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Country Specific Info.

The United States State Department produces Consular Information Sheets with health, safety and other country information for every country in the world. They are one good source of information, though you should look at multiple sources of information and take your own personal situation into account when selecting a country to study in.

The latest Consular Information Sheet for Thailand is below. We do not take responsibility for this information or edit it in any way. You can access the State Department travel site directly at: https://travel.state.gov/travel/

January 29, 2019

Embassies and Consulates

EMBASSY

U.S. Embassy Bangkok
95 Wireless Road
Bangkok 10330
Thailand
Telephone: + (66) (2) 205-4049, 02-205-4049 (within Thailand)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(66) (2) 205-4000, 02-205-4000 (within Thailand)
Fax: +(66) (2) 205-4103, 02-205-4103 (within Thailand)
Email: acsbkk@state.gov

CONSULATE

U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai
387 Witchayanond Road
Chiang Mai 50300
Thailand
Telephone: +(66) (53) 107-777, 053-107-777 (within Thailand)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(66) 81-881-1878, 081-881-1878 (within Thailand)
Fax: +(66) (53) 252-633, 053-252-633 (within Thailand)

Email: acschn@state.gov

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Thailand for additional information on U.S.-Thailand relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the Royal Thai Embassy website for the most current visa information.

U.S. citizen tourists entering Thailand for fewer than 30 days do not require a visa.
We recommend that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your entry into Thailand to ease entry.
Thai immigration officials or airline staff may ask for your onward/return ticket.
Business travelers, U.S. government employees travelling on official business, teachers, retirees, and those planning to stay longer than 30 days should check with the Royal Thai Embassy about visa requirements.
If you overstay your visa, you will be fined. Depending on the length of overstay, you may also be arrested, detained, deported at your own expense, and banned from re-entering Thailand.

We strongly recommend that you carry a copy of your U.S. passport identification page and current Thai visa to help avoid detention by the Thai immigration police.

Thailand’s entry/exit information is subject to change without notice. For the most current information, please see the list of Thai embassies and consulates worldwide and The Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau.

You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website.

HIV/AIDS restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Thailand. However, these restrictions are generally not enforced. Please verify with the Royal Thai Embassy before you travel.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Periodic acts of violence in Thailand remain a concern. Several small-scale bombings occurred near some tourist locations in the far Southern provinces in August 2016 and as recent as December 2018. In August 2015, an explosion near the Erawan Shrine in downtown Bangkok killed at least 20 people and injured more than 100. The State Department assesses that there is a continued risk of terrorism in Southeast Asia, including in Thailand. 

The ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has placed restrictions on freedom of expression. U.S. citizens may encounter a heightened military presence throughout Thailand. Security forces have additional powers, including the right to control movement and search for weapons. Individuals—including foreigners—may be detained for publicly criticizing the NCPO or the monarchy. U.S. citizens are advised to stay alert, exercise caution, and monitor international and Thai media. Avoid areas where there are protest events, demonstrations, large gatherings, or security operations, and follow any instructions and restrictions that local authorities issue.

If a protest or demonstration is expected to pass near the U.S. Embassy or Consulate facilities, Embassy and Consulate entrances and functions may be restricted. The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok’s website, Facebook, and Twitter sites and the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai’s website, Facebook, and Twitter sites post information about local events that may affect Embassy functions. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security and safety messages.

Far Southern Thailand: Periodic violence directed mostly at Thai government interests by a domestic insurgency continues to affect security in the southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Songkhla. U.S. citizens are at risk of death or injury due to the possibility of indiscriminate attacks in public places. Martial law is in force in this region.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in these provinces. Travel to this region by U.S government employees must be reviewed and approved in advance. For more information on terrorist threats against U.S. citizens worldwide and steps to take as a result of these threats, please see the Worldwide Caution.

Crime:

Crimes of opportunity, such as pick-pocketing, bag-snatching, and burglary, occur in Thailand.
Violent crimes against foreigners are relatively rare. However, murders, rapes, and assaults against foreigners do occur.
Sexually motivated violence, committed by either Thai citizens or foreigners, is most likely to occur after time spent at bars, clubs, and parties, on beaches, or in remote/isolated areas. The Thai police response will differ from an investigation in the United States; officials have publicly discredited victims during investigations. In addition to making a report at the police jurisdiction in which the crime occurred, we advise contacting the Embassy and engaging a local attorney if you are a victim of an assault.
When traveling alone, exercise caution, stay near other travelers, and ensure friends or family know how to contact you.
Taxi and “tuk-tuk” drivers may attempt to charge excessive fares or refuse passengers. You should either request the driver use the meter or agree on the fare beforehand.
At the airport use only public transportation from the airport’s official pick-up area, cars from the limousine counters, or a car from your hotel.
Rental scams do occur in Thailand. Many rental motorbike, jet ski, and car companies will hold your passport until you pay for real or fictitious damages. We advise against using your passport as collateral.
Exorbitant bar tab scams occur in Thailand. Some bars and entertainment venues will charge exorbitant prices for drinks or unadvertised cover charges and threaten violence if you don’t pay.
Other scams involving gems, city tours, entertainment venues, and credit cards are common, especially in tourist areas.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on more serious scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police by calling 191 or the Tourist Police at 1155 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +66 (0) 2-205-4000 or Consulate at +(66) (53) 107-777. Remember that only local officials have the authority to investigate and to prosecute a crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

help you find appropriate medical care
assist you in reporting a crime to the police
contact relatives or friends with your written consent
explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
provide a list of local attorneys
provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Lèse majesté (Royal Insult): Thais hold the monarchy in the highest regard. Making a critical or defamatory comment about the royal family is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years per offense. As an example, purposely tearing Thai bank notes, which carry an image of the King, may be considered a lèse majesté offense.

