Keep safe and be sensible in Thailand

The kingdom is a top destination for backpackers and holidaymakers in search of pleasure. Just make sure you're not blind to its down side

On the road

Riding a motorcycle/scooter in Thailand can be dangerous. Visitors who hire motorcycles should take the same safety precautions as they would do in the UK. The Thai law requiring that safety helmets must be worn is widely ignored and is a contributing factor in many tourist deaths. (UK Foreign Office)

Consumption of alcohol, amphetamines and other stimulants by commercial drivers is common. In February 1999, there were two serious bus crashes involving foreign passengers on overnight bus trips; one of these crashes resulted in fatalities. Motorists may wish to obtain accident insurance that covers medical and liability costs. The more affluent driver, even if not at fault, is frequently compelled to cover the expenses of the other party in an accident. (US State Department)

Local customs

Respect Thai customs. Buddha images are sacred and should be treated as such, even by foreigners. (UK)

It is inappropriate to make negative comments about the King or other members of the Royal Family. Thais hold the King in the highest regard, and it is a serious crime to make critical or defamatory comments about him. This particular crime is punishable by a prison sentence of three to 15 years. Purposefully tearing or destroying Thai bank notes, which carry an image of the King, may be considered such an offence. (US)

Eating and drinking

Be wary of accepting food or drink from strangers as it may be drugged. Visitors should be especially vigilant if visiting the red-light districts of Bangkok and Pattaya. (UK)

Shopping

Many tourists fall victim to gem scams, in which a friendly stranger offers to show the tourist an exceptional place to buy gems. (US)

The usual practice is for a tout to approach tourists in the street and suggest that buying jewellery in Thailand and selling it at a profit on returning home can make money. This is not true. Once the bait is accepted the tourist is taken to a shop(s) and sold jewellery with the promise to send it by post to their home country. When the jewellery is valued it is found to be worth only a fraction of the amount paid. (UK)

On the beach

Take particular care when swimming off the coast of Phuket. Strong riptides have resulted in a number of drownings. (UK)

Exploring

Pirates, bandits, and drug traffickers operate in the border areas. In February 2000, two Australians camping near the Burma border in Ang Kang Park, in the Fang District, were attacked by robbers. One of the campers was shot and killed. (US)

There are occasional incidents of violence on Thailand's northern border with Laos.

We believe that Thailand is one of a number of countries where there is an increased threat to British interests from global terrorism. Visitors should exercise caution when travelling in the far south of Thailand. (UK)

Sex and drugs

Remember the real risk of Aids/HIV. Condoms made by recognised multi national companies are widely available locally from pharmacies. Do not have sexual relations with anyone under the age of 18 years. Thailand recognises such acts as rape.

Visitors should not become involved with drugs of any kind. Possession of even very small quantities can lead to imprisonment ­ 50 years without remission is not unusual ­ or, in serious cases, the death penalty. (UK)

The penalty in Thailand for possession of marijuana is five years imprisonment and a fine [of around £800]. At best if you are caught with marijuana you will be deported at your own expense (Australian Department of Foreign Affairs).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
    Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

    Marks and Spencer

    Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
    'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

    'We haven't invaded France'

    Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
    Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

    Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

    The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
    7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

    Remembering 7/7 ten years on

    Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
    Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

    They’re here to help

    We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?