Planning a trip to Thailand? Here are our personal recommendations on how to plan your trip

 Do not travel

Do not travel to the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla due to ongoing politically-motivated and criminal violence, which occurs on an almost daily basis. The Thai Government has warned tourists not to travel to these areas.

THAILAND TRAVEL ADVICE

Everyone has their own vision of Thailand – gleaned from glossy brochures and travellers’ tales. But to truly understand it, you need to get your head around ‘Sanuk’. This is a very Thai concept of deriving pleasure from whatever you are doing – at work or play. It forms the basis of Thailand’s exceptional hospitality – and its reputation as the “land of smiles”. This beaming introduction to SE Asia has a zingy cuisine, textbook paradise beaches and superb accommodation – you’ll soon see why people just keep coming back.

Thailand Quick Information

Currency: Thai Baht

Electricity Socket: 220V AC electricity. Power outlets are usually two-prong round or flat sockets. Be sure to pack a universal travel adaptor so you can still use all your electronic gadgets.

Thailand Visa: Generally speaking, people from the US, UK, and EU passports are given a free 30-day visa when you enter Thailand by air and 15 days if you enter overland. This visa is easily extendable if you want to stay in the country for longer. ASEAN passport holders get a free 30-day visa upon entry (but some aren’t valid for extension).

 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to the provinces on the Thai-Malaysia border, including: … UK health authorities have classified Thailand as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks …

If you want to stay in Thailand for longer, you can look at applying for a tourist visa in any Thai embassy beforehand (this gives you 60 days). Please note that more and more countries in Southeast Asia are requiring you to show proof of onward flights before allowing you to enter the country so make sure you make the necessary booking arrangements.

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Safety: Generally speaking, Thailand is a safe place to go. Yes, there are a few scams here and there but as long as you take the time to read about them beforehand, you’re good. Based on our years of experience of travelling all over the world, we would never leave home without travel insurance. We recommend going with World Nomads.

The most common accident in Thailand has to be scooter or moped-related. What most people don’t realize is that even if you have travel insurance, if you don’t have a valid motorcycle license from back home, most policies won’t cover you so make sure you look into this before your trip.

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Language: In the Thai Islands, English is a lot more common as a lot of people are in the tourism industry. Most people, especially those who work in tour activities and hotels will be able to help you out. In Northern Thailand and more rural areas, there are chances that you will encounter people who don’t speak English. However, don’t fret. Smiles and a fun game of charades is a great way to get to know the locals.

                              TIP ON VISITING ANCIENT CITIES

“One of my top recommendations is an ancient city called Kamphaeng Phet, which is in the middle of Thailand. It’s not very well known, unlike Sukhothai. Kamphaeng Phet is older and in a really lovely, peaceful forest setting. It’s perfect to tour by bike as it’s a very small town, easy to get around with not very busy roads. The ruins are just gorgeous to tour by bike. That’s one of the true off the beaten track places
“You need to be really careful with which beaches you go to. Many of the west coast places, in particular, are very, very developed and not at all like the pristine brochure images. There are highrise buildings, loads of girly bars and gap year students. You need to look a bit harder – but there are still some nice islands. On Koh Jum, for example, you can get away from everyone else and it’s a Robinson Crusoe-style island. It’s not got the amazing beaches with palm trees that you see in the brochures, and it’s rather rocky – but there’s also no crowds, high rise buildings or girly bars, so from that point of view it’s lovely.”

                                                                 HEALTH

  • Some vaccinations are advised before travelling to Thailand; consult your GP or travel clinic six to eight weeks before departure to ensure you have time to complete all the series of injections.
  • There is a low risk of malaria in Thailand, mainly concentrated around the border regions and in heavily forested districts.
  • Contact your GP or travel clinic beforehand to find out if you are at risk. Wearing long sleeves and trousers is always advised, as well as insect repellent, as this protects against dengue fever and infected bites.
  • Tap water is unsafe to drink – also be wary of ice in drinks and unpeeled fruit and vegetables.
  • Parts of Thailand are incredibly hot and humid, so keep well hydrated at all times and keep an eye on children.
  • Thailand has superb private hospitals, but public hospitals are not always well-equipped to deal with more serious cases. Bring any prescription medication with you; pharmacies in Thailand’s cities are generally well stocked but medication purchased on the street may be counterfeit or past its expiry date.
  • Be sure you have comprehensive travel insurance which covers medical evacuation and emergency repatriation, along with any other activities you may be doing, such as riding a motorbike or quad bike, bungee jumping or diving.
  • Take note of the emergency number: 1669. You can also call the tourist police on 1155.

See the latest Thailand health advice on the CDC website.

 

 

                                                          SAFETY

Most visits are trouble-free, however, terrorism is sadly a reality of travelling in these times. Thailand has suffered at the hands of terrorists’ activities, most recently in the coastal town of Pattani in 2017, with several bombs in tourist areas. Also at a hospital in Bangkok in 2016 and the capital’s Erawan Shrine in 2015. Although responsibility is rarely claimed in Thailand for such attacks, they are believed to be linked to ongoing unrest in the southern provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani, all bordering Malaysia. This region should be avoided by tourists. The Ta Krabey and Preah Vihear temples and their surroundings are also to be avoided as there is periodic fighting. Check the FCO website for up-to-date information on the safety situation. Always get up to date information at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advisory department before travelling to Thailand.

Political demonstrations occur frequently in Bangkok and can escalate rapidly, with the use of weapons and explosives. Be especially cautious during the run-up to elections, and avoid Lumpini Park, where protesters congregate. Thai authorities operate several “Tourist’s Friend Centres” around the airports and Skytrain stations to provide information and assistance – they’re worth using.
Legally, you must carry your passport at all times, or face arrest. It’s worth getting a concealed money belt to keep it safe.
Assaults and robberies do occur – mainly in crowded island resorts such as Haad Rin on Koh Pha Ngan and Chaweng on Koh Samui. Incidents increase during Full Moon Parties, and late at night. Keep an eye on your drink, and avoid walking around alone.
Reduce the risk of credit card fraud by using ATMs within banks and not letting your card out of your sight during transactions.
Be careful with bags and carry them away from the roadside – there have been reports of thieves on motorbikes or tuk-tuks snatching items. Take extra precautions on buses as well.
The number of people killed on the roads is incredibly high – around four times as many as in the UK. There is a much higher risk if you travel at night, and 70 per cent of road deaths involve motorcycles – so think twice before assuming this is the most efficient way to travel.
Take care not to travel on overcrowded boats – especially speedboats – and always request a lifejacket, particularly if travelling In Thailand with kids. Rough seas can cause accidents.
Take great care if swimming off the coast in monsoon season, as people have drowned in riptides. Pay attention to red flags, and read up on how to survive a rip tide – it’s information that could easily save your life. Also look out for warnings about jellyfish close to shore, particularly during rainy season. Some have fatal stings.
Being caught in possession of even the smallest amount of drugs, including marijuana, carries a lengthy prison sentence.
Criticising any member of the royal family is known as Lèse Majesté and carries a prison sentence of 3-15 years. This applies to tourists as well as Thais – foreign nationals have been convicted of this crime.

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