Prostitution is illegal in Thailand. Serious consequences include criminal conviction and imprisonment, particularly in the case of child prostitution.

Commercial surrogacy is banned.

Personal use of even non-lethal military equipment, such as protective vests and night vision scopes, is prohibited.

Illegal drugs carry severe penalties. Expect long jail sentences under harsh conditions, heavy fines, or even execution for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs.

Shoplifting can result in large fines and lengthy detention followed by deportation.

Domestic Issues: Local police are reluctant to become involved in domestic issues. You may call the Family Services Emergency hotline by dialing 1300 from any Thai phone.

Adventure tourism, such as zip lining, bungee jumping, rock climbing, and off-roading, is popular in Thailand. However, safety standards, inspections, and training may not be equivalent to those in the United States. Travelers should check the safety records of operators.

Possessing counterfeit or pirated goods is a crime in Thailand. For more information see the intellectual property section of the U.S. Department of Justice website.

Customs may enforce strict regulations on Buddha images, firearms, explosives, drugs, radios, books, and recordings, which might be cultural property and/or considered harmful to the public interest.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

Faith-Based Travel Information
International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
Human Rights Report – see country reports
Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTI Travelers: There are no known legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Thailand. However, LGBTI groups report that in the case of sexual crimes, police tend to downplay sexual abuse claims from LGBTI victims.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our  Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Sidewalks and street crossings are not suitable for travelers with mobility issues. Newly constructed buildings, facilities, and transportation equipment should be accessible by law for persons with mobility issues. However, enforcement of these provisions is not uniform.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Some victims of sexual assault or domestic violence find that Thai authorities do not handle such cases with as much sensitivity or consideration for privacy as they would expect in the United States. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Medical treatment is generally adequate in Thailand’s urban areas. In Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Pattaya, good facilities exist for routine, long-term, and emergency health care. Basic medical care is available in rural areas, but English-speaking providers are rare.

Medical tourism is an established and rapidly growing industry. You should consult with your local physician before traveling and also refer to information on medical tourism from CDC.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.   See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

Medicine for personal use is allowed as long as the amount does not exceed a 30-day supply and you bring the medicine with you. Do not mail medicine to Thailand without first confirming it will be allowed into the country.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with Thailand Customs and the Thailand Food and Drug Administration. to ensure the medication is legal in Thailand.  Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

The following diseases are present:

Dengue
Chikungunya
Japanese encephalitis
Zika
Tuberculosis:
Influenza
Malaria
Rabies
Cholera
Hepatitis A and B
HIV/AIDS
Typhoid
Melioidosis

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Air Quality: The Royal Thai Government reports air quality data from monitoring stations nationwide. The reported air quality index (AQI) does not correspond to U.S. EPA standards. In Chiang Mai, annual agricultural burning, approximately February through March, causes days with poor air quality. In 2016, air quality in Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Nan, Lampang, Bangkok, and Samut Sakhon exceeded Thai government standards for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) 15% of the time.

Further health information:

World Health Organization
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Air Now (EPA, NOAA, National Park Service)

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:

Traffic accidents are common in Thailand. According to the World Health Organization, in 2018, Thailand had one of the world’s highest traffic-related fatality rates. Bangkok and some parts of Chiang Mai have heavy traffic.

Reckless driving: Speeding, reckless passing, and failure to obey other traffic laws are common in all regions of Thailand. Traffic moves on the left. Some drivers move illegally against the traffic. Scooters and motorbikes commonly drive on the sidewalks during rush hour and other periods of heavy traffic. Commercial drivers commonly consume alcohol, amphetamines, and other stimulants.

Accidents involving motorcycles can be deadly. Riders may incur serious injuries when they are not wearing helmets or proper clothing and footwear. According to the World Health Organization, in 2016, 74 percent of traffic fatalities involved riders of 2-and 3-wheeled vehicles. Use of motorcycle helmets is mandatory, but this law is sporadically enforced.

Use a pedestrian bridge to cross the road where one is available, including in front of the U.S. Embassy on Wireless Road and on Sukhumvit Road, where many pedestrians have been killed and several U.S. citizens seriously injured. Look carefully in both directions before crossing streets, even when using a marked crosswalk.

If you have a traffic accident, you should contact your insurance company for guidance in dealing with the other party and the police.

Emergency vehicles: Congested roads and a scarcity of ambulances can make it difficult for accident victims to receive timely medical attention

Traffic Laws:

Driving under influence is punishable by law. If you are found to be intoxicated, you could be jailed for a minimum of two years and subject to a fine.

Bribes are illegal. If you are found guilty, you could be imprisoned up to five years, face severe fines, or both.

The following violations are also subject to a fine:

Lack of ID.
Not obeying traffic laws and traffic signals.
Driving slowly in regular lanes of traffic.

If you are involved in a traffic accident, you should contact your auto insurance company for guidance.

Public Transportation:

Mass transit: In Bangkok, the BTS elevated "Skytrain," “Airport Rail Link” mass transit, and the underground MRT systems are reliable, inexpensive, air conditioned, and often faster than Bangkok traffic.

Bus system: Bangkok also has an extensive bus system, but buses can be overcrowded and are often driven with little or no regard for passenger safety.

For hire vehicles: Cities outside of Bangkok typically have only rudimentary public transportation and usually do not have metered taxis. In many cases, motorcycle taxis, tuk-tuks, bicycle-powered rickshaws, and pick-up trucks will be the only options available for travelers without their own transport.

Smartphone-based for-hire vehicle service exist in Bangkok and other large cities. Those affiliated with registered taxis, such as Grab Taxi, Line Taxi, and All Thai Taxi are legal, but their affiliated car services are under legal review.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Thailand’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Thailand should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.

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