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Latest updates: Safety and security - Addition of information on nationwide demonstrations
COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
Thailand - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Thailand due to ongoing political tensions and sporadic demonstrations in Bangkok and elsewhere in the country.
Southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to and through the following far southern provinces, due to criminally and politically motivated violent incidents:
- Songkhla (including the city of Hat Yai)
Safety and security
COVID-19 – Preventative measures and restrictions
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place. They may differ from region to region. Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to physical distancing.
If you fail to respect preventative measures, you could be fined and face imprisonment for endangering public health.
Southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala
Violence in the Muslim-majority southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala is highly unpredictable.
Deadly attacks, including shootings, bombings and arson, occur frequently and are usually directed at military, government and security buildings and personnel. They have also occurred in a variety of public places, including:
- shopping districts
- entertainment venues
- public transit
- hotels that may be frequented by tourists
You risk becoming a collateral victim of an attack when you travel in these provinces.
Martial law is in place in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, as well as in Sadao District, Songkhla. Other heavily enhanced security measures are also in place to provide authorities with increased enforcement powers, which may be used to address ongoing violence in the region. These measures allow authorities to detain suspects without charge, conduct searches, seize objects or documents and impose curfews.
Risk levels for Thailand
Travel by road can be dangerous.
Hazardous road conditions, local disregard for traffic laws and drunk driving result in frequent accidents, particularly in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Phuket.
Some vehicles drive against the flow of traffic, particularly motorcycles.
Drunk driving and accidents are much more frequent around the western New Year (January 1) and Thai New Year (Songkran, mid April). Be particularly vigilant when driving during these holiday periods.
Accidents are also caused by poor weather, driver fatigue, speeding and reckless passing. Slow-moving trucks limit speed and visibility. Avoid driving on mountain roads at night, especially during the rainy season (June to October). Paved roads connect major cities, but most have only two lanes. Some roads can become impassable, particularly during the rainy season.
Avoid driving or riding motorcycles in Thailand, even if you are an experienced motorcyclist. Motorcycle accidents are common and are responsible for a majority of road deaths. Rental scooters and motorcycles are often poorly maintained, making them unsafe to their riders and others on the road.
Helmets are mandatory for motorcycle riders (including passengers), but many helmets do not meet international safety standards.
Use licensed taxis from official taxi stands, limousine services or official airport buses. If arriving by air, arrange to be picked up by hotel shuttle services.
Unlicensed vehicles (bearing black and white licence plates) are not properly insured to carry passengers and may not use meters. Many taxis may not be equipped with backseat seatbelts.
Do not share a taxi with strangers.
Disputes with operators of taxis, tuk tuks (motorized rickshaws), etc. occur and have occasionally resulted in violence or intimidation. Should a dispute occur and you feel threatened, seek the assistance of local police to settle the matter.
Passenger boats have sunk due to overcrowding and poor maintenance. Vessels often lack adequate safety equipment.
Rail lines in the far south have been the target of acts of sabotage and armed attack. Train accidents in recent years have caused injuries and deaths.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Political instability in Thailand has created a volatile and unpredictable security environment throughout the country, particularly in the capital, Bangkok.
Legal provisions allow the military to retain and exercise sweeping powers that include the right to prevent public gatherings, censor media, impose curfews, set up checkpoints, restrict movement, search for weapons and exercise force in response to violence. Such measures could be enforced at any time.
There is an increased military presence throughout the country.
Some television, radio stations and web sites may be unavailable and access to social media services may be intermittently disabled.
Myanmar border areas in the provinces of Mae Hong Son and Tak
Be particularly vigilant when travelling to the Thailand–Myanmar border areas in the provinces of Mae Hong Son and Tak.
Occasional violence, banditry and clashes between government forces, rebel units and drug traffickers occur. Incursions and shelling have also occurred.
Border crossing points may be closed without notice. Cross at designated border crossing points only, with the required travel documentation.
Preah Vihear Temple area and surrounding border region
There have been frequent clashes in the past between Thailand and Cambodia over a border dispute in the region of and surrounding the Preah Vihear Temple. There are reports of landmines in the temple area.
Exercise a high degree of caution if you are travelling to all other areas of the Thai–Cambodian border.
Violent crime against foreigners occurs occasionally.
Petty crime, such as purse snatching, pickpocketing and theft, is common. Do not leave bags unattended.
- Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and travel documents, are secure at all times, especially in tourist areas, crowded markets and bus or train stations
- Avoid walking in dark alleys or isolated areas
Thieves sometimes use razors to cut purses and bags open to remove their contents.
Use only reputable transportation companies. Thefts occur on cross-country buses and vans. Personal belongings, including passports, have been stolen from luggage compartments under buses, especially on long-distance journeys.
Break-ins occur at budget guesthouses, sometimes while guests are asleep in their rooms.
Be careful at night in entertainment areas throughout the country, including in Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, particularly during full moon parties and similar events in popular tourist locations. Robberies, injuries, drug abuse, arrests, assaults (including sexual assaults) and deaths occur during these events. Passport thefts and losses are extremely common.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that you have been drugged.
Sexual assaults against foreign women have occurred.
