An understandable mix of anxiety and concern was felt by both Thai citizens and tourists coming to Thailand when national martial law quickly became a government coup on Thursday 22nd May, 2014 in Bangkok.
Our FerrySamui.com customer service agents were swiftly met with calls and emails from travelers around Koh samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, as well as Phuket, Bangkok and other places, with people wondering if their ferry travel plans were going to be canceled, diverted or postponed. Indeed, as the global media began ramping up their news coverage of Thailand's political events, it was hard for viewers and listeners not to feel a sense of impending trouble for the "nation of smiles" and this beautiful land. FerrySamui
endeavours to provide our readers, customers, and all ferry travelers around Samui, Phangan and Koh Tao especially, with up-to-date information and on the ground news that will help you to make your travel decisions early and with confidence.
We can firstly report that this national coup that has placed Thailand into the hands of the Thai army is extremely likely to be a very peaceful one. We can understand the very word "coup" can often throw a nation into dissaray and civil hostilities. However, in Thailand many have long been rallying for political change in the nation, and many thousands of citizens began to hold out hopes for a more robust democracy with the important checks and balances that would bring fairness to a nation so loved by its people. Of course, in a major political development such as this, there are advocates of different views, and protest scenes in Bangkok are not beyond the realms of possibility. But just as the coup that occured in 2006, it is very likely that peace will prevail in most tourist destinations and tourists can travel and enjoy Thailand to the fullest, while steering clear of the roads near the government offices in Bangkok.
At FerrySamui, we are committed to bringing you the best information we can regarding the ferries, the tours and the destinations (Samui, Phangan, Tao, Phuket, Bangkok, etc). We are more than comfortable to leave the why's of the current situation to the better resourced news agencies and information bureaus.
This being so, we contacted all of the ferry operators in and around Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, to find first-hand information in the hopes of assuring you, the travelers and tourists, so that you can hopefully take your ferry and enjoy your experience in the best way possible.
Firstly, the great news is that all of our partners assured us that no ferry will be canceled or rescheduled, and that every ferry trip booked will leave at the normal time and not be hindered in any way.
Of course, this is a huge source of comfort to anyone who has made (or is making) travel plans in the next few weeks. The information was given by all of our ferry partners, with each one of them very committed to increasing traveler confidence.
To the question; "To your knowledge, is there likely to be any effect on the destinations that your ferries travel to?", the overwhelming response was that there will be no major effect on any of the destinations apart from possibly Bangkok (see below)
. However, as of today, there are a few national guidelines that tourists have been asked to respect, which include the following:
- There will be a curfew between 10pm and 5am each day until further notice. This will affect the opening times of restaurants, bars, shops, convenience stores and tourist attractions that finish late / start early.
- There are some FerrySamui trips that operate inside these curfew times, but we have good information that scheduled travel between destinations during curfew times is permitted. There is simply the requirement for travelers to act responsibly and demonstrate travel documents if asked.
- Thailand's Tourism Authority (TAT) advised tourists to stay away from rally sites in Bangkok or any other rally site, as the army are sending in soldiers and vehicles with the intention of escorting protesters away. Gatherings of more than five people have been banned.
- Inside Thailand, various TV news agencies such as CNN, the BBC, and local news channels have either been taken off air or given strict guidelines not to sensationalise news stories or provide unchecked information.
We asked our ferry and tour partners, especially with respect to Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Phuket, Bangkok, and other FerrySamui destinations to give "any message that they would like to convey to people hoping to travel via ferry in the coming days and weeks"
, and the response was very reassuring.
To the question of whether any ferry routes would be canceled or rerouted, Michele Laneri of Seatran responded; "Absolutely not". He also relayed these words from his Bangkok office; "The situation in the capital continues to be quiet and normal, shopping centers, offices are open regularly and daily life go on regularly".
The above message has indeed been the overriding response, not just in the tourist regions, but even in Bangkok, where trouble has been only in a few spots near government offices.
Finally, we at FerrySamui would like to assure you; please continue to make your travel plans. We do not anticipate any army intervention on your ferry trips or in Samui, Phangan, Koh Tao, Phuket, or any other favourite tourist destination nearby. While it is important that you respect the desires of the current government by adhering to their guidelines, we believe that you are still going to have wonderful experiences in each destination that you travel to. In fact, the Thai people themselves appear very happy to help you understand what is going on, which is probably the best information of all. There is nothing greater than to see some of these islands close up for yourselves, to embrace the local Thai cultures that continue to thrive even when considering the political events in the capital city.
We promise to give you more updates if the situation develops, but in the meantime, please enjoy your vacation and feel free to travel to amazing places.
Blessings and best wishes,
FerrySamui News Teamhttps://www.ferrysamui.com/