Before coming to Thailand you might have many unanswered questions about this mysterious country, and have a very hard time coming up with the answers you need before you arrive.
One of the most often considered questions about Thailand is whether or not Thailand is safe to visit.
In short, I would say that mostly whether or not Thailand is a safe place for you, depends on you.
There are many dangers in Thailand, but you can prepare for the majority of them if you know what they are first. I’ll cover some areas below briefly and offer a resource that can prepare you for nearly anything you will face in Thailand at the end of this article.
Thailand has a royal family. Unlike some other countries with royal families, Thai people treat their royal family with the utmost respect. There are very strict laws about what can and cannot be said about Thailand’s royal family. You would be wise to study this in some detail before arriving because there is little leeway given to citizens or foreigners on this matter.
Thai politics over the past thirty years or so have been filled with power struggles between power-hungry people that are not currently in charge, with the power-hungry people that are currently holding office in government. There has been a lot of violence, mostly centered in Bangkok, as a result of politicians fighting with each other – and whole groups of the population seeking change – often times, through violence.
Attempts to control Thai protesters are often heavy-handed and result in numerous deaths and serious injuries to participants. The military and police are often caught between two sides, and must choose which side to support. At times the military steps in with a coup and puts the fighting on hold for a while until elections are held and the fighting begins again.
It is dangerous to be inside Bangkok during times of intense political turmoil. It is not uncommon for bombs to be going off in public places during these times. Foreign visitors have not been targeted, but at times have been injured, sometimes severely.
In the south of Thailand there have been over 3,000 deaths attributed to a small group’s quest for independence from Thailand. These are a group of Muslim extremists that randomly shoot and sometimes murder in heinous ways, both Buddhist and Muslim alike. It is not recommended that visitors go to the deep southern provinces because at any time the extremists could up the ante by going after foreigners, hoping to force the Thai government to take a more active posture on the situation.
Besides the political and other violence in Thailand there are a number of dangers visitors will need to be aware of while visiting Thailand. Thailand has 45 species of poisonous snakes, scorpions, centipedes, and other biting beasts – some of which come right into the kitchens of people living in Bangkok.
Electrical hazards abound here. The same care taken with electricity in your country is not followed in Thailand.
The Thai concept of “face” is a cultural phenomenon that you should spend some time understanding because it guides Thais behavior. Face is an underlying component of all Thai behavior, and if understood, can help you stay clear of inciting someone to anger while you are here. Thais fight to kill and it would be better if you never saw that side of Thailand during your trip.
The key to having a safe vacation in Thailand is knowing everything you can about Thai people, their behavior, and their culture. There is only one guide that focuses on having a safe visit to Thailand.