Thailand is known as ‘The Land of Smiles’ for good reason – the Thai people are among the friendliest & most helpful you will ever encounter on your travels.
As such, travelling in Thailand is not only easy but a lot of fun too. There are, however, some aspects of travelling in Thailand that you should consider in order to make your holiday not only memorable, but a safe and happy experience too.
General Precautions for your safety
Thailand is not a dangerous country to travel in, however, there are some minor annoyances which are quite common in certain places, especially Bangkok.
Tuktuks: The drivers of these motorised, three wheel taxis are notorious for their tourist scams in Bangkok. Offering to take travellers on a 20 baht tour of Thailand, they will instead take you from one commissioned location to another – none of which will provide you with much in the way of either sightseeing or enjoyment. If you travel by tuktuk, ensure you negotiate a price and a direct route to your destination before embarking on your journey.
Taxis: Use only metered, official taxis which are commonplace throughout Bangkok and some regional centres. In locations where metered taxis are not available, songtheows (covered pick up vehicles with two bench seats in the back) are the norm. If travelling by songtheow, negotiate the fare before embarking on your journey.
Money & valuables: Always ensure you keep your valuables in a safe place, either on your person or in the hotel safety deposit. Never leave valuables in your room while not present, or leave your luggage unattended.
Gems: Unless you know about gems, do not be tempted to purchase them in Thailand. The gem scam industry is well established and ready to prey on travellers who are looking for a good deal. If you really wish to purchase gems in Thailand, make sure you go to a reputable dealer.
Emergencies & Tourist Assistance
For English speaking assistance, during business hours phone the TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) in the area you are staying in (check with your hotel or guidebook for contact numbers). After hours, check with your hotel staff or contact the Tourist Police or local police station. Most hospitals throughout Thailand have 24 hour emergency departments.
Before travelling to Thailand, please ensure you have taken out appropriate travel & medical insurance, including additional cover for any expensive or luxury items.
Please note: The following information is intended as a guide only. You should consult your medical practitioner before leaving home. If you feel ill while travelling in Thailand, please seek the assistance of a qualified medical practitioner immediately.
Immunization: There are no prerequisite immunizations required before travelling in Thailand, however many people choose to immunize against certain diseases. Check with your medical practitioner before leaving home.
Medical Supplies & First Aid: It is wise to travel with your own basic first aid kit, including any personal medication, pain killers, antiseptic, insect repellent, plasters and a thermometer.
Medical Treatment: Pharmacies throughout Thailand sell many medical drugs and treatments without the need for a prescription. It is recommended, however, that you seek advice from a medical practitioner at either a clinic or hospital if you require medical treatment. Hospitals will treat even minor ailments and consultations are usually inexpensive.
Heat: It can take a while to acclimatize to the heat and humidity in Thailand. In the first few days, try not to over exert yourself and drink plenty of bottled drinking water. Wear loose, light clothing, preferably made from cotton and avoid being outside in the hottest parts of the day.
Insect-borne Diseases: Some species of mosquitos in Thailand carry the malaria and dengue fever diseases. Symptoms include: fever, chills, aches and pains and nausea. To avoid being bitten by mosquitos, wear long sleeved, light coloured clothing, especially at dusk and dawn, spray liberally with insect repellent and use mosquito coils and mosquito nets when available. Anti-malarial medication is a personal choice. Some travellers take it, some don’t. If unsure, consult your medical practitioner before departing on your holiday.
Cuts & bites: Due to the high humidity in Thailand, small cuts and bites can take longer to heal and can easily become infected. Treat cuts and bites with antiseptic cream and ensure you keep them free of dirt. If you fear infection, seek medical treatment.
Stomach upsets: Diarrhoea is a common complaint for travellers. To prevent diarrhoea and more serious stomach complaints, drink only bottled water, avoid re-heated food and exercise caution when eating food from street vendors. To treat diarrhoea, drink plenty of fluids supplemented with rehydration salts. Anti-diarhoea drugs are readily available throughout Thailand. If you suspect a more serious stomach condition, seek medical treatment.
Drinking water: Avoid drinking tap water in Thailand. Bottled water is readily available throughout the country. Bring your own drinking bottle if possible, or alternatively, seek out water refill stations in both Bangkok and at many resorts. If you don’t know if a water refill service is available, ask! You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain by showing your support for recycling.
Political and Social Situation in Thailand
Please take a look at your government’s website or contact them directly for current and up to date information on their recommendations for travel in Thailand.
Thai law prohibits the sale, purchase or possession of marijuana, heroin, opium and other ‘hard’ drugs. Although widely in use in Thailand, penalties are harsh, including life imprisonment and execution.
Female travellers are not likely to be harassed in Thailand, however, if travelling alone, it is a good idea to let somebody know your itinerary before you leave. In addition, use only metered taxis and beware when travelling alone at night.
Travelling with children
Travelling with children in Thailand can be a lot of fun. The Thai people love children and will shower attention on foreign children travelling in their country. This can initially be intimidating for some children (and their parents). The best way to handle this situation, if you find it all a bit much, is to smile and politely decline offers to hold, play with or feed your child. Of course, if you and your child like the attention, you will find instant playmates to keep your children entertained and give you a bit of free time.