Thailand, officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand is located Southeast Asia, with coastlines on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. It shares its borders with Myanmar (Burma) to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Cambodia to the southeast and Malaysia to the south. It is a country known for warm and welcoming people that are used to the heavy flows of tourists that come to this country in growing numbers every year.
Thailand is probably the most touristy Southeast Asian country, as they line up to visit its incredible features, that are aplenty: anything you want in a holiday – you name it and Thailand’s probably got it: green luscious jungles, turquoise waters so warm that it feels like you’re taking a bath, and food that will challenge your taste buds like none other. Though exotic as can be, it is equipped with everything a tourist might need or want, and there is something for everyone, and for every budget. Some of the best luxury hotels are located here even though Thailand is known for being backpacker-friendly. The most important thing about Thailand: it has resisted the heavy flows of tourist, and kept its innate Thai identity, keeping its rich culture, religions and history safe.
Warnings & Dangers in Thailand
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
Generally speaking, Thailand can be considered a safe country: some parts are very safe, while others are highly dangerous. You better apply all possible precautious measures, just in case you stumble upon the latter.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
There is a great risk when it comes to transportation conditions in Thailand. The number one cause of death for visitors to Thailand is motorbike accidents that often occur on the narrow, mountainous and twisty roads of Phuket and Samui. These are completely new traffic rules for tourists, that they are not used to, which makes it difficult to be a part of the transportation system. Avoid public transport too, as this is where the pickpockets operate.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
As Thailand is a growingly popular tourist destination, it's actually to be expected that pickpockets operate everywhere, usually in crowed places filled with foreigners. Excessive vigilance is highly recommended.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
As for natural disasters, Thailand is known for tsunamis, severe storms and occasional earthquakes.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Kidnappings are not that often, though they have happened, especially in the National Parks in the area close to Myanmar (Burma) border, areas known as gathering places of bandit groups. Muggings are also rare, but they're also possible, especially in the remote areas of the country, and in the outskirts of big cities.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
It is advised against visiting far south regions of Thailand, such as Yala, Pattani, and Songkhla since they have been targets of small bomb attacks and shootings. As for Thailand’s main cities, they have been assessed as a medium-threat location for terrorist activity.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
Be prepared that most people providing any type of service for tourists in Thailand are probably going to try to scam you or rip you off. Tuk-tuk drivers, fake police officers, street vendors are all possible scammers. Keep in mind that ATMs are places where criminals try and steal pin codes. Also avoid drinking in local clubs and bars. There have been many reports of tourists being drugged and then stolen from.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Even though Thailand could generally be considered a safe country for women, they are still highly advised to follow the basic rules of precaution. Try avoiding dark alleys, walking alone along dark, poorly lit or deserted areas, or finding yourself late at night in areas filled with bars or clubs as you might receive some unwanted attention. Apart from that, use your common sense and apply all basic precaution measures.
So... How Safe Is Thailand Really?
Thailand is somewhat safe to visit, though it does have its dangers. Petty theft like pickpocketing or bag snatching is more than common and you should expect it at every step. Violent crime has been on the rise during the past couple of years and muggings and robberies are not rare at all. Avoid any confrontations at bars and clubs as you might get severely beaten up. There have, of course, been reports of getting ridiculously overcharged by taxi drivers, street venders, practically anyone providing any service, so do be careful about getting scammed.
Another, probably the most severe, danger in Thailand, and the number one cause of death for visitors to Thailand is motorbike accidents, that often occur on the narrow, mountainous and twisty roads of Phuket and Samui. Always wear a helmet, avoid driving at night at all costs and never drink and drive.
Keep in mind that you should never, under any circumstances, say or mumble anything negative, or make jokes about the Thai royal family, as you might get attacked, and severely so. There are strict Lese Majeste laws, and these laws extend to even the national currency bearing the picture of the king. Many locals might try to physically assault upon hearing something bad about the Thai royal family, and at the very least you can expect getting verbally attacked.
- Visas - US citizens planning on traveling to Thailand for less than 30 days do not need a visa. Just make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months past the date of arrival into this country. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Thai BAHT is the official currency of Thailand. Bear in mind that Kasikom Bank and Siam Commercial Bank have the best exchange rates and, as mentioned earlier, treat the money well: never step on a coin, or throw, tear or burn paper bills, because it shows disrespect to the royal family.
- Weather - The climate in Thailand is tropical, with mostly high temperatures and abundance of humidity throughout the year. The best time to visit Thailand is between November and February.
- Airports - Suvarnabhumi Airport, unofficially known as Bangkok Airport, is one of two international airports serving Bangkok the capital of Thailand. The other is Don Mueang International Airport.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Thailand, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.