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Thailand Health & Safety Advice

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Health

Medical facilities, services and standards in Thailand are adequate. Especially in Bangkok good facilities exist for routine, long-term, and emergency health care.

Comprehensive travel medical insurance is recommended for all visitors.

Travelers should be aware that currently HIV and AIDS are a serious problem in Thailand. They are especially common among prostitutes of both sexes and particularly in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

A mosquito - transmitted dengue fever is becoming increasingly widespread in Thailand, especially in its central regions. Good insect repellent is recommended.

Food and Water

Only bottled, boiled or sterilized water should be used for drinking, making ice or brushing teeth. Bottled water is widely available and inexpensive.

Milk, if purchased unpasteurized, should be boiled. Travelers should avoid dairy products made from unpasteurized milk. Meat, poultry and seafood should be well cooked and served hot. Fruits should be peeled and vegetables cooked before consumption. Although in general hygiene level in restaurants are adequate, tourists should be aware of some street or market food vendors who may lack the necessary hygiene standards of food storage (especially in high temperatures) and preparation.

Safety

Thailand is quite safe for tourists and the crime threat in Bangkok and most other parts of Thailand, that are frequently visited by tourists, is relatively low. Petty crime involving pick-pocketing and purse-snatching as well as burglary are recently more common and are the majority of reported crimes against foreign visitors.

Travelers should use some common-sense precautions and protect their documents and valuables, as well as credit cards that should only be used in reputable stores. It's advisable to exercise caution when traveling alone.

Some caution is recommended when using taxis or tuk-tuks (three-wheeled taxis). Some taxi drivers may attempt to charge foreign visitors excessive fares, some may tout gem stores or entertainment venues where they get their commissions. When arriving at Bangkok's airport, it's advisable to use only taxis from the airport's official taxi stand or cars from the airport limousine counters.

Other common scam involves approaching tourist outside of a well-known tourist attraction and convincing them that the attraction is closed. Then the stranger offers a ride to another attraction. The point of the scam is to gain tourist confidence and take them to a unique gem store that just happens to have a sale (foreigners posing as tourists may also take part in the scam to be more convincing). Tourists end up spending a lot of money on gems that have virtually no value.

The southern-most provinces of Thailand (Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, and Songkhla) have been experiencing almost daily incidents of criminally and politically motivated violence, including bombings. Foreign travelers should consider not to travel to the far south of Thailand.


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