Melburnians wary of Thai military coup, but still Bangkok-bound

Graeme and Vivian Smith at Tullamarine after checking in for their flight to Thailand.
Graeme and Vivian Smith at Tullamarine after checking in for their flight to Thailand. Photo: Ken Irwin

Graeme and Vivian Smith had less than four hours to decide whether to cancel their holiday to Thailand following the country's military coup.

The Taylors Lakes couple had already booked the two-week trip to a Pattaya resort, about 100 kilometres south of Bangkok, but discovered while packing on Friday that Thailand's military had seized power.

They still decided to go, but face a nationwide curfew, road checkpoints with armed soldiers, and city streets where gatherings of more than five people have been banned.

Sarah Lucas and Daniel Pope are cancelling their planned night out on their Bangkok stopover.
Sarah Lucas and Daniel Pope are cancelling their planned night out on their Bangkok stopover. Photo: Ken Irwin

"I'm a bit concerned," said Mrs Smith, 50, as the couple checked in for their flight from Melbourne Airport.

"We don't know whether or not our pick-up at the airport is still going to be there."

Mr Smith, 54, who works as an operations manager at Highpoint Shopping Centre, said they're also unsure if they'll try leaving the beach resort.

"We don't know. We'll play it by ear, I think, when we get there, " he said.

"We'll just see what other people are doing."

Other travellers boarding the same Melbourne flight expressed similar concerns.

Sarah Lucas and Daniel Pope, who was on his first overseas trip, planned on spending a night in Bangkok while returning from Europe.

"We won't leave the airport now," Ms Lucas said.

"I'm definitely worried, and our families are very worried. We wouldn't even risk it."

Mr Pope said: "It's a little bit daunting. I was looking forward to having one night there, but I'm a bit worried now. Should be all right, hopefully."

Flight Centre reported that few travellers to Thailand have been changing flights, however, and noted how past unrest in the country didn't have a big impact on tourism.

Many of the tourists leaving Melbourne hadn't considered postponing their trips, saying they were not overly concerned and wouldn't let it ruin their holiday.

"Not at all," said Shannyn Taylor, who was heading to Phuket for a week.

"I was over in Thailand about five years ago and there was unrest then."

steve.lillebuen@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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