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
  • Get to the point
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: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before