Bangkok Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Bangkok
Threat level: Medium-High
Bangkok alongside the rest of Thailand is a popular tourist destination, particularly well visited by backpackers travelling across southeast Asia. The city is rich in culture and cuisine and is often used as a transiting point to many other destinations. Whilst much of the partying that occurs in Thailand is in the south on the islands, Bangkok still has a bustling night life and visitors are advised to drink alcohol in moderation and be respectful of local laws and customs.
Recent Security Risk Events
In 2014, the Thai military successfully launched a coup d’état which saw the government at the time overthrown after 6 months of political crisis. Soldiers were stationed all over Bangkok and many roads were blocked. All television stations were controlled by the military.
On 22nd May it was announced that the armed forces were assuming control of national administration. A curfew was imposed in which citizens were to stay indoors between 22.00 and 05.00. This was soon lifted however the military government continue to monitor social media to prevent protests being arranged. Visitors should be respectful and do not get involved in any political protests of demonstrations.
There was a bombing in the Erawan shrine in Bangkok in 2015 which was thought to be targeted by terrorists. The devastating attack killed 20 civilians, mostly foreign nationals visiting the shrine. Over 125 were also injured in the attack which no terrorist group claimed responsibility for. Visitors to Bangkok are advised to remain alert to any suspicious behaviour and avoid crowded areas if possible.
Bangkok is a bustling city filled with all sorts of people. Tourists should be aware of thieves operating as they particularly target foreign travellers who are thought to carry valuables. You should leave any important documents including your passport somewhere safe in your accommodation.
There is a well-known gem scam that is common in Bangkok in which tourists are approached by a sales man promising to give them a good deal on gems and jewellery. This is not the case and can lead to you being scammed out of large amounts of money. Remain cautious if you are approached on the street or in a store.
Travel around Bangkok
Road traffic in Thailand’s capital is notoriously slow and congested most of the time and even the shortest journeys can take excessively long. The public transport system is generally excellent and does not require using the congested roads. The Skytrain and underground rail services mean you can access almost all the main shopping, entertainment and business areas of Bangkok and are quick and efficient. Both services run between 6am and midnight and tickets are extremely cheap.
Boats can be used as transport and are a good way of seeing historical sites on the river side. They usually run during daylight hours for a very low cost.
Outside of rush hour, taxis can prove to be a quick and easy method of transport. You should ensure that you are using official taxis and discuss pricing before entering the vehicle to prevent paying excessive amounts.
Mopeds are a cheap and easy way to travel around the city however it is important to keep in mind that other road users may not be very considerate or follow standard regulations so driving can be dangerous. Vehicles frequently overtake and undertake at all times regardless of oncoming traffic. Operate mopeds with extreme caution.
Currency: Thai baht
Time now in Bangkok:
Healthcare in Bangkok
Thailand is one of the most advanced countries in Asia with regards to the quality of the healthcare offered. Bangkok in particularly has a comprehensive range of both private and public healthcare facilities.
Public healthcare facilities are continuing to improve and treatment is cheaper than private care, however the waiting time can prove lengthy. Some hospitals may accept forms of health insurance meaning that you will not have to pay but you should check prior to treatment.
Bangkok Christian Hospital is considered to be an excellent public healthcare facility and can provide a range of services and treatment.
Private care is generally thought to provide the higher level of treatment, with many of the staff having studied in western countries. Compared with public medical services, the cost of private care is higher but remains lower than many western countries. Check for prices before treatment occurs and ensure that you have adequate travel and health insurance.
The private hospital Bumrungrad International is the largest is Southeast Asia and considered one of the best hospitals in the world. It has over 30 different medical centres with most doctors and nurses being able to communicate in English.
U.S. Embassy Bangkok
120-122 Wireless Rd
Telephone: +66 2 205 4000
British Embassy Bangkok
14 Wireless Road Lumpini,
Telephone: +66 2 305 8333
French Embassy Bangkok
5 Charoen Krung 36 Alley
Telephone: +66 2 657 5100
Australian Embassy in Bangkok
37 South Sathorn Road
Telephone: +66 2 344 6300
For further embassy information and locations please see our live travel map below.
Other useful info
Tourist police: 1155 (24-hour national call centre)
Fire/Medical emergency: 1554