Thailand tops the trouble list

Thailand was cited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as the country with the greatest number of requests for consular assistance from Aussie travellers last year.

Hospitalisations, imprisonments, thefts, arrests and more incidents requiring consular attention happened with Aussie tourists in Thailand than any other country.

And yet it remains one of the most popular destinations for Australian travellers, with its culture coupled with cut-price travel costs, leading 572,600 Aussies to visit Thailand in 2018 alone, says the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

busy bangkok street

A DFAT survey also revealed that one in 10 Aussies who travelled to Thailand did so without travel insurance. And even those who did take out insurance may not have been covered. Activities, such as bungy jumping, hiking, snorkelling, motorcycling, skydiving and other adventure sports aren’t usually covered by regular travel policies. Also, excessive drinking of alcohol – another activity for which we Aussies are well-known – may void many insurance policies.

Nearly two-thirds of travellers to Southeast Asia also engaged in risky behaviour on their trip, according to DFAT’s Consular State of Play report.

bike accident in thailand

In the 2017-2018 financial year, there were 967 consular assistance cases involving Aussies in Thailand – an annual increase of eight per cent.

James McCay, writing for The Burrow blog suggests the following tips for staying safer in Thailand:

Take care when doing activities
Make sure you go through reputable travel agents, tour guides and hire shops. Also, be on the lookout for scams as tourists are often targeted.

Avoid excessive drinking
Drinking isn’t illegal in Thailand, and with beer so cheap it can be easy to overindulge. Be sure to drink safely and not get carried away.

Obey local laws
Laws are different in Thailand, but you have to obey them while you’re in the country – or you could face strict penalties. These include using drugs or insulting Thailand’s monarchy.

Respect Thai customs
Be sure to read up on Thai manners, traditions and culture. This can help you get on well with the locals and could give you an even greater appreciation of your trip.

Don’t partake in activities explicitly excluded from your travel insurance
If you’re not covered for an activity by your travel insurance policy, then it’s probably best you avoid it. Otherwise, you may be saddled with expensive medical bills or worse.

Check out Smartraveller for more background information on Thailand.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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