Image: The Guardian
The management, staff and customers of Mad Monkey Hostels Cambodia offer our sincerest condolences to the families of those killed and injured in the attack on The Erawan temple in Bangkok.
We offer our condolences and sympathy to The Royal Government Of Thailand and its people that have suffered during this dreadful attack. We strongly condemn the attack and we pray for a speedy recovery of those that are injured.
The following is a consolidation of information and advice from a number of authoritative new sources and government websites designed for our customers and backpackers who are considering travel to Bangkok or who may currently be in Bangkok.
At around 7pm local time on the 17th of August a suspected pipe bomb was detonated in the Erawan Hindu shrine in the Chidlom district of Bangkok next to the Intercontinental Hotel. Currently the motivation for the attack has not been reported or confirmed. The Thai deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon told reporters: “We are not sure if it is politically motivated, but they aim to harm our economy and we will hunt them down.”
Currently 19 people have been confirmed dead and a further 123 are injured, the nationality of all of the victims has not been confirmed although they are thought to be mainly Thai visitors to the shrine, although one Chinese tourist and one tourist from the Philippines have been confirmed deceased. These numbers are expected to increase during the night as medical teams work to attend to the injured.
Victims have been evacuated to the many Thai hospitals in the area. There were reports of a further two devices being disarmed by Thai Police although this is yet to be confirmed.
If you are concerned about a family member or friend
If you are concerned about a family member or friend that was staying near the area try to contact them by email and telephone call before contacting your embassy.
If you cannot contact your loved one or relative by telephone or email then you should contact your local foreign office or your countries Embassy in Thailand. A list of embassies are available here list of Embassies in Bangkok
If you are currently backpacking or traveling in Bangkok
If you are currently traveling or backpacking in Bangkok please find the time to send a quick email home to your loved ones, or make a telephone call to let them know you are OK, this will reduce the information demand on your embassy and will assist them in finding and identifying those that are missing.
If you were planning travel to Bangkok or are currently backpacking in South East Asia please let your family know by email that you are safe and well, and where you are currently located. Families undoubtedly tend to panic in these instances, so a quick email informing them that you are OK will reduce the strain on your local Embassy in Bangkok.
What can you do if you are currently in Bangkok?
The most effective way you can be of use right now if you are in Bangkok is to answer the call for blood donations, Group A, Group B, Group O and Group AB donors are requested to come forward urgently. If you are one of these blood groups and can donate blood please contact the Thai Red Cross for more information.
Who planted the bomb?
The perpetrators of the attack have not come forward and no announcement has been made by any organization to claim responsibility for the attack.
A Muslim separatist insurgency has been active in the South of the country for some years, although there were no social media announcements made by any separatist or religious extremist group either prior to or post the attack.
At this point there is speculation that the bombing could also be the responsibility of Shinawatra supporters that are politically adverse to the military takeover of the government, this however does not initially seem to be a politically targeted attack as it was indiscriminate in who it targeted and could just as easily be the responsibility of lone attacker or a small unaffiliated group.
Authorities have requested calm and for people not to jump to conclusions until they have further information.
Are you safe in Bangkok?
After an attack like this it is normal for the police and military to increase security and oversight of main tourist sites. We should point out that over the years there have been large terrorist attacks in The United Kingdom, USA, Spain, France and many other countries, and your response should be considered accordingly.
Statistically you are still safer in Bangkok than many other countries, and your chance of being caught up in an attack is incredibly unlikely. If you are currently in Bangkok watch the news and follow the advice from your Embassy and the Thai authorities as it becomes available.
Authorities are not suggesting abandoning your trip to Bangkok, but simply following local advice and following police and authorities directions at key tourist areas in the city.
Police have requested that backpackers avoid the downtown area of the attacks and remain vigilant traveling through busy parts of the city, ensure that you report anything suspicious to police or security officers. Deciding to alter your travel plans can only potentially benefit the perpetrators of this attack and potentially excessively strain the transport and communications infrastructure of the city at this difficult time.
If you were planning to travel to Bangkok
If you are currently planning travel to Bangkok keep your options open and watch the news for updates, if you feel it is necessary to alter your travel ensure you have pre-booked travel tickets for travel and accommodation. Currently buses, trains and flights seem to be unaffected by the blast, although you should check with your travel operator.
Keep in mind that your insurance is unlikely to pay for any refund unless the Foreign Office for your country advises against travel to the destination concerned.
Please follow the advice and information as it is released by your Embassy and by the Thai Authorities. If you were planning to stay in the downtown area authorities have requested that tourists stay clear of this area for the next couple of days, if that is the case then please consider changing your accommodation area, or consider extending the stay in your current country until Thai Authorities issue further information.
Other areas of Asia
There are no reported security warnings for Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia or Vietnam at this time and travel advice to these destinations remains unchanged.
More information and news updates
The following links should provide useful for backpackers traveling in the area.
News as it happens from : The Telegraph / The Bangkok Post / The Independent
For Mad Monkey Customers
For customers that are currently staying with us at The Mad Monkey that would like to extend your stay or re-arrange your travel please contact the reception of the hostel first thing in the morning. Where possible we will find you alternative accommodation as available, and we will help you re-arrange any transport subject to the terms of the operator that you are booked with.