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Rugby League World - April 2014
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Thailand

Safe to travel?

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#1 walter sobchak

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 02:29 PM

I was thinking of having 2 weeks in Pattaya(never been before) towards the end of march but with all the political unrest in the country and the mass protests in Bangkok I was wondering if it would be a good idea and safe? Has anybody posting on here or know anybody who's been to Thailand recently to put my mind at ease?

#2 Northern Sol

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 03:29 PM

I was thinking of having 2 weeks in Pattaya(never been before) towards the end of march but with all the political unrest in the country and the mass protests in Bangkok I was wondering if it would be a good idea and safe? Has anybody posting on here or know anybody who's been to Thailand recently to put my mind at ease?

I knew the country well as I lived there between 1997 and 1998.

 

It will be safe. Thais do not usually involve Westerners in their politics. It is not like the Middle East where either side will kidnap foreigners to try to get some kind of ransom or leverage. They see us as "neutral".

 

I would imagine that the protests will be in the centre of Bangkok and the rest of the country will be largely unaffected.

 

Thailand sometimes has a reputation for violence i.e. Western tourists going missing but there is very little random violence in the country. There is a lot of specific violence but generally speaking unless you look for trouble, you will not find it.

 

I've not been to Pattaya but it has a bad reputation in the rest of Thailand. It grew out of an America R & R base for soldiers fighting in Vietnam. The bar girl scene is consequently much bigger than the rest of Thailand (and it is not small there). There are a lot of Russian gangsters based there (and their hookers as well), The sea is pretty pollluted and there are far better places in Thailand to go for a beach holiday.



#3 John Rhino

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 03:50 PM

I wouldn't recommend it either.

Thailand is such a fantastic country with wonderful people it seems a waste to go all that way just to spend it on a beach. No offence.

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#4 WearyRhino

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 05:20 PM

Pattaya is basically an open air brothel. There's generally only one class of tourist who go there. I'd seek out somewhere a little more fragrant if I were you. If you want a beach holiday try one of the Islands.

#5 Jeff Stein

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 01:40 AM

If you haven't bought your ticket, I would wait and see how it goes after the election tomorrow.



#6 Bob8

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 09:34 AM

I knew the country well as I lived there between 1997 and 1998.

 

It will be safe. Thais do not usually involve Westerners in their politics. It is not like the Middle East where either side will kidnap foreigners to try to get some kind of ransom or leverage. They see us as "neutral".

 

I would imagine that the protests will be in the centre of Bangkok and the rest of the country will be largely unaffected.

 

Thailand sometimes has a reputation for violence i.e. Western tourists going missing but there is very little random violence in the country. There is a lot of specific violence but generally speaking unless you look for trouble, you will not find it.

 

I've not been to Pattaya but it has a bad reputation in the rest of Thailand. It grew out of an America R & R base for soldiers fighting in Vietnam. The bar girl scene is consequently much bigger than the rest of Thailand (and it is not small there). There are a lot of Russian gangsters based there (and their hookers as well), The sea is pretty pollluted and there are far better places in Thailand to go for a beach holiday.

I have read about the politics there and end up bewildered.  Any chance of a simple break down, or is it just not simple?  It seems to be urban snobby progressive vs rural (as a huge generalisation), almost like an extreme version of Republicans vs Democrat (see, I told you it would need to be a noddy version).



#7 WearyRhino

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 10:03 AM

I have read about the politics there and end up bewildered. Any chance of a simple break down, or is it just not simple? It seems to be urban snobby progressive vs rural (as a huge generalisation), almost like an extreme version of Republicans vs Democrat (see, I told you it would need to be a noddy version).


That's about it really. Political parties are very fluid too, established then disbanded or morphing into a new party. It is very presidential - parties usually form around a charismatic personality. Essentially, governments are run by personalities promising allegiance to the urban (relatively) wealthy or the rural farming poor punctuated by military coups - all of them professing deep love for the King.

#8 Northern Sol

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 12:39 PM

I have read about the politics there and end up bewildered.  Any chance of a simple break down, or is it just not simple?  It seems to be urban snobby progressive vs rural (as a huge generalisation), almost like an extreme version of Republicans vs Democrat (see, I told you it would need to be a noddy version).

Thailand is essentially like Victorian England in terms of society and the way that the economy functions. On the plus side Thailand has had double digit growth year on year (except when I was there!) since about WW2 and this has transformed the economy; on the downside it is not distributed evenly through society.

 

I think I paid something like 6% income tax while I was there, you can imagine just how many services the government provides with that. If you want hospital treatment then you'd better be able to pay because they will literally leave you to bleed to death outside if you can't.

 

It's very racially divided as well. The Thais were largely a rural people who grew rice and fished. Neither required a great deal of work aside from harvest time which I'm told is extremely hard. They have three rice harvests a year because it's a tropical climate. Back when the population was small, it sounded like a pretty good life as long as you don't get cancer. They have had a lot of difficulty adjusting to a late 20th / 21st century economy and its demands. 

 

Then there is the Chinese minority who run things. There has been a Chinese presence in Thailand and across South East Asia for a very long time but it became much, much bigger after the Chinese civil war. The nationalist Chinese in Eastern China escaped to Taiwan and those in Western China came to South East Asia. They are known as "the Jews of Asia" with all the associated stereotypes - sweatshop capitalism at its worst.

 

The politicians do very little for the poor and just leave the largely Chinese businessmen to make as much money as they can (as long as they get their kickbacks). There isn't really anything you could call a left-wing party in Thailand though Taksin's predecessor Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was popular with the rural poor on the grounds that they did slightly more for them than anybody else did despite being notoriously corrupt and incompetent. The king is the stabilising force in Thai politics, most people love him and it gets pretty sickening at times but he is old and will die soon. His son is a scumbag and unfit to be king.



#9 Northern Sol

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 01:18 PM

I'd also add that things tend to be geared towards Bangkok in a way that you would not find in a European country. Most European cities developed long before rapid transport and the Internet and thus most big European countries will have regional capitals that rival the actual capital - in the UK there is Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol etc. Most South East Asian countries only really experienced urbanisation from the latter half of the 20th century and thus have tended to develop one mega-city and little else, Bangkok is bigger than London but has no real rival other than Chang Mai and that's a one sided contest. 



#10 John Rhino

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 08:55 PM

Chang Mai is a lovely place. The night market is legendary.

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