Is it safe to visit Thailand?

Over the New Year a dozen bombs went off in Bangkok. On Sunday and Monday – this time during Chinese New Year festivities -- at least twenty-nine bombs went off throughout the four southernmost provinces of Thailand. It was the biggest single wave of coordinated terror bombings ever to hit Thailand.

Which brings us to a more specific question: at this time, how safe can it be to visit Krabi, Phuket, Koh Samui etc – fabled tourist destinations located just north of the four violence-prone provinces of Southern Thailand?

One approach to answer this question is by way of comparison with another prime tourist destination generally thought to be at high risk for further terrorist attacks: Bali. Bali has been attacked by Islamic terrorists twice: most horrendously in the fall of 2001 and yet again in the fall of 2005. Presently, I would suggest that visiting the Southern tourist islands of Thailand is at least as risky as touring Bali. The tourist infrastructure of Thailand is appalling vulnerable to terrorist attack; little if any security measures appear to be in place—not at the obvious places even! It would be relatively easy for terrorists to mount an attack should they choose to do so.

Because one might characterize the maliciousness of the violence in the Southern-most provinces as defying all rhyme and reason, nothing should be taken for granted. Caution is absolutely the watchword if you are planning to visit Thailand.

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