I wanted to write this blog post
months years ago. I had hoped to actually have a video and a written blog post about is Thailand safe for travel wrapped up before I left Thailand the first trip but I’m not the best at sticking with my blogging/vlogging schedule when on the road so here I am a couple of years later.
But that being said I’ve had more time to travel around Thailand and to really get a feel of the streets and my safety while experiencing them.
The fun and excitement of backpacking the ever amazing country had me mesmerized and bewildered beyond words. It’s an easy place to enjoy and forget how dangerous it can be.
Personally, this was the farthest I’ve ever ventured from the United States and even after watching countless hours of Youtube videos and reading hours and hours of articles like this one, I still had little idea of what to actually expect of Thai people and their habits toward foreigners.
Every video or article you read is just one person’s opinion and their comfort levels and a general idea of well-being can be totally different from our own. So getting a well-rounded vision of what is safe and what is not, is important for many first time travelers to a country.
Every country and culture is a little different and going in with an open mind is the only true way to travel and explore the different cultures of the world.
Is Thailand Safe for Travel?
Yes, It’s actually the safest country in Southeast Asia to travel. Thailand could be called “rough around the edges” in many aspects. Especially when it comes to road safety, sidewalk safety, electrical line safety, traffic safety, and even food safety. Things we tend to take for granted in the western world.
This is why, while visiting Thailand, it is so important not to become COMPLACENT. Keeping your wits and paying attention to your surroundings will go a long way in keeping you safe and out of trouble.
It’s extremely easy to get hurt in Thailand just by walking down the sidewalk if you’re lucky enough to be on a street with an unobstructed one.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the Kingdom and I never once felt threatened. Now, I may have been a little scared by a minibus driver or two or trying to cross several lanes of traffic on foot but that’s part of the experience of traveling around Thailand.
I had many late nights walking around Bangkok, Pattaya, Krabi, Koh Samet, and Koh Samui and was never in a situation where I thought I would be harmed by another human, Thai or otherwise.
There are many stories of tourists being targeted by thieves and others who look to do harm. Most of these situations can be avoided by not over-drinking or by not placing yourself in locations where questionable or illegal activities are taking place. Staying safe in Thailand is more about keeping your comfort level where you want it more than anything else.
AVOIDING DANGEROUS SITUATIONS
Thailand is a World-Renowned Vacation Destination. If there is an activity you want to do, chances are, someone is willing to take your money and let you do that activity.
Be it renting a motorscooter, renting jet skis, parasailing, scuba diving, or shooting extremely powerful firearms. These things are great fun when well regulated and ran professionally.
Activities such as those mentioned above are fun and are a great way to spend a vacation. They can be dangerous too. Some like renting a motorbike is extremely risky.
More often than not, most travel insurance won’t cover injuries that occurred while riding a motorbike in a foreign country that you don’t have an actual motorbike driver’s license for.
Next time you’re in Thailand, look around at the westerners, chances are you’ll see a few people with casts or bandage wraps. These injuries are most likely from motorbike accidents. It happens daily.
I always check Tripadvisor for reviews of any activity I plan to do. Checking for safety concerns and any questionable reviews will help give you an idea of what kind of business you’re putting your life on the line with.
Always remember that Thailand isn’t the West and there’s a good chance that there is little oversight of the establishment you’re about to hire.
Motorbike Taxis – Is Thailand Safe?
This is one form of transport that you may want to reevaluate your comfort zones and really ask yourself if getting to your destination across the city fast and cheap is worth it?
I personally love it and don’t have any trouble trading my safety for a quick and cheap ride across whatever Thai city I’ve found myself in. It’s not so bad outside of cities like Bangkok and Pattaya but you still are putting your life on the line.
Thailand ranks very high on the world’s list for road fatalities and most of these are from motorbike riders. Thai’s ride fast and don’t watch where they’re going. It’s no secret and the numbers back up the data.
You may not want any part of a motorbike taxi ride but once your setting in Bangkok traffic for 45 minutes and haven’t moved more than a few kilometers you may just hop out and flag down the first motorbike taxi rider you see and give it a try.
It’s exhilarating to say the least.
I used to advise avoiding regular Thai taxis all together but after many trips to Bangkok and other Southeast Asian cities, it became quite apparent that that budget travel tip is just not actionable.
Sometime’s your hotel, hostel or homestay may not offer airport transfers and you have to be at Suvarnabhumi airport at 0230 AM and you have no other choice than to call a taxi.
My last Khao San Road to Suvarnabhumi trip happened just the same as I explained above. Super late at night and my hotel called me a taxi… He didn’t speak a lick of english which is not out of the orrdaniraly at all. Most thai taxi driver only know a couple words.
On a good day, it takes 45 minutes to ride from the center of the city to the airport but on this night we did the trip in 25 minutes. He drove so fast!!! I did the conversion and he was topping 90 miles per hour most of the whole way to the airport and I don’t think I have ever been more scared while in Thailand.
I wasn’t late, I wasn’t in a hurry but he sure must’ve been. I didn’t speak up and I suppose I could have but I hate telling people how to drive especially old Thai men driving me 90 miles an hour on a big empty freeway in the middle of the night.
We arrived safely at our destination a fair 20 minutes ahead of schedule.
Is Thailand safe is a question you can only ask yourself. Some may not be in to 90 mile an hour mad dashes to the airport and for some it may be par for the course.
Is Thai Street Food Safe?
Yes! Thai street food is well known as being some of the most mouth-watering and sought after cuisine in the world. Some people come to Thailand specifically for their Street Food.
There’s nothing like experiencing the smells of countless different food carts and stalls drifting through the air on Yaowarat Road in Bangkok’s Chinatown during an afternoon exploration session. This could also be said for many other cities all over Thailand as well.
Trying what suits your appetite ties the whole experience off with belly-filling goodness that will have you reliving and telling people about for the rest of your life and maybe even writing a blog about just like I am now.
The food in Thailand is that good.
I have words of caution though and I’ll share them below.
I’ve only been near deathly ill from Thai street food once and it is mostly my drunken complacency that got me into this position in the first place. I’ll set the stage for you.
I had come back to Bangkok from Koh Samui for a few days to decide where I was heading to next and decided to stroll out for a night of beers and hobnobbing on Khao San Road. I had been in Thailand for quite a while at this point and hadn’t visited the infamous “Backpacker Ghetto” at all so I thought this sounded like a good idea.
Flash forward to well after midnight and I’m starving!
Conveniently located toward one of the ends of Khao San Road there happens to be a middle 40’s aged looking Thai man frying what I concluded to be basically “chicken fingers” on a stick.
I don’t know if you knew this but fried chicken fingers on a stick happen to be one of the most sought after Thai Street Food dishes in the country. I hope you sense my sarcasm.
It was late and I was quite drunk and I was hungry.
I went back for a third serving of these these fried chicken fingers I thought they were so good.
They actually tasted exquisite in my mind. They may actually have for all I know but considering what happened the next day all I can conclude is the chicken must have been bad because I had never been more sick in my life.
I’m obviously not going to go into too great of detail here but I do want to expound all though I never puked the stomach-turning chicken up that I was very happy that I had booked a private hotel room with private bathroom.
I had never been glued to the toilet so bad. I’ll never forget it. We’ll say that.
What did I learn?
I learned that staying safe in Thailand is up to me. There may have been red flags in my situation but I was under the influence and missed them or saw them and dismissed them altogether and then other times you just have a bad run of luck.
I know for a fact that I waited line for that man’s chicken more than once with other people so in all likely cases some of those people would have gotten sick too I think.
If that’s the case then sometimes you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
That’s the story of my first bad street food experience in Thailand and I hope it’ll shed a little ray of light onto how things can go wrong in Thailand from time to time. But things like that can happen anywhere.
Is Thailand Safe For Tourists
Tourism is Thailand’s main business. It’s a fast-paced “get them in and get them out” kind of mentality. Sometime you might feel your just a $ to some and others are definitely more sincere.
I suggest staying vigilant toward the safety and security of your belongings especially if you’re traveling with an expensive camera and computer gear like I tend to.
I’ve never had any gear or items vanish but I’ve met people who have and you read about it in Facebook groups all the time.
It’s not just local thieves preying on tourists it’s also backpacker stealing from other backpackers.
Is Thailand Safe For Families
I see many young western families every time I travel to Thailand. I don’t think it’s really a question of “Is Thailand Safe for Families” but how much risk are you willing to put your family in?
I have one tip that I do give people when asked if Thailand is safe for families or small children is to always hire a private car if you can. The public transport and taxi situation could be less than ideal for solo travel let alone a family of 3 or more. Especially with young or elderly travelers.
I personally don’t like using public transport in Thailand but it’s hard to avoid when I’m budget traveling. A family, on the other hand, I would assume would have ample cash for private transport when traveling.
Only you know what’s best for your family and their comfort level. Thailand is hot and sweaty 24 hours a day. The island’s offer a reprieve in the form of ocean breeze but it’s still always hot and usually quite muggy. It can make for an uncomfortable time.
Is Thailand Safe For Single Female Travelers
This is one I can’t answer for myself for obvious reasons but it should be covered here. I have met many female solo travelers in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia especially staying in hostels.
The ones I’ve met seem to not have an issue at all with traveling to Thailand or other Southeast Asian countries. I would suggest doing your research. Read and watch anything online you can find about Solo Female Travel Safety in Thailand or wherever you may be traveling.
First-hand blogs and YouTube videos are your best resource for knowledge on the subject in my opinion.
I’ve found Thailand to be an extremely hospitable place and I wouldn’t see why that would be any different for a solo female traveler.
Thailand has an infamous nightlife and “illegal” sex trade but I don’t think it makes it anymore dangerous for solo female travelers. Avoid these areas and activities and you likely won’t have any trouble while traveling in Thailand.
Just like anywhere there are bad people looking to do bad things so you have to be vigilant every day wherever you are in the world and be proactive about your safety.
Knowledge of the risks and danger areas at your travel destination and routes will go along way in helping you notice dangerous situations before an incident has a chance to occur.
Thailand is an amazing place to visit and I hope to go back many times before my traveling days are up. It’s called the Land Of Smiles and I saw and met many friendly people throughout my trip. Maybe the old adage “Treat others how you want to be treated” still holds true in Thailand.
Traveling responsibly is your best bet at staying safe while in Thailand or traveling anywhere in this big round world.
Staying aware and accepting different cultures for what they are will help you to have a more memorable experience while staying safe in the Land Of Smiles.
Check out my video below. I walk and talk about “the safety of Thailand” while walking across Bangkok. I’m discussing things to beware of and to watch out for while walking around the city.
If you’d like to see even more videos head on over to my YouTube Channel for more travel fun and advice!
Make sure to leave a comment below or on the YouTube video! I try to respond to them all.
If you want to learn more about Traveling Thailand and more specifically about Bangkok come and check out My Ultimate Bangkok Travel Guide.