Country Reports

Thailand Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

Poor economic figures indicate continued livelihood hardship and high protest risks across 2020. The Thai economy has experienced a severe contraction, with an increasing unemployment rate of 1.95%. The National Economic and Social Development Council has reported a 9.7% year-on-year contraction in second-quarter GDP and a 10% decline in exports. IHS Markit expects the 2020 GDP to contract by around 7%. The recent round of demonstrations since July, which includes one attended by 10,000 people, was an escalation from continuous small-scale protests, mostly around university campuses, across Thailand. Demonstrations were also seen in historically conservative and predominantly “Yellow Shirt” Southern provinces such as Phuket, Songkhla, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, and Phatthalung. The protests, which have been largely peaceful, have expressed dissatisfaction towards not only the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, but also the palace, which protesters reportedly perceived as interfering in Thai politics. Three protester core demands are amending the 2017 Constitution, stopping the alleged intimidation against political activists, and dissolving the house and calling for new elections. The Prayuth government has so far demonstrated constraint in using force to disperse protests, limiting the risks of violent escalations. However, the likelihood of military intervention will increase as large-scale protests and the overt criticism of the palace continue. Malay-Muslim insurgents remain active in the four southern provinces, mainly targeting security personnel with crude improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and increasingly attacking civilian small businesses. Conflicting priorities among deep-south negotiators and security forces have undermined the renewed peace process. Main assets exposed remain to be government buildings or security checkpoints. However, unprotected local markets, shopping centres, or Buddhist schools remain aspirational targets.
Last update: August 20, 2020

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 The exception is the outdated rail network, which the government is planning to upgrade across the country with high-speed trains from Bangkok to cities such as Chiang Mai and Nakhon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 with a fragmented and weak union structure. However, demands for bribes and facilitation payments, plus the need for businesses to maintain close ties with government officials, remain a major issue for businesses.

Last update: July 24, 2020



The majority of terrorist attacks have been concentrated in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, and parts of Songkhla. Furthermore, 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. Since 2014, there has been improved security in commercial areas and terrorism hotspots. However, since the transition to civilian government in July 2019, there have been increases in high-profile attacks, which were allegedly carried out by BRN, the most active insurgency group.

Last update: July 24, 2020


Crime affecting foreigners is above the national average in the coastal resort of Pattaya and, to a lesser extent, on the resort islands of Koh Tao and Phuket. Criminal syndicates have been known to target tourists, who are given drugged drinks and then robbed of money and passports. Violent crime targeting tourists is rare, but foreign tourists in towns outside of Bangkok are at elevated risk. The police are susceptible to bribery and inefficiency.

Last update: July 28, 2020

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 firefight with Thai soldiers.

Last update: July 24, 2020

Social Stability


Protest risks are high over dissatisfaction over government policy and economic contraction, likely attracting crowds of more than 10,000 people in protest hotspots, participating in mostly peaceful demonstrations. Large-scale protests leading to prolonged (more than three days) blockades and disruptions in areas near government buildings and business centres are unlikely, given robust nationwide military presence. 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 parts of central Bangkok, is unlikely in 2020.

Last update: August 20, 2020

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: April 5, 2019

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: April 5, 2019



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: April 5, 2019

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: April 5, 2019