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Vaccinations required for Thailand

In general, Thailand is a safe country to travel. There are no compulsory vaccinations for Thailand required by law for travelers from Western countries to gain entry.

Nevertheless, if your passport shows that you have travelled via a yellow fever endemic country then the immigration authorities in Thailand will usually check to see that you have received adequate vaccination cover against that disease.

Moreover, there is a certain list of vaccinations that you should have to make sure you stay safe in the country.

This article will give you the list of necessary vaccinations for your journey to Thailand and some advice to stay healthy and safe in Thailand.

There is also some recommendation in case you feel sick after coming back from your Thailand adventure.

Let's check it out!

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Disclaimer: The following is a rough guide only. No website can tell you exactly what you need, as recommendations often change and depend on your health status and what you do in the country. You need to consult a doctor with expertise in travel medicine who can review your individual health issues. Don’t forget to ask for numbing cream if you are worried about pain from the injection.

Diseases in Thailand

First things first, we will check what diseases that you will most likely encounter during your Thailand trip.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver and may be a mild illness or lead to serious lifelong illness. Hepatitis A may be acquired through contaminated food or water in Thailand, regardless of where you are eating or staying. Accordingly, each agency recommends vaccination.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a virus transmitted through body fluids. It may be acquired through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood. Some people may have fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, lasting up to several months. Others may develop chronic Hepatitis B, causing early death from liver disease and liver cancer.

Typhoid

Typhoid fever is a serious disease also spread by contaminated food and water. Symptoms include lasting high fevers, weakness, stomach pains, headache, and loss of appetite. Internal bleeding and death can occur but are rare. There is high risk of Typhoid in South Asia. According to CDC, the Typhoid vaccine is only 50% to 80% effective.

Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese Encephalitis is spread through mosquito bites and symptoms may take five to fifteen days to develop. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, confusion, and difficulty moving. It may develop later with swelling around the brain and can lead to coma and death. You’re at higher risk if you are traveling to rural areas or if you’ll be traveling a long time.

Rabies

Rabies is a virus spread in the saliva of infected animals. People may become infected from licks, bites, or scratches from infected dogs, cats, or other animals.

It affects the central nervous system, ultimately causing brain disease and death and once symptoms appear the disease is nearly always fatal. If you are planning on working with wild or domestic animals, spending a lot of time outdoors or in locations where there are a lot of street dogs and cats, then being vaccinated is strongly recommended.

In early 2018, twenty-two provinces were noted as a red zone, and Rabies vaccinations on animals has been stepped up.

Malaria

Malaria is spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms include high fevers, shaking, chills, and flu-like illness. Without treatment, Malaria can cause severe illness and even death. There are several vaccines on the market, and you need to take these in advance of your travel as well as upon return.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Thailand. However, if you are arriving from an African, Central, or South American country with risk of Yellow Fever, you may be required to present proof of vaccination on entry to Thailand.

Tuberculous (TB)

Tuberculous is present in Thailand. It is an infectious disease spread through the air when infected people who have active TB in their lungs cough, sneeze, speak or spit. If it is left untreated the disease can be fatal.

Cholera

Cholera is a bacterial infection transmitted by contaminated food and water. Cholera can cause severe watery diarrhea although mild infections are common. Left untreated, it can result in severe dehydration, and in some cases death. Most travelers are at low risk.

Dengue

Dengue Fever is endemic throughout Thailand with large outbreaks occurring every few years. While cases occur year-round, the rainy season is the peak transmission period. Symptoms may be mild to severe flu-like conditions and can result in death.

A vaccine has been developed and is available for people aged 9 to 45 years, but they must be living in endemic area. And it’s not recommended for people who’ve never had Dengue Fever. This particular mosquito is active during the daytime–so cover up.

Zika

Zika is endemic in Thailand, however the risk to travelers is believed to be low. It can be transmitted by mosquito and through sex with an infected person. Zika causes birth defects in pregnant women and CDC recommends pregnant women should not travel to Thailand or they should take strict precautions while in Thailand. There isn’t a vaccine currently available.

Thailand Travel Vaccinations

For most standard tourists the usual recommended vaccinations for Thailand include cover against the childhood diseases (Tetanus and Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps and Rubella) as well as cover against the food borne diseases of Typhoid and Hepatitis A. For those trekking in the Thai countryside or staying for longer periods then cover against Hepatitis B and Rabies should be considered.

