The Telegraph has included Thailand in an article on "20 places which are among the most dangerous places to visit on Earth" [what a poorly written phrase], full entry for Thailand below.
Major political demonstrations and a temporary state of emergency have affected both of Bangkok’s airports. The area around Government House and nearby Ratchadamnoen “Nok” Road, including the area around Metropolitan Police headquarters and Parliament should be avoided. Fighting also broke out last month on the Cambodian border at Preah Vihear and tensions remain high. Civil unrest and frequent attacks continue in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla – the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to these areas.
So Thailand apparently enjoys a peer group which includes Iraq, Afghanistan, Burundi, The Congo, Zimbabwe, Lebanon...I could go on...
Thailand is no where near comparable to these places, the article is incredibly misleading. I am fully against the PAD but there is no immediate danger to tourists, assuming none try to tackle the situation directly. The problem, read 'danger', lies in the uncertainty behind the airport closes - it could be open tomorrow, or could stay closed for 2008...nobody knows.
The situation is now a stalemate between the Prime Minister, who cannot be seen to give in to the demands of the mob, and a (minority) mob that truly has nothing to lose and is hell-bent one thing alone - forcing the PM to resign.
With my Western hat on it seems impossible that this will go on any longer, but I'm quickly learning that Thailand is a law unto itself. Stranded tourists are finding ways to get out and get home but in defusing the situation it may become sustainable and longterm, causing Thailand to suffer massively (BoT has predicted a 40% drop in tourism should the airports now open until next year).
With the armed forces and police refusing to move in (the protestors are made up of families, with many women and children - see here for more) the immediate future is unclear but the damage to Thailand's tourism reputation continues to show no sign of abating.
Hat tip to The BANGKOK BUGLE for the article and taking the obvious headline.