Travel Advice for Thailand - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Wednesday, 1 November 2017, 09:08:58 +1100

2018 Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

While every care has been taken in preparing this travel information for travellers, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees including any member of Australia's consular staff abroad, can accept liability for injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained therein.

Travel Advice Levels

Thailand overallHigh degree of caution
Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and SongkhlaDo not travel

Thai authorities have announced that from November 2017, they will introduce a smoking ban on beaches in certain tourist areas, including in Koh Samui, Pattaya, Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces (see Laws). The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise a high degree of caution in Thailand overall. Higher levels apply in some parts of the country.

1. Where

2. When

3. Who

Your children go free »
This means your dependent children or grandchildren under the age of 21 at the date of policy issue who are travelling with you.


  • Exercise a high degree of cautionin Thailand due to the possibility of civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack, including in Bangkok and Phuket. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor local media for information about possible new safety and security risks.

  • Public order and security incidents, including terror attacks, continue to pose risks to travellers throughout Thailand. Terrorists have attacked several locations frequented by tourists in recent years, resulting in deaths and injuries. SeeSafety and security.

  • On 11-12 August 2016, around two dozen bomb, arson and other attacks in popular tourist spots and other locations resulted in four deaths and over 30 injuries. In August 2015, a bomb attack in central Bangkok killed 20 people. In April 2015, a car bomb at a Koh Samui beach caused a number of injuries. SeeSafety and security.

  • Avoid demonstrations, political events, rallies, processions and large-scale public gatherings as they can turn violent. SeeSafety and security.

  • Hiring jet skis has resulted in harassment and threats of violence by jet ski operators, particularly in Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. SeeSafety and security.

  • Check your insurance cover carefully if you intend to ride a motorcycle or jetski in Thailand, particularly if you are not licensed to ride one in Australia. Jet ski and motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries and demands for compensation, often for thousands of dollars. You can be detained until compensation has been negotiated and paid.SeeSafety and security.

  •  Scams and more serious criminal activity occur in Thailand. Food and drink spiking occurs, including around popular backpacker destinations. SeeSafety and security.

  • Martial law is in place in a number of districts, mostly in border regions. Military authorities can restrict public assembly and expression, and impose other security measures. SeeLaws.

  • Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty. The possession of even small quantities of "soft drugs" for recreational purposes can result in lengthy jail sentences. SeeLaws.

  • There is ongoing transmission of Zika virus in Thailand, including in Bangkok. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. Adopt additional measures advised by the Australian Department of Health, including deferring non-essential travel if pregnant. SeeHealth.

  • Do not travelto the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla or overland to and from the Malaysian border through these provinces. There are high levels of ongoing violence in these areas, including terrorist attacks and bombings that result in deaths and injuries on an almost daily basis.

  • See Travel Smartfor general advice for all travellers.

  • Entry and exit

  • for up to 30 days, if you arrive in Thailand through one of the international airports

  • for up to 15 days, if you enter Thailand through a land border (restricted to two entries per calendar year).

  • Embassy or Consulate of ThailandThai Embassy or ConsulateLawsThai Immigration Bureau
  • report a lost or stolen passport onlineor

  • contact the nearestAustralian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.

  • Safety and security

    Safety and security

  • Avoid demonstrations, political events, rallies, processions and large-scale public gatherings.

  • Monitor the media and other sources for possible unrest and avoid affected areas.

  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the advice of local authorities.

  • the Preah Vihear temple (known as Khao Pra Viharn temple in Thailand), located between Sisaket Province in Thailand and Preah Vihear Province in Cambodia

  • the Ta Kwai (known as Ta Krabei temple in Cambodia) and Ta Muen Thom (known as Ta Moan temple in Cambodia) temples.

  • monitor the news and watch out for other signs of unrest

  • pay close attention to your personal security, particularly in national parks 

  • take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.

  • Do not travel
  • Do not travelto or through Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat or Songkhla provinces.

  • If you are in these provinces, consider leaving.

  • If, despite our advice, you decide to stay in the southern provinces, ensure you have appropriate personal security measures in place.

  • In May 2017, two separate attacks at a Bangkok Military Hospital and the National Theatre injured 24 and 2 people, respectively.

  • On 18 August 2015, an explosive device detonated in the water below Taksin Bridge (Saphan Taksin), close to the main tourist ferry terminal in Bangkok (Sathorn Pier). It was thrown from the bridge above.

