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Thailand protests spark travel alert from US: What Friendly Planet travelers need to know

This post has been updated here.

We have been posting regular updates on the blog about the political situation in Thailand, keeping you informed on what has been taking place. The situation changed over the weekend, and I wanted you to know what you should do and how we are handling it.

The safety of our travelers is one of our prime concerns, so we reacted immediately to the situation. Here is the e-mail we sent to all of our travelers who have booked a tour to Thailand. It explains what has happened and what we are doing to accommodate each traveler.

If, after reading it, you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly or post a question here on the blog.

Dear Friendly Planet Thailand Travelers,

Like us, you have no doubt been following the unfolding drama in Bangkok. We have posted regular updates about the situation on our blog, and until this past weekend, the situation was peaceful despite the growing numbers of protesters. Unfortunately, as we now know, violence erupted during the weekend causing some deaths and injuries. This is truly not in character with the Thai people, who have a history of expressing their dissatisfaction with their government through marches and demonstrations but not violence.

These are the facts as we know them at this moment. According to our representatives on the ground in Bangkok, the outbreaks of violence have occurred in a small part of the city and did not spread to other areas. While the protesters have not yet dispersed, the city appears to be calm, although many people are shocked and saddened that such hostile acts could occur in their midst. Both sides of the dispute are now in talks to try and resolve the impasse, and we are hopeful that a solution will now be found so that no further violence will occur.

This coming week, Thailand will celebrate a national holiday and many people are away. The streets are relatively quiet, and all tourist sites, hotels, restaurants, shops and businesses are all open as usual. The US Department of State has issued a travel alert about the situation. While the alert describes the situation, it does not ask travelers to refrain from visiting Thailand. In fact, the alert states that Thailand is usually a very safe tourist destination and only asks that visitors take extra precautions to avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place. Please follow the link to read the entire text of the alert.

Under the circumstances, we want to make sure that you are comfortable in knowing that all options are available to you, from going forward with your plans to canceling your trip without penalty. Please consider the following options for travel to Thailand between April 12 and April 23:

  • You may proceed with your trip as planned. If, when you arrive in Bangkok, the situation has not stabilized, our representatives will offer a revised program outside of Bangkok. Details of this alternate program will be made available upon arrival.
  • You may switch to another date of the same trip. No change fees will apply should you select another departure. However, the tour price in effect for the new dates will apply. That is, if your tour price is presently $1500 and the new date price is $1800, your balance due will be $300. If your new date price is $1300, you will receive a refund of $200.
  • You may cancel your Thailand tour and apply your tour payments to a different Friendly Planet tour. Again, the tour price of the new tour will apply.
  • You may cancel your tour without any cancellation penalties whatsoever, even if tickets have already been issued.

For departures after April 23, we do not as yet have a ruling by the airline or hotels regarding penalties. It is believed that the situation will be calm by then, and no further cancellations will be necessary. However, if this is not the case and the situation remains volatile, we believe our suppliers will extend the grace period and waive penalties for departures beyond April 23.

Please notify us without delay about your wishes. You may call us (800-555-5765) or send us a message by email at (

Rest assured that your well being and safety is our primary concern. We are watching the situation carefully, and we will do everything possible to facilitate a proper and positive outcome for all our travelers. If you have questions or need further clarification or information, contact us so we can help.

If you want to be the first to find out about Friendly Planet news, we will be introducing a new feature that will let you sign up for e-mail notifications. Once it is in action, I will tell you about it here.


  1. Anonymous

    Protest doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Pro-government now are rallying as well against the red shirts. We’re booked on April 28th departures. Does the currently available options apply to us? If not, how soon do we know when these options becomes available?

    A taste of Thailand 28th April

  2. You’ll be notified immediately if these options become available to you.

    We do not have a ruling by the airline or hotels regarding penalties for departures after April 23. If the situation is not resolved by then, we believe our suppliers will extend the grace period and waive penalties for departures beyond April 23, including your trip.

    Stay tuned for updates.

  3. Anonymous

    I appreciate your interest in keeping the trips going, but we have booked our honeymoon at this time. A last minute cancellation gives us almost no time to find an alternative to what was supposed to be a once in a lifetime experience. Surely you can provide more than a few days or week notice. When do you think we will know something substantive?

  4. Anonymous

    Based on the last update it looks like you will notify the people who are traveling to bangkok for your 28th departure from LAX on April 23. This will put us in a predicament as 23rd is a Friday, and we will be flying to LA on the Monday which is the 26th. And I know Friendly Planet doesn’t open weekends. Can you possibly give us more notice or we (along with many customers who are not from LA) will be in LA by then.

  5. Anonymous

    I hope we know about the April 28th trip ASAP too.

  6. Please call us (800-555-5765, ext. 202 for Trae Roberts, Reservations Manager or ext. 204 for Peggy Goldman) to discuss how we can help you resolve this problem.

    As of this moment, we feel the situation is slowly resolving itself. We fully expect that our April 28 departure will proceed as scheduled (I’ll post an update on this shortly).

    Please be assured that all of us at Friendly Planet are ready to do whatever it takes to make sure your honeymoon isn’t spoiled, so give us a call to review all the options.


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