The political situation in Thailand is very uncertain. There have been major political demonstrations in Bangkok and outbreaks of violence. There is a threat to westerners from terrorism throughout South East Asia and travellers should be particularly vigilant in public places, including tourist resorts. Avoid the border areas and don't camp in undesignated areas in national parks. Visitors to major cities are advised to secure their passports and credit cards and not carry too much money or jewellery. In Bangkok visitors should be aware of scams, often involving gems recommended by kind strangers. In tourist areas, particularly at the Full Moon Party on Ko Phan Ngan, be careful about accepting drinks from strangers as there have been reporteds of drinks being drugged. Incidents of sexual assault do occur and female travellers should be cautious.
The security situation in the southern provinces near the Malaysian border is unstable and travel to Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat and Songkhla is to be avoided - the government has announced a state of emergency in the area. Violence near the Preah Vihear temple area has been recurrent and visitors are advised to avoid travel there. Further attacks could take place in areas frequented by foreigners. Thai authorities have put security measures in place throughout the country, including Bangkok. There have been several sinkings of passenger boats thought to be caused by overloading. The monsoon season in September and October (November to March on Koh Samui) brings about flooding in the north, north-east and central regions, causing mudslides and flash floods; visitors planning to trek in the jungle during this time should check conditions with licensed tour guides before leaving.
As a health precaution, travellers should take medical advice at least three weeks before travelling to Thailand. Malaria is a risk outside Bangkok and the major tourist resorts, and immunisation against Hepatitis A and typhoid fever is also advised. Yellow fever vaccination certificates are required for travellers from infected areas. There has been an increase in reported cases of dengue fever, particularly in the south, and vaccination against Japanese encephalitis is also recommended. Outbreaks of leptospirosis occur during the rainy season and after flooding. There have been outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the Provinces of Khon Kaen, Lop Buri, Phitsanulok and Prachin Buri.
Outbreaks of cholera have also been reported. You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you suffer from diarrhoea during your visit you should seek immediate medical attention.There have been outbreaks of bird flu in poultry, and several human deaths, although the risk of travellers contracting the disease is slight; contact with live birds should be avoided, and all poultry and egg dishes well cooked. HIV/AIDS is prevalent in the major cities and resorts. Medical facilities are good in major cities, but good medical insurance is vital - without insurance, or cash/credit card, travellers will not be treated. Bangkok has excellent international hospitals.
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