Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 5 November 2019, 11:31 NZDT
  • Still current at: 10 December 2019

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Do not travel

Do not travel to the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla due to ongoing politically-motivated and criminal violence, which occurs on an almost daily basis. The Thai Government has warned tourists not to travel to these areas.

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Thailand due to the potential for civil unrest and threat of terrorism.

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Political Tension/Civil unrest
The political situation in Thailand continues to be unpredictable. On 22 May 2014, the Thai military took control of the government in a coup and imposed martial law nationwide. On 1 April 2015, martial law was lifted across most of Thailand but replaced by other special measures which continue to allow the military expanded powers to enforce order.

Under the measures, authorities may restrict movement, public assembly or political gatherings and have prohibited the distribution of any information considered detrimental to Thailand’s national security or public order. Individuals may be detained for violation of these and other measures.

New Zealanders throughout Thailand are advised to exercise caution and monitor the media to stay informed of developments. We recommend adhering to any instructions or restrictions issued by the local authorities. New Zealanders throughout Thailand should be wary of making political statements in public and on social media.

Prior to the coup, Thailand experienced large-scale political demonstrations. Several violent incidents in the vicinity of these demonstrations resulted in injuries and deaths.

New Zealanders throughout Thailand are advised to avoid any protests, demonstrations, and large public gatherings, as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to quickly turn violent.

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Thailand. There have been a number of explosive device incidents in Bangkok and other cities, including Phuket and Koh Samui in recent years.

In August 2016, there were multiple explosions in Thailand. These occurred in a number of tourist areas, including Hua Hin, Phuket, Phang Nga, Trang, and Surat Thani and resulted in casualties. On 17 August 2015, an explosion near the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok killed at least 20 people and injured many more. Further incidents are possible.

New Zealanders are advised to exercise a high degree of personal security awareness in Thailand. Particular care should be taken in public and commercial areas, including landmark places known to be frequented by expatriates or foreign tourists, public transport facilities, hotels, bars, tourist resorts, shopping areas and places of worship.

Local travel
There is an ongoing threat of violence in the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla. Bombings and shootings are common in these provinces and over 6,500 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict since 2004. Foreigners have been caught up in this violence in the past.

Sporadic conflict near the Thai-Myanmar border occurs between the Myanmar military and armed opposition groups as well as between Thai security forces and armed criminal groups (such as drug traffickers). Armed clashes may result in border closures at short notice.

In the north of the country, a Thai-Cambodia border dispute centred around the Preah Vihear temple (known as Khao Pra Viharn temple in Thailand) has led to hostilities and tensions in the past. Thai and Cambodian troops are deployed in this area and have on occasion engaged in armed conflict. The situation has stabilised however we recommend exercising particular care in areas close to the border with Cambodia and at border crossings.

There is also a danger from unexploded landmines in areas surrounding the temple and the Ta Kwai and Ta Muen Thom temples. If you are travelling in this area we recommend you remain on well-used roads and paths.

General travel advice
It is a legal requirement to carry a form of identification with you at all times, that proves your legal status in Thailand. Failure to produce your passport or a photocopy of relevant pages could result in a fine or arrest.

Drink spiking has been reported in tourist destinations around Thailand, with both male and female victims.  Be careful about taking drinks from strangers and at bars, clubs and parties, or leaving your drinks unattended, particularly in Phuket and Krabi provinces, around Koh Samui, Pattaya and at the Full Moon party on Koh Pha Ngan, where drug related sexual assaults have been reported.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.

In January 2018, Thai authorities introduced a smoking ban on beaches in certain tourist areas, including in Petchaburi, Pattaya, Phuket, Prachuap Kirikan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces. Those caught smoking in non-designated areas could be fined or face imprisonment.

Making a critical or defamatory comment about the Royal Family is punishable by a prison sentence in Thailand.  Travellers should maintain respectful behaviour around all images of the Royal Family, including on money.

Thailand has been experiencing poor air quality and high PM2.5 levels in urban areas and Bangkok in particular.  This may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions.  Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected.  Latest reports on air quality levels can be obtained from the World Air Quality Index website.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Thailand should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Thailand are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The New Zealand Embassy Bangkok, Thailand

Street Address M Thai Tower, 14th floor, All Seasons Place, 87 Wireless Road, Bangkok Postal Address PO Box 2719, Bangkok 10500 Telephone +66 2 254 2530 Fax +66 2 253 9045 Email Web Site Hours Mon-Fri 0800-1200, 1300-1630 hrs

See our regional advice for South East Asia

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New Zealand Embassy Thailand

Street Address
M Thai Tower, 14th floor, All Seasons Place, 87 Wireless Road, Bangkok

Telephone: +66 2 254 2530

Fax: +66 2 253 9045



Hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1200, 1300-1630 hrs

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