Thailand Traveler Information - Travel Advice
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Thailand Traveler Information guide.
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Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: 6 months from date of entry recommended.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: 1 page per stamp.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: No, if your stay is less than 30 days.
VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever may be required if arriving from certain countries with yellow fever.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: None.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: None.
Embassies and Consulates
U.S. Embassy Bangkok
95 Wireless Road
Telephone: + (66) (2) 205-4049, 02-205-4049 (within Thailand)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(66) (2) 205-4000, 02-205-4000 (within Thailand)
Fax: +(66) (2) 205-4103, 02-205-4103 (within Thailand)
U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai
387 Witchayanond Road
Chiang Mai 50300
Telephone: +(66) (53) 107-777, 053-107-777 (within Thailand)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(66) 81-881-1878, 081-881-1878 (within Thailand)
Fax: +(66) (53) 252-633, 053-252-633 (within Thailand)
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Thailand for additional information on U.S.-Thailand relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
Visit the Royal Thai Embassy website for the most current visa information.
- U.S. citizen tourists entering Thailand for fewer than 30 days do not require a visa.
- We strongly recommend that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your arrival in Thailand to avoid possible denied entry.
- Thai immigration officials or airline staff may ask for your onward/return ticket.
- Business travelers, U.S. government employees travelling on official business, teachers, retirees, and those planning to stay longer than 30 days should check with the Royal Thai Embassy about visa requirements.
- If you overstay your visa, you will be fined. Depending on the length of overstay, you may also be arrested, detained, deported at your own expense, and banned from re-entering Thailand.
We strongly recommend you carry a copy of your U.S. passport identification page and current Thai visa to help avoid detention by the Thai immigration police.
Thailand’s entry/exit information is subject to change without notice. For the most current information, please see the list of Thai embassies and consulates worldwide and The Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Thailand. However, these restrictions are generally not enforced. Please verify this information with the Royal Thai Embassy before you travel.
Safety and Security
Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:
- High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
- Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
- Places of worship
- Shopping malls and markets
- Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)
For more information, see our Terrorism page.
Periodic acts of violence in Thailand remain a concern. In August 2019, several small explosions and related arson events occurred in various locations throughout Bangkok resulting in no deaths but some injuries and minor property damage. Several small-scale bombings occurred near some tourist locations in the far Southern provinces in August 2016 and December 2018. In August 2015, an explosion near the Erawan Shrine in downtown Bangkok killed at least 20 people and injured more than 100. The U.S. Department of State assesses there is a continued risk of terrorism in Southeast Asia, including in Thailand.
If a protest or demonstration is expected to pass near the U.S. Embassy or Consulate facilities, Embassy and Consulate entrances and functions may be restricted. The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok’s website, Facebook, and Twitter sites and the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai’s website, Facebook, and Twitter sites post information about local events that may affect Embassy functions. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security and safety messages.
Far Southern Thailand: Periodic violence directed mostly at Thai government interests by a domestic insurgency continues to affect security in the southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Songkhla. U.S. citizens are at risk of death or injury due to the possibility of indiscriminate attacks in public places. Martial law is in force in this region.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in these provinces. Travel to this region by U.S government employees must be reviewed and approved in advance. For more information on terrorist threats against U.S. citizens worldwide and steps to take as a result of these threats, please see the Worldwide Caution.
- Crimes of opportunity, such as pick-pocketing, bag-snatching, and burglary, occur in Thailand.
- Violent crimes against foreigners are relatively rare. However, murders, rapes, and assaults against foreigners do occur.
- Sexually motivated violence, committed by either Thai citizens or foreigners, is most likely to occur after time spent at bars, clubs, and parties, on beaches, or in remote/isolated areas. The Thai police response will differ from an investigation in the United States; investigating officials have publicly discredited people who have reported being the victim of crimes . In addition to making a report at the police jurisdiction in which the crime occurred, we advise contacting the Embassy and engaging a local attorney if you are a victim of an assault.
- When traveling alone, exercise caution, stay near other travelers, and ensure friends or family know how to contact you.
- Taxi and “tuk-tuk” drivers may attempt to charge excessive fares or refuse passengers. You should either request the driver use the meter or agree on the fare beforehand.
- At the airport use only public transportation from the airport’s official pick-up area, cars from the limousine counters, or a car from your hotel.
- Rental scams do occur in Thailand. Many rental motorbike, jet ski, and car companies will hold your passport until you pay for real or fictitious damages. We advise against using your passport as collateral.
- Exorbitant bar tab scams occur in Thailand. Some bars and entertainment venues will charge exorbitant prices for drinks or unadvertised cover charges and threaten violence if you don’t pay.
