GEORGE TOWN: Pope Francis’ scheduled visit to Thailand from Nov 20 to Nov 23 is expected to coincide with the high tourist season and Malaysians travelling to the country have been advised to exercise caution with regards to personal safety.
“November is a busy month in Thailand as many tourists visit Thailand during this time,” Malaysia’s Ambassador to Thailand Datuk Jojie Samuel told the New Straits Times.
“The embassy wishes to advise Malaysians to be extra careful and vigilant especially with their personal belongings and passports,” he said.
“Please also take care of your personal safety at all times.”
Samuel said the embassy often received reports of either lost or stolen passports.
“Malaysians are also advised to take travel or medical insurance while visiting Thailand even for a short period of stay,” he said.
“Please be respectful of the local culture, customs and religious sites.
“Please also be aware that Thailand has banned e-cigarettes and smoking at public beaches.”
For immediate tourist assistance, he said Malaysian tourists could call the Thai Tourist Police Hotline at 1155 or go to the nearest Thai Tourist Assistance Centre.
“In case of emergency (after office hours), please contact the embassy’s duty officer at: +668 7028 4659.”
The embassy’s address: 33-35 South Sathorn Road Tungmahamek, Sathorn Road, Bangkok
Telephone: +66-2-629 6800 (general line)
+66-2-629 6831/3904/4103/2304 (for consular matters during working hours)
Samuel said during his upcoming visit, Pope Francis would offer some of his characteristic gestures that had marked his pontificate.
“In a country where people spoke little about the Pope, the Vatican and Catholic Church, there is now more interest in them because of the “exemplary characters” of Pope Francis, such as humility and peace.
“Thus the papal visit will be a “good step forward” in terms of inter-religious dialogue.
“In this regard, the theme song composed for the papal visit speaks about love as a bridge to others,” he noted.
Catholics in Thailand and Japan have both released theme songs ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to their respective countries later this month.
In Thailand, Catholic singers have come together to make an official music video for the visit.
The video “Let Love Be the Bridge”, saw artists such as Christina Agilar, Tom Room 39, BNK48 and others collaborate to mark the first visit to Thailand by a pope since Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1984.
The video was released recently on Facebook and YouTube.