dengue fever. These are extremely dangerous conditions.. Make sure that you are looking after your needs.. Because of the sometimes extreme heat and humidity it is difficult to wear a lot of clothes but try and wear loose fitting long sleeved shirts and long trousers(pants) . Cover ALL exposed skin with a strong and reliable repellant . Dont take too much notice of the "aroma" of the repellant as others around you will be wearing it also....if they are smart!!..
At the exit, down at the last floor (I don't remember), a middle size booth. It was somewhere in the basement. I travel to Bangkok frequently and had experienced many but not like this one. Me and my wife and a daughter arrived in Bangkok last year. I met a middle aged lady at the booth who was very nice, spoke Essan (Lao language) to me and offered me a tour service to "ONLY" the Green Emerald Buddha palace, and no other place in the middle. I agreed. The next morning, I got picked up by a tour guide lady in a sedan car. I got done with the palace early because it was very very hot and my daughter was starting to have a high fever. And also for the safety of my 1 year old daughter. We got in the car and thought we would be dropped off back at the hotel but NO, the tour guide kept insisting and demanding, and very rude at the end that we need to see some sort of crafts and gems factories and shops.
Be very very careful! Be super care if you are Lao citizens or Lao overseas.
is anyone still living in the floodarea, we are exchange students from Thammasat university, we are taking a class project, which is aimed to help the people suffering under the water. see our homepage on: http://on.fb.me/t2w7Ed
I have to share this story. This is really something serious and hopefully you can avoid this scenario.
As I have mentioned in my previous statements that reading travel blogs is one of the things i love to do during my free time. And I have read this same story I have experienced therefore I manage to escape and did the right move.
It was late evening in Patphong and me my boy friend wanted to spend the night in this known sex city. We go around the busy and full of neon lights streets and you can immediately notice sex workers and go go dancers outside the bars. Its one of the entertainment attractions in Bangkok making it so famous for being the Sex City. There are several fixers who will approach you and worst even drag you inside their bars. They are not an English country so they won't even bother to say Hi or Hello and would just drag you. All you need to say is "NO. THANK YOU" if you want to refuse!
A man approached us with his small placard saying "BEER for 100 Baht only". He did a lot of sales talk about the go go dancer and the "live show". We went with him since he told us there is no entrance fee and all we need to pay is 100 Baht per beer. Not bad at all!
So went with him, going way on the 1st floor then second floor... then 3rd floor... ITS DIRTY WAY UP... then 4th floor.
We enter and saw the real Bangkok at night! Now wonder its called Sex City. I can't discuss the full details of what I saw but its definitely DIFFERENT. Only in Bangok I suppose.
A group of 3 or 4 ladies approached us immediately and offered a beer. We asked for 2. Remember we are gay, so I am not interested to them at all. Hahahha!
After 5 mins I said I want to go out! I don't like it anymore. The 4 girls stand up and block my way out. I wonder why and look at them strangely. One girl said "SIT DOWN"! I said wow! All I need to do is get out because I do not like the place but here comes a stranger doesn't allow me to.
I sat down and feeling so strange. And that moment of time, I recall the blog I read. This must be the story I read. So all I wanna do now is get out.
The 4 girls blocking my way was now 6 girls! Hahaha this is funny but really scares me. I don't know whats happening so I said I want to go out and asked for the bill. One girl pointed the cashier area but still blocking the door way out with 5 others.
When I was about to pay the beer (2 bottles) supposedly for 200 Baht, the cashier handed me over the bill and I was shocked. Here's the bill.
Entrace Fee 1,500.00 Baht
Blah blah 500 (Blah blah blah fee... I don't remember the charges listed)
So I freak out and said "I thought its gonna be 100 baht per beer only and no entrance fees and other hidden charges". They don't speak english so the only thing she was trying to say is PAY ME PAY ME!
I don't wanna pay that much cause that's not what the fixer told us. We were arguing but its no where to go because they can't understand my english. She was trying to contact someone in her cellphone and group of go go dancers approached us held us so we can't escape.
That time, it feel so disgusted! My friend wanted to pay all but I stand strong and fight what is right. I told him to stay foot behind me. Do not be afraid and i'll argue more. The cashier told me that someone is coming up stairs, i think a police officer. That triggers me to decide, I held my friends left arm and shouted RUN! RUN! RUN! (hahahahahaha) that experience was totally frightening. We run down from 4th floor to the ground floor in just few seconds.. Taking 3 stairways steps at a time. At last we were out and far from the bar but we noticed several finger marks (some marks are really deep and reddish)
Again, this scenario was all in the blogs I read. But what I read was extremely frightening. The blogger said he waited for the police thinking he might get it fixed. However, It end up worst cause the police and 2 other men continuously hit him and drag him downstairs. Left him outside the bars bloody! He didn't complain and went home straight to his hotel with his wrecked shirt and bloody nose and extreme marks.
So you have to be careful in Patphong! Your dream vacation may end up a bad dream. SO DO NOT GO UPSTAIRS!
Saongkran Festival can be witnessed at its best at Khaosan Road, startong from 12th April till 15th but can cuase great damage to your eyes so Be careful and wear Googles or Sun Glasses while out there having fun and stay safe.
Report Published on 4th April 2009- Bangkok Post
Revellers run the risk of serious eye damage, including blindness, from the majority of high-pressure toy water guns sold during the Songkran festival, according to a Royal College of Paediatricians survey.
