We advise Irish Citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in Thailand. The political situation in Thailand can be unpredictable. Civil and political unrest may result in street demonstrations particularly in the run up to the elections expected to take place in early 2019. We strongly advise citizens to avoid any political gatherings or demonstrations.
Terrorist attacks are likely to happen Thailand. We strongly advise against all travel to or through the southern Provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla. In December 2018 there was a number of small explosions on Samila beach in Songkhla City.
There were explosions in Bangkok in April and May 2017. In August 2016, there were multiple explosions in tourist areas across Thailand and in July 2015 there was a large explosion at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, which is a major tourist attraction.
Most Irish tourists enjoy their visits to Thailand safely and happily. That is why many return. However a number, including Irish citizens, are subject to theft, scams and fraud of various kinds, and a small number to assault and violence. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep credit cards secure, use alcohol moderately, avoid drugs at all times, do not carry large amounts of cash, keep valuables safely at your hotel and take common sense precautions.
Currently Thailand is experiencing a prolonged period of air pollution, particularly around Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Traffic congestion, railway and condominium construction and road works, as well as dry season weather are generally responsible for the worsening air quality in the Thai capital. Exposure to high levels of PM2.5 can lead to various health issues, such as eye and skin irritation and headaches, and can aggravate underlying health conditions such as cardiac and respiratory conditions. Irish Citizens with respiratory conditions or other underlying health conditions which may be affected by the air pollution should take caution being outdoors during periods of high air pollution. You can check air quality levels for Thailand in real time on the World Air Quality Index website.
The Embassy has recently been dealing with an increasing amount of Irish citizens who have been refused entry to/exit from Thailand because their passports are damaged. We very strongly advise you to make sure that your passport is in excellent condition before you travel to Thailand and that you look after it very carefully while you are in Thailand.
Thailand is still going through a period of major political transition and the Government remains a military one. Political tensions remain high. Several media outlets in Thailand are prohibited and some international newspaper websites remain blocked. Criticism of the regime is illegal and you should be wary of making political statements in public and also avoid any protests, political gatherings, and demonstrations. We strongly advise Irish travelers to stay clear of any political gatherings or demonstrations. Be aware of what is happening locally. In the event of any disturbances listen to the advice of the local authorities on locations to avoid. The Embassy of Ireland will be monitoring the situation and the Embassy Twitter account is @irlembbangkok.
Any Irish citizens caught up in disturbances, or acts of violence anywhere should follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media. Anyone who needs consular assistance or who is concerned for an Irish citizen in the area can contact the Embassy in Bangkok on +66 201 61360. Please leave a message if out of hours.
Thailand faces an ongoing threat of terrorism. Any Irish citizens in Thailand should maintain a strong level of security awareness, monitor the local media closely and follow the instructions of the Thai authorities.
In Thailand, the rainy (or monsoon) season extends from May to October. Severe rainstorms can cause flash flooding which can result in delayed travelling and interruption to essential services. The Thai Meteorological Department issues weather warnings when necessary for heavy rain, high seas and hazardous conditions, across Thailand and Irish citizens are urged to follow the advice of local authorities and monitor weather forecasts.
There is currently an outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in locations including Thailand. Infection with Zika virus has been increasingly linked with a serious birth condition called microcephaly where the baby is born with an abnormally small head and/or brain damage. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and plan to travel to areas affected by the Zika Virus, you are advised to discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider and to consider postponing your travel to affected areas. Irish Citizens are advised to follow the guidance of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
Punishment for drug-related offences such as possession, distribution or manufacture are severe. We cannot overemphasise our message: do not become involved in using or distributing drugs in Thailand. The consequences (as a number of Irish citizens are aware) can be severe.
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. In the event of an emergency your first call should be to the Thai Tourist Police at 1155. You can contact the Embassy of Ireland at +66 (0) 2 0161360. Outside of working hours in the event of a genuine emergency, you can leave a message.
Our tips for safe travels
We 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. In December 2018 there was a number of small explosions on Samila beach in Songkhla City.
Martial law still applies in these Provinces. There are frequent incidences of violence and there have been reports that extremists may be planning to target westerners in the southern border Provinces.