- Other scams involving gems, city tours, entertainment venues, and credit cards are common, especially in tourist areas.
Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Thailand. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:
- Romance/Online dating
- Money transfers
- Grandparent/Relative targeting
- Free Trip/Luggage
- Work permits/job offers
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of crime are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. Report crimes to the local police by calling 191 or the Tourist Police at 1155 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +66 (0) 2-205-4049 or Consulate at +(66) (53) 107-777. Remember that only local officials have the authority to investigate and to prosecute a crime.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. Report crimes to the local police by calling 191 or the Tourist Police at 1155 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +66 (0) 2-205-4049 or Consulate at +(66) (53) 107-777. Remember that only local officials have the authority to investigate and to prosecute a crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Conditions at the Bangkok Immigration Detention Center (IDC): Conditions in immigration detention centers (IDCs) where authorities detain foreign nationals who violate immigration laws remain poor and most are overcrowded. IDCs, administered by the Immigration Police Bureau, which reports to the Royal Thai Police (RTP), are not subject to many of the regulations that govern the regular prison system. U.S. citizen detainees often complain of stark, austere living conditions, overcrowding, and unhealthy conditions. Personal security is poor. In addition, the main IDC in Bangkok does not dependably provide adequate medical or mental health care. In 2019, two U.S. citizens died while in custody at the Bangkok IDC. Deportations are self-funded and it may take up to two weeks for Thai authorities to process a case before deportation. Detainees must have funds to purchase a phone card and do not have access to the internet. Prior approval and a security escort are required to visit a Western Union or an ATM machine.
- Please see the Immigration Act B.E. 1979 for more information about Thai Immigration violations.
- Please see the Department of State’s Report on Human Rights Practices for Thailand for further information.
Lèse majesté (Royal Insult): Thais hold the monarchy in the highest regard. Making a critical or defamatory comment about the royal family is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years per offense. As an example, purposely tearing Thai bank notes, which carry an image of the King, may be considered a lèse majesté offense.
- Prostitution is illegal in Thailand. Serious consequences include criminal conviction and imprisonment, particularly in the case of child prostitution.
- Commercial surrogacy is banned.
- Personal use of even non-lethal military equipment, such as protective vests and night vision scopes, is prohibited.
- Illegal drugs carry severe penalties. Expect long jail sentences under harsh conditions, heavy fines, or even execution for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs.
- Shoplifting can result in large fines and lengthy detention followed by deportation.
- Domestic Issues: Local police are reluctant to become involved in domestic issues. You may call the Family Services Emergency hotline by dialing 1300 from any Thai phone.
- Possessing counterfeit or pirated goods is a crime in Thailand. For more information see the intellectual property section of the U.S. Department of Justice website.
Customs may enforce strict regulations on Buddha images, firearms, bullets and/or bullet casings, bullet-proof vests, night vision devices and other para-military type equipment, explosives, drugs, radios, books, and recordings, which might be cultural property and/or considered harmful to the public interest.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no known legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Thailand. However, LGBTI groups report that in the case of sexual crimes, police tend to downplay sexual abuse claims from LGBTI victims.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Sidewalks and street crossings are not suitable for travelers with mobility issues. Newly constructed buildings, facilities, and transportation equipment should be accessible by law for persons with mobility issues. However, enforcement of these provisions is not uniform.
Women Travelers: Some victims of sexual assault or domestic violence find that Thai authorities do not handle such cases with as much sensitivity or consideration for privacy as they would expect in the United States. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
For emergency services in Thailand, dial 1669 for Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
Ambulance services are:
- not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas except for Bangkok and other major cities.
- Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.
Medical treatment is generally adequate in Thailand’s urban areas. In Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Pattaya, good facilities exist for routine, long-term, and emergency health care. Basic medical care is available in rural areas, but English-speaking providers are rare.
