This week the UK media reported on a new trend for far-flung holiday destinations as British people discover a new taste for holidays outside Europe. It looks like prices for flights to New Zealand, Dubai, the Caribbean and Thailand are all in big demand, with an up-tick of at least 20% on 2016. Thailand’s pristine beaches and affordable luxuries mean it’s a firm favourite for summer 2017. So what’s the latest travel advice for Thailand?
Government advise about travelling to Thailand – Avoiding terrorism
There is a ‘high’ threat of terrorism in Thailand, which means it’s important to follow the advice given by the Thai of the local authorities, take note of what local media are saying, ask the locals for their views and stay vigilant.
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office is still recommending tourists stay well clear of a collection of regions in Thailand thanks to a heightened risk of terrorism. Unless it’s absolutely essential, don’t go anywhere near the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla, all of which lie near the Thai-Malaysia border. Areas around the Burmese border can also be tricky.
Floods wreck the roads in some areas of Thailand
Southern Thailand recently suffered terrible flooding, much of which has subsided. At the same time, the roads in some areas are not back up and running yet. If you plan to travel off the beaten track, find out from the locals whether you can actually get to your destination safely.
A nation in mourning until October 2017
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej died in 2016 and the country remains in official mourning until October 2017. The country’s official Tourism Authority says you can carry on as normal, but be sensitive to and respectful of people’s feelings. They’ve even provided some special guidance for visitors, here.
The status of the Zika virus in Thailand
Thailand has the Zika virus. The illness is spread by mosquitoes, which mostly feed between dawn and dusk. You can also, if you’re very unfortunate, catch the virus through sexual transmission. Most people to get it don’t show any symptoms, and those that do find them mild and short-lived. But Zika virus causes congenital Zika and Guillain-Barré syndromes, and it can be very dangerous for pregnant women. It’s wise to avoid mosquito bites completely – here’s how.
Violent attacks on tourists
There have been attacks on tourists, namely on the islands of the Samui archipelago. Two British travellers were killed in autumn 2014 on the island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand. The political situation is unpredictable and volatile, with years of civil and political unrest. You should be very wary of making political statements in public or criticising the Thai government or royal family in any way. It’s sensible to completely avoid protests, demonstrations and marches.
Various crimes to watch out for
Aside from that it makes sense to look out for pickpockets and bag snatchers, and hang onto your passport whatever happens – never hand it over to someone as a guarantee or as a deposit for services or goods. Some visitors’ drinks have been spiked, so don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave your drinks unattended.
Take care of your credit and debit cards, since there have been some instances of skimming, where your card details are stolen and used to take your money. Don’t buy gemstones over there or you might be scammed. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is! And steer clear of drugs at all costs – if you’re caught using or selling them, you can be handed the death penalty.
Transport related risks in Thailand
Tourists often injure themselves on motorbikes and scooters, and some of the pleasure boats operating out of the mainland to the Thai islands have sunk or collided, usually because of poor maintenance, overloading and rough seas. It isn’t wise to travel by boat during the monsoon season.
Find out more about local Thai laws and customs
A good way to stay out of trouble is to know exactly how local people feel, behave and expect you to behave. Here’s some guidance about local laws and customs in Thailand.
Travel insurance and travel vaccinations for Thailand
Travellers to Thailand should always buy good quality travel insurance. Other than that, it’s essential to have all the recommended vaccinations to stay healthy and well, avoiding disease and infections. Here’s a list of the vaccinations you’ll need, all of which you can get from us.