There have been occasional clashes between Cambodia and Thailand over the 'Preah Vihear' issue for several years. Hostilities broke on a number of occasions in 2011 and there were civilian and military deaths on both sides. At the moment, the situation has improved. However, we would recommend that you should take extra care travelling through Thailand-Cambodia border.
We recommend that you exercise caution when traveling to rural areas of the Northern region and particularly near the Thai-Myanmar border. There are occasional clashes between the Thai security forces and armed drug traffickers. Military checkpoints are active and travellers are often asked to produce their ID. If you are considering traveling into Myanmar from Thailand you should only cross into that country at an official border checkpoint and follow instructions of the Burmese/Myanmar and Thai authorities.
On 22 May 2014 a military junta took control of Thailand's Government. Martial law which was imposed across Thailand, has been lifted from all areas except the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, the Sadao district of Songkhla province and some border areas. However, Article 44 of the interim constitution gives General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), full power to enforce law and order, and severe restrictions remain on freedom of assembly and expression.
Several media outlets have been prohibited, some international newspaper websites remain blocked and there is extensive monitoring of online activities including social media accounts. Criticism of the coup is illegal and you should be very wary of making political statements in public and avoid any protests, political gatherings, and demonstrations.
The risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks remain high. The last major terrorist incident in Bangkok was in August 2015 when 20 civilians lost their lives. There have been a number of smaller explosions since then and a number of foreign tourists were injured in a bombing in August 2016.
Be aware of the risk of petty crime, including from pick-pockets, bag snatchers and those organising scams targeting tourists. Always take sensible precautions:
Tourist scams are, unfortunately, a fairly common occurrence in Thailand, despite the best efforts of the authorities. Using common sense and exercising caution is essential to avoiding such scams. Do not accept offers to bring you to a jewellery shop or factory for a "special promotion". Avoid all offers from strangers approaching you in the streets with offers of inexpensive gems, travel, clothing, tours etc. If you feel you have been scammed contact the Thai Tourist Police on 1155. They will be as helpful as possible. But the best way to avoid being scammed is to avoid the scammers in the first instance.
Tourists have been scammed when hiring motorcycles and jet skis (especially on the islands) so get local advice on the reputation of any rental firm before approaching it. Avoid hiring jet skis and quad bikes. Never hand over your passport as security when renting these vehicles. Be aware also that there are an enormous amount of motorcycle accidents in Thailand. Irish citizens in the past have been injured or lost their lives. Always wear a helmet (it is illegal not to) and drive carefully.
If you're going to be passing through Suvarnabhumi Airport, make sure that you have paid for, and have receipts for, all items in your possession before you move away from the vendor.
Ownership of property in Thailand is very complicated. There have been many reported cases of property scams. Make sure you seek a proper legal advice. Foreigners are not permitted to own land in Thailand. Many foreigners, including Irish citizens have found themselves in very difficult situations as a result of dealing in property. Be aware of the pitfalls. Avoid them.
In general Thailand is a fairly safe country in which to travel once some basic precautions are taken. However there have been incidents where foreign nationals have been attacked. Female travellers, in particular, should be 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 very careful about taking drinks from strangers and be very wary at parties such as the Full Moon party on Phangan Island. Avoid all drugs, consume alcohol in moderation and exercise caution at large social gatherings. Do not swim at night.
If you're a victim of a crime while in Thailand, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at Embassy in Bangkok or the Honorary Consulates in Phuket if you need advice and assistance (+66 (0) 2 0161360).
If you're planning to drive any kind of vehicle in Thailand, you should be extremely careful. Road conditions are poor and Thailand has one of the highest accident rates in the world. Irish citizens have been involved in very serious accidents. Please note:
If you're hiring any kind of vehicle, 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).
We strongly recommend that you do not rent a scooter or motorcycle while in Thailand. Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous. The majority of road accidents in Thailand involve motorcycles. A number of Irish citizens have been killed or seriously injured in accidents. If you do decide to hire a scooter or motorcycle, we advise you to exercise extreme caution and always wear a helmet: it is illegal not to. We have also noted a number of motorcycle and scooter hire scams whereby those hiring have left their passports for security and are then presented with a bill for damage (real or not) to the hired vehicle. Do not hand over your passport as security for vehicle hire. The same advice is also applicable to the hire of jet-skis.
