The Royal Thai Army have taken full control of Thailand, dismissing the government on Thursday 22nd May, 2014 16:30h local time. General Prayuth said in Bangkok today: ‘To restore peace back to the country in a short time and to reform the country’s politics, economy and society, the Thai military, army, navy, air force and police have seized power from May 22 onward”. The country is now being run by a body known as The National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC).
General Prayuth also said.“I ask the people to remain calm and carry on with their business as usual.” The Thai Stock Exchange rose 2.29 points, or 0.16%.
The coup follows the imposition of martial law on Monday. This is the 19th military intervention staged by the country’s armed forces since 1932. This afternoon, it is reported, that the leaders of seven political parties in Thailand are being held at a military camp. NPOMC has ordered protesters from all sides of the political conflict to end their protests and return home.
All indications seem peaceful but in then 2010 coup, there were disturbing gun battles.
TV and radio stations have suspended programming and are relaying the army’;s broadcasts. To date this consists of only playing music.
The army has imposed a nationwide curfew between the hours of 10pm and 5am. Travellers are not exempt from the coup. This will affect tourism significantly.
All major tourist attractions in the Thai capital, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Grand Palace and the Temple of Dawn, will be open normally during the day.
Restaurants, bars and markets will be affected by the curfew with many closing earlier than usual. If you are in Thailand, plan to get back to your hotel or apartment before 10pm. Taxis may be difficult to find after 9pm. The Skytrain and underground are closing at 9pm tonight.
Bangkok airport operates 24 hours a day with many flights arriving after 10pm. Phuket airport is currently closing between 1am and 7am for repair work.
Check with your airline for possible flight schedule changes. Passengers on flights leaving after 10pm are advised to get to their airport before the curfew imposition. Leave plenty of time as travel times by road may be impacted. Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is being guarded by 500 soldiers from the Royal Thai Army. The last time a curfew was imposed in 2010 coincided with the Icelandic volcano emergency and Suvarnabhumi Airport had a place for stranded tourists to stay in their basement.
You can call the Thai Tourist’s Friend Centres 24 hour telephone number: +66 (0)2 314 1212 (English) if you need help or advice. Websites and cell phones are operating normally in Thailand, although I have found the Bangkok Post and Suvarnabhumi Airport sites are loading slowly. Most foreign governments are updating their travel advice pages.
Make sure you are registered with your embassy and enjoy Thailand during the day!
Here’s to a peaceful and swift resolution for the “land of smiles“.
All views in this blog, as always, are mine and mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer.