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Amazing beaches, bustling night life and friendly locals. It’s little wonder why Thailand is such a popular holiday spot for Australians. However like any country in the world there are tourist scams and and local laws that can leave holidaymakers stumped.
That’s why we’ve put together some safety tips and advice to make your trip as smooth as possible.
Some of the most common scams to occur in Thailand include:
Gems: These are common within many of the major cities and involve unsuspecting tourists believing that they are buying beautiful gems for a fraction of the market price. Even if you realise, the store ‘owner’ has packed up and moved on, leaving you with worthless pieces of glass.
Tuk Tuks: Many drivers may reel you in with the promise of a free tour around the city, stopping off at some of the best jewellers and tailors along the way. Along with the store owners, they may pressure and persuade you to purchase things, sometimes getting aggressive as they earn a percentage and commission from sales.
Bars: Targeting young, male travellers, Thai girls will approach and offer to take them to a fun, local bar where they will order and ‘buy’ drinks. By the time the bill arrives, they will be gone and a large bill is left in their place for you to pay.
Drink and food spiking is often reported within popular backpacker and tourist destinations such as Khao San Road, Pat Pong and Soi Cowboy in Bangkok. Non-confrontational and petty crimes are the most common to occur in the city, including purse-snatching, pickpocketing and theft. Thieves may use razors to cut into bags as a way to sneakily steal valuables. Although violent crimes are rare, they are most likely to happen at night, when tourists are drinking. Stay with friends at all times and avoid suspicious people and places.
Similarly to Bangkok, petty crimes are the most common to occur in Phuket. Tourists are advised to keep valuables secure on their persons and to watch for snatch and grabs in busy areas. Bags have also been known to be stolen from unsuspecting motorcyclists as they are stationary in traffic.
Credit/debit card fraud is common in Chang Mai and other Thailand areas. Skimming devices are often used to copy card numbers for future transactions. Always keep your cards secure, regularly check your accounts and if in doubt, use cash.
Currently, there is a high threat level of terrorism within Thailand, with a main focus on the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Songkhla and Narathiwat. There are daily reports of potential attacks in heavily populated tourist areas such as Phuket and Bangkok. Visitors are advised to operate on a high level of caution when visiting.
Australian citizens may enter Thailand under tourism purposes for up to 30 days without obtaining a visa in advance (“visa exemption) if you arrive in Thailand through one of the international airports or up to 15 days, if you enter Thailand through a land border.
This visa is valid from the date of issue, not from your day of arrival.
Those on tourist visas wanting to extend their length of stay are eligible to file an application for a 30-day extension. This can be completed at most immigration offices in Thailand. The price to do so is ฿1,900. Learn more.
A permit must be obtained or the nearest embassy contacted prior to your arrival for approval of the following items.
It is advised that all travellers of Thailand have at least six months validity remaining on their passport. Thai authorities may refuse a person entry to the country for not complying with these regulations.
Information current as of March 18, 2018. Check smartraveller.gov.au for the latest updates.