The ‘Land of Smiles’ or Thailand remains one of the major tourism hubs in Asia and thousands travel to this popular holiday destination across the year. The country’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and some of the other international airports are well served with carriers operating cheap flights to Thailand. However, right from visa policies to health and safety issues, there are numerous things to consider before going on a tour of the country.
- British passport holders catching flights to Thailand can enter the country for a period of 30 days and are exempted from the requirement of securing a visa before arrival. Travellers planning to work in the country or stay longer than the stipulated period are required to secure a valid visa or an extension of stay.
- Anyone overstaying the period stipulated on arrival, would be violating the Thai Immigration Law. This will entail a fine of 500 baht of every day of overstay with the exception of the first day. The maximum fine can go to 20,000 baht.
- Overseas nationals caught overstaying their visas can also be detained, fined, and deported. The deportation costs have to be paid by the violators.
- According to Thai authorities, travellers overstaying their visit by more than 42 days will be detained and can be barred from entering the country in the future.
- A new visa, extension of stay, or entry permit should only be obtained from an Immigration Office around Thailand, an Immigration Officer at one of the entry points of the country, and a Consulate or Thai Embassy.
- Visas obtained through other channels such as travel agents or visa shops may be illegal and travellers holding such visas can face criminal proceedings. This includes hefty fines, prohibition from entering Thailand in the future, and a jail sentence.
- Travellers, who have finalised plans for booking cheap flights to Thailand may seek further information on visas and entry requirements from the Royal Thai Embassy.
Before booking flights to Thailand, one should ensure that the passport does not have a validity period of less than six months. The passport should also be intact and not have any missing pages. Visitors are usually refused entry if they fail to meet these requirements.
Before undertaking Thailand travel, one should take medical advice. Travellers should make sure that all necessary vaccinations are in place as Thailand has its share of diseases. Check out some handy health tips before planning a tour.
- According to statistics, British nationals visiting Thailand run a higher risk of being hospitalised in the country than any other nation. Although, private hospitals are of a good quality, they prove to be expensive. One should be covered with comprehensive medical insurance. Some hospitals also do not start treatment until they are given a guarantee that bills will be paid.
- There have been cases of Avian Influenza or Bird Flu in Thailand and the adjoining regions. Before tasting egg or poultry dishes, one should make sure that these are well cooked. It is also unadvisable to visit places where one may get into close proximity with birds. Such places include poultry farms and live animal markets. H1N1 or swine flu is also prevalent in Thailand.
- Dengue fever and malaria often prove to be fatal illnesses in Thailand. Travellers should consider taking tablets for malaria prevention and other necessary steps after discussing the same with their GPs. Similarly, the Chikungunya virus is also prevalent in different pockets of Thailand, including the travel spot of Phuket.
- Sex workers play a significant role in Thailand’s tourism. However, one should take adequate precautions as the country is not free of the HIV virus and different sexually transmitted diseases.
- Information on general protection from diseases, health outbreaks, and vaccination requirements are available on the websites of National Travel Heath Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) or NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel. One can also call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
Thailand is not totally free of crime and it pays to be on one’s guard against petty thefts and more heinous offences. Skim through some of the practical safety tips to observe during a Thailand holiday.
- Pickpockets and bag snatchers prove to be a nuisance especially in crowded areas such as buses, busy streets, and tuk tuks.
- Unscrupulous shop employees have been known to copy credit card details of tourists. It pays to keep one’s credit card under watch while making transactions.
- The Koh Phangan area proves to be notorious for gang violence against tourists especially during Full Moon parties.
- One needs to be extremely cautious in accepting drinks and edibles from strangers. There have been incidents of drugging and robbing foreigners. Especially, women travellers need to be all the more careful as date rape is not unknown in Thailand.
Disclaimer: The information in this article relating to visa/entry requirements is correct at the time of publishing. You must consult the relevant Embassy or Consulate for updated info on visa policies as requirements may change. You should check the up-to-date position in good time before booking/departure.