At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest health advice on travelling to Thailand from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. This has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy whilst in the country. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re in Thailand.
Some prescribed and over the counter medicines that are available in the UK are considered controlled substances in Thailand. Restrictions tend to apply to medication containing narcotic and pyschotropic substances. You can find more information on the website of the Royal Thai Embassy and checking the medication guidance for travellers. Further guidance can also be found on the NaTHNaC website on best practice when travelling with medicines.
Rabies has been reported in domestic and wild animals, and there have been several fatalities reported. You should avoid direct contact with animals and take precautions to protect yourself.
There are excellent private hospitals in Thailand but they can be expensive. Public hospitals and clinics in Thailand are not always up to UK standards, particularly outside Bangkok and in the coastal islands. Many hospitals require guarantee of payment before they will start treatment. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
High levels of air pollution can occur in major urban areas, including in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, which is also affected by regional smoke haze. This may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. You can check air quality levels for many cities in real time on the World Air Quality Index website.
During March and April there is often smoke haze and resulting poor air quality and heavier pollution across parts of the north, north-east and south of Thailand. Keep up-to-date with local information and seek medical advice on appropriate precautions. Regular air quality reports for Thailand (and the ASEAN region) are available from the Singapore Meteorological Service.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 1669 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Medications which are only available on prescription in the UK like Viagra, Cialis and Valium are readily available in popular nightlife districts across Thailand. Medication sold on the street is unlikely to be genuine and may have been stolen. Taking medication without medical advice or a prescription can have serious health consequences.
UK health authorities have classified Thailand as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Dengue fever is present in Thailand. You should take mosquito bite avoidance measures.