- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
High Degree of Caution
Latest Travel Alert
The Thai General Elections took place on Sunday 14 May, and the process of forming a government is ongoing. All Irish citizens are strongly advised to avoid any political gatherings or demonstrations.
General Travel Advice
Irish citizens can obtain permission to stay in Thailand for 30 days on arrival.
A valid passport is required for travel to Thailand. Irish passports should have a minimum validity of 6 months. Passport cards cannot be used. If your passport has any damage, you should renew it before you travel to Thailand as Thai Immigration may refuse you entry.
For more information on visas and passports, please see the Additional Information tab.
Visitors to Thailand are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities and to stay fully informed of what's going on by monitoring local news and social media.
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:
- Get comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your planned activities.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
The political situation in Thailand can be unpredictable. Activists are expected to hold rallies across Thailand in the coming weeks, including in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Lampang, Nakhon Pathom and Phitsanulok. In Bangkok, potential rally locations include the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, the Ratchaphrasong Shopping District Skywalk near the MBK building and Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre, and university campuses. Rallies may disrupt traffic and commercial activity, and there may be a heightened security presence. We strongly advise citizens to avoid any political gatherings or demonstrations.
Lèse-majesté (criticism of the monarchy in any form) is a crime in Thailand; it can be interpreted broadly and carries a long jail sentence. Some foreign and Thai journalists, Human Rights Defenders and members of the public have faced criminal charges, including for defamation, sedition, and under the Computer Crimes Act for raising concerns, making political comments, and sharing articles online that could been seen as portraying Thailand negatively or making accusations about individuals.
Terrorist attacks can happen in Thailand. 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. On 2 August 2019, there were three small explosions at locations in central Bangkok. Please follow the advice of Thai Authorities, avoid any large gatherings and be aware of your personal safety at all times.
We strongly advise against all travel to or through the southern Provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Southern Songkhla. On 10 March 2019, a number of small explosions occurred in Satun City and in Patthalung Province in the South of Thailand. In December 2018, there was a number of small explosions on Samila beach in Songkhla City.
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.
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.
Private medicinal use of cannabis is legal if the THC content is below 0.2% by weight. Cannabis/hemp use for recreation purposes remains illegal. Offenders will face imprisonment of up to three months and/or a fine of up to 25,000thb. Cultivation, consumption, distribution and sales of cannabis products is legal, although some restrictions remain in place - you should check with the relevant local authorities if you are unsure.
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.
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.
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 passengers 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.
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.
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 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. Many Irish tourists have had their passports withheld if they cannot pay the fees associated with damage to these vehicles. Please be advised that the Embassy cannot retrieve your passport for you in such situations. 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. You should also check with your insurance if you are covered for such activities and ensure you have a valid international driver licence. Some insurance companies will not cover your costs if you were driver unlawfully i.e. with no helmet or no proper licence and medical bills can be incredibly costly.
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.
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 passengers, 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.
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.
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).
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. Please be advised that the Embassy cannot retrieve your passport for you in such situations.
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.
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
Local laws and customs
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.
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.
Natural Disasters and Climate
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.
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.
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.
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.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
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.
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 Embassy has experienced 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.
COVID-19 situation in Thailand
Mask wearing in public is a voluntary practice. However, the Ministry of Public Health continues to recommend that you wear a mask in a crowded or badly ventilated place such as on public transportation. You should wear a mask if you have COVID-19 symptoms or you are in a high risk group. Most buildings have their own requirements for mask wearing and signs will be displayed at the entrance. Mask wearing remains a very common health related practice in Thailand.
Irish citizens are encouraged to comply with preventive measures regulated by the Government of Thailand and prepare for the possibility of additional social distancing measures, lockdowns and quarantine in each province and city.
The Embassy is unfortunately not able to intervene in having any restrictions waived, shortened, or amended.
All Irish citizens in Thailand are encouraged to:
- Ensure you are registered with the Embassy of Ireland in Thailand via our Citizens Registration service - www.dfa.ie/travel/citizens-registration/
- Follow our social media channels for the latest updates:
COVID-19 vaccines in Thailand
The following vaccines are currently approved for use in Thailand: AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Sinopharm, and Sinovac.
The expat portal (https://expatvac.consular.go.th/) continues to be the main point of entry for vaccine registrations, citizens can also attempt to register directly with local hospitals. Citizens residing outside of Bangkok are advised to contact their provincial health authorities for information.
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 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
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.