Located on Southeast Asia’s Indochina peninsula, Thailand is a beautiful and radiant country, rich in culture and buzzing with life. From its bustling city streets to its tropical rainforests, it’s a once in a lifetime destination with plenty to see.
Famous for its crazy moon parties and exotic sandy beaches, Thailand has something for everyone. Visit the country’s capital Bangkok for bustling city streets with miles of exquisite street food, or take a trip north to Chaing Mai and visit the iconic Wat Prathat Doi Suthep – Thailand will certainly spoil you for choice.
Thailand is an increasingly popular destination with tourists from all over the world, but is particularly frequented by travellers and backpackers. Fun and friendly it may be, but there are also some health precautions you should consider before travelling. We’ve put some advice together to help keep you safe on your trip.
Thailand is famous for its abundance of amazing and unique food stalls which fill the streets of Bangkok and its other wonderful cities. While most of this food should be safe for us to eat, it’s highly important to exercise caution here, and use your common sense.
Don‘t eat food that‘s been sitting out for long periods of time. Shop around and look for food that’s constantly being freshly produced. If you can’t see this happening, ask for the food to be freshly produced for you – good vendors won’t refuse to do this for you.
Choose to eat from the stalls that are the busiest and have the largest queues. These are more likely to be the known safe food stalls, and their high turnover means fresh, clean food will be constantly being produced.
Also use your common sense and pick out stalls that are clean looking and free from flies and other insects. Use antibacterial hand gel to clean your hands before meals and to wipe down eating utensils. Don’t drink the tap water. Although it’s not deemed unsafe for drinking, it’s better to err on the side of caution and opt for bottled.
The crime rate in Thailand is quite low, and most places are relatively safe to visit. However, like all major cities, there are some crimes and violent incidences. Make sure you don’t travel anywhere alone, especially at night. Try to move around in groups, the larger the better. If some of the group are staying back at the hotel, make sure you tell them exactly where you are going so someone always knows where you are.
When renting a car or scooter, some vendors will try to hold onto your passport until you return. Never willingly hand over your passport to anyone. If they insist, simply find another vendor.
Drugs, of any kind, are highly illegal in Thailand. Even possession of the smallest quantity can land you a lengthy prison sentence. Being under the influence is also considered carrying drugs, and Thai police reserve the right to take a blood or urine sample should they suspect you of taking any substances. Once you have been arrested for a drug related offence, the British Embassy cannot assist in getting you home. You will be convicted and sentenced in the city you were caught.
Don’t drink too much and forget where you are. Yes, Thailand has a low crime rate, but don’t make yourself an easy target. Thieves and violent people will typically look for travellers who are intoxicated and unable to fight them off.
Always carry the Thai Tourist Police generic phone number which is 1155. The Thai Tourist Police is a specialist, English speaking unit specifically trained to deal with incidents involving non-resident tourists.
The two main vaccinations advised for travel to Thailand are Hepatitis A and Tetanus. Hepatitis A affects the liver and is spread through contaminated food and water. The risks of contraction are higher in areas of poor hygiene and sanitation. Tetanus is spread through cuts and wounds to the body, and although most people have this vaccination as standard in the UK, a booster is recommended before travel to Thailand.
Other Vaccines to consider:
Cholera – affecting the small intestine, this disease is contracted from infected water supplies in countries with poor sanitation. Contraction is unlikely if practicing good levels of hygiene, although a vaccination is available.
Hepatitis B – spread mainly through infected blood (contaminated needles) and sexual intercourse. Unprotected sex, tattoos, piercings and dental work should be avoided.
Japanese Encephalitis – a rare but serious disease spread by mosquitos that breed in rice paddies. Risk is higher for long stay travellers especially spending long amounts of time in rural areas.
Rabies – spread by animal bites through infected saliva, particularly from bats. Treatment needs to be immediate otherwise rabies is almost always fatal. The risk is higher for people spending large amounts of time with animals, or in rural areas where treatment may not be available quickly.
Typhoid – contracted through consumption of contaminated food and drink, especially by adventurous eaters. Good levels of hygiene should always be maintained, a vaccination is also available.
Malaria – there’s a year round risk in rural, forest areas mainly towards the international borders. The risk of contraction in major tourist cities is low to none. Use insect repellent high in DEET to avoid being bitten.
Book your vaccinations with Express Travel Clinic today and give yourself peace of mind when you travel.