Safe-travel guide for women
Many Canadians visiting Thailand fall victim to a variety of scams.
For further information and to report disputes, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Report all incidents of crime or scams to the Thai police in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred, and before leaving Thailand.
Before renting a motorcycle or personal watercraft, read all rental contracts thoroughly to ensure that the vehicle is insured to cover damage and theft. Take photos of existing damage on rented vehicles as poof of pre-existing damage.
Only rent from reputable companies. Do not leave your passport as collateral.
Rental companies have at times accused renters of causing damage upon return of the equipment. In some cases, renters who refused to pay were harassed and threatened, and their passports (left as collateral) were withheld.
If your passport is inaccessible because of such a situation, you may be subject to investigation by Passport Canada and may receive limited passport services.
Accident and theft scams
In other cases, particularly with personal watercraft, rental companies have allegedly staged accidents to create damage and subsequently seek compensation from the renter.
In cases of motorcycle rentals, some companies have stolen the motorcycle and then claim compensation from the renter.
When dealing with travel agencies, ensure that the company is a reputable tour organization before providing payment.
In scams involving gems and jewellery, merchants sell lower-quality items at inflated prices with promises that the items can be resold at a profit. The guarantees that merchants offer are not always honoured. Carefully consider all purchases if you are not knowledgeable about gems and jewellery. The Government of Canada cannot assist in obtaining refunds for purchases made.
There is a threat of terrorism in Thailand. Although infrequent outside of the southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala, small-scale bomb attacks occur in public places. Further attacks are likely.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Large demonstrations have taken place in Bangkok and across the country in July and August 2020.
There are social tensions and demonstrations are likely to continue. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time.
If you are currently in Thailand:
- expect a heightened security presence in several areas
- carry identification documents at all times
- avoid large gatherings
- follow the instructions of local authorities
- monitor local media for information on the evolving situation
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation when they block major roads and intersections and may cause closure of mass transit stations. Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times.
- Avoid military installations and concentrations of security personnel
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Demonstration sites in Bangkok include:
- the areas around the Victory Monument
- Thammasat University
- the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre
- the Democracy Monument
- Ratchaprasong intersection
Other areas of the city may also be affected by protests and associated movements. Demonstrations could also take place in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Surat Thani.
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
Swimming and water activities
Deaths have occurred as a result of contact with poisonous jellyfish off Koh Lanta, Koh Pha-ngan, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi and Phuket.
- Exercise extreme caution when swimming in these areas
- If stung, seek immediate medical assistance
Riptides in coastal areas can be strong, including in the popular destinations of Cha-am/Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Pattaya, Phuket and Rayong. There have been a number of deaths due to drowning.
Heed flag warnings and under no circumstances swim when a red flag is displayed.
Diving schools and rescue services may not adhere to international standards. Rent water sports equipment only from operators affiliated with major international training organizations.
Only undertake adventure sports, such as zip-lining and rock climbing, with a well-established and reputable company that has insurance.
Tour operators may not adhere to international standards. If you have any doubt concerning the safety of the installation or equipment, refrain from using them. Ensure that the recreational activities you choose are covered by your travel insurance.
If engaging in adventure tourism:
- never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
- obtain detailed information on each activity before setting out and do not venture off marked trails
Chemical pesticide poisoning
There have been cases of poisoning linked to the use of chemical pesticides, including phosphine. Seek immediate medical assistance if you believe that you have been exposed to a chemical pesticide and are experiencing unusual symptoms.
Seek information on whether or not chemical pesticides are used in your accommodations.
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions for their territory. Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel. Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions related to this situation.
Restrictions imposed could include:
- Entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- Exit bans
- Quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, some in designated facilities, at your own cost
- Health screenings and certificates as well as proof of adequate travel health insurance
- Border closures
- Airport closures
- Flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- Suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Thai authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
You can also confirm requirements with the Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave from Thailand. Thai immigration is strict on the physical condition of the passport. If they find some defects such as an unclear bio page, a missing page or scribbles, they can consider the passport damaged and refuse entry to Thailand.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays of up to 30 days
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Working visa: Required
If you are travelling to Thailand for tourism with a regular Canadian passport, you can obtain a 30-day visa upon arrival. Immigration officials may ask you to show a return or onward ticket.
Canadians who have obtained a multiple entry tourist visa can stay for up to 60 days. The visa is valid for 6 months and must be obtained prior to travelling.
If you wish to stay longer than 60 days, or to work or study in Thailand, obtain the appropriate visa from a Thai embassy or consulate.
Those applying for non-immigrant visas of category "O-A" need to show proof of a valid health insurance meeting specific criteria.
Guidelines Non-Immigrant Visa (O-A) - Thai General Insurance Association
You must get an entry stamp from an immigration officer at the point of entry into Thailand.
Do not get your visa, visa extension or entry stamp from visa shops or travel agents in Thailand. Canadians have been arrested for having improper Thai visas or entry and exit stamps inserted into their passports.
A passport that has been altered or that contains counterfeit visas and entry/exit stamps is technically invalid. Offenders can expect jail sentences, fines and deportation, and may also be prohibited from entering Thailand in the future.
