Bangkok may be a daunting destination for visitors, and it is often portrayed in Western media as sleazy, dirty, and intense, with a crazy nightlife and never-ending traffic.
Most tourists don’t stay long, but if you’re patient and start peeling back the layers, you’ll find a complicated, gorgeous city full of some of the kindest and most caring people you’ll ever encounter (Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles for a reason!). Very delectable street food!
Is Bangkok safe travel?
You must stay attentive and aware of your surroundings, just as you would in any large city, but it is rather safe, and the potential of significant harm is extremely low (unless you are up to something illegal).
You are more likely to come across tiny scams aimed to swindle you out of a few additional dollars (more on that later).
Here are a few tips for being safe in Bangkok:
- Be alert as a pedestrian.
Bangkok traffic is hectic; many motorcycles will run red signals or even drive on the pavements!
As a result, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution while crossing streets and going about town. Maintain vigilance and look in both directions. (Remember that they drive on the left side of the road (British side), so keep an eye out and be attentive!
- Keep a photocopy of your passport with you at all times.
For anybody who travels internationally, this is a no-brainer. Place your original passport in the lockbox supplied by your hotel or hostel, and save a photocopy or digital copy on your phone or in your email.
- You should never leave your drink unattended.
This is yet another general piece of safety advice. Drinks may be spiked at any time, so keep yours nearby or pass it to someone you trust if necessary.
- Avoid using or accepting recreational drugs.
Thailand has severe anti-drug legislation; anybody found using or transporting illicit narcotics faces prison time or, in extreme cases, the death sentence.
- Don’t talk about the royal family
It is illegal to criticize the monarch or the royal family under the statute of lèse majesté.
If you are discovered disrespecting the monarchy, you will face a jail term of 3–15 years.
Other nations may have lèse majesté laws, but Thailand has the strictest enforcement in the world.
People have been charged with lèse majesté for petty transgressions such as wearing black on the king’s birthday, mocking the monarch’s dog on the internet, and liking Facebook remarks about the king, to mention a few.
You mustn’t mention the king or royal family in public or with locals, otherwise, you may face serious penalties that no amount of travel insurance can cover!
- Buy travel insurance.
Nobody likes to worry about things going wrong on their vacation, but I prepare by purchasing travel insurance before every trip. You should have it anytime you travel, but it’s especially necessary for a nation where petty theft and frauds are sadly more widespread.
Of course, it’s also essential for dealing with any medical or other emergencies that may arise. Buy travel insurance to be a wise traveler.
How to Avoid Scams in Bangkok
Bangkok is typically safe for backpackers and visitors, but it is also quite chaotic.
The most typical sort of crime you’ll see is petty theft (including bag snatching).
Also, some individuals will attempt to take advantage of you, such as taxi drivers who refuse to switch on their meters.
Avoiding travel scams needs a great deal of common sense and a healthy dose of skepticism.
Here are the two most typical scams to be on the lookout for:
1-Taxi scams: You get into a taxi and discover the meter isn’t working.
When you explain this to the driver, their reaction is that the meter is “broken,” and he charges you an absurdly high amount. Alternatively, you may see that the meter is operating but the price is rising as quickly as a bullet train in Japan.
To avoid this scam, do your homework and ask your hostel or hotel staff how much a journey should cost before calling a cab. If the cabbie attempts to haggle the rate, I use the one quoted to me by my earlier research, and if he refuses, I get out and locate someone who will turn on the meter. (Use only Taxis with functional meters whenever possible.)
If the meter seems to be increasing particularly quickly, request that the driver pull over and exit immediately.
Another possibility is that your taxi driver may “take the scenic way.” You’ll find yourself stuck in traffic, and the taxi driver will profit at your cost. We live in a technological era, so if you’re skeptical about your driver’s route, bring out your smartphone and utilize Google Maps to locate the shortest route to your destination. (Better better, choose the best path ahead of time.)
Don’t be afraid to show your driver your phone and insist on following this route.
Take a snapshot of the driver’s ID/registration number and report him to Thailand’s tourist authority if you have a terrible taxi encounter. And always, always, always use official taxis.
2-The tourist attraction is "closed"/tuk-tuk ride scam:
This is most likely Bangkok’s most popular fraud. When visiting tourist landmarks, like as Wat Phra Kaew, the Grand Palace, or Wat Arun, someone may approach you at random and inform you that the location is closed for a special ceremony or lunch hour.
Then, these extremely friendly people will offer to drive you to open locations. The driver will take you to a gem store, a souvenir shop, or a tailor where they will collect a commission while exploring the sites.
After a few hours, the vehicle will return you to your original position after it has “reopened,” by which time you would have learned that the site had been open the whole time – you were simply in the incorrect area of the building.
