Tips to stay safe while travelling in Thailand

Thailand is a fairly safe nation in which to travel, but it’s a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and personal safety when out and about.

Trouble can also follow tourists in the way of theft, scams and arguments when a few too many drinks have been had.

Thailand does not have the same health and safety standards as Canada so you will need to be careful of what you are eating, drinking and the activities in which you are participating.

Petty crime including theft from hotel rooms, pickpocketing and bag-snatching is common, so keep your valuables close to your body and stay alert, particularly in crowded areas. Also, avoid walking in dark alleys or isolated areas.
Be aware that unsupervised items may not be covered by your travel insurance so keep your luggage close and your valuables locked in your hotel safe.

Tap water may be unsafe to drink so choose sealed bottled water, which you can get easily and cheaply from many places.

Thai food is a delicious favourite of many Canadians, however be cautious when you’re choosing a meal. Food poisoning and gastro are common ailments. Avoid eating raw fish and meat, and salads and cut fruit as they may have been washed in unsafe water contaminated with cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. A good tip is to stick to busy shops or stalls that are packed with customers. And remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

The hospitals and medical facilities in Thailand are generally not well-equipped as in Canada, and they may not treat you unless you can prove you have travel insurance. Ensure you have your policy details handy in case of an emergency.

The tropical climate attracts mosquitos and their  bite can carry infectious diseases such as dengue fever.

  • Regularly use a DEET-containing insect repellent.
  • Choose accommodation with screens and fans or mosquito nets.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing that covers your entire body.
Many animals such as dogs, bats and monkeys can carry potentially fatal diseases, like rabies, and avian influenza. Avoid patting, playing or feeding these animals as diseases can be spread through bites or scratches.

Road rules in Thailand may appear non-existent. When crossing a road (or if you are brave enough to be driving) make sure you look left, right, front, back and all around you as traffic hazards can come from all directions.

Even if you’re at a green walking signal or the light has gone green, many Thai people will still drive through a red light. So always check.

There are many motorbike rental companies in Thailand, all trying to secure you as a customer and this may mean that they leave out important safety or legal information (e.g. state of vehicle maintenance). If you have a licence, select a bike you feel comfortable with and wear protective clothing and helmet that meets international safety standards at all times. Don’t speed, drink or ride late at night.
If you don’t have a motorcycle licence you are riding illegally and you may not be covered by your travel insurance if you have an accident.

Tropical beaches and beautiful waterways line the coast of Thailand and can offer some relief from the hot and humid weather. However, they can also attract operators looking to make some quick cash. A common scam is for hire operators to demand money for “damage” supposedly caused by tourists.

Take care with adventure activities such as cliff jumping and ski boating as Thailand does not have the same safety standards that you may be used to

in Canada. An injury during these activities could be life threatening and may not be covered by your travel insurance policy. Exercise extreme caution when swimming in areas such as Koh Lanta, Koh Pha-ngan, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi and Phuket as deaths have been reported due to the contact with poisonous jellyfish. Heed flag warnings and under no circumstances swim when a red flag is displayed.

Before signing up for adventurous activities, check if your travel insurance policy includes coverage for risky or extreme activities in case of an injury. 

Thailand is well known for putting on a great party, including the popular Full Moon party. However, large events have a higher risk of assault, arrests, robbery, injuries and lost travel documents.

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk.   Keep an eye on your friends and buy your own drinks to avoid drink spiking.

Travel to these events during the day. If travelling by boat, ensure the vessel has adequate safety equipment and isn’t overcrowded. Most importantly, do not drink and swim.

Be aware that your travel insurance may not cover you for accidents that arise from your intoxication.

NOTICE: While the Information is considered to be true and accurate at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. We strongly recommend verifying the travel advisory of your destination prior to departure.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information as at the date of publishing, Allianz Global Assistance does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. Allianz Global Assistance strongly recommends seeking the guidance of a professional travel agent/agency for further information on a specific destination. On your next trip, whether to another province or country, ensure you have travel insurance as it may assist you in cases of unforeseen medical emergencies and other types of mishaps that can happen while you travel. Travel insurance does not cover everything, please always refer to the policy document for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd.

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