Medical tourism is an established and rapidly growing industry. You should consult with your local physician before traveling and also refer to information on medical tourism from CDC.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Medicine for personal use is allowed as long as the amount does not exceed a 30-day supply and you bring the medicine with you. Do not mail medicine to Thailand without first confirming it will be allowed into the country.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with Thailand Customs and the Thailand Food and Drug Administration to ensure the medication is legal in Thailand. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are present:
- Japanese encephalitis
- Hepatitis A and B
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: The air quality in Thailand varies considerably and fluctuates with the seasons, but seasonal smog is a problem. In recent years the air quality in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Lampang, Nan, and Samut Sakhon have exceeded Thai and U.S. government daily standards for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) for a portion of the year. In Chiang Mai and other northern provinces, annual agricultural burning, approximately February through late April, and forest fires cause days with unhealthy to hazardous air quality based on the U.S. index. In Bangkok environs, airborne dust and auto pollutants are prevalent in the cooler, dry period (December-February). Anyone who travels where pollution levels are high is at risk. People at the greatest risk from air pollution exposure include:
- Infants, children, and teens
- People over 65 years of age
- People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema;
- People with heart disease
- People who work or are active outdoors
For Bangkok and Chiang Mai, U.S. Mission Thailand is reporting the U.S. EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) calculated from PM2.5 data captured by monitors owned and maintained by the Royal Thai Government. The information and advice on health protection measures to take is available
Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Health facilities in general:
- Adequate health facilities are available in Bangkok and other major cities but health care in rural areas may be below U.S. standards.
- Hospitals and doctors require payment “up front” prior to service or admission. Credit card payment is not always available.
- Medical staff at public hospitals may speak little or no English.
- Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
- Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions.
Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:
- Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventionwebsite for more information on Medical Tourism.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on Medical Tourism, the risks of medical tourism, and what you can do to prepare before traveling to Thailand.
- We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
- Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in Thailand.
- Although Thailand has many elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you plan to undergo surgery in Thailand, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available and professionals are accredited and qualified.
- Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.
Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy:
- If you are considering traveling to Thailand to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page.
- Surrogacy is illegal for foreigners in Thailand, subject to complex local regulation. For additional information, visit the Government of Thailand’s website for information on foreigner surrogacy.
- If you decide to pursue parenthood in Thailand via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with a gestational mother, be prepared for long and unexpected delays in documenting your child’s citizenship. Be aware that individuals who attempt to circumvent local law risk criminal prosecution.
- In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety:
- Traffic accidents are common in Thailand. According to the World Health Organization, in 2018, Thailand had one of the world’s highest traffic-related fatality rates. Bangkok and some parts of Chiang Mai have heavy traffic.
- Reckless driving: Speeding, reckless passing, and failure to obey other traffic laws are common in all regions of Thailand. Traffic moves on the left. Some drivers move illegally against the traffic. Scooters and motorbikes commonly drive on the sidewalks during rush hour and other periods of heavy traffic. Commercial drivers commonly consume alcohol, amphetamines, and other stimulants.
- Accidents involving motorcycles can be deadly. Riders may incur serious injuries when they are not wearing helmets or proper clothing and footwear. According to the World Health Organization, in 2016, 74 percent of traffic fatalities involved riders of 2-and 3-wheeled vehicles. Use of motorcycle helmets is mandatory, but this law is sporadically enforced.
- Use a pedestrian bridge to cross the road where one is available, including in front of the U.S. Embassy on Wireless Road and on Sukhumvit Road, where many pedestrians have been killed and several U.S. citizens seriously injured. Look carefully in both directions before crossing streets, even when using a marked crosswalk.
- If you have a traffic accident, you should contact your insurance company for guidance in dealing with the other party and the police.
- Emergency vehicles: Congested roads and a scarcity of ambulances can make it difficult for accident victims to receive timely medical attention
- Driving under influence is punishable by law. If you are found to be intoxicated, you could be jailed for a minimum of two years and subject to a fine.
- Bribes are illegal. If you are found guilty, you could be imprisoned up to five years, face severe fines, or both.
- The following violations are also subject to a fine:
- Lack of ID.
- Not obeying traffic laws and traffic signals.
- Driving slowly in regular lanes of traffic.
- If you are involved in a traffic accident, you should contact your auto insurance company for guidance.
- Mass transit: In Bangkok, the BTS elevated "Skytrain," “Airport Rail Link” mass transit, and the underground MRT systems are reliable, inexpensive, air conditioned, and often faster than Bangkok traffic.
- Bus system: Bangkok also has an extensive bus system, but buses can be overcrowded and are often driven with little or no regard for passenger safety.
- For hire vehicles: Cities outside of Bangkok typically have only rudimentary public transportation and usually do not have metered taxis. In many cases, motorcycle taxis, tuk-tuks, bicycle-powered rickshaws, and pick-up trucks will be the only options available for travelers without their own transport.
- Smartphone-based for-hire vehicle service exist in Bangkok and other large cities. Those affiliated with registered taxis, such as Grab Taxi, Line Taxi, and All Thai Taxi are legal, but their affiliated car services are under legal review.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Thailand’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Thailand should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
International Parental Child Abduction
Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Thailand. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.### **Recent AARDY Travel Insurance Customer Reviews**