Tourists urged to avoid travel to Bangkok
Grenade blasts in central Bangkok on Silom Road killed at least one person and wounded more than 80 Thursday night, prompting many countries to issue advisories against all essential travel to Bangkok. Among these are Japan, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.
"Due to escalating violence in central
Bangkok, all U.S. citizens should avoid nonessential travel to
Bangkok," says the U.S. advisory. "Those traveling outside of Bangkok in Thailand should be
aware of the possibility of disturbances elsewhere and should exercise
caution and good judgment... The possibility of more such attacks cannot be ruled out."
Silom Road is one of the city’s biggest tourist draws in Bangkok, an area filled with hotels, bars and street stalls as well as the infamous go-go bar filled Patpong Road. According to CNN reports, three of the grenades landed on the roof of Silom's busy Sala Daeng BTS Skytrain station, but at least one landed outside a nearby hotel, the Dusit Thani.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaungsuban told CNN the grenades were launched from the area where anti-government red shirts have been encamped for weeks, but the protesters denied any responsibility for the attacks.
The Dusit Thani remains open, hotel officials tell CNNGo, but say security has been increased to the highest levels, with check points at every entry to the property. Many hotels near the other key red shirt protest zone, Bangkok’s Rajaprasong intersection, are temporarily closed as demonstrations against the government there are still going on. These include the Four Seasons, the Grand Hyatt Erawan and the InterContinental. The area's upscale shopping malls, including CentralWorld and Siam Paragon, also remain closed on Friday.
Though most of Bangkok has been carrying on as normal, in spite of the prime minister declaring a state of emergency on April 7 and clashes between the government and red shirts that left about two dozen people dead and hundreds wounded on April 10, people in Bangkok are advised to avoid the Rajaprasong and Silom areas. Airports are open and protesters haven’t said they’ll occupy it, as their yellow-shirted political opponents did in November 2008.
The Thai Tourism Authority's Hotline and Call Centre, #1672, provides 24-hour service for foreign tourists and visitors to Thailand. For the latest on the situation, visit CNN.com.