Medical Safety

Remember ONLY your family G.P. is fully aware of which of your vaccinations are current. 

It is recommended that you visit your personal physician (GP) or travel health clinic 4 - 8 weeks before departure for immunization shots. In addition to being up-to-date on tetanus-diphtheria, measles-mumps-rubella, polio and caricella immunizations you should also have a Hepatitis-A vaccine shot and a Typhoid immunization. Hepatitis-B vaccination should also be considered, although normally caught from intimate contact, consideration to blood transfusions in the event of an accident should be given. Sanitation conditions can vary greatly in the city.

Air pollution is significant in Bangkok and people with respiratory conditions are at risk for complications from air pollution. This risk may be minimized by drinking plenty of fluids.  

There is no risk from malaria in cities and major tourist destinations and islands (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pattaya, Phuket Island, and Ko Samui). Do consider malaria prophylaxis if you intend to visit jungle areas, on the borders with Burma and Laos and Cambodia. Remember that malaria prophylaxis serve no protection against other mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue Fever, and you should use a quality repellant with DEET when mosquitos are present.

Check the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for details: Malaria Risk by Country - South East Asia

More detailed information can be found on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Information for Travellers to Countries in Southeast Asia

Bringing your personal (Doctor) prescribed medication into Thailand

PRACTICAL ADVICE 

The following advice is taken from a forum thread by GOPBI (DE - Bangkok & Air Travel);

"Customs does allow visitors to bring what they need to cover their medical needs while in country. So long as your drugs are not on the short list of "banned" items (think "illegal" narcotics and the like) and they are for your own personal use (not for re-sale or gifting) while in country, you can bring into Thailand what you need for the authorized period of your stay.

Best advice is to carry the medications in it's original packaging and have a brief note from your medical provider and/or a copy of the prescription/script which outlines the drug(s) in your possession and your dosage schedule..

It's fair to note that customs inspections in Thailand are, for the most part, a very quick process and the vast majority of incoming passengers are passed onward without any formal contact. However, having proper documentation to justify your possession of these drugs will only serve to expedite your clearance should you be selected for further examination."

ADDITIONAL FORMAL ADVICE

The above information has proven "anecdotally sufficient" for a long period of time, and there have been no reported problems in following this advice. However ADDITIONAL steps, for meeting ALL legal requirements do exist, in order to satisfy (absolutely, to the letter of) the laws of Thailand. 

The formal procedure for the import/export of scheduled medication for the personal use of visitors can be found at THIS WEBSITE

Scheduled Medication includes,  Codeine, Dextropropoxyphene, Dihydrocodeine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Methadone, Morphine, Oxycodone, Pethidine, Buprenorphine, Methylphenidate, Midazolam, Nitrazepam, Phentermine, Temazepam, Triazolam, Zolpidem, Pentazocine, Alprazolam, Bromazepam, Chlordiazepoxide, Clonazepam, Clorazepate, Diazepam, Oxazepam, Lorazepam, and Phenobarbital.

Additional information on Personal Safety and Security considerations can be found on this page. 

 

OTHER GENERAL ADVICE 

CRIME: As in any large city visitors must be aware of their surroundings. But Bangkok is not inherently dangerous. Crimes most prevalent against tourists are "stealth" crimes such as pickpocketing, scams with credit cards, or confidence tricks with fake goods or gemstones. Some of the most common areas for pickpockets to operate are the large weekend market Chatuchak in the north of Bangkok and the main railway station. 

CREDIT CARDS: As a word of caution credit cards should always be kept in plain view when used. i.e. DO NOT pass over your credit card for it to be taken away and processed, ALL bills should be double-checked for accuracy.

GEM SCAMS: Perhaps one of the more common scams is that involving gems. Gem scams follow a predictable pattern. Someone will approach you outside a well-known tourist attraction and will say the attraction is closed. The friendly stranger will suggest an alternate temple to visit which is supposedly open only one day a year. The stranger will then say that there is also a special once-a-year government sponsored gem sale. They will offer to take you or direct you to a tuk-tuk (open air taxi) to take you to the "special" temple. At the temple another stranger will engage you in conversation and who will also mention the "special" gem sale. The tourist then agrees to go look at the gem shop, and is soon convinced to buy gems which can supposedly be sold in your home country for a 100% profit. When the tourist has the gems appraised back home they turn out to have minimal value.

Keep up to date with annoying scams in Bangkok using the Bangkok & Thailand Scams Website.

It is not advisable to buy gem stones if you are not familiar with the characteristics of a quality stone. You will never get a bargain. You will never be able to sell them on as professional jewellers have their own sources. Never accept the seller's certificate. Take it to a laboratory, i.e. GIA, AIGS or GIT (not GRS) and get it certified. They will not give you a valuation as this is not done in Thailand anywhere. If you cannot resist the temptation to buy a stone then go to a store which belongs to 'Jewel Fest Club'. They give you a return guarantee less a small charge. No questions asked. Or consult your Lonely PlanetGuide etc. They also list a few reliable dealers. 

COVER CHARGE SCAM: Usually only perpetrated at "adult entertainment" venues, another con that the tourist must be aware of, is the COVER CHARGE. This happens time and time again and it is important that you do not fall into this trap. Promoters outside adult 'peepshow' clubs will approach you and will convince you that their club is different as they do not charge any cover charge or that what you see is free and you only pay for what you drink. They will back this up with a piece of paper shoved in your face with the capital letters 'NO COVER CHARGE'. This is not true. Once you enter the club, the drinks are brought out to you within 2 minutes and the promoter will persuade you to buy her/him a drink too. Within 5 minutes you will find yourself with employees who will 'toast' you with their drinks - drink which you will later have to pay for. As it begins to dawn on you what is happening and you immediately ask to pay and to leave, the employees will stall you, bringing out more drinks etc. Demand to leave and the boss will bring you the bill with words to the effect of 'COVER CHARGE OF 300 BAHT'. This, of course, includes the promoter who you agreed to buy a drink for. It is difficult to leave without paying this otherwise the longer you stay, the more you will have to pay for.

This has happened to many tourists and is regularly complained of so please bear this is mind when you think you are just experiencing the seedy side of Bangkok as you will be paying a lot more than what you have bargained for!


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