  • On 17 August 2015, a bomb attack at the Erawan shrine at Chidlom in central Bangkok killed 20 people and injured more than 120.

  • On 10 April 2015, a car bomb exploded in the car park of the Central Festival Mall, near Chaweng Beach on Koh Samui, injuring seven people.

  • On 28 October 2014, an unexploded grenade was found on a beach in Phuket.

  • On 22 December 2013, a vehicle containing explosives was discovered in Phuket Town.

  • On 26 May 2013, an IED detonated in Ramkhamhaeng Soi 43/1 in eastern Bangkok, injuring seven people.

  • In planning your activities, consider the kinds of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided.

  • If you go to a crowded place or other possible target, have a clear exit plan in the event of a security incident.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.

  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.

  • Monitor the media for any new or emerging threats.

  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.

  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so. 

  • Terrorist threat worldwide
  • Avoid local and homemade cocktails as they may be made with narcotic or poisonous substances that could leave you vulnerable to criminals.

  • Never accept food or drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.

  • If you aren't sure if a drink is safe, leave it.

  • Stick with people you trust at parties and in bars, nightclubs and taxis.

  • Take particular care when consuming alcoholic beverages (particularly spirit-based drinks) in popular tourist spots.

  • Seek urgent medical attention, if you suspect that you or a companion have been the victim of drink spiking.

  • If you plan to join a beach party, carefully consider personal safety issues and take appropriate precautions.

  • ReadReducing the risk of sexual assault overseasbefore you travel. It includes information on how to avoid becoming a victim of sexual assault and on the assistance available to victims.

  • If you become a victim of violent crime, including rape, seek immediate medical attention – HIV/AIDS is prevalent in Thailand.

  • Partying safely
  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly in crowded areas.

  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables, including your passport, in a secure location.

  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras.

  • Don't leave valuables in luggage stowed under buses or away from you on trains.

  • Never leave food or drinks unattended, especially on trains and buses.

  • Never accept food or drinks from strangers.

  • Be wary of motorcycles approaching from behind as you walk on the footpath.

  • Avoid carrying bags that are easy to snatch.

  • Hold bags and backpacks in front of you or in ways that make them harder to snatch.

  • before entering into a hire agreement, ask for evidence of the operator's insurance policy covering damage to the vehicle and your liabilities (if any) in case of damage

  • before riding, take photographs of the vehicle, including underneath, to record its condition

  • before riding, make sure the operator is aware of any existing damage

  • don't provide your passport as a deposit or guarantee under any circumstances.

  • Take care not to expose your PIN to others, particularly when using ATMs.

  • Monitor your transaction statements.

  • Contact theTourism Authority of Thailand(TAT) for official advice on purchasing jewellery and gems.

  • If you plan to invest in property (including time share) in Thailand, thoroughly research the seller and the property before entering into any agreement.

  • Be wary of unsolicited offers to invest.

  • Local travel

  • talk to your travel insurer to check if the activity is covered by your insurance policy

  • don't be afraid to ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements

  • always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't.

  • Take warning flags and other official warnings very seriously.

  • Never swim after dark or after consuming alcohol.

  • Take particular care when swimming in coastal areas, especially during monsoon season (November-March in Koh Samui and the south-east of the Thai peninsula and May-October in the rest of Thailand, including Phuket).

  • If in doubt, check with local authorities before swimming.

  • Take care when using stairs and balconies.

  • Closely supervise children on or near stairs, balconies or other high structures.

  • Respect wildlife laws.

  • Maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds.

  • Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators.

  • Closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.

  • Don't drink and drive.

  • Drive defensively.

  • If you are walking, use overhead walkways wherever possible. Look carefully in both directions before crossing streets, even at marked crossways.

  • Road safety and drivingInternational Driving Permit
  • Australian Embassy and Consulates-General in Thailand

  • Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra

  • Only hire a motorcycle if you have a valid motorcycle licence.

  • Before hiring a motorcycle, check that you would be covered by your insurance policy and seek advice on any restrictions that may apply.

  • Before hiring a motorcycle, check that the hiring company holds comprehensive insurance, including third-party, for the vehicle you are hiring. Check the excess (if any) that you would need to pay for any claims.

  • Always wear a helmet.

  • Don't drink and drive/ride.

  • Drive/ride defensively.

