As promised, here is an update of the present tourism situation in Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi with regards to ferry travel following the army coup that took place on Thursday 22nd May, 2014.
With mixed emotions on Thursday, the citizens of Thailand and the thousands of tourists to this wonderful land, saw the army move the country from martial law to a fully fledged coup. As this happened, our staff at PhuketFerry.com naturally began to receive lots and lots of anxious phone calls and emails from ferry travelers, asking us if ferries would still be traveling, what was to be expected, and was there any safety issues for Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi and Koh Lanta tourists. As such, we at PhuketFerry will try to keep you updated with the latest information, starting with this news post.
Firstly, and most importantly, this national coup has every chance of being a peaceful one. Thai citizens have been hoping and rallying for a change in the government and for amendments to the democratic system for some time. All current information is pointing to the fact that the army is taking strong steps to create a more robust democracy that in the main eliminates the chance of internal corruption. The current mood amongst the people is that this is a good thing, although of course there have been stories of political protesters engaging with soldiers in Bangkok nearby the government buildings.
Whilst there is the unsettling feeling of change in progress on a political level, we acknowledge that our job at PhuketFerry
is not to delve deep into the what and why of the politics. We are simply here to provide information about the ferry situation and the prospects for tourists in Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi, Koh Lanta and Railay. With this being so, we worked quite diligently to contact all of our ferry operating partners from Phuket to Phi Phi to Krabi and got information direct from the people who know.
The good news is that all ferry operations are as normal. All of our partners expressed their assurances 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.
This information was given by all of our partner operators, and we see absolutely no reason to doubt their word. Over the years, we have come to know our operators well, and are in a situation to be able to share up-to-date information direct from the key people, which we will continue to do if the situation changes. But thankfully, we can report that all is well!
Our next question to our partners was; "To your knowledge, is there likely to be any effect on the destinations that your ferries travel to?". Again, the resounding response was that there will be no major effect on any of the destinations (Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi, Koh Lanta, Ao Nang, or Railay Bay). However, there 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. No PhuketFerry trip falls inside these curfew times.
- Thailand's Tourism Authority (TAT) advised tourists to stay away from rally sites in Bangkok only, 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 in Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi 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. One operator said "Don't worry at all. Just spend your days as you normally would and enjoy your holidays". Another ferry operator gave youy these assuring words; "Here in the area of the Andaman Sea, there is almost no effect on ferry or tour operation from the coup, so you can come and enjoy your holiday here as usual."
The above messages have been the response of almost every travel and tour operator across the Andaman region since the coup began. Of course, it is natural for travel and tour agencies to be anxious about impending cancelations and tourists diverting to other nearby nations to keep clear of potential troubles.
However, we at PhuketFerry 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 Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi 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,
PhuketFerry Travel Team.http://www.phuketferry.com/