Most travelers should start their vaccines about 4 to 6 weeks before they leave for Thailand. However, those planning a longer visit, or where their planned trip is likely to bring them to more rural parts of Thailand, should attend earlier to ensure that they have sufficient time to complete the vaccine courses.

Malaria prophylaxis may need to be considered depending on the expected itinerary.

Check the table to have more idea of what immunizations you should have depending on the places you visit and what you plan to do.

Vaccine Staying in the Cities Exploring Rural Thailand Visiting Border Regions Hiking and Trekking
Tetanus
Typhoid
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B      
Meningococcal      
Tuberculosis      
Japanese Encephalitis      
Malaria      
Rabies      
Dengue Fever Optional Optional Optional Optional

 

The below list of vaccinations is based on the recommendation from CDC. You can check more detail HERE

All travelers

Measles

  • 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.

Routine vaccines

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.

Most travelers

Hepatitis A

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.

Typhoid

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.

Some travelers

Cholera

There is no longer active cholera transmission and vaccine is not recommended.

Japanese Encephalitis

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.

Hepatitis B

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.

Malaria

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. None in the islands of Krabi Province (Koh Phi Phi, Koh Yao Noi, Koh Yao Yai, and Ko Lanta) and Pattaya City (see Map 2-26). See more detailed information about malaria in Thailand.

Rabies

Although rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in Thailand, it is not a major risk to most travelers. CDC recommends this vaccine only for these groups:

  • Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for animal bites (such as adventure travel and caving).
  • People who will be working with or around animals (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, and researchers).
  • People who are taking long trips or moving to remote areas in 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.

Yellow Fever

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

Stay safe & healthy in Thailand

Although Thailand is a safe place to visit, there is a certain number of safety notices and precautions that you need to follow to have a smooth journey.

Check out the dedicated article about the safety and precautions in Thailand here

Below you can find some extra notices from CDC to help you have a healthy trip in Thailand (or everywhere)

Eat and Drink Safely

Thailand is renowned for its wonderful food, and there are thousands of street stalls and markets offering all sorts of delicious treats. However contaminated food and water can cause traveler’s diarrhea and other gastrointestinal illnesses such as Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

  • Food: CDC recommends consuming food that is properly cooked and served hot, ensuring fruit and vegetables are washed in clean water, avoiding food from street vendors, not consuming unpasteurized dairy products, and not eating “bush-meat” (monkeys, bats, or other wild game).
  • Water: Presume water from any tap, well, or other local sources, as non-potable. Use bottled or treated water for consumption and when brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth. Never assume that ice is made from filtered water.

Prevent Insect Bites

Some viruses and illnesses in Thailand are contracted by insects, particularly mosquitoes. Here are some insect avoidance tips.

  • Sleep in insect-proof or air-conditioned rooms
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing, long pants, and hats outdoors, day and night, especially at dawn and sunset
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents
  • Use personal repellents on exposed skin–the most effective mosquito and tick repellents contain DEET; look for a minimum 20%
  • Avoid dark-colored clothing and strong scents such as perfume, aftershave, and perfumed cosmetics and deodorants as these may attract mosquitoes
  • Ensure large amounts of standing water is not left around unnecessarily

Stay away from Animals

In Thailand there are many street dogs and cats that may not have been immunized. Generally, they don’t bother people unless they feel threatened or their territory has been invaded. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as Rabies.

Even cute puppies, monkeys, cats, and bats can carry the disease, so avoid touching or feeding animals you don’t know. If you’re bitten or scratched seek medical advice immediately.

Avoid Sharing Body Fluids

Diseases and viruses such as Hepatitis B, HIV and Aids, and TB may be passed by the exchange of body fluids. Practice safe sex don’t share needles, and ensure any medical instruments used are sterile.

Reduce Exposure to Germs

Good hygiene practices help you avoid sickness and spreading illnesses to others. Wash your hands often, especially before eating. Carry hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If possible avoid contact with people who are sick or if you’re sick.

Healthy travel packing list for Thailand

Packing a basic health kit is a good idea no matter where you are going, and truly imperative if you have any sort of health conditions or take regular medications.