  • Don't provide your passport as a deposit or guarantee under any circumstances.

  • Make sure you agree on both the fare and route before engaging an unmetered taxi, a tuk tuk or a motorcycle taxi.

  • Secure your possessions while travelling in tuk tuks or on motorcycles.

  • Never put yourself in danger by physically confronting a taxi, tuktuk or motorcycle taxi driver.

  • If you find yourself in a dispute with a driver, call the Tourist Police on 1155 to mediate.

  • Be careful when opening taxi doors – look out for other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

  • If you are involved in a violent or serious incident involving a taxi or tuk tuk driver, report it to the local police. SeeWhere to get help.

  • Safety and security
  • Make sure that any vessel you plan to board is carrying appropriate safety equipment, including life jackets for all passengers.

  • Wear your life jacket at all times.

  • Check with your tour operator or vessel management that appropriate safety standards are maintained. If not, find another vessel.

  • Avoid travelling in ferries and speedboats after dark.

  • If you plan to attend a Full Moon (or similar) party, get accommodation on the island where the party is being held so you don't need to travel by boat at night.

  • Aviation Safety Network


    Consular services charterHealthCarrying or using drugs
  • International surrogacybulletin

  • Overseas birth, adoption and surrogacy.

  • failing to carry identification - foreigners are required to carry identification at all times

  • almost all forms of gambling (other than at a few major race tracks) - heavy penalties apply

  • making a false statement to police, including in relation to an insurance claim – this includes reporting any crime that did not actually take place or lying about the circumstances of an incident

  • smoking on beaches in certain tourist areas, including in Koh Samui, Pattaya, Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces.

  • bribery of foreign public officials

  • child pornography and child sex offences, including child sex tourism

  • female genital mutilation

  • forced marriage

  • money laundering

  • drug trafficking

  • people smuggling and human trafficking

  • terrorism.

  • Staying within the lawEmbassy or Consulate of ThailandDual nationals


    travel insurance
  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy

  • that you are covered for the whole time you'll be away.

  • Travel insurance
  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.

  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

  • Taking care of your health

  • World Health Organization advice for travellers

  • contact a Thai Embassy or Consulate
  • Prescription medicines

  • Thai Embassyin Canberra

  • Zika virus
  • ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof

  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing

  • take prophylaxis against malaria where necessary

  • get vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis before you travel

  • discuss your travel plans and other vaccination needs with your doctor before you travel

  • if you are pregnant, defer non-essential travel to Zika-affected areas, including Bangkok.

  • Zika virus(Department of Health)

  • Zika virus(Smartraveller)

  • Infectious diseases

  • Dengue fever(WHO)

  • Infectious diseasesLaws
  • To avoid potential exposure to rabies, don't ever feed, pat or tease monkeys, no matter how much encouragement or assurance you receive.

  • If you are bitten or scratched by a dog, monkey or other mammal in Thailand, get treated with rabies immunoglobulin as soon as possible.

  • Infectious diseases
  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.

  • Avoid ice cubes.

  • Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.

  • Avoid unpasteurised dairy products.

  • Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

  • Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

  • ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre.
  • Keep up-to-date with advice of local authorities.

  • Seek medical advice on appropriate precautions.

  • Health
  • Research and choose your medical service providers carefully.

  • Don't be lured to discounted or uncertified medical service providers.

  • Where to get help

  • Firefighting: 199

  • Medical emergencies and rescue services: 1669

  • Criminal issue: contact police 191 or tourist police on 1155

  • Consular services

    Additional information

  • Monitor the media, and weather and flood level reports, especially during the wet season.

  • Check with your tour operator for the latest information on disruptions.

  • Take official warnings seriously.

  • Don't enter areas affected by flooding or landslides without first seeking advice from local authorities.

  • Follow the instructions and advice of local authorities.

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag)

  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts

  • closely monitor the media, other local sources of information and theGlobal Disaster Alert and Coordination System

  • follow the advice of local authorities.

  • Severe weather

  • Mekong River Commission(flood levels for the Mekong River)

  • Thai Meteorological DepartmentPacific Tsunami Warning CentreEarthquakes
  • More information about Thailand

  • Overseas birth, adoption and surrogacy

  • Advice for business travellers

  • Female travellers

  • Partying safely

  • LGBTI travellers

  • Living and working overseas

  • Volunteering overseas

  • Backpacking

  • Stay Smart Online

  • Scamwatch