If you’re travelling to Thailand, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
- Safety and security
- Local laws and customs
- Natural disasters and climate
- Additional information
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, we advise you to exercise caution.
A number of large-scale political demonstrations have taken place in Bangkok since the beginning of November 2013. The main protest areas are around the Democracy Monument, at government buildings and along Rachadamnoen Avenue, but protests can occur with little warning at various locations.
We recommend against all travel to Preah Vihear, Ta Kwai and Ta Muen temples near the Thai/Cambodian border. We also advise against all travel to or through the Southern Thai Provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla due to ongoing instability and terrorist activity in this region. You should also take particular care when travelling near or across Thailand’s border with Burma (Myanmar).
Register with us
If you’re visiting or planning to stay in Thailand, you should register your details with us so we can find you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or if you have a family emergency while you’re abroad. And, if necessary, we can offer help to you and your family.
We suggest you learn as much as you can about Thailand before your trip.
We also recommend reading our Know Before You Go travel guide for practical tips on travelling abroad.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
Contact the Embassy
Because there is no Irish Embassy in Thailand, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Honorary Consuls (one in Bangkok and one in Phuket) or the Irish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:
- Your name
- The nature of your problem
- Where you are now
- Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)
We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.
How we can help you
We have a lot of experience helping Irish citizens who run into problems when they’re abroad. Learn more about the kind of emergency assistance we can offer you.
Safety and security
Safety and security
- Read our Know Before You Go travel guide for useful security tips when travelling abroad
- Get advice locally about areas of risk and security concerns
- Take common-sense precautions about safety and security
- Know who to contact in case of an emergency
We recommend against all travel to Preah Vihear, Ta Kwai and Ta Muen temples near the Thai/Cambodian border. The elements of the border between Cambodia and Thailand are disputed and there have been occasional clashes between the two states for several years. Hostilities broke on a number of occasions in 2011 and there were civilian and military deaths on both sides. The situation could escalate again at short notice.
We also advise against all travel to or through the Southern Thai Provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla due to ongoing instability and terrorist activity in this region. Martial law applies in these provinces. You should take particular care when travelling near or across Thailand’s border with Burma (Myanmar).
In the past, there have been mass demonstrations by pro- and anti-Government supporters in Thailand. A number of large-scale political demonstrations have taken place in Bangkok since the beginning of November 2013. The main protest areas are around the Democracy Monument, at government buildings and along Rachadamnoen Avenue, but protests can occur with little warning at various locations.
Following a recent escalation in protests, including the occupation and surrounding by protestors of some government buildings including the Finance Ministry, the Internal Security Act has been implemented in all parts of Bangkok and Nonthaburi as well as the Bang Phil district of Samut Prakan and the Lat Lum Kaep district of Pathum Thani. This Act will result in an increased security presence, and provides police and military with powers to impose curfews, operate checkpoints, restrict the movements of demonstrators, search for weapons and use force in the case of violence.
The protests have resulted in violent clashes there have been reports of gunfire, and there have been several deaths. Police have used tear gas and water cannon against protestors, and there have been reports of use of rubber bullets. The situations remains volatile and Irish citizens should take care to avoid all large gatherings, demonstrations and protests in Thailand, and should follow the instructions of authorities. You should also be aware that there may be severe disruption to traffic and transport.
There is a risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. There have been occasional detonations of small explosive devices in Bangkok and other Thai cities in recent years. In 2012, three explosions took place as a result of an incident involving foreign nationals in the Klong Tan area of central Bangkok.
Be aware of the risk of petty crime, including from pick-pockets, bag snatchers and those organising scams targeting tourists and always take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
- The theft of passports and credit cards is a problem in Thailand. Leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations. Many visitors have had their passports stolen on long- distance overnight bus journeys
Tourists have been scammed when hiring jet skis so get local advice on the reputation of any rental firm before approaching it. Never hand over your passport as security when renting jet skis or motorcycles.
If you’re passing through Suvarnabhumi Airport, make sure that you have paid, and have receipts for, all items in your possession before you move away from the vendor.
Take care if a stranger approaches you offering to sell gems.