  • Personal medical essentials plus Epi Pen if necessary
  • Copies of all your prescriptions/immunizations and your doctor’s phone number
  • First aid kit: Imodium, ibuprofen, paracetamol, tums/antacid tablets, Benadryl
  • Allergy meds, asthma inhalers, & eye drops
  • An adequate supply of prescription medications (knowing the generic name comes in handy)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Anti-diarrheal tablets
  • Antibiotic cream/ointment
  • Anti-malarial if necessary (check with your doctor and the CDC/WHO before going)
  • Anti-itch cream for bug bites
  • Tiger balm (for headaches/muscle soreness/sinus issues)
  • Band-Aids/bandages
  • Mints or ginger to aid digestion and upset stomach
  • Essential oils/travel diffuser for wellness regimen

Check the full list of Healthy Packing List from CDC HERE

You may want to learn more about Thailand travel packing list

In case of serious health problem

Thailand has the top medical system in the region. Hence, if somethings happen, you can rely on them. However, make sure your current insurance covers your back in Thailand, or you need a specific travel insurance for the country.

You will find below the list of hospital in some tourist sites in Thailand. Just keep it handy in case you need it..

You can either check the extended list of hospitals for tourists/foreigner in Thailand HERE

List of hospitals at some tourist sites in Thailand

You can find below our list recommended of hospitals and clinics at some tourist sites. You can also check the extended list HERE.

Bangkok

Bumrungrad Hospital

Siriraj Hospital 

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Ram Hospital

Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai

Phuket

Phuket International Hospital 

Bangkok Phuket Hospital 

Koh Samui

Bangkok Hospital Koh Samui

  • Address: 57 Moo. 3 Taweeratphakdee Rd Amphoe Ko Samui, Chang Wat Surat Thani 84320 (Google Map)
  • Tel.: +66 77 429 500

Samui International Hospital

  • Address: Northern Chaweng Beach Road 90/2 Moo 2, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, Thailand, 84320 (Google Map)
  • Tel.: +66 (0)77 300 394, +66 (0)77 300 395
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: www.sih.co.th 

Pattaya

The Bangkok Pattaya Hospital 

Pattaya Memorial Hospital

Hua Hin

Bangkok Hospital, Hua Hin

San Paulo Hua-Hin Hospital

Getting sick after your trip

Sometimes, travelers come home with more than souvenirs. Some travel-related illnesses may not cause symptoms until after you get home. Fortunately, most after-travel illnesses are mild and not a concern, such as a head cold or an upset stomach.

If you feel sick when coming back from Thailand, you need to see your doctor immediately.

Below are some of the popular problems that may come back with you from your adventure in Thailand

Fever

If you have been in a country with malaria and develop a fever within a month after you come home, see a doctor immediately. Most fevers are caused by less serious illnesses. But because malaria is a medical emergency, your doctor must first rule it out. A fever could be malaria even if you took antimalarial medicine, because the medicine is not 100% effective. Most malaria develops within 30 days, but rare cases can lie dormant for a year or longer. So always tell your doctor about any travel you have done, even if it was months ago.

Persistent Diarrhea

Most cases of diarrhea go away by themselves in a few days, but see your doctor if you have diarrhea that lasts for 2 weeks or more. Persistent diarrhea can make you lose nutrients and is often caused by a parasitic infection that might need to be treated with special drugs.

Skin Problems

Skin problems (rashes, boils, fungal infections, bug bites) are among the most common illnesses reported by people who have returned from international travel. Most skin problems are not serious, but they may be a sign of a serious illness, especially if you also have a fever.

At the Doctor

Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. This information will help your doctor consider infections that are rare or not found in the United States. Make sure to include all relevant details:

  • What you did on your trip.
  • How long you were gone.
  • Where you stayed (fancy hotel, private home, tent).
  • What you ate and drank while you were there.
  • Whether you were bitten by bugs or animals.
  • Whether you swam in fresh water.
  • Whether you received health care abroad.
  • Any other possible exposures (sex, tattoos, piercings).
NOT READY YET?

We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

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Thailand BLOG ARTICLES

As some of you may have seen in the news, Thailand is gearing up for a ‘soft reopening’ to vaccinated travellers a month from now on July 1.

It is official, sort of. After months of kicking sand around debating if it will really happen, the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) has officially approved the Phuket Sandbox plan, an important step forward. The announcement, made late this afternoon, June, 4th, appears to answer the often-posed question if the sandbox plan would ever happen after the much more intense and deadly third wave of Covid-19 swept through Thailand.
Then, the island will be opening Phuket International Airport to foreign travellers as proposed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The trial will be the first of its kind in the country, and if successful, may be rolled out across other parts of Thailand. The Thailand Authority of Tourism (TAT) has already earmarked Krabi, Pattaya, Bangkok, Buriram, Cha-am, Koh Samui, Phang-nga and Hua Hin as possible destinations to try out the scheme.

