Country Reports

Thailand Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

Thailand's first general election since the 2014 military coup is now likely to be held between February and May 2018. The existing ban on political activities is likely to be lifted by end-2018. Polls suggest that the Pheu Thai party (supported by the "Red Shirts") is leading. Whatever the election's outcome, Thailand will remain controlled by the military, which is constitutionally guaranteed control of the upper house. Political protests in central Bangkok's commercial and government districts are likely to become increasingly frequent during the coming months. The deployment of thousands of additional military personnel and the arrest since 2014 of militant leaders of the "Red Shirts" imply that protests are unlikely to threaten more than a few hours of traffic disruption. Risks to property from rioting are low: a repeat of the political violence in 2010 is highly unlikely. The Thai economy enjoys strong fundamentals. A flexible exchange rate, high foreign reserves, and relatively low foreign debt provide adequate buffers against external shocks. Moderate public-sector debt, a wide investor base for Thai debt, and well-capitalised commercial banks provide additional layers of protection. However, rising wages threaten the export-dependent economy's regional competitiveness, particularly in low-skilled manufacturing. Thailand has the highest minimum wage among ASEAN countries. In addition, successive governments have used subsidy and welfare programmes to support economic growth and secure their electoral base. This will probably continue as the military government seeks support from low-income voters ahead of the next general election. Malay-Muslim insurgents remain active in the four southern provinces, mainly targeting security personnel with crude improvised explosive devices and increasingly attacking civilian small businesses. However, the intensity of violence will probably continue declining as improvements in infrastructure facilitate better intelligence-led counter-insurgency and militant groups transition towards regional political engagement. © 2018, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: November 27, 2018

Operational Outlook

Thailand has a good transport infrastructure network, with modern highways, ports, and extensive air transport links. The exception is the outdated rail network, which the government is planning to upgrade across the country with high-speed trains from Bangkok to cities such as Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima. Industrial action is rare. However, demands for bribes and facilitation payments remain a major issue for businesses.

Last update: November 27, 2018



The majority of terrorist attacks have been concentrated Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, and parts of Songkhla. However, multiple IED attacks that targeted commercial and tourist areas, including Bangkok, Hua Hin, and Phuket, signify an expansion of their geographical reach and target set. However, since the establishment of the military government, there has been improved security in commercial areas and terrorism hotspots. The capabilities of terrorist groups are also limited, and the risk of large-scale, co-ordinated attacks is low.

Last update: November 23, 2018

War Risks

Thailand is highly unlikely to be involved in a military conflict with its neighbours. Although Cambodia and Thailand have overlapping claims to a hydrocarbon-rich area of the Gulf of Thailand, they will probably be resolved diplomatically. Cambodian and Thai soldiers exchanged artillery rounds over the ownership of the Preah Vihear Temple in 2011, but the issue was resolved in 2013 by the International Court of Justice. Rebel groups from neighbouring Myanmar have been known to use Thai territory as a base to attack or flee from government troops. Their presence increases the risk of an occasional small-arms fight with Thai soldiers.

Last update: November 23, 2018

Social Stability


Protest risk will probably increase around the time of the general election, which is currently likely to be held in the first quarter of 2019. Large-scale protests leading to blockades and disruptions in areas near government buildings and business centres are probable, especially if there are indications of military interference in major political parties. However, a repeat of the scale and violence of the 2010 Red Shirt protests or the 2013–14 anti-government protests, in which participants took over part of central Bangkok, is unlikely.

Last update: November 23, 2018

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year of age arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and for travelers who have been in transit in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication (for a trip to areas along the border with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, or Malaysia) - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: November 28, 2013

Natural Risks


Thailand is prone to natural disasters; the devastating December 2004 tsunami that hit the country resulted in 5400 deaths nationwide. Since then, Thai authorities have introduced warning systems and shelters in the event of a tsunami. Nationwide tsunami drills take place on a regular basis.

The kingdom is also prone to seismic activity. A 6.1-magnitude earthquake (on the Richter scale) with an epicenter in Laos struck on May 16, 2007, and was felt all the way to Bangkok.

The monsoon (rainy) season spans from April to October. Tropical storms and flooding inflict the country on a yearly basis. The country was struck with the most serious flooding seen in half a century between July 2011 and January 2012: 800 people were killed, and 14 million people in 65 out of 77 provinces were affected; Bangkok and its environs were paralyzed for several weeks.

Last update: February 13, 2018



Traveling by car can prove a challenge in Thailand, especially in Bangkok. Although vehicles drive on the left side of the road, many motorcyclists drive illegally on the right or use sidewalks to bypass congested traffic. Safety is the primary concern on Bangkok's roads, filled by a mixture of motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses, and tuk-tuks. Drivers are undisciplined and often do not give way to emergency vehicles, leading to emergency services struggling to reach scenes of accidents on time.

Between April and November, certain rail lines can be interrupted due to seasonal rainfall. The rail network in Thailand is aging in general, and the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route is subject to derailments.

Attention should be paid to the respect recurring danger observed in speedboats. Remember to check to see if there are sufficient life jackets on board. Do not board precarious or overloaded boats.

The bus line between Surat Thani and Bangkok is frequently targeted by pickpockets, and thefts of wallets and passports are regularly reported. Thieves target hand luggage while individuals are asleep. Be vigilant and keep your luggage secure during the entire journey.

The elevated Skytrain and underground subway (MRT, Metropolitan Rapid Transit) are safe to use and recommended by most Western governments to avoid Bangkok's traffic.

The sub-par state of roads outside large cities may pose a risk for travelers. Avoid traveling off national highways and in secluded, rural areas. Criminals may attempt to attract your attention by feigning a need for assistance, or by wearing military uniforms and forcing vehicles to stop at fake checkpoints. Always drive with doors locked, windows rolled up, and all belongings out of sight.

Poor vehicle maintenance, excessive speed, and the small number of cases of traffic violations - by both locals and many foreign tourists - are responsible for a considerable number of accidents, and rates are among the highest in the world (426 deaths in 3327 road accidents between December 29, 2016, and January 3, 2017).

Individuals present in Thailand should avoid hailing a taxi off the street; instead, pre-book it from your hotel. Check that the meter is functioning. Registered taxi drivers have a yellow placard with their name and their photograph on it; verify the photograph matches the driver before entering the vehicle.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Practical Information


Thailand has a tropical climate with a dry and sunny season from November until February. Between March and the end of May, temperatures are very high. The rainy season (monsoon) begins in June and ends in October (with a peak of precipitation in September). During this period brief storms are very common. The north receives more rainfall than the south and tends to be cooler. Typhoons can strike the country in September and October.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +66
Police: 191
Fire Dept.: 191
Tourist Police: 11 55


Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: January 30, 2014