Bangkok Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Bangkok
How safe is the Bangkok?
Threat level: Medium-High
COVID-19 Situation in Bangkok
Due to the sanitary situation in Thailand and around the world, an emergency decree is in effect prohibiting people from entering high risk areas, hoardering essential goods, attending public gatherings and propagating fake news. Thailand has classified its 76 provinces into four categories using a color system (Red / Orange / Yellow / Green) corresponding to the local level of infection with restrictions applied accordingly. However, Thailand has started easing off restrictions since the 22nd of February 2021 as the number of cases has declined. But a ban on entry to international travellers is still in effect until further notice and commercial flights have been halted. The use of facemasks has been made compulsory on public transport and some shops take the temperature of shoppers to prevent spread and a resurgence of the novel coronavirus. See our healthcare section to see preventive measures to follow against the disease.
Security Situation in Bangkok
The general travel adive for Bangkok is for visitors to remain situationally aware and to also be culturally sensative. There is a risk of terrorism in Bangkok and across the whole of Thailand, althought the biggest security threat remains petty crime.
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
On the 2nd August 2019, six explosive devices detonated across Bangkok, injuring four people. The explosions came as the Thai capital hosted top diplomats from around the world including the US and China, who were attending the Southeast Asian security meeting. One explosive device was recovered before it had exploded. No group has yet claimed responsibility.
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 2014, 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.
Criticism about the monarchy is a crime that is severely penalised with jail sentencing. Avoid making any comments portraying Thailand negatively when you are in country, including on social media.
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.
Posting pictures of people drinking alcohol or wearing unsuitable clothing on social media is an offence. Both the person who took the picture and people in the picture could face either a fine or imprisonment or both.
Do not leave your drink unattented as drink spiking and date rape have been reported in Bangkok, especially during Full Moon parties.
Travelling 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.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency Services in Bangkok
Tourist police: 1155 (24-hour national call centre)
Fire/Medical emergency: 1554
Currency: Thai baht
Time now in Bangkok:
Consular information for Bangkok
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.
Healthcare and Immunisations
Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Thailand. There is no vaccination against the disease, protection is through following preventive measures. To avoid contracting the disease, avoid unnecessary travel, apply good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing and avoid public gatherings.
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.