Thailand Travel Health Insurance – Country Review
Learn more about Thailand Travel Health Insurance with an overview from the CDC and the US State Department. Here we cover Vaccines, Medicines and Insurance.
At AardvarkCompare we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following advice should help you make the most of your trip to Thailand.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
Thailand Travel Health – CDC
You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel.
Vaccines and Medicines
Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.
Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
- Infants (6 through 11 months old): 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as the first dose in the routine childhood vaccination series.
- People 12 months old or older, with no evidence of immunity or no written documentation of any doses: 2 doses of MMR vaccine before travel. The 2 doses must be given 28 days apart.
- People 12 months old or older who have written documentation of 1 dose and no other evidence of immunity: 1 additional dose before travel, at least 28 days after the previous dose.
Get travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting.
CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Thailand, regardless of where you are eating or staying.
You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Thailand. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.
Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying, what you will be doing, and if you are traveling from a country other than the US.
There is no longer active cholera transmission and vaccine is not recommended.
You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.
You may need this vaccine if your trip will last more than a month, depending on where you are going in Thailand and what time of year you are traveling. You should also consider this vaccine if you plan to visit rural areas in Thailand or will be spending a lot of time outdoors, even for trips shorter than a month. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans. See more in-depth information on Japanese Encephalitis in Thailand.
When traveling in Thailand, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria, depending on your travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are traveling, and if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside. Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent malaria while traveling.
Areas of Thailand with risk of malaria: Primarily in provinces that border Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, and Laos and the provinces of Kalasin, Krabi (Plai Phraya district), Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Phang Nga (including Phang Nga City), Rayong, Sakon Nakhon, Songkhla, Surat Thani, and Yala, especially the rural forest and forest fringe areas of these provinces. Rare to few cases in other parts of Thailand, including other parts of Krabi Province and the cities of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, and Phuket.
Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in the Thailand, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups:
- Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites (such as adventure travel and caving).
- People who will be working with or around bats (such as wildlife professionals and researchers).
- People who are taking long trips or moving to Thailand
- Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.
Required if traveling from a country with risk of YF virus transmission and ≥1 year of age, including transit >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YF virus transmission.¹
Note: Yellow fever vaccine availability in the United States is currently limited. If you need to be vaccinated before your trip, you may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance. Find the clinic nearest you.
Stay Health and Safe
Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Thailand, so your behaviors are important.
Eat and Drink Safely
Unclean food and water can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases. Reduce your risk by sticking to safe food and water habits.
- Food that is cooked and served hot
- Hard-cooked eggs
- Fruits and vegetables you have washed in clean water or peeled yourself
- Pasteurized dairy products
- Food served at room temperature
- Food from street vendors
- Raw or soft-cooked (runny) eggs
- Raw or undercooked (rare) meat or fish
- Unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables
- Unpasteurized dairy products
- Bushmeat (monkeys, bats, or other wild game)
- Bottled water that is sealed
- Water that has been disinfected
- Ice made with bottled or disinfected water
- Carbonated drinks
- Hot coffee or tea
- Pasteurized milk
- Tap or well water
- Ice made with tap or well water
- Drinks made with tap or well water (such as reconstituted juice)
- Unpasteurized milk
Talk with your doctor about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs with you on your trip in case you get sick.
Prevent bug bites
Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Thailand. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.
What can I do to prevent bug bites?
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
- Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below) .
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
- Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
- Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
What type of insect repellent should I use?
- FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
- FOR PROTECTION AGAINST MOSQUITOES ONLY: Products with one of the following active ingredients can also help prevent mosquito bites. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection.
- Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD
- Always use insect repellent as directed.
What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?
- Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
- Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks
What can I do to avoid bed bugs?
Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs. For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites.
Some diseases in Thailand—such as dengue, Zika, and filariasis—are spread by bugs and cannot be prevented with a vaccine. Follow the insect avoidance measures described above to prevent these and other illnesses.
Stay safe outdoors
If your travel plans in Thailand include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.
- Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
- Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
- Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
- Heat-related illness, such as heat stroke, can be deadly. Eat and drink regularly, wear loose and lightweight clothing, and limit physical activity during high temperatures.
- If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
- Protect yourself from UV radiation: use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
- Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
- Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.
Stay safe around water
- Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
- Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
- Do not dive into shallow water.
- Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
- Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
- To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.
Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Thailand. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.
Keep away from animals
Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.
Follow these tips to protect yourself:
- Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
- Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
- Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
- Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
- If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.
All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:
- Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
- Go to a doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.
Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.
Reduce your exposure to germs
Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
- If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.
Avoid sharing body fluids
Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.
- Use latex condoms correctly.
- Do not inject drugs.
- Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
- Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
- If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.
Know how to get medical care while traveling
Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:
- Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
- Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
- Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
- Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call the Thailand embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
- Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.
Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website (Joint Commission International).
In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.
Malaria is a risk in some parts of Thailand. If you are going to a risk area, fill your malaria prescription before you leave, and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.
Select safe transportation
Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.
In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.
Be smart when you are traveling on foot.
- Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
- Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
- Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.
Choose a safe vehicle.
- Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
- Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
- Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
- Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
- Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
- Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.