There have been incidents where foreign nationals have been attacked and raped. Female travellers, in particular, should be extremely careful of their personal safety. There have also been incidents where tourists have had their drinks drugged (tourist areas and ‘red light’ districts). You should be careful about taking drinks from strangers and be very wary at parties such as the Full Moon party on Phangan Island.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Thailand, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Honorary Consulates in Bangkok or Phuket, or the Irish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Thailand, you should be extremely careful. Road conditions are poor.
- You need an international or Thai driving licence to drive in Thailand. Make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- Be aware of Thailand’s traffic laws, such as speed limits
- Wear your seatbelts at all times
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
Take proper care when using a motorcycle – a number of people have been killed in accidents in Thailand. Wearing safety helmets is mandatory.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a car or motorcycle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
If you’re arriving by air, use licensed taxis from official taxi stands. Unlicensed vehicles (black and white number plates) are not properly insured to carry passengers.
Take proper care when swimming – a number of Irish citizens have been killed in accidents in Thailand. There have been reports of poisonous jellyfish in the waters off Koh Pha-ngan, Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. If stung, visitors should seek immediate medical attention.
Local laws and customs
Local laws and customs
- Read our travel advice, inform yourself before travelling and get advice locally when you arrive
- Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them
- Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal
Alcohol and tobacco
There are strict limits on the amount of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, cigars and smoking tobacco which you may bring into Thailand. Tourists have been detained and fined heavily for attempting to bring cigarettes into Thailand in excess of the official limit.
Penalties for the possession, distribution and consumption of drugs in Thailand are severe and include life imprisonment and the death penalty. The possession of even very small quantities often leads to imprisonment. The Thai authorities have increased their surveillance of those involved in illicit drugs activity and undercover police carry out spot checks in and around bars, restaurants and discos in tourist areas. These checks may include searches of bags, purses, and pockets. A number of tourists have suffered psychiatric problems as a result of drug use in Thailand.
In Thailand it is a criminal offence to make critical or defamatory comments about the King or the royal family.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters and climate
- If you’re travelling to Thailand, make sure you know what to expect – then plan and pack so that you’re prepared
- Get local advice on how to manage in the case of a serious incident or dangerous conditions
- Co-operate with local authorities and emergency services in the case of serious incidents
Rain and flooding
The rainy season in much of Thailand runs from May to October. Monsoon rains and storms quite often lead to heavy and dangerous flooding. Extreme conditions caused massive flooding and considerable flooding damage across central, northern eastern provinces of Thailand in late 2011.The rainy season in south east of the Thai peninsula runs from November to March. You can get useful information on the weather conditions in Thailand from websites such as Phuket Weather Forecasts, the Thai Meteorological Department or Tourism Authority of Thailand News.
Thailand is in an earthquake zone and suffers from tremors from time to time. These can trigger tsunami alerts. Familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake, and take note of earthquake and tsunami-related instructions from your hotel or the local authorities. In 2012, two earthquakes occurred in Phuket, leading to some damage to property.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
For entry requirements for Thailand, please contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate for Thailand.
You must have a valid passport to enter Thailand, with at least six months validity. Be aware that a number of Irish citizens have been deported from Thailand for trying to enter the country on a damaged passport. It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. All visitors are required to carry their passport at all times.
It’s against the law to overstay your visa to Thailand so check the period of stay authorised by the Thai authorities when you arrive. If you 'surrender' yourself to immigration at the airport or at any other immigration bureau following a short overstay, you must pay a fine for each excess day. However, be aware that for longer periods of overstay, it is entirely at the discretion of the Thai immigration whether you pay an overstay fine or are deported. The authorities may also be less flexible where a visitor is stopped by the police and found to have overstayed. Such situations can lead to detention in an Immigration Detention Centre while the case is being processed.
Due to the heat and other factors, a high proportion of European visitors to Thailand fall ill. Always check with your doctor well in advance of travelling for medical advice and to see if you need any vaccinations for Thailand.
AH1N1 swine flu
There have been thousands of reported cases of Influenza A/H1N1 in Thailand and several deaths.
Dengue fever and malaria
Dengue fever and malaria are prevalent in Thailand, particularly in the south. Before travelling, get up-to-date medical advice as to whether you will need anti-malarial medication. When you arrive, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by using bed nets and repellents, and wearing closed shoes, long sleeves and trousers.
We recommend that you drink only boiled or bottled water during your stay.