Most water pistols could damage eyes if fired at close range. Young children are most vulnerable to injury and blindness, said paediatrician and head of Mahidol University's Child Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Research Centre, Adisak Phalitphonkarnpim.
Bangkok hospitals have reported several cases of blindness resulting from people being shot in the eyes with powerful water guns, he said.
The college's research found that 14 out of the 17 water guns tested could tear an aluminium foil sheet when fired at a distance of 50cm.
Eight out of 14 could tear the foil from 100cm. Around one in eight could pierce the aluminium sheet from as far away as 150cm.
Aluminium foil, similar to human eyes, can resist pressure equivalent to a 30-gramme object falling from a height of 50cm.
The study was based on Australian toy water gun safety standards.
Dr. Adisak said the study showed legally sold water guns were potentially more harmful than banned squirters made from PVC pipe.
The report will be submitted on Tuesday to the Thai Industrial Standard Institute panel overseeing the safety standards of toys, to review its ban on PVC-pipe water guns.
The ban was first imposed in 2003, following complaints about the potential dangers they posed when fired directly at people and moving motorcycles.
Many traders said that the ban hurt their sales.
This warning is especially for guys - the spiked drink trick. I travelled a few days with a guy from israel who got his drink spiked by two ladies (teachers they said) that he had met while visiting a temple in Bangkok. Afterwards they went for an innocent drink together, then he invited them to dinner... While eating something was poured in his drink, the guy fell asleep and when he woke up the following morning, in a dodgy guesthouse, all his money and camera had vanished... and so had the ladies
Article Publied in Bangkok Post 27 March 2010
Tens of thousands of taxis roam the streets of Bangkok at any given time of the day or night.
They compete for the right to service passengers, which is good in that it offers more choice.
However, many observers believe that overall service standards have declined since deregulation of the industry ushered many more taxis onto city streets.
Before 1992 the number of cabs in Bangkok was capped at 13,500 vehicles for fear the streets would become too clogged.
Under this strict limitation, taxi registration plates were like gold, costing even more than the cars for anyone wanting to enter the business.
But as the city's population grew, the government came under pressure to lift the limit.
Since the industry was deregulated in 1992, the Land Transport Department has registered 80,000 taxis, of which 60,000 are constantly on the move to find passengers.
This free-for-all policy ended the problem of insufficient taxis, but in the process created new ones.
In the past the behaviour of drivers could be better kept in check by the department because there were fewer taxis and they tended to be more established. It's not the case today. The number of drivers and vehicles has grown far beyond the capability of the department to monitor them.
With it has brought crime and unethical practices of unmitigated proportions, obliterating reports of honest and professional drivers.
In addition to waves of complaints about poor service and driving standards, many passengers tell horror stories of rape and robbery, while murder and extortion of foreign tourists is not unknown.
Topping the list of complaints to the department's call centre is the refusal of drivers to accept a fare.
Chairat Sa-nguanchue, the department's director-general, concedes there are just too many taxis for the agency to control. "The liberalisation of the taxi policy was successful in the sense that it led to new services. But other problems have arisen. And that has put Thai taxis far below the standard of taxis in other countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and England," Mr Chairat says.
The new services include a requirement for fares to be charged by meter instead of the old practice when passengers had to bargain with the driver. A vehicle's lifespan is set at nine years to force old taxis off the roads. The regulations apply to the main yellow and green taxis driven by the owners as well as taxis of other colours run by small firms on a cooperative basis. Each cooperative has a different colour.
Qualified drivers are required to be at least 25 years old, possess a public transport driver's licence, learn the code of conduct and receive training on taxi driving skills. But many companies ignore the rules as they are desperate to find anyone who is available to drive their vehicles rather than leave them sitting idle and losing money in a garage.
The Siam Taxi Cooperative estimates that only half of all drivers are qualified. "Many owners do not ask for a licence and other information from those coming to rent their cars because they fear losing money," said Siam Taxi chairman Vitoon Naewpanitch, who drives as well as runs a taxi business.
One of the main problems is that many drivers will refuse a fare if the destination is clogged by traffic because they know the authorities will not go after them for breaking the rules, he said.
It is the duty of the department to make sure the rules are adhered to. Mr Chairat said officials are regularly sent to monitor firms and individual owners. But with a task force of just 80 officials, it is impossible to undertake thorough checks.
Taxi drivers who fail to meet the requirements are blacklisted and their cooperatives receive a warning before action is taken, including the most severe measure of a complete ban on its operations, he said.
When a crime is committed in a taxi, police from all units are required to help the department as its officials have no arrest authority. "This problem needs the cooperation of all agencies."
A new meter to be installed in taxis was launched this year and the department is hoping it will kill the practice of drivers using longer routes to pad out fares. The meter will issue a receipt with the fare, distance and time of the ride.
The department once floated the idea of installing a driver compartment in the taxis for the safety of passengers and drivers, but it faced strong opposition from taxi firms which did not want to invest more in their vehicles.
Mr Vitoon said the department alone cannot tackle the problem of ruthless drivers and poor service.
Jear Youtamnat, a veteran driver who was plying his trade before liberalisation policies were introduced, bemoaned the falling driving standards. "Part of the problem is they compete fiercely for passengers as there are too many taxis in Bangkok now," the 63-year-old said. "Unlike the old days, now there is no sympathy, even among drivers themselves," he said.
Very steep and narrow steps lead to a balcony high on the central tower of Wat Arun. Take care when going up and coming back down. Everybody was having difficulty with them when I visited so please take care.
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