With its striking, turquoise waters and picture-perfect climate, it’s no wonder Thailand is among the most popular tourist destinations in all of Southeast Asia.
The good news for would-be travelers is that Thailand is considered safe. The country is considered a Level 1 destination by the U.S. Department of State, which signals that travelers need to practice normal precautions.
That means all tourists should exercise caution and stay aware of potential criminal activity during their visit to the Land of Smiles.
LATEST UPDATES / NEWS from THAILAND:
August 22 – Thailand looks to shut down Facebook in the country over multiple scams
Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) is taking action to shut down Facebook in Thailand for harmful investment scams that threaten the country’s economy and public safety.
The decision to petition the court was made in response to the sudden increase in investment scams, in which fraudsters use Facebook ads to buy fake stock symbols and SEC to trick others into investing.
To clarify, DES says, “Neither the SEC nor the SET offer such investments.” The ministry explains that scammers usually spread false information to get people to invest, and victims never get their money or capital back.
July 14 – Police discover a dismembered German man in a freezer
Hans-Peter Mack, 62, was found dismembered, according to the local police commander, Tawee Kudthalaeng, who made the announcement on Tuesday. The discovery was made by authorities the previous day at 11 p.m. local time (1600 UTC).
The German real estate agent, who had lived in Thailand for a while, had gone missing a week prior. In order to discover him alive, police pieced together security camera video.
Instead, they discovered the dismembered body in a chest freezer at a residence in the affluent neighborhood of Nong Prue.
According to a source quoted by the German daily Bild, police have detained a lady who is thought to have met Mack just before he vanished.
The meeting was related to the lucrative sale of two properties, a villa and a boxing hall, worth about 700 million baht (about 18.2 million euros or $20 million).
June 9 – Marijuana businesses in legal limbo a year after legalization in Thailand
On Friday, Thailand celebrated one year since the legalization of marijuana, although the industry still operates illegally for lack of proper regulation. Nonetheless, cannabis businesses are sprouting up all over the country.
On June 9, 2022, marijuana was removed from Thailand’s list of banned substances with the intention of promoting medical cannabis, but this instead served to encourage the trade and recreational use of the drug.
Attempts by the ruling coalition at the time to regulate the industry failed due to a lack of unity in parliament, which was dissolved in March in preparation for elections on May 14.
However, the election results created more uncertainty as opposition parties that were against the current broad liberalization of marijuana won.
Sheltered by this significant loophole, cannabis businesses have begun to flourish in Bangkok and other cities throughout Thailand.
Stay diligent, especially in crowds
Rather than violent attacks, tourists are more likely to fall victim to any number of non-violent crimes or scams.
Pickpocketing is common in Thailand’s urban centers. Although it can be difficult to do so in congested areas, avoid allowing locals to get close enough to steal from you. Consider using a backpack with security features to stash your wallet and valuables.
Criminals also like to target tourists who are getting money at currency exchanges or ATMs, so be especially diligent when doing so to avoid being robbed.
Scams involving taxis and other modes of transportation, including boats and ferries, typically involve overcharging. There are also incidences of tours charging upfront and then not delivering, so be sure to only book with reputable vendors.
If you decide to take part in the urban nightlife, don’t go alone. Bars are another area where crime is more likely to occur. Strangers may spike your drink and then steal cash and other valuables.
Use extreme caution when visiting local bars and clubs and avoid drawing attention to your wealth by wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
Violent crime doesn’t occur at an alarming rate, but there are instances of robbery, assault, rape and murder. You can lessen your chances of falling victim to a violent crime by avoiding certain areas.
Violent attacks, including bombings, are most likely to occur in Bangkok and Phuket, with terrorists targeting hotels frequented by tourists, as well as places of worship, monuments, schools, shopping malls, public transport, rallies, festivals and the U.S. embassy.
While there have been no significant acts of terrorism since 2019, there are still minor events, particularly in Southern Thailand, which is best avoided.
Urban areas also contain red-light districts, which tend to have a higher rate of crimes involving drugs, alcohol and sex. As with certain provinces, avoid these areas entirely to lower the risk of ending up a crime victim.
To avoid becoming a victim of violent crime, it’s best to steer clear of public gatherings and demonstrations. Monitor the media so you stay aware of any threats or incidences that occur and always report any suspicious-looking packages.
Related: Is Bangkok Safe? Travel Advisory 2023
Other Safety Concerns
Crime isn’t the only safety concern for tourists in Thailand.
While the country’s stunning beaches are a huge tourist draw, not all beaches have enough lifeguards nor are the lifeguards always adequately trained. Other dangers include jellyfish and riptides.The beaches at Phuket are known to be particularly risky.
Tourists are also susceptible to food-borne illnesses. While street food in cities like Bangkok may be inviting, you never know how long the food has been sitting out in the open.
Avoid drinking tap water or using ice cubes made with tap water, and opt for bottled water only.
If your respiratory system is at all compromised, be sure to check with your physician before traveling to Bangkok, as the air there is polluted.
While travel to Thailand is generally considered safe, it pays to take precautions and stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoiding situations that increase the potential for crime or compromise your safety will help to ensure you enjoy your trip to this popular tourist destination.
April 13 – Tourist police will crack down on overstaying, and other tourism-related crimes
Thai tourist police have launched a nationwide campaign to combat crimes against tourism such as overstaying and other violations of the law by foreigners in Thailand.
In a Facebook post, the Tourist Police said it would target 10 different types of tourist-related offences, including “overstaying and other crimes affecting all aspects of the tourism business across the country” The list of crimes was kept secret.
In the same release, the Tourist Police gave a message to “tourists and fellow citizens” on how to report incidents and provide pertinent data to the organization.