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Thailand

If you’re travelling to Thailand, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.  

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security status

High degree of caution

Security Status Last Updated: 30 July 2021

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 is still a threat, but with continued public health measures, vaccination and testing, it will be possible to travel internationally. You will need to plan your travel carefully and there are risks.

Department of Foreign Affairs services and practical supports to all Irish Citizens travelling abroad can be found on dfa.ie/Travel

 

Travel to Thailand

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has sent out a letter to people in the tourism industry saying that Phuket will open to vaccinated Thai and foreign arrivals from 1 July. Arrivals do not need to do quarantine but they must stay in Phuket (and Samui or Krabi) for at least 14 days and will then be allowed to visit other destinations in Thailand.

More information can be found on the following link: Thailand Ministry for Public Health

 

General Travel Advice

Vaccinated Thai and foreign arrivals from listed countries (see link for the list) List of Countries

Unvaccinated children under 18 years old traveling with vaccinated parents

***Unvaccinated adult arrivals will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine at any AQ Hotels in Phuket for 14 days

***Arrivals from un-listed countries (vaccinated or not) is not eligible for Phuket Sandbox and must undergo a mandatory quarantine

Additional information on the Coronavirus can be found via the following links:

WHO - World Health Organisation

ECDC - European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

 

Travel to Ireland

Up to date information on travelling to Ireland can be found on gov.ie 

Information on Travel within Europe (EU/EEA) can also be found on Re-open EU.

 

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Southern border provinces

We advise against all travel to or through the Southern Thai Provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Southern Songkhla due to ongoing instability and terrorist activity in this region. On 10 March 2019, a number of small explosions occurred in Satun City and in Patthalung Province in the South of Thailand and 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.

Cambodian border

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. We recommend that you should take care travelling through Thailand-Cambodia border.

Burmese/Myanmar 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.

Terrorism

Terrorist attacks may occur in Thailand. 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. On 2 August 2019, there were three small explosions at locations in central Bangkok.  A number of foreign tourists were also injured in a bombing in August 2016.

Crime

Be aware of the risk of petty crime, including from pickpockets, bag snatchers and those organising scams targeting tourists. Always take sensible precautions:

  • Do not carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. You should also keep an eye on your credit card during transactions to prevent fraud.
  • 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.
  • Be aware of pickpockets and bag snatchers. Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as train and bus stations. Many visitors have had their mobile phones and purses snatched by thieves on motorbikes when walking along busy streets or travelling in Tuk-Tuks. Stay vigilant!

Tourist scams

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. However, 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 enormous amounts 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 are 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.

Property Scams

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.

Personal safety

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 Koh Phangan Island. Avoid all drugs, consume alcohol in moderation and exercise caution at large social gatherings. Do not swim at night.

Reporting crime

If you are a victim of a crime while in Thailand, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at Embassy in Bangkok for information and advice (+66 (0) 2 0161360). Please note that the Embassy cannot report a crime on your behalf.


Driving

If you are 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:

  • 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

Hiring a vehicle

If you are hiring any kind of vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you are 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).

Motorcycle/Scooter Hire

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.

Taxis

If you are arriving by air, use licensed taxis from official taxi stands. Unlicensed vehicles (black and white number plates) are not properly insured to carry passengers.

Swimming

Take proper care when swimming – Follow the instructions of beach lifeguards 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 Phangan, 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.

 

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Passport

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.

"Visa Runs"

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.

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. Please be aware of the importation limits.


E-cigarettes and refills are illegal in Thailand. These items may be confiscated by the Royal Thai Police and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted. The sale or supply of these items is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or up to 5 years imprisonment if found guilty.

Illegal drugs

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.

Royal Family

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.

Buddhism

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.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

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. 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.

Earthquakes

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.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

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.

Visas

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.

Health and Health Insurance – Very Important

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.

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need an vaccinations for Thailand.

Dengue fever

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.

Water

We recommend that you avoid tap water and drink only boiled or bottled water during your stay.

Air Pollution

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.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

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
Lumpini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330

Tel: +66 2 016 1360
Fax: +66 2 675 3933

Monday - Thursday 09:30-12:00 and 14:30-15:30; Friday 09:30-12:00

Contact us