Thailand Travel Tips: Preparation and Precautions to Stay Safe
Because of its diverse nature and different culture, many Western tourists are apprehensive about travelling to Thailand. With years of political unrest, infamous natural disasters and highly publicised cases of tourists getting hurt and killed in the country then it’s not hard to see why. But actually Thailand is a relatively safe country to visit and providing that tourists research, plan ahead and take a few precautions in order to stay safe then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have the trip of a lifetime amidst the exotic islands, bustling cities and ancient ruins. Here are some things to consider both before and during your trip.
Before travelling to Thailand you will probably need to get vaccinations for preventable diseases that you may be exposed to in certain areas of the country. You should also ensure that your routine vaccinations (including polio, MMR and DPT) are up to date. Visit your healthcare provider ideally 6 weeks before you travel so that you can determine what vaccinations you need and give them time to take effect before you travel. You may also need to take certain medications for diseases such as malaria before you travel too. Common vaccinations for Thailand include typhoid, Hepatitis A, rabies and yellow fever but may vary depending on your immunization history and the parts of the country that you will be travelling to. Talk this through with a healthcare provider and don’t leave it until the last minute – despite Thai health care being of a very good standard in tourist destinations, there will usually be an upfront charge for prescribed medicines or medical attention. So ensuring that you are in the best of health and able to fight off preventable diseases is a good way to start your trip.
Because Thailand is a renowned backpacker’s paradise, the transportation links are simple, cheap and in abundance. Overnight buses/trains and internal flights are usually the safest way to get around if you are travelling long distance across the country but for shorter journeys you may need to be on your guard. When using the taxi service in Bangkok, for example, remember that all meters should start at THB35 and if they don’t there’s a possibility you are looking overly-tourist-like and are being scammed. Tuk-tuks are another typical Thai mode of transportation and are great fun but make sure that you don’t overcrowd them as they are essentially a motorised rickshaw and can become dangerous. Always negotiates fares beforehand and don’t let the drivers take you on any ‘detours’. If you choose to rent a vehicle (mopeds are particularly popular inThailandboth in the cities and the islands) then never surrender your passport. Most reputable companies will be happy with a copy as proof of ID.
Food and drink Thailand
Thai streetfood is amongst some of the best in the world and is usually prepared freshly in front of you. However you should be cautious of any street food that appears to have been left in a large vat or container for any length of time as it could be harbouring nasty germs and bacteria. When eating out you may find that certain vendors don’t display their prices very clearly so don’t be afraid to ask how much your meal is before buying it. Always keep hydrated and it is generally recommended that tourists drink bottled water to avoid any upset stomachs.
Remember that when you’re abroad you automatically need to comply with a whole new set of laws or face the justice system and appropriate punishments that go with them. These can often be much more severe than the ones at home. InThailand, possession, distribution or use of drugs is a serious crime and the punishments can include long jail sentences or even death – aside from the physical dangers of ingesting substances that you are unsure of. With the southern Thai islands being renowned as a haven for young, experimental party goers, raids in certain areas are not unheard of so stay away from this sort of illegal activity. Avoid souvenirs or foods that come from wild animals such as reptiles or elephants as this supports illegal animal trafficking. Gambling of any kind is also illegal. Finally, be aware that Thai law insists that citizens and tourists alike carry ID at all times so take copies of your passport to carry around in your wallet instead of carrying the real thing.
Thai beaches are amongst some of the most beautiful in the world so you should rightly enjoy them. Do be aware though that most of them aren’t manned by lifeguards so take heed of any warning signposts as these are your main information source. Never swim alone or leave yourself in a position where you can’t be helped in an emergency situation. Remember that the sun in such tropical locations is powerful, particularly around midday so always use sunscreen. Remember that whilst swimming in the sea is fine, rivers and streams should be avoided as they are generally unclean and sometimes contain snakes and insects.