This is a personal travel advice based on personal opinion and personal experience while living & traveling in Thailand for more as 20 years.
The golden rule of traveling safe : Act wisely as you would do in your home country!
Disclaimer : All information is created in good faith and is an expression of fair comment.
One could say that there is a kind of civil war going on there, maybe to compare it with the old days of IRA in Ierland. And make no mistake since 2004 more as 6.000 people have died in this kind of civil war or terrorisme actions. But does that warrant such a strict travel advice for 4 provinces nowadays in 2018? Is it really so dangerous? In my personal opinion "No".
The conflict is very much local and mostly does not interfere with tourists. Most parts of the provinces are not dangerous at all. But there are some area's that I would indeed not travel without checking the current situation. But I have not been there for a long time. So my advice is based on the experience of reliable friends of mine traveling there or living there.
My personal advice : Travel all over south Thailand, but in the 4 most southern provinces check carefully in what area's you are going to travel and check the current status. For more information about traveling in southern Thailand read Exploring the Deep South of Thailand.
My personal advice : Enjoy traveling in Thailand but be very careful when on the road
- Do not drive / ride in the dark or with bad weather like rain or storm.
- Do not use bus or mini-van transport at night for long distances.
- Thailand is not a good country to learn to ride a scooter or motorbike. Be aware that a scooter is also a motorbike by law.
- Always wear a helmet, preferable a good helmet. Rental shops mostly offer shitty helmets, if you are planning to ride many days / weeks the you might consider to buy a better helmet at Big-C or Tesco-Lotus.
- Do not ride & drink alchohol.
- Always wear protective cloths (adjusted to circumstances).
- Be aware that ALL people and animals use the road. Like dogs, chickens, tuk-tuk, bicycles, people walking, people who are half blind or deaf, trucks without brakes and drunk people
- Thai roads are not always in good condition.
- The road is not a race track.
- When renting a scooter / motorbike it is probably not fully insured or not insured at all.
- If you do not have a motorbike driver license your travel insurance probably does not pay your medical bills when you have a accident.
- Domestic flights with domestic airlines are safe.
- Trains are safe, but be aware of people trying to steal your luggage.
- Busses are relatively safe, although personally I am against traveling over night by bus or traveling long distances (like more as 400 km).
- Public Mini-van's are not really safe. Use them only for short distances (shorter as 50 km).
- Boats can be safe but also unsafe. Check the weather, check the safety on the boat, check the number of people on the boat. If you not feel comfortabel do not use the boat.
- Song-theauws are perfect for short distances but should not be used on the highway.
My personal advice : Do not travel or go hiking in mountains during or soon after rain.
My personal advice : Do not bother the medicines but bother about taking care that you have as less as possible chance of getting infected (like bitten by mosquitos). Don't walk around half naked.
My personal advice : Drink water from sealed bottles and eat in proper restaurants. Eat food that is cooked.
My personal advice : During March & April do not travel in North Thailand!
My personal advice : In case of medical emergency have yourself transported to the nearest private hospital.
3. The Law
- Use of any kind of drugs is against the law and you could be jailed for it for many many years in a very unpleasant jail in Thailand. My personal advice : Do not do any kind of drugs in Thailand.
- Insulting the monarchy of Thailand, any person or anything related to that is against the law and you can be jailed for 15 years for that. Make no mistake there are both Thai and foreigners in jail for breaking this law. My personal advice : Do not do / say anything that could be seen as insulting the monarchy. This also includes on internet, Facebook or any other computer media. Do not engage in any discussion with Thai people about this.
- Importing, using or selling/buying of E-sigarets is against the law. My personal advice : Do not use / buy it in Thailand.
- Thailand is since 2014 ruled by a military government that has banned political gatherings and placed restrictions on the media, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Security forces have additional powers, including the right to control movement, search for weapons or arrest people. Individuals, including foreigners, may be detained for publicly criticizing the current government or the monarchy. My personal advice : Do not engage in any discussion with anyone that could put you in danger of breaking the law.
- Those small scooters are actually motorbikes, you will need a motorbike driver-license for it. If you do not have a motorbike driver-license and have a accident your travel insurance might not cover the costs. My personal advice : Get a motorbike driver license or do not ride a motorbike.
- For the use of drones you need a license from the Thai government. And at many places you are not allowed to fly your drone (like National Parks).
- Prostitution is against the law.
- Being naked in public is against the law, that includes topless sunbathing. Also at the hotel swimming pool.
- For drinking alchohol you have to be minimal 18 years old.
- On some religious or national holidays it is against the law to consume alchohol in public.
4. Common sense
- Do not use any kind of drugs
- Do not drink excessive alchohol
- Be in control of your behaviour
- Do not offend other people
- Respect the law
- Although traveling alone can be great, but in some situations / places it is better not to be alone. So avoid that, unfortunately this must be said especially for females (because some males can not control themselves).