This is when your common sense and self-assurance come into play. Avoid conversing with these folks, or politely decline and go away. Alternatively, go to the main gate or ticket counter and see for yourself!
Another thing to keep in mind is that most attractions do not shut for lunch; rather, they close for the whole day. Before you go, look up the hours of operation so you know what to anticipate – opening and closing information are nearly always accessible online.
FAQ on Bangkok Safety
Here is a list of some of the most often asked concerns about safety in Bangkok, so you can be better prepared for your trip!
Is street food safe to eat?
Without a doubt! Bangkok is known as the world’s street food center, and vendors are serving wonderful native specialties on every corner.
That being said, if anything does not smell or seem “kosher,” it is advisable to avoid it.
If a street vendor has regular customers, you may typically be certain that it is secure.
(If you’re not sure where to begin, I suggest reading this blog article on how to navigate Bangkok’s street food culture.)
Is the water from the tap safe?
The Bangkok Metropolitan Waterworks Authority states that it adheres to World Health Organization criteria for delivering safe drinking water to the public.
Although the water is treated at facilities, the pipelines it runs through might be quite old and unclean, resulting in pollution. Locals frequently boil their tap water before consuming it, or they buy bottled water. To check that your water is safe to drink, use a Lifestraw. Bring a reusable water bottle as well to reduce your plastic use.
Are taxis safe?
Taxis are a safe and inexpensive way to move about town, and they are my favorite mode of transportation. There will, however, be the odd meter or “scenic route” swindle.
When you get into a taxi, be sure it has a functional meter and that you agree on a route before you begin your ride.
(If you read the part on taxi scams above, you’ll be well prepared for this kind of circumstance.)
Is Bangkok safe for solo travelers?
Bangkok is a safe city for single travelers, and it’s a fantastic place to start. I’ve been visiting there for the last 15 years and have never had an issue.
However, there are parts in Bangkok that are solely dedicated to partying and drinking, and the most serious events occur when people are inebriated and dumb.
Don’t become too tipsy. Also, avoid illicit narcotics at all costs – Thailand is quite hard on drugs, and you’ll be in big trouble if you get caught. Always follow your instincts; if you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it in Bangkok.
Is Bangkok safe for solo female travelers?
Female alone visitors should feel secure exploring the city. In Bangkok, it’s fairly simple to meet other visitors, particularly female travelers. However, certain precautions and forethought are required: Always have a downloadable map and translation software on hand so you can find your way home or seek assistance if necessary. Don’t show off your valuables, and avoid taking cabs alone late at night. If you’re still hesitant to go anywhere, ask to join a group at your hostel; groups are less likely to be victims of fraudsters or theft, and you’ll feel safer that way.
Here are a few safety posts provided by our solo female travel experts:
How to Stay Safe as a Female Solo Traveler
8 Female Solo Travel Myths Revealed
10 Commonly Asked Questions About Solo Female Travel
Bangkok exudes an electric vitality, and with an abundance of things to see and do, you will never be bored. When I got to know the city beyond the temples and conventional tourist attractions, I fell in love with it.
I realized why people liked Bangkok after discovering secret markets and fantastic street booths visited exclusively by locals, making friends with neighbors, and learning how the city worked.
Bangkok, like any large metropolis, has its fair share of con artists and reckless drivers.
You’ll have a wonderful trip while keeping safe if you’re smart and aware, trust your instincts, and follow our safety recommendations.
Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Bangkok!
My entire ebook is designed for budget travelers like you!
It skips the fluff found in other guidebooks and goes right to the actual information you’ll need to navigate about Bangkok.
You’ll discover suggested itineraries and budgets, money-saving advice, things to see and do on and off the main path, non-touristy restaurants, markets, pubs, safety recommendations, and much more!
Book Your Trip to Bangkok: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
To locate cheap airfare, use Skyscanner or Momondo.
They are my two favorite search engines since they scan websites and airlines all around the world, ensuring that no stone is uncovered. Start with Skyscanner first since they have the most coverage!
Book Your Accommodation
If you wish to stay someplace other than a hostel, Booking.com routinely returns the lowest prices for guesthouses and budget hotels.
My favorite locations to stay are as follows:
If you’re seeking additional places to stay in Bangkok, these are my top picks.
And if you’re wondering where to stay in Bangkok, check out my neighborhood guide!
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will cover you in the event of sickness, accident, theft, or cancellation.
It provides extensive coverage if anything goes wrong.
I never leave the house without it since I’ve had to use it several times in the past.
My favorite businesses in terms of service and value are:
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for information on the best companies to utilize while traveling.
I include all of the ones I use to save money when driving. They will also help you save money while traveling.
Want to Learn More About Bangkok?
Visit our comprehensive Bangkok destination guide for even more planning advice!