Each model will be slightly different, depending on geography, and international visitors will still have to get a visa in advance and fill out some paperwork (see details below). Nevertheless, this will come as promising news to those travellers desperate to visit Thailand!

If the Phuket Sandbox Scheme goes ahead, from June to September 2021, Thailand is expecting to receive up to 129,000 international visitors – will you be one of them? In this article, we’ll attempt to answer all of the questions you might have about the Phuket Sandbox and more!

Disclaimer – Information regarding the Phuket Sandbox Program is changing literally every day and is dependent on the COVID-19 situation across Thailand. While we update this article regularly to the best of our ability, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.

Learn more about our travel guide for Phuket island here

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Also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival or the Kin Jay Festival, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event celebrated primarily by the Chinese community in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia.

Running for nine days, the vegetarian festival in Phuket is considered by many to be the most extreme and bizarre of festivals in Thailand. The Phuket Vegetarian Festival could be Thailand's answer to the Tamil festival of Thaipusam celebrated in neighboring Malaysia. Devotees not only adopt a special diet for the holiday, a select few participants prove their devotion by practicing self-mutilation.

Some of the feats performed include piercing cheeks with swords, walking on nails or hot coals, and climbing ladders made of knife blades! Most participants miraculously heal up without needing stitches or medical care.

WARNING! The content and the images are not recommended for the faint of heart! Consider before continuing.

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Buddhist Lent Day (Thailand Wan Khao Phansa, Laos Boun Khao Phansa) is the start of the three-month period during the rainy season when monks are required to remain in a particular place such as a monastery or temple grounds. Here, they will meditate, pray, study, and teach other young monks. In the past, monks were not even allowed to leave the temple, but today, most monks just refrain from traveling during this period. You will still see them out during the day.

It is said that monks started remaining immobile in a temple during this time because they wanted to avoid killing insects and harming farmland. Apparently, traveling monks were crossing through fields, thus destroying the crops of villagers and farmers. After catching wind of this, Buddha decided that in order to avoid damaging crops, hurting insects, or harming themselves during the rainy season, monks should remain in their temples during these three months.

Tired of reading, listen to our podcast below:

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The Hmong New Year celebration is a cultural tradition that takes place annually in select areas where large Hmong communities exist and in a modified form where smaller communities come together. During the New Year's celebration, Hmong dress in traditional clothing and enjoy Hmong traditional foods, dance, music, bull fights, and other forms of entertainment. Hmong New Year celebrations have Hmong ethnic traditions and culture and may also serve to educate those who have an interest in Hmong tradition. Hmong New Year celebrations frequently occur in November and December (traditionally at the end of the harvest season when all work is done), serving as a Thanksgiving holiday for the Hmong people.

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Thailand never fails to amaze its thousands of visitors with the most vibrant festivals that are sure to delight them by offering glimpses into the heritage and traditions of the country. Each month offers an exciting opportunity to be a part of these festivals. From kids to adults and old-aged people, locals have the time of their lives during these festivities. Considered to be one of the best ways to relish a memorable time in what is already known as an incredible country, these festivals in Thailand are the most popular ones to be a part of.

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Magha Puja (also written as Makha Bucha Day) is the third most important Buddhist festival, celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka and on the full moon day of Tabaung in Myanmar. It celebrates a gathering that was held between the Buddha and 1,250 of his first disciples, which, according to tradition, preceded the custom of periodic recitation of discipline by monks.

On the day, Buddhists celebrate the creation of an ideal and exemplary community, which is why it is sometimes called Saṅgha Day, the Saṅgha referring to the Buddhist community, and for some Buddhist schools this is specifically the monastic community. In Thailand, the Pāli term Māgha-pūraṇamī is also used for the celebration, meaning 'to honor on the full moon of the third lunar month'.

Finally, some authors referred to the day as the Buddhist All Saints Day. 

In pre-modern times, Magha Puja has been celebrated by some Southeast Asian communities. But it became widely popular in the modern period, when it was instituted in Thailand by King Rama IV in the mid-19th century. From Thailand, it spread to other South and Southeast Asian countries. Presently, it is a public holiday in some of these countries.

It is an occasion when Buddhists go to the temple to perform merit-making activities, such as alms giving, meditation and listening to teachings. It has been proposed in Thailand as a more spiritual alternative to the celebration of Valentine's Day.

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