Bangkok remains operational, despite a new wave of political protests designed to bring the city to a standstill.
On Monday 13 January 2014, anti-government demonstrators moved to new protest sites at seven key intersections in the Thai capital, with the aim of bringing traffic to a halt. Protesters converged at the Pathumwan, Victory Monument, Ladphrao, Chaengwattana Road, Silom, Asok and Rajaprasong intersections, blocking several key routes into the city. But the protests mostly passed off peacefully, and disruption to business and tourism was minimal.
In fact, while the protests were expected to see Bangkok’s transport network grind to a halt, they actually led to quieter roads and faster journey times. With many residents deciding to stay out of the city centre to avoid the potential disruption, Bangkok’s roads were relatively quiet on Monday morning – usually a busy time for Bangkok’s famously congested streets. The BTS Skytrain network was also operating an increased service to offset expected disruption on the roads.All flights at
Bangkok’s Suvarnabumi and Don Mueang airports operated as scheduled yesterday, and extra airport rail services were laid on to facilitate airport passengers impacted by the road closures. Airlines are also opening check-in counters up to four hours prior to departures to cater for possible disruption.
Protesters have warned however, that they could invade the offices of Thailand’s air traffic control operator, which could have a severe impact on air services.
But in the meantime at least, Bangkok remains open for business. As well as the airports and rail networks, all shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and spas remain fully operations, although some operating hours may change at short notice.
Demonstrations are expected to continue this week, as protesters continue their attempts to bring down the elected Thai government.
And while the situation remains peaceful and disruption minimal, visitors to Bangkok are advised to check with their airline and the Tourism Authority of Thailand for the latest updates.