Length of stay
The date indicated on your Thai entry stamp determines how long you may stay in the country, even if your visa shows a different date.
The Royal Thai Police perform random visa checks. Canadians overstaying their visa have been arrested. Authorities impose strict penalties for foreigners who overstay their visa. Those who overstay, regardless of whether they leave Thailand voluntarily or are deported, will be banned from re-entering Thailand 1 to 10 years.
Staying longer than 3 months
All foreigners staying in Thailand longer than 3 months must notify Thailand’s immigration bureau of their residence every 90 days.
Apply for notification of residence - Thailand’s immigration bureau
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - April 19, 2020
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - December 24, 2019
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southeast Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southeast Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas of Southeastern Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue fever is a risk to travellers year-round. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, global numbers have been steeply rising again.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Southeastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country.
Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds. In rare cases, it can infect people.
- avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets
- avoid areas where poultry may be slaughtered
- avoid contact with birds (alive or dead)
- avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them
- ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Hand, foot and mouth disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that mainly affects infants and children. Travellers are at increased risk if visiting or living in overcrowded conditions. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against this disease.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Private hospitals and clinics located in cities are often better staffed and equipped than public or rural facilities.
Establishments may require confirmation of health insurance coverage, guarantee of payment or an up-front deposit before admitting patients.
Medical evacuation may be necessary in the case of serious injury or illness, and it may cost tens of thousands of dollars or more, depending on the location and severity of the condition.
Psychiatric or psychological facilities and services in Thailand may not meet international standards. Canadians with mental illness have been committed to state facilities, arrested and deported.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult Arrest and detention and Overview of the criminal law system in Thailand for more information.
Foreigners are required to carry identification at all times. Carry a photocopy of your passport. Police may still require that you produce the original. Failure to provide internationally recognized ID could result in detention.
Enforcement action against people involved in all aspects of illicit drugs has increased.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are very severe and include the death penalty for serious offences.
The possession of even small amounts of illegal drugs, including marijuana, can result in severe fines and prison sentences. Arrested offenders may be prevented from leaving Thailand while legal proceedings are in process.
Police perform spot-checks to search for illegal drugs, particularly in and around entertainment venues. Uniformed or undercover police may search pockets, purses and bags, as well as vehicles. You may be asked to consent to a urine test.
If you carry prescription or other medicines, keep them in clearly marked, original packaging.
It is prohibited to import e-cigarettes, e-baraku (e-hashish) and refills into Thailand.
Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines or jail sentences of up to 10 years. Foreigners have been arrested and fined for possession of vaporisers and e-cigarettes, even for personal use.
Illegal or restricted activities
Gambling, with the exception of some horseracing, is illegal in Thailand.
Actions or words that are considered offensive or insulting to the king or the royal family are illegal and may result in criminal prosecution and lengthy prison sentences. Any public statement, including those posted online, that is perceived to be critical of the political situation in Thailand, the National Council for Peace and Order or the Royal Thai Army could lead to detention and legal charges.
A smoking ban is in effect on several beaches across the country and is punishable by a 100,000-baht fine and up to 1 year in prison. Check with local authorities and look for no-smoking signs before smoking on a beach.
Feeding fish in the ocean is illegal and punishable by a 100,000-baht fine and up to 1 year in prison. Do not feed fish in the ocean and avoid boat tour operators who encourage tourists to do so.
Traffic drives on the left.
You must carry an international driving permit or a Thai driver’s licence to drive in Thailand.
Carry your identification card, driver’s licence and vehicle registration book at all times.
More about the International Driving Permit
Other traffic laws
It is illegal to operate a motorcycle without a valid Thai motorcycle licence or an international driving permit with a motorcycle endorsement.
Helmets are mandatory for motorcycle riders (including passengers), but many helmets do not meet international safety standards.
Housing foreign citizens
All hosts, including hotel staff and home owners, must notify local authorities that they are housing foreign citizens within 24 hours of the arrival of these foreigners.
Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Thailand. Seek independent legal advice if you are visiting Thailand for the purposes of commercial surrogacy arrangements.
If you have already entered into a surrogacy arrangement, you should also seek advice from a local lawyer on exit requirements. You may also consider sending an email to the consular section of the Canadian embassy in Bangkok to inform them of your particular situation.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Thailand.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Thailand, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
Exception for minors
A child born abroad of Thai parents who obtains the citizenship of the country of birth is allowed to retain dual citizenship until the age of 18. Upon reaching 18, the person must renounce the other citizenship or Thai citizenship will be lost.
The currency is the Thai baht (THB).
ATMs are widely available.
Natural disasters and climate
Thailand is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis.
The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from June to October. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged. Jungle treks are not advisable during the rainy season, due to the possibility of mudslides. Flash flooding in caves has caused fatalities.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 191
- tourist police: 1155
- medical assistance: 1669
- firefighters: 199
The Tourism Authority of Thailand offers general advice for tourists. Dial 1672 and press 9 for English.
The Embassy of Canada to Thailand is currently providing consular services by appointment only.
Online appointment requests
Bangkok - Embassy of Canada
Chiang Mai - Consulate of Canada
Phuket - Consulate General of Australia
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Thailand and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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