Travel Advice: Thailand

Thailand Travel Advice:

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Thailand due to the possibility of further violent civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack.
  • Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • Large scale political demonstrations and related incidents in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand have resulted in fatalities and injuries in recent years. Firearms, grenades and small explosive devices have been used at various locations. Between April and October 2010, a number of small explosive devices were detonated in Bangkok and some other provinces, including Chiang Mai.
  • The political situation remains unpredictable. Further political unrest and violence cannot be ruled out in Bangkok and other provinces.
  • You should avoid protests and political rallies, and any security deployments associated with such events. You should monitor developments that might affect your safety in Thailand, including the possibility of further violent civil unrest and the risk of terrorism.
  • Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty. The possession of even small quantities of “soft drugs” for recreational purposes can result in lengthy jail sentences.
  • Carefully consider your safety and the implications of accidents if you hire a motorcycle or jet ski. Australian travellers continue to report harassment and threats of violence by jet ski operators on tourist beaches, particularly in Phuket. You should check with your travel insurer whether these activities are covered by your policy. You may be detained and arrested by police following jet ski and motorcycle accidents until compensation, often in thousands of dollars, can be negotiated between parties.
  • Tourists may be exposed to scams and more serious criminal activity in Thailand. Be aware that food and drink spiking occurs in Thailand, including around popular backpacker destinations such as Khao San Road in Bangkok and the night-time entertainment zones in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket.
  • Travellers planning to attend Full Moon parties at Koh Phangan and other locations should carefully consider personal safety issues and take appropriate precautions. See our Partying Overseas travel bulletin for advice on the risks you may face when attending Full Moon parties and tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.
  • We strongly advise you not to travel at this time to the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla or overland to and from the Malaysian border through these provinces due to high levels of ongoing violence in these regions, including terrorist attacks and bombings resulting in deaths and injuries on an almost daily basis. Since January 2004, several thousand people have reportedly been killed and many more injured, including a number of foreigners. If you are in these provinces, you should consider leaving.
  • We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to the area surrounding the Preah Vihear Temple (known as Khao Pra Viharn temple in Thailand) located in the border region between Sisaket Province in Thailand and Preah Vihear Province in Cambodia due to the ongoing border dispute. There has been renewed fighting and use of heavy weapons and artillery in the area in 2011. Fatalities have been reported. Tensions remain high.
  • We also advise you to reconsider your need to travel to the area surrounding the Ta Kwai and Ta Muen Thom temples along the Thai-Cambodia border in Surin province. In April 2011, clashes were reported between Thai and Cambodian forces.

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