If you're planning to drive any kind of vehicle in Thailand, you should be extremely careful. Road conditions are poor and Thailand has one of the highest accident rates in the world. Irish citizens have been involved in very serious accidents and some have lost their lives. The Irish Embassy has been involved in some very tragic cases. Please note:
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 – Follow the instructions of beach life guards and the signage on beaches. There are many fatalities in the waters of Thailand, including Irish citizens. There have been reports of poisonous jellyfish in the waters off Koh Pha-ngan, Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. Please bear in mind that jellyfish can swim close to the shore and be most careful during rainy season. If stung, you should not rinse the wound with fresh water instead seek immediate medical attention.
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 refused entry to 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. By law you must carry your passport with you at all times. Tourists have been detained because they were unable to produce their passport.
The Thai authorities have clamped down somewhat on 'visa runs'. This is the practice whereby foreigners use the visa exemption scheme aimed at tourists to illegally live or work in Thailand. The Thai authorities have announced that they will prevent 'visa runners' from entering Thailand. If you wish to enter Thailand for reasons other than tourism, we advise you to obtain the appropriate visa prior to your arrival.
The Thai authorities have also announced new penalties for those who overstay their visas. If you overstay your visa you may be banned from entering Thailand for a number of years. This has already affected a number of Irish citizens, some of whom have been arrested and detained. If you intend to stay in Thailand for longer than a month (which you can) please obtain the correct visa.
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. Please be aware of the importation limits.
Penalties for the possession, distribution and consumption of drugs in Thailand are severe. The possession of even what some may regard as 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. A number of Irish citizens have been imprisoned as a result of drug possession. Do not possess or use drugs in Thailand. We can't emphasise this strongly enough.
In Thailand it is a criminal offence to make critical or defamatory comments about the King or the Royal Family under Article 112 of the Criminal Code. People have been imprisoned under this law for doing so. Be very careful of your speech in public.
Thailand is a majority Buddhist country with over 90% of their population practicing Buddhism. Thai people are very spiritual and take religion seriously. If you are visiting Buddhist temples or other sacred sites, dress and act respectfully. Be aware that is it frowned upon to use images of the Buddha as decoration, and tattoos of the Buddha are considered very disrespectful.
The rainy season in much of Thailand runs from May to October. Monsoon rains and storms quite often lead to heavy and dangerous flooding. 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.
For entry requirements for Thailand, please contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Thailand. Irish citizens can obtain permission to stay for up to a month on arrival.
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 over-stay fine or are detained and deported at your own expense. Irish citizens have often been detained for a number of days prior to being deported for overstays. It is not a pleasant experience. And it is expensive. You may also be banned from re-entering Thailand for a set period. These determinations are made by the Royal Thai Government and the Irish Embassy cannot intervene in the application of Thai law. Please obey the laws of Thailand in relation to permission to stay in Thailand.
Private "visa extension services", even those advertising in major periodicals or located close to Immigration offices or police stations, are illegal. A number of foreign citizens, including Irish, have been arrested and detained at border crossings each year with counterfeit visas and entry stamps they have obtained through these illegal services. Please do not use private visa extension services.
Due to the heat and other factors some 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.
If you require medical attention, public hospitals and small clinics particularly outside of Bangkok are not always up to standard. We recommend that you go to private hospitals in Thailand which are excellent but can be expensive. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance to cover the cost.
Dengue fever is prevalent in Thailand, particularly in the south. Before travelling, get up-to-date medical advice whether you need vaccination. When you arrive, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by using bed nets and repellents, and wearing closed, long sleeves and trousers.
We recommend that you avoid tap water and drink only boiled or bottled water during your stay.
Air pollution can be an issue in Thailand, particularly in the major cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Exposure to high levels of PM2.5 can lead to various health issues, such as eye and skin irritation and headaches, and can aggravate underlying health conditions such as cardiac and respiratory conditions. You can check air quality levels for Thailand in real time on the World Air Quality Index website.
Out of hours Emergency Contact Details
After business hours, Irish Citizens seeking emergency consular assistance should contact the Duty Officer number at +662-016-1360
Please leave a message with your name, contact number and details of the emergency.
Please note that this is for after-hours emergency cases only that cannot wait until the Embassy re-opens.
Embassy of Ireland
12th Floor, 208 Wireless Road
Monday - Thursday 09:30-12:00 and 14:30-15:30; Friday 09:30-12:00
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.