Think about the driver.
- Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
- Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
- Arrange payment before departing.
Follow basic safety tips.
- Wear a seatbelt at all times.
- Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
- When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
- Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Thailand may be poor.
- Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
- Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
- If you choose to drive a vehicle in Thailand, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
- Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver’s license at all times.
- Check with your auto insurance policy’s international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
- Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
- If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
- Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.
Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.
The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.
Traffic flows on the left side of the road in Thailand.
- Always pay close attention to the flow of traffic, especially when crossing the street.
- LOOK RIGHT for approaching traffic.
Maintain personal security
Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Before you leave
- Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
- Monitor travel warnings and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
- Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.
While at your destination(s)
- Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate.
- Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
- Follow all local laws and social customs.
- Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
- Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
- If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.
To call for emergency services while in Thailand, dial 1669 for an ambulance, 199 for the fire department, and 191 for the police. Write these numbers down to carry with you on your trip.
Learn as much as you can about Thailand before you travel there. A good place to start is the country-specific information on Thailand from the US Department of State.
Healthy Travel Packing List
Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Thailand for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.
Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?
It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.
After Your Trip
If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic. Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.
If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.
Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.
For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel.
Thailand Travel Health – The US State Department
U.S.- THAILAND RELATIONS
The United States and Thailand established relations in 1818 and signed a Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1833, formalizing diplomatic relations. An interim military government has ruled Thailand, a constitutional monarchy, since a May 2014 military coup which deposed an elected civilian government.
The United States has urged the restoration of elected civilian government and return to democracy through elections. Thailand is a key U.S. security ally in Asia, and the country’s stability and growth are important to the maintenance of peace in the region. Since World War II, the United States and Thailand have significantly expanded diplomatic, security, and commercial relations.
The United States and Thailand are among the signatories of the 1954 Manila Pact of the former Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). Despite the dissolution of the SEATO in 1977, the Manila Pact remains in force and, together with the Thanat-Rusk communiqué of 1962 and the 2012 Joint Vision Statement for the Thai-U.S. Defense Alliance, constitutes the basis of U.S. security commitments to Thailand. In 2003, the United States designated Thailand a Major Non-NATO Ally.
U.S. Partnership with Thailand
The United States partnership with Thailand stretches beyond a bilateral relationship with an impact on the broader region. The partnership spans the areas of public health, trade, science and technology, wildlife trafficking, education, cultural exchange, law enforcement, and security cooperation.
Ongoing U.S. support is geared towards strengthening Thai efforts to reform the criminal justice system, promoting good governance through democracy and civil society activities, and investing in people through humanitarian assistance for displaced persons and control and prevention of infectious diseases and emerging pandemic threats.
The United States also encourages Thailand’s ongoing active contributions to regional and global security, as well as supports Thailand’s efforts to assist lesser developed countries through the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI).
Thailand and the United States have longstanding cooperation in international law enforcement efforts. The United States and Thailand work closely together and with the United Nations on a broad range of programs to halt illicit trafficking and other criminal activity. Thailand hosts the International Law Enforcement Academy-Bangkok, which supports criminal justice institution building and capacity in Asia and has provided training to 1000s of students from all over Asia.
Thailand has received U.S. military equipment, essential supplies, training, and assistance in the construction and improvement of facilities and installations for much of the period since 1950. As part of their mutual defense cooperation, Thailand and the United States have developed a joint military exercise program, which engages all the services of each nation and has averaged 40 joint exercises per year.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Regional Development Mission for Asia in Bangkok, supports regional, transnational, and bilateral programs. These programs include work on the responsible use of natural resources; control and prevention of infectious diseases and emerging pandemic threats; prevention of human and wildlife trafficking; resolution of political conflict and increased citizen participation in political processes; human rights promotion; and support for a more integrated Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community. U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers, active in Thailand continuously since 1963, focus on primary education and youth development.
Education Volunteers support English education through teacher collaboration, and community service.. Since 2013, Peace Corps Volunteers have also worked to promote life skills and leadership, reproductive health, and civic engagement and volunteering.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The 1966 Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations, the most recent iteration of the 1833 Treaty of Amity and Commerce, facilitates U.S. and Thai companies’ economic access to one another’s markets. The two countries also have agreements addressing sales of agricultural commodities and investment guarantees and regularly conduct discussions under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement to advance bilateral trade.
In 2013, the United States and Thailand signed an agreement on science and technology cooperation that enshrined protections for intellectual property while facilitating joint research programs, government to government collaboration, and private sector investment and technology transfer.
The Thai-U.S. Creative Partnership, active since 2011, builds on existing public-private and intergovernmental relationships, seeking to highlight innovative industry, identify new opportunities for collaborative ingenuity between the two countries, and spur increased productivity.
Thailand’s Membership in International Organizations
Thailand is a founding member of ASEAN and strongly supports its efforts to promote economic development, social integration, and stability throughout the region. Thailand and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Thailand also is a Partner for Cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and an Organization of American States observer.
Thailand maintain an embassy in the United States at 1024 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007 (tel. 202-944-3600) and Consulates in several other cities.
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