Tips on how to stay safe in Bangkok

Bangkok, the lively capital of Thailand, is a central hotspot in Southeast Asia and one of the most visited cities in the world. For many it is the first stop in Asia, as a major number of international flights stop in Bangkok and it is easy to find flights to pretty much anywhere in Asia from there. The friendliness of Thai people can (and most likely will) be experienced in Bangkok too, and the city is generally regarded as safe. That being said, it has its dodgy side too. Whether you’re in Bangkok for a short vacation or studying for a longer time, safety tips are always handy. So, how do you keep yourself safe while being in Bangkok?

temples in bangkok
Bangkok is a beautiful and generally a safe city, but there are a few things to be aware of..  Photo By Alejandro Cartagena / CC BY

To know the dangers and not-to-do’s in Bangkok will definitely help you keeping safe. Respect and politeness spiced with common sense will make your visit joyful, and your open-minded attitude will probably be met equally. Top that off with a smile and the mutual trust is formed. However, over-trusting friendly people approaching you and striking a conversation in good English might be the beginning of a scam. These are common things that happen in Bangkok for the unwary tourist, and how to stay safe:

1. Pickpocketing and robberies

As in any major city around Southeats Asia like Kuala Lumpur or Seoul, there is criminality evident also in Bangkok. It’s highly advisable to not keep valuables out of sight and to be mindful about your pockets or bags. Goes without saying that it’s not a good idea to walk alone in dark alleyways and wandering in sketchy neighborhoods.

2. Criticism of Thai monarchy

It’s illegal to speak in a negative manner of the royal family of Thailand. If caught, the violator might face jail-time. It has happened with tourists.

taxi in bangkok
Many have fallen for several of the infamous tuk-tuk and taxi scams in Bangkok. Don’t get caught up in them! Photo By Sven Scheuermeier / CC BY

3. Taxi and tuk-tuk scams

It’s advisable to ask the chauffeur for meter when stepping in the taxi to ensure fair pricing. Ride prices for tuk-tuks can be negotiated before stepping in and knowing the approximate distance and price for the ride is beneficial for scam-avoidance.

You might also be interested in: 5 Unique Things You Cannot Miss in Bangkok 

4. Dengue

Dengue is a real threat in Bangkok, and mosquito repellant is a cheap prevention against it. Monkeys and street dogs are also inhabitants of the city, and seemingly cute or friendly they might give you rabies if they flip and bite you. Be careful!

heavy traffic in Bangkok
The traffic is chaotic in Bangkok compared to what it is in many cities around Europe or North-America.  Photo By Alexander Popov / CC BY

5. Ridiculous traffic

Being a metropolis in Southeast Asia, Bangkok has traffic that seems like a chaos compared to rule-bound European or North-American countries. For a mindless pedestrian it is dangerous so being aware of the traffic is crucial, and pedestrian rights are not to be expected. If hesitation rises, find a local pedestrian and walk with them.

6. Laws

Laws concerning narcotics are intensely strict, and possession of illegal drugs may give you a death penalty. The conditions in Thai prisons are horrible and they have extremely notorious reputations for a reason.

All-in-all a smart mindset mixed with an adventurous attitude will make your visit successful. Learn basic small talk and greetings in Thai to make yourself understood to even those whose English isn’t as good as yours and you will ease your visit tremendously. Play it secure by checking the advisory travel of your embassy.

Apply now to study in Bangkok and have the best time of your life

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This article was written by our Marketing intern Emil!


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