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Thailand - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Thailand. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to ongoing political tensions and sporadic demonstrations in Bangkok and elsewhere in the country. See Security for more details.
Southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala - Avoid all travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to and through the far southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla (including the city of Hat Yai) and Yala. These provinces have been experiencing criminally and politically motivated violent incidents.
See Safety and security for more information.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a Travel Health Notice for the Global Update: Zika virus infection recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Thailand. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
On August 11 and 12, 2016, several bomb explosions in various tourist areas in southern Thailand, including in Hua Hin and Phuket, resulted in casualties. Avoid public places in the vicinity of affected areas, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Political tensions and demonstrations
Political instability in Thailand has created a volatile and unpredictable security environment that has persisted throughout the country, particularly in the capital, Bangkok, since November 2013. Political demonstrations could take place at any time in Bangkok and throughout Thailand, including Chiang Mai, Phuket and Surat Thani.
Martial law was lifted on April 1, 2015, in most parts of Thailand, but other 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, and public gatherings of more than five people are prohibited.
A number of television and radio stations are unavailable or are not broadcasting. Access to social media services may be temporarily interrupted.
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 this region. While the situation has improved since the 2013 International Court of Justice ruling that Cambodia has sovereignty over the entire territory of the Preah Vihear temple, tensions may remain. The presence of landmines has been reported in this area. Exercise a high degree of caution if you are travelling to all other areas of the Thai-Cambodian border.
Southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala (see Advisory)
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, but have also occurred in a variety of public places, including shopping districts, entertainment venues, public transit and hotels that may be frequented by tourists. You risk becoming a collateral victim of an attack when you travel in these provinces.
Heavily enhanced security measures—including martial law in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, as well as in the Sadao district of Songkhla—are in place to provide authorities with increased enforcement powers that 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.
Border areas in the provinces of Tak and Mae Hong Son (border with Myanmar)
Be particularly vigilant when travelling to the Thailand-Myanmar border areas in the provinces of Tak and Mae Hong Son. Occasional violence, banditry and clashes between government forces, rebel units and drug traffickers occur. Incursions into and shelling Thailand have occurred. Border crossing points may be closed without notice. Cross at designated border crossing points only, with the required travel documentation.
There is a threat of terrorism in Thailand. Targets could include government buildings, places of worship, schools, transportation hubs and public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and sites frequented by foreigners.
On August 18, 2015, a bomb was thrown from a bridge at Bangkok’s Sathorn pier and landed in Sathorn Canal, exploding in the water and causing no injuries or damage. One day earlier, a bomb was detonated at the Ratchraprasong intersection in central Bangkok, killing 20 people and injuring 125.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times in public places.
Sporadic pro- and anti-coup demonstrations occur. Demonstration sites include the areas around the Victory Monument and the Democracy Monument, and the Ratchraprasong intersection in central Bangkok. Other areas of the city may also be affected by protests and associated movements.
Demonstrations may cause traffic and public transportation disruptions due to the blocking of major roads and intersections and closures of mass transit (BTS) stations.
Violence associated with demonstrations has occasionally intensified. Several incidents have resulted in deaths and injuries. Indiscriminate attacks using explosive devices and firearms have taken place in busy public areas during the day and at night. On occasion, police have responded with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets in their attempts to deter protesters. Attacks do not specifically target tourists or foreigners, but the danger of being in the wrong place at the wrong time is always present.
Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times, and avoid demonstration sites and surrounding areas, as well as military installations and concentrations of security personnel. Follow the advice of local authorities and remain informed of current events by monitoring available media, including social media.
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, passports and travel documents are secure at all times, especially in tourist areas, crowded markets and bus or train stations. Thieves sometimes use razors to slit open purses or bags to remove the contents. Use only reputable transportation companies. Thefts have been reported on buses and vans that provide transport services throughout the country. 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, particularly during full moon parties in Koh Phangan and similar events in other 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.
Foreigners have been targeted in incidents of drink spiking, which is often combined with sexual assault or theft. Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers, and pay attention when drinks are being prepared and served. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that you have been drugged.
Sexual assaults against foreign women have occurred. Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
Carry your identification card, driver’s licence and vehicle registration book at all times.
Traffic drives on the left. Paved roads connect major cities, but most have only two lanes. Substandard road conditions, local disregard for traffic laws and drunk driving result in frequent accidents, particularly in Bangkok, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Phuket. Accidents caused by dangerous road conditions, poor weather, driver fatigue, dangerous driving practices and driver intoxication are common. Slow-moving trucks limit speed and visibility. Speeding and reckless passing are common. Avoid driving on mountain roads at night, especially during the rainy season (June-October).
Avoid driving or riding motorcycles in Thailand, even if you are an experienced motorcyclist, as motorcycle accidents are common and are responsible for a majority of road deaths. 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 drivers and passengers, but many helmets do not meet international safety standards.
Use licensed taxis from official taxi stands, limousine services or official airport buses, or arrange to be picked up by hotel shuttle services when arriving by air. 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, etc. occur and have occasionally resulted in violence or intimidation. Should a dispute occur and you feel threatened, seek the assistance of local police in settling the matter.
Passenger boats sinking due to overcrowding and poor maintenance has occurred. Vessels often lack adequate safety equipment.
