Violence in Bangkok: Is Khao San Road safe for tourists?

For up-to date information about the situation in Bangkok, see my current events blog.


Andrew Walker of New Mandala:
There were more shrines and pools of blood at the entry to the haven of bohemians the world over, Khao San Rd. itself. That image of the road- the most desolate and empty I have ever seen it, blocked off by bullethole-ridden vehicles and makeshift barricades, will never leave my head, and nor would the sight of the bewildered tourists picking their way through the rubble, pulling their suitcases along behind them, clearly having gotten off the plane only hours earlier and wondering just what they had gotten themselves into.


Original Post
There were violent clashes at Democracy Monument, a stone's throw from Khao San Road, the famous backpack district of Bangkok.
  • Twitter:  Report that the whole Bangkok Sky Train network is now closed. Rama VIII Bridge (inbound) is closed. Expressway – Ploenchit & Yomraj exits closed. 
  • Twitter/Bethany Shandark: "Hundreds of rounds being fired near Khao San Road in Bangkok right now."  (see below).
  •  Thai faq "Considering the violence tonight I was amazed to see so many tourist. Some were actually posing for pictures as the army was shooting  "
  • Twitter photo by George:  "The scene just off Khao San Rd, reds and soldiers staring at each other."   Another photo he took shows "Army helicopter flying over Khao San road - not a sight you see every day." 
  •  Journotopia's twitter feed is must-read:  "Barricades going up at Khao San. Reds preparing for soldiers' return. Several pools of blood on road.... Don't listen to bland Thai govt reassuarances. Khao San is a dangerous place. I've seen 2 tourists with injuries...  Khao San lis shuttered up, red shirts everywhere.    It looks like a warzone...  Pitched battles in streets around Khao San. Tourists ducking for cover. A red shirt with an AK47.   Scenes of chaos at Khao San. Tourists tell me they saw horrific inuries, an old man with an eye hanging out."
For more complete insight into today's events, see this post.

 Bethany Shondark's  entire twitter feed from this evening is astounding .   Bethany refers to herself as a "...Native NYer; Rutgers grad. Teaching in Cambodia."  She tells what it is like to be on Khao San Road.

  • More ambulances going towards khao San road with sirens. Seems army has retreated.
  • I'm still safe and it seems things are calming down? 
  • Really scared after reading @journotopia tweets from a block away. [Journotopia is quoted above]
  • Two huge tanks have driven past my hotel from khao San road area. Sounds like opposition has control of it now. 
  • Military has moved from outside our hotel and red shirts are driving in both directions outside. Haven't heard gun fire in a while.
  • It sounds like the fighting is coming from the middle of backpacker's haven Khao San Road. Praying for people there. 
  • Screams, sirens, tanks. These are the sounds of Bangkok currently. 
  • Soldier carried from in front of our hotel on a stretcher.
  • Ambulances and riot police and red shirts running around outside hotel. Gun shots and sirens all over and getting closer.
  • Military fast on the move outside our hotel. Now hearing gunshots very close.
  • we're locked in our hotel and riot police are outside. There's shooting coming from all sides.
  • Gun fire all across city near Khao San Road. BBC said the army is going to stand down. Doesn't sound like it. 
  • There is something major going on in Bangkok. Hearing firing everywhere. Um this is scary. 
  • Fighting getting closer. Military running around in front of hotel, seems they are surrounded. 
  • Gun fire on all sides of my hotel. Army is parked outside and we hear booms and gun shots across city. 
  • @lynngg yup. Ran into hotel lobby as the shooting started. 
  • @CWJonesIII don't know. Walked outside and was on street when it started. I ran and my friend dropped to the ground.
  • Not everyday you find yourself running away from gunfire....
  • @bangkokpundit army just opened fire outside de moc hotel in bangkok 
  • @CWJonesIII can't leave my hotel 
  • Tear gas has been fired. Shooting has been non stop since my first tweet.
  • I have never ran so fast. Still listening to gunfire in hotel lobby.
  • Hundreds of rounds being fired near Khao San Road in Bangkok right now. 
  • Was walking outside to get dinner and walked onto street as gunfire began. Ran inside with 100 other people.
  • @tekhelet the soldier thought I was taking pictures of his butt.
  • what possibly is the strategic value of taking over Khao San Road? (via @EverywhereTrip)
  • Spoke too soon. Military marching past en masse. Not sure if they are retreating. Loudspeakers coming from khao San.


  1. There have been reported crimes such as snatching of things from that place. But in all, it is a safe place. The local government has done a good job on increasing the security within the place.

  2. Things like this can't be foreseen that's why they should always be cautious always.