Thailand Travel Advice
Thailand is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. Thailand offers many historical and cultural sites, beach resorts, and Thai cuisine. With millions of visitors arriving each year, tourism forms a substantial part of the Thai economy. Many Thais speak some English, so getting around Thailand is rather easy. Thailand is known as the 'Land of Smiles' because of the people's friendly nature, however visitors should take precautions in certain areas. The following are suggestions to ensure a pleasant visit to Thailand:
- For many nationalities no visa is necessary for stays of less than 30 days. Your passport must have more than 6 months validity remaining at the time of entry into Thailand.
- Thais are very loyal to their royal family, in particular to King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He is viewed as a benevolent protector of the people, and is therefore revered by the people. Any sort of defamation directed towards the king is a punishable offence, which for expatriates could include prison or deportation.
- While petty theft and pick-pocketing are common, serious crime is less so. In recent years, crimes against foreign women have been on the rise.
- It is recommended that foreign women not travel alone and take sensible precautions, especially at night and in rural areas.
- Drug offences are considered serious in Thailand , with the death penalty applicable in certain cases.
- The southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla near the border with Malaysia have experienced unrest in recent years. Visitors are advised to avoid these areas as separatists and Muslim insurgents are known to be actively involved in dangerous activities.
- Visitors should also avoid areas along the Burmese border due to drug trafficking and large numbers of refugees living in the area.
- Thailand has a history of military rule and coups against civilian leadership. In 2006, the military toppled the civilian government amid claims of corruption within the civilian leadership.
It is advisable to avoid any type of public demonstration, as these have been dealt with harshly in the past. Given the present political situation in Thailand, it is advisable to avoid any public gathering, political or otherwise.