Entry and Exit
Safety and Security
Southern Provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla: The security situation in the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla remains a serious concern, as incidents of violence occur almost daily, including arson, bombings and shootings. Singaporeans are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to these areas. If you must travel to these areas, you should exercise utmost caution. Martial law is currently in force in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.
Terrorism: Terrorism is a threat around the world, including in Thailand. You are advised to stay vigilant and look out for your personal security and safety when travelling, particularly in areas which are frequented by foreigners. Also, monitor local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities on the areas to avoid.
Crime: Tourists are sometimes the target for petty crimes, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, and theft. Pickpockets may use razors to slit bags, especially in crowded markets and shopping streets. Make sure that your valuables are kept securely and out of sight to reduce the chances of being targeted by criminals.
Incidents of drink spiking, usually followed by sexual assault or theft, have been reported. Do not leave your food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that you have been drugged.
Should you become the victim of a crime, make a report to the Thai police as soon as possible before you leave the country.
Scams/Fraud: There have been reports of scams involving the rental of vehicles to foreigners. The victim is usually accused by the rental company of damaging the vehicle which they rented, such as cars, motorcycles and jet skis, and asked to pay for repairs. You are advised to rent only from reputable licensed companies, and to carefully read the rental contract before entering into one and purchase comprehensive insurance with third party coverage. You should thoroughly check the condition of the rental vehicle before renting it, so as to minimise the risk of a dispute over damage to the vehicle when it is returned to the rental company. Do not leave your passport as collateral when renting vehicles.
There are also scams involving the sale of gems and jewellery, in which merchants sell low quality items at inflated prices.
Taxi and “tuk-tuk” drivers may sometimes attempt to charge excessive fares. You should either ask the driver to use the meter, or reach an agreement on the fare before boarding the vehicle.
Some bars and entertainment venues charge exorbitant prices for drinks or unadvertised cover charges. They may also threaten the customers with violence if they do not pay up. Should there be a dispute and you feel threatened, seek immediate assistance from the Thai police.
Road Safety: According to the World Health Organisation, Thailand has one of the world’s highest traffic-related fatality rates. Factors contributing to the high incidence of traffic accidents include hazardous road conditions, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Be careful when driving in Thailand, and ensure that you have the appropriate licence and insurance. Even though many people may not do so, Thai law requires that a motor-cyclist and his passenger wear safety helmets. Failure to do so may result in a fine.
Motorcycles and scooters for rent at beach resorts are often unregistered and cannot be used legally on a public road. Before you rent a vehicle, check the small print of the lease agreement and make sure that you are covered by comprehensive insurance with third party coverage.
Swimming and Water Activities: There have been deaths by drowning at the seaside, especially during the monsoon season when the currents can be strong. Always comply with warning signs and only swim at approved beaches.
Poisonous jellyfish swimming close to the shore have also caused some deaths. You should seek advice from hotels and/or dive centres on potential danger areas. If stung, seek immediate medical assistance.
Visitors are subject to Thai laws when travelling in Thailand. If visitors violate local laws, even unknowingly, they may be fined, arrested, imprisoned or expelled.
Lèse-majesté: Actions or words which are deemed to be critical, insulting, defamatory or threatening to the Thai monarchy are illegal in Thailand, and may result in criminal prosecution and a long jail sentence.
Drug Laws: The Thai police conducts frequent spot-checks for illegal drugs, particularly in and around entertainment venues. Possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs (even in small quantities) carry strict penalties, including the death sentence for serious offences. If you are carrying prescription or other medications, keep them in clearly marked, original packaging to avoid misunderstanding by the police.
Driving into Thailand: If you plan to drive into Thailand, at all times carry your passport, driver’s licence and vehicle registration document for proof of vehicle ownership.
Duty Free Items: Duty-free exemptions in Thailand are capped at 200 cigarettes (or equivalent of 250 grams of tobacco) and 1 litre of wine or spirits per person. Those who exceed the limit may be fined and their items confiscated.
Electronic Cigarettes: It is prohibited to import electronic cigarettes, e-barakus (e-hashish) and refills into Thailand, even if they are for personal use. Convicted offenders can receive heavy fines and/or jail sentences.
Smoking ban at beaches: The Thai authorities have introduced a smoking ban on 24 popular beaches in Thailand, which include those in Koh Samui, Pattaya, Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces. Those who violate the ban can face heavy fines and/or imprisonment.
Arrest Notification: Singaporeans who are arrested or detained have the right to request the Thai police or prison officials to notify the Singapore Embassy in Bangkok so that the Embassy can render them consular assistance.
General Travel Advice
Overseas Travel - Be Safe and Be Informed [29 May 2019]
In view of the upcoming school holidays, Singaporeans planning overseas travel are reminded to take necessary precautions, including being prepared to deal with accidents, natural disasters or terrorism. Singaporeans are also reminded to be familiar with your destination’s local laws and customs restrictions, including immigration procedures and entry requirements.
Singaporeans travelling to and from Malaysia, in particular via the land checkpoints, are reminded to ensure that your passport is presented to a Malaysian immigration officer and stamped correctly before leaving the Malaysian immigration booth. Failure to do so is an immigration offence in Malaysia and the penalties can be severe, including detention, a fine, and a ban from future entry into the country.
In 2019, demonstrations have occurred in several major cities across the world. Such demonstrations can sometimes escalate into violence. It is important for Singaporeans to keep abreast of local news, avoid any protests or demonstrations and to heed advice of the local authorities.
For those planning to travel, here are some tips:
- Familiarise yourself with our network of overseas missions.
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage.
- Equip yourself with research about your destination’s entry requirements, current situation, local laws and customs.
- eRegister with us on our website (https://www.mfa.gov.sg) so that we may reach out to you during an emergency.
- Always take care of your personal safety, remain vigilant and monitor local weather news, advisories, and security developments.
- Exercise caution around large gatherings and avoid locations known for demonstrations or disturbances.
- Be prepared for possible delays and last-minute changes in travel plans especially during unforeseen events such as natural disasters or terror attacks.
- Stay connected with your friends and family. Inform them of your whereabouts and provide them with your overseas contact details.
In the event that you require consular assistance, please contact the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/8855.
Advisory: Email Scams [Updated: 12 May 2016]
There has been an increasing number of reports in recent years of individuals receiving scam emails purportedly sent from friends in distress overseas. These emails typically originate from an email address known to the receiver bearing claims of the sender getting into trouble overseas and urgently requesting financial assistance. The sender would also claim to have approached a Singapore Embassy/Consulate and the local Police for help to no avail.
MFA takes the safety of all Singaporeans very seriously. Singaporeans in distress approaching our Overseas Missions for assistance will be rendered with all necessary consular assistance. If you receive such emails from purported friends seeking funds transfers, we strongly advise you to call them first to verify the authenticity of the emails before responding to their request. It is also not advisable to give out any personal information such as NRIC/passport nos., address, telephone number, etc. Any form of reply, even one of non-interest, could result in more unsolicited emails. Members of the public who suspect that they have fallen prey to such scams should report the matter to the Police immediately. Should Singaporeans abroad require consular assistance, they can contact the nearest Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24-hr Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.