A major aspect to consider whenever traveling to any destination is safety. It is always recommended to be cautious and aware of your surroundings no matter where you are in the world. Sure, there are some places that you need to be more vigilant than others, however with Thailand, you should not have too much to worry about! (Photo by Erik Karits)
The main alert when it comes to any sort of danger in Thailand (currently as of writing this article) has to do with domestic terrorist attacks and civil unrest. Please note that this only seems to be regarding some of the southern provinces of the country: Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla (these are located further South/Southeast than Phuket, so no worries about visiting that area). The violence or crimes associated here are directed only at the Thai government as well, so the risk of attack/injury would only come if travelers were caught amid the acts in public places.
To experienced travelers, your normal pickpocketing or scams are of no stranger when visiting practically anywhere in the world. These risks are pretty harmless, aside from the potential of losing valuables or money, so it is always advised that you remain vigilant of where your important items are as well as the people around you. Here are some common scams to avoid, especially when visiting the Bangkok area: (Photo by Martin Pechy)
Closed Temple/Tourist Site Scam: Some individuals may try to convince you that a certain popular temple or tourist attraction is closed and will instead offer to show you to another site. Do not follow as they will ultimately lead you to a store in order to persuade you to purchase their merchandise.
Tuk-Tuk Scam: Similar to the above, some individuals may offer to give you a ride to your requested destination, only to take you to a sight-seeing tour or shops in order to have you purchase their items or services. Always know exact directions to provide on where you need to go so that you are not led astray.
Gem Scam: The most popular scam (often included in the ones listed above) are when individuals may lead you to their gem stores and convince you that you can buy jewels to then resell at your homeland for more profit. These gems are pretty much fake and worthless, ultimately costing you a good sum of money that you cannot get back. Make sure that any goods you are purchasing are legitimate and from reliable sources.
All in all, Thailand is known to be one of the safest countries, especially for travelers and tourists. As of this year, the country was ranked to be the safest one in Southeast Asia. The people there are very warm and welcoming to all, and you would rarely ever be in any true danger. The locals are also the best to ask for recommendations on the best food places and attractions to visit!
If an emergency ever comes up such as legal issues or injury, it is best to contact the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok at 02-205-4000. Stay safe and have an amazing trip to the beautiful country of Thailand! (Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi)