Although Thailand’s climate, wildlife and cuisine present Western travellers with fewer health worries than in many Asian destinations, it’s as well to know in advance what the risks might be, and what preventive or curative measures you should take. For security, as long as you keep your wits about you, you shouldn’t encounter much trouble in Thailand.
No vaccination is required, but visitors are advised to receive inoculations against hepatitis A and B, typhoid and tetanus. Inoculation for yellow fever and tablets for malaria are not necessary although doctors still usually recommend them.
Health insurance is recommended. Medical facilities are good in main centres. All major hotels have doctors on call.
HIV and AIDS
HIV infection is widespread in Thailand, primarily because of the sex trade. Condoms (meechai) are sold in pharmacies, convenience stores, department stores, hairdressers and even street markets. Due to rigorous screening methods, Thailand’s medical blood supply is now considered safe from HIV/AIDS infection.
Pickpocketing and bag-snatching are two of the main problems – not surprising considering that a huge percentage of the local population scrape by on under US$5 per day – but the most common cause for concern is the number of con-artists who dupe gullible tourists into parting with their cash.
Most travellers prefer to carry their valuables with them at all times, but it’s often possible to use a safe box in a hotel. Padlock your luggage when leaving it in hotel rooms, as well as when consigning it to storage or taking it on public transport. Padlocks also come in handy as extra security on your room, particularly on the doors of beachfront bamboo huts.
Violent crime against tourists is not common, but it does occur, and there have been several serious attacks on women travellers in recent years. However, bearing in mind that fourteen million foreigners visit Thailand every year, the statistical likelihood of becoming a victim is extremely small.
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