Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for tourists and digital nomads all over the world, with Chiang Mai being considered one of the hottest hubs for digital nomads nowadays. However, things might have taken a wrong turn today as the Thailand officials announced that the country’s King, Bhumibol Adulyadej has died on Thursday, October 14th 2016.
But why would the death of the country’s king have any repercussions over the life in Thailand and most importantly, why would it affect tourists traveling to or digital nomads currently in Thailand?
Well, the situation is a bit more complicated than it sounds. First of all, King Bhumibol Adulyadej – who is also the world’s longest serving monarch – was beloved and respected by the entire country and was considered the person that held the country together. Following his death, the government has officially announced that an year-long mourning period begins in Thailand, with a 30-day moratorium on state events begining today, Friday October 14th.
The government also urged all tourists and foreigners to “dress appropriately” for the mourning of their King and nobody should take this lightly as Thailand has very strict laws against those disrespecting the Royal family.
Thai government announced that restrictions on entertainment venues and tourist attractions will be in place, including restaurants, bars and shopping areas. There are reports that the redlight districts in Thailand will be closed indefinitely as well.
However, these might not be the biggest problems digital nomads and tourists could face in the country.
Both British and Australian embassies (for now as probably more will follow) urged their citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in the country due to the possibility of civil unrest and even terrorist attacks, according to Daily Mail. The possibility of a military coup is not excluded either.
Is Thailand dangerous right now?
I am not currently in Thailand, but after talking with several digital nomads living in the Chiang Mai area, it appears that no visible changes were made and life is following its natural course today. Of course, it’s still early and shops, restaurants and other places might be shut down or restrictions could apply. However, there’s no sense of real tension in the country and apparently not among the locals either.
There are people who believe that even the possibility of civil unrest or the military trying to grab the power in the country is very unlikely during the first 30 days of mourning. Things might change in the near future, though, with the first 3-4 months after the mourning period being considered critical.
So if you don’t want to risk anything (especially if you saw the movie No Escape), you should have at least 30 days to move away from Thailand for a while or make different plans if you’re not there already. However, I repeat – most of the people I am in contact with are not worried at all at the moment. Tourism and the large expat / digital nomad communities in Thailand offer important boosts to local economy – and this is something that both the government and its opponents are well aware off, so it’s highly unlikely that the country will cut off the income generated by the foreigners by forcing them out.
Are you in Thailand right now? Can you share your thoughts with us on this matter and especially let us know if there have been any changes in daily life since the tragic event took place?