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How Bangkok Hotels Are Impacted By Ongoing Protests

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  Site Where: Bangkok, Thailand
January 30, 2014 at 9:00 AM | by | Comment (1)

Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok

You will have likely seen the recent news coverage of ongoing unrest and anti-government protests in Bangkok, including the state of emergency declared last week. The Thai capital is one of the coolest cities in Asia, and a crazy good destination for awesome hotels at great prices, so it's always been on our list of places we recommend going to.

But what about now? How does the current situation impact Bangkok hotels and how are they dealing with it? We reached out to a few to see what’s what.

First of all, both Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Muang Airport (DMK) are open as normal, and the government has opened Tourist’s Friend Centers at both and key places in town to offer support to travelers.

The airport rail link, BTS Skytrain and MTR public transport are up and running; they will also be less impacted by traffic and potential road closures. All major tourist attractions (the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Temple of Dawn) are also open.

Equally, hotels in general are fully operational. Riverside hotels – those that line the banks of the Chao Phraya River, including the Peninsula, the Shangri-La, the Millenium Hilton, and the Mandarin Oriental – have been least affected, as the protests are concentrated elsewhere. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok informed us that everything is business as usual, while regular updates are posted for the benefit of guests in the lobby.

Radjadamri Road, bordering the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, is an address shared by hotels such as the Grand Hyatt Erawan, Hansar, the St. Regis, and the Four Seasons. Speaking to Four Seasons Bangkok, the hotel is also operating as normal, with additional staff available at the airport to assist guests with transport into the city, and bulletins to keep guests informed displayed in the lobby and shared through social media.

Other hotels, like Sofitel Sukhumvit and Sofitel So Bangkok, gave us the same message: we are fully operational and monitoring the situation to ensure the safety of our guests.

Ultimately, everyone needs to make their own decisions, but being prepared before you go, and vigilant once you’re out there, is always important, so here are a few things to think about:

- Consult the travel advice provided by the US Department of State / the UK’s Foreign Office / your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

- Reach out to the hotel you are considering staying at and ask what advice and support they are offering to guests; you may want to consider staying at a higher-end / global brand property if it gives you access to a good concierge team

- Avoid any known protest areas, government buildings, and stay away from large crowds in general. Moods can change swiftly, so don’t get caught off guard

- Take the address and contact details of your hotel with you, as well as those for your Embassy in Bangkok, and know where to locate them on a map

If we hear anything new on the hotel situation in Bangkok, we'll let you know.

[Photo: JasonD]

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Use the Skytrain

Skytrain and Metro were working well last week, when I was in Bangkok, whereas road transport was being rerouted and was very slow. However, if your route requires changing train between routes, allow extra time for such changes as Makkas/Petchaburi as the way between the two stations can be crowded (not just protesters but also vendors' stalls).

Also worth considering as an alternative is the boat service on Khlong Saen Saab from near Wat Saket, out towards Chidlom and Petchaburi.

Finally - if you do get caught up in crowds, and can't find your way, just ask for help. Most Thais will gladly take time to assist you. Some will also take a little time to explain to you exactly why they are protesting.

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