Martial Law: a New Tourist Attraction in Thailand!

Thailand’s military coup back in May led to quite a bit of concern and uncertainty for tourists. Indeed, tourism is down year-over-year.

My own take at the time was that coups are fairly common in Thailand, as are political protests, and historically outsiders have been quite safe. I will be in Bangkok shortly.

The current Thai government sees martial law as something that should benefit tourism! Come visit our temples, our spas, and come see martial law!

Officials in Thailand say they are preparing to add martial law to a list of tourist attractions, reports suggest. This follows calls by local tourism groups which insist that martial law needs to be lifted in order to halt the decline in the number of visitors to the country.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is preparing a campaign called 24 Hours Enjoy Thailand to attract foreigners to visit the country under martial law, says TAT governor Thawatchai Arunyik. According to the official, martial law actually benefits tourism because it ensures that foreigners are safe round-the-clock, Khao Sod newspaper reports.

“We want the tourists to be confident that they can travel in Thailand both day and night with safety at all times,” Thawatchai Arunyik said, adding that he hopes to promote this concept by creating a “buzz” on social media.

(HT: Michael W. Travels)


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Was in BKK during the coup and been back once since the coup. Everything is normal…most Thai people don’t even consider it a concern.

  2. I was in BKK in 2008 just after the 1st coup. The Palace was ringed with tanks and soldiers. Tourists loved it, we got our pictures taken by the soldiers with my wife and I sitting on the tanks with M16’s in our hands (for a dollar lol). The biggest problem was the General who complained about the topless dancers who were using the tanks as stages. He ordered the soldiers to quit this practice because he had complaints from families. So they had to wear tops after that but they could still dance on the tanks.
    Yes martial law in Thailand is not anything like most people expect. But the opposition did have those pesky slingshots.

  3. Its really a shame that visitors to this blog think that the causes or these political revolutions and revolts are kinda of a joke, there are serious class issues beneath the tall gleaming skyscrapers of BKK and serious political repression and murder occurring to keep the system of repression going. Its also a bit racist with the tone from the bloggers of “oh these little brown people are just revolting over little clown politicians” again. People are revolting over serious issues that effect their working lives. Visiting a place with martial law, is a serious decision, supporting a regime that oppresses its people should be undertaken with serious consideration of the consequences of your actions. IF you support global trade, human rights and peace then certainly you would not have considered a visit to Hitler’s Germany, Franco”Spain or Stalin’s USSR and perhaps not Thailand today.

  4. i was there 10 days ago. it was perfectly fine. barely saw any police or military anywhere. the weather was actually (relatively) nice too, especially at night.

    also stopped over in hong kong at the height of the protests and (away from the sites) you wouldn’t even have known there was such a huge demonstration going on. the only clue was the streets were noticeably quieter than usual.

  5. @so sad nobody mentioned anything about “brown” people please stop projecting your own racism onto Gary and other bloggers. That being said, I must admit there is a part of me that would like to see Gary handcuffed face down on a Thai boulevard with a miltary boot to his neck, his beady little eyes filled with fear while he breathlessly mouths “help me” to gawking tourists. Come to think of it a photo of that would be an awesome entry into the flexperks travel photo contest!!

  6. Whoa! Lighten up!

    A). Don’t shoot the messenger. Gary said nothing about Approving/disapproving of the coup– he merely reported the odd phenomenon of the government citing martial law as a positive. And he stated the fact that coups have occurred periodically, often, in Thailand, and tourism hasn’t been affected.

    B). It’s pretty sick to wish fascism personally on our host, isn’t it? Discourteous hardly describes it; I think you need to either apologize publicly or seek professional help for your problem.

    Merry Christmas to you, too.

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