On the 12th of April, Thailand's Prime Minister announced a state of emergency in Bangkok and nearby provinces in an attempt to control the "red shirt "protesters, after they surrounded and beat the car carrying the PM on Sunday afternoon.
The anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protesters, aka red shirt protesters, who are loyal to the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra(ousted in 2006), claim that the current government was not elected democratically, and demand that the current PM( Abhisit) resign and new elections to be held.
The state of emergency means that officials are allowed to arrest protesters without a court order, and also prohibits gathering of five people and more. Officials have been using tear gas, and warning gun shots in an attempt to disperse the protester, some injures and one kill were reported.
Why am I writing about this?
Well, because this maybe affecting our Thailand trip plans in five weeks,if we get to take that trip at all.
The US government has not issued any warnings yet, but the Australian, British, and Hong Kong governments issued a "consider your need to travel to Bangkok" warnings to its citizens.
So far, it seems like the situation is more stable in Chiang Mai, our main destination for this trip, and I would not mind cutting Bangkok out of our itinerary and staying in Chiang Mai the whole time. However, predictions of civil war, and airport closure are in the air. And we have to fly to Bangkok to get anywhere in Thailand.
Even though, the PM said the emergency situation is temporary and will get resolved shortly,we are concerned about being able to get to Thailand on May 16th, and being safe there. We are planning on waiting for a while and see what happens in the near future. I have a week cancellation policy for our lodging to avoid a one night charge to our credit card. The only things we paid for are our airfare ,and 50% deposit to our elephant camp adventure. The later has a two-week cancellation policy. Reports say that some airlines are refunding and/or exchanging tickets to Bangkok within the next two weeks due to the situation, and I believe our trip insurance should cover this,should we have to cancel our flight.
So financially speaking, I believe we are okay if we have to cancel our trip. Emotionally though, we would be bummed to say the least. We have been looking forward to this trip. Plus, the last thing the world needs is another war. So lets hope and pray this will end peacefully very soon.