Bangkok is known as one of Asia’s most cosmopolitan cities and is known as Thailand’s cultural, political, commercial, spiritual, educational and diplomatic capital. Bangkok continues to rank as one of the most visited cities in the world with approximately 16 million tourists annually. The Thai city continues to be a fascinating location for travellers, but before jetting off to the Southeast Asian country, be sure to keep a few things in mind.
Threats and risks to travellers in Bangkok:
First and foremost, there is a high threat of terrorism in Bangkok. Most recently in August 2015, a bomb exploded at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok killing 20 and injuring 125. Prior bombings occurred in February 2015 at the Siam BTS Station and the other in April 2015 in Ko Samui. Even in the unlikely event of a terrorist attack happening during your visit, it is important to exercise a high degree of caution at all times and follow the advice of local authorities.
Bangkok is a fairly safe city for its size and muggings and robberies are uncommon. Some foreigners have been targeted for violent crimes, however this is quite rare. Pickpocketing and bag snatching is on the other hand common in the city, especially in pedestrian shopping areas, restaurants, cafés, aboard public transport, and at tourist attractions. Foreigners are frequently targeted in entertainment areas, particularly during Full Moon festivals.
Visitors should be extremely cautious when crossing the street. Traffic accidents are a major hazard in Bangkok, and pedestrians should be extremely careful. Cars and motorbikes rarely give way at pedestrian crossings, and motorbikes typically do not stop at red lights and speed on sidewalks. One of the biggest threats to visitors in Bangkok is traffic accidents, so always keep this in mind when walking near or on busy streets.
Practice good personal security:
Most visits to Bangkok are trouble free; however it is important to maintain good personal security practices to ensure a safe and successful trip. Bangkok has a vibrant nightlife and many areas are well lit and full of people into the early hours of the morning. These areas are typically safe, but avoid wondering off into isolated areas or poorly lit streets. There are scams that target foreigners, particularly at night around the red light districts. Scams include bars that offer cheap drinks then refuse guests the right to leave if they don’t pay exorbitant bills. These situations can become dangerous if you do not pay the bill, so do some research on vetted bars and clubs before venturing out at night. Also, never accept a drink from a stranger or new acquaintance as it may be spiked.
Carefully plan your movements throughout Bangkok due to sporadic demonstrations. Victory Monument area, Ratchraprasong intersection, and the Democracy Monument area in central Bangkok are popular demonstration sites, but other areas of the city may also be affected. Protests have occasionally turned violent and resulted in death or injury. Visitors have never been deliberately targeted, but it is essential to avoid these situations completely in order to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What to do in the event of an emergency:
Always have a plan, even in the unlikely event of an emergency. For life threatening situations, dial 999 for emergency assistance. Otherwise, Bangkok has a Tourist Police brigade, which is a good first port of call for visitors. English speaking operators are available 24 hours a day by dialling 1155 or 02678-6800. If you have a health or medical emergency, there is in general a good quality of medical care available. In tourist areas there are often good medical clinics or hospitals, but note that a passport and deposit may be require for admittance or care.
Enjoy your trip!
Tourists travel to Bangkok every year to experience the authentic canals, temples, royal palaces, modern high-rise buildings, markets, and lively nightlife scenes. Soak up the native culture and experience all that Bangkok has to offer, just make sure to be careful when crossing the street and keep your belongings secure from pickpockets, and your trip should get off to the right start. Scams targeting tourists are fairly common in the city, so always do research before you purchase anything (including tours) so you can have and enjoyable and worry-free trip.
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