Rail lines in the far south have been the target of acts of sabotage and armed attack. A number of train accidents have occurred in the past few years, some causing injuries and deaths.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Canadians visiting Thailand regularly report having fallen victim to a variety of scams. Before renting a motorcycle or jet-ski, read all rental contracts thoroughly to ensure that the vehicle is insured to cover damage and theft. Only rent from reputable companies. Never leave your passport as collateral. Claims of damage allegedly caused by the renter have been made 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. In other cases, particularly with jet-skis, accidents have been allegedly staged to create damage for which the rental company seeks compensation from the renter. In cases of motorcycle rentals, some companies have been known to steal the motorcycle and claim compensation from the renter for the loss.
When dealing with travel agencies, ensure that the company is a reputable tour organization before providing payment.
In known 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.
For further information and to report disputes, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand online or call 1672 (press 9 for English).
Report all incidents of crime or scams to the Thai police in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred, and before leaving Thailand. Contact the Tourist Police and the Tourist Assistance Centre by calling 1155 toll-free.
See Overseas fraud for more information on scams abroad.
Swimming and water sports
Deaths have occurred as a result of contact with poisonous sea jellies off Koh Pha-ngan, Koh Lanta, 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 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.
General safety information
There have been cases of poisoning linked to 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, such as phosphine, are used in your accommodations.
Always carry your passport and visa, as you may be asked to prove your identity and date of entry into the country. Failure to provide internationally recognized identification could result in detention.
The Tourist Authority of Thailand offers general advice for tourists. Dial 1672 and press 9 for English.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Thai authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Royal Thai Embassy or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
More information is available at the Thai Immigration Bureau.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Thailand, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Holders of regular Canadian passports arriving in Thailand for the purposes of tourism may obtain a 30-day visa upon arrival. Immigration officials can require visitors who are entering without obtaining a visa in advance to show a return or onward tickets.
Canadians can stay for up to 60 days through the Multiple Entry Tourist Visa, which is valid for 6 months and must be obtained prior to travelling.
Obtain the proper visa from a Thai embassy or consulate if you wish to stay longer than 60 days, work or study. It is illegal to work on a tourist visa or without a work permit.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays of up to 30 days
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Working visa: Required
Travellers must obtain an entry stamp from an immigration officer at the point of entry into Thailand. Avoid visas, visa extensions or entry stamps issued through 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/or deportation, and may also be prohibited from entering Thailand in the future.
Foreigners are permitted to stay only up to the date indicated on the Thai entry stamp, regardless of the date indicated on a Thai visa. The Royal Thai Police have increased their random checks of foreigners and have arrested Canadians found to have overstayed their visas. Thai authorities implement 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 for a period ranging from 1 to 10 years.
Staying longer than three months
All foreigners staying in Thailand longer than three months must notify the Thai Immigration Bureau of their residence every 90 days.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Zika virus infection: Global Update - September 29, 2016 00:00 EDT
- Polio: Global Update - September 14, 2016 00:00 EDT
- Measles: Global Update - July 28, 2016 00:00 EDT
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) - July 12, 2016 00:00 EDT
- Avian Influenza (H5N1): Global Update - April 21, 2015 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider 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 and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
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 (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
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.
|* 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.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
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 bacterial disease that is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. It causes diarrhea and in severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are at very low risk. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation, or to areas where outbreaks are occurring. Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
- 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 pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Locally acquired mosquito-associated Zika virus is currently being reported in this country. Zika virus infection is primarily spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and can cause fever, rash, and joint pain. It can also be transmitted through blood, semen and from an infected pregnant woman to her developing baby. Most people do not develop symptoms and recover fully without severe complications. There is scientific consensus that Zika virus infection is a cause of both microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Other neurological disorders have also been associated with Zika virus infection. Protect yourself from mosquito bites in daylight and evening hours. There is no vaccine for Zika virus infection.
- 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 provider 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 and in rare cases, it can infect people.
Avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets including areas where poultry may be slaughtered. Avoid contact with birds (alive or dead) and surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them. Ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked.
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 provider.
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.
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
Laws & culture
Enforcement action against people involved in all aspects of illicit drugs has increased. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are very strict 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 spot-checks to search for illegal drugs occur, particularly in and around entertainment venues in Thailand. 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.
Foreigners are required to carry identification at all times. You may wish to carry a photocopy of your passport; however, police may require that you produce the original.
Gambling, with the exception of some horse racing, 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. Any public statement 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.
An International Driving Permit or a Thai driver’s licence is required to drive in Thailand.
Commercial surrogacy is banned in Thailand. Seek independent legal advice if you are visiting Thailand for the purposes of commercial surrogacy arrangements. A list of local lawyers who speak English (and/or French) is available from the Embassy of Canada to Thailand in Bangkok.
If you have already entered into such an arrangement, you should also seek advice from a local lawyer on any exit requirements. You may also wish to send 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 Thai citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Thai passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
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 baht (THB). Automated banking machines are widely available, and major credit cards are widely accepted. Traveller’s cheques are accepted at banks, large hotels and shops. U.S. dollar traveller’s cheques are recommended.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & 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. Severe rainstorms can cause flash floods and landslides, interrupt essential services and delay overland travel, especially in remote locations. Jungle treks are not advisable during the rainy season, due to the possibility of mudslides. Flash flooding in caves has caused fatalities.
Consult our Typhoons and monsoons page for more information.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 191
- tourist police: 1155
- medical assistance: 1669
- firefighters: 199
Bangkok - Embassy of Canada
Chiang Mai - Consulate of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada in Bangkok 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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