While there are no recommended vaccinations for Thailand, you may want to consider the following:
If you do get sick in Thailand you're in a good place. There's a network of public and private hospitals. The private ones, especially in Bangkok, offer an excellent standard of care.
If you are in the south of Thailand, ambulances may present no major obstacles to you getting to hospital, unless you are in an heavily built up urban environment. In Bangkok and other cities, traffic may delay may delay your journey. It's estimated 20% of critically ill people in ambulances die on their way to hospital due to being stuck in traffic congestion. So it may be faster to get a taxi.
Ambulances in northern Thailand however can be nightmarish, getting thrown in a tuk tuk and driven across stretches of pot-holed and bumpy roads may actually exacerbate certain types of injuries.
Most blood in Thailand is screened, but not all of it. Different provinces in Thailand have more care when screening blood for things like HIV, Hepatitis B, C etc. With 2% of deaths in Thailand being caused by HIV, it's still something you should be concerned about if you require a blood transfusion.
Being located in the tropics, Thailand's climate is hot and throw in humidity or monsoonal rains, it presents a perfect environment for diseases and other health hazards to flourish.
There are conflicting stories between doctors prescribing Malaria tablets for travel in Thailand. Some strongly recommend and other suggest a good slathering of DEET will do the trick! Malaria hasn't really been much of a problem in Thailand for a while, but you should still take the necessary precautions while in rural areas.
Some nomads opt for taking medication with them, but only popping the pills if they feel like mosquitos are thick in a certain area - not a bad idea! There are also alot of non medical products on the market now to keep you covered and bite free.
But until then, dengue is the fever to watch out for.
Also called breakbone fever because of the excruciating joint and muscle pain, it can be fatal if untreated. Similar to Malaria, it's transmitted by mosquitoes, but these pesky little blighters are active in cities and during the day. They like to hang around shady areas – exactly where you're sheltering from the hot sun.
There's no vaccine or preventative medication for Dengue, and no cure. Medical staff simply treat the symptoms until the disease passes (about 2 weeks).
Don't drink tap water in Thailand, stick to boiled or treated water. Don't worry too much about the ice as there's an extensive network of ice factories which use purified water. It's easier for businesses to use the commercial ice rather than go to the expense of making their own. The good ice is easy to spot, it's tubular in shape.
For the same reason you don‘t drink the water, take care when you‘re swimming in it. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that gets into your body through cuts and abrasions when you're swimming, kayaking, and white water rafting. Also known as swamp fever, it was first recognized as an occupational disease of sewer workers.
If you have a cut, make sure you treat it with disinfectant from your travel medical kit, and stick a plaster over it.
Be careful when you're washing fruit and vegetables, always check the water source is safe.
You're going to find a variety of delicious food while traveling in Thailand but is it safe to eat?
Don't eat anything that's been sitting around, even for a short while. Fresh is best so insist on the food being freshly prepared for you. If the street vendor won't cook you a fresh dish, go to another vendor who will.
Pick food stalls that have a lot of people at them, the locals quickly learn which ones are safe. A food stall that's popular will have a high turnover of produce, again nothing is left sitting around to go off or let the flies get at it.
Another tip, watch for a stall that looks clean and fly-free. Try to watch the vendor's hands, are they clean?
Have a think about the utensils the vendor provides. Have they been washed properly? Is the washing water clean? Probably not. So carry a bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel, and give the utensils a wipe. Give your hands the once over while you're at it.
Want extra chilli? Go on, be brave, but think twice about taking a pinch from that communal bowl of flakes on the table. Who else has dipped their digits in there? Ask the vendor for fresh chilli instead.
Traditional henna tattoos are popular with young and old travelers alike, fading over time once they arrive home from their holiday. But there is also a sinister side which travelers should look out for and avoid at all costs.
Aside from being found in Indonesia, particularly Bali, black henna tattoos have reportedly popped up in Thailand, notably in the famous Khao San Rd area.
It contains all kinds of nasties such as kerosene and everyday pigments such as boot polish, hair dye, pen ink and more. Black henna leaves you with a long lasting souvenir in the form of a severe skin allergic reaction which can also cause future reactions to other dyes and inks.
So do your research before getting that temporary tatt. Avoid anywhere that says black henna and ask to see what pigment is used beforehand.
Inflicting a painful and potentially fatal sting, these transparent cube shaped, long tentacled (reaching up to 10ft!) aquatic beasties are not to be messed with. Between 1999 and 2015, 6 tourists died from box jellyfish stings.
Box jellyfish float into beach areas around Krabi, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, with highest instances of injuries and fatalities around Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Their numbers increase in inshore during monsoon season. It's also important to avoid touching any jellyfish washed up on beaches as they are still dangerously toxic.
Avoiding swimming at night, wearing a stinger suit, swimming at beaches with vinegar first aid stands are some ways you can potentially avoid being stung.
Beach goers don't realise they have been stung by the box jellyfish until the venom sets in because spotting the animal is difficult due to its transparency in clear waters. Symptoms can include: severe pain, swelling, itching, difficulty breathing, sweating/fever and tentacle tracks appearing on the affected body area.
Immediate first aid treatment is essential to survive a box jellyfish sting. First aid stations are set up at popular tourist beaches including vinegar.
Call emergency services or seek medical attention at a hospital or medical clinic.
It's important that both the affected person and first aiders remain calm and not panic. Do not wash or scrub the sting sites. Previous sting cases have shown that application of vinegar to the site within the first minutes of being stung may give some relief. Remove any visible tentacles on the skin using gloves or tweezers. CPR may need to be administered in severe cases should the affected person pass out and stop breathing.
You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.
We showcase our newly polished travel safety guide to Thailand with everything you need to know to have a safe and fun time in the ‘land of smiles’.
Keen to find the places lesser-known in Thailand? Follow these 10 tips from a nomad to break away from the crowds.