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Health and safety in Thailand

Health & Safety

If you are feeling at your best you will enjoy your time in Thailand to the utmost so have a look at the tips below. They are very easy to implement so will not spoil your time in the tropics and should improve it.

Thailand is a tropical country with year round high temperatures and high humidity which comes as a bit of a shock to the system for most of us. Sadly this is likely to be more pronounced as we get older. This change in climate probably affects tourists ( even regular visitors ) more than anything else in Thailand and you don't want to lose any days of your holiday feeling run down or suffering from sunburn.

Fortunately there are a few simple steps to counter this. Of course if you suffer severe symptoms especially heat exhaustion seek medical help.

We all know we should drink plenty of fluids where ever we are but in a tropical humid climate it is even more important to drink plenty, unfortunately drinking alcohol like beer, wine, spirits, most soft drinks and even tea or coffee don't help much in replacing lost fluids and can even contribute to serious dehydration. Experts recommend 3 liters of water a day for men and 2.2 liters for women with increased volumes when you are sweating more. So drink water (fizzy and carbonated, soda water are just as good) regularly during the day and night. When out drinking have a water or soda water every so often.

Some people may find a warm bottle of water will have a quicker effect on their system.

Sit in the shade and have a slice or two of chilled fruit or a drink of chilled coconut water from one of the street vendors till you cool down. If feeling really hot there are hundreds of air conditioned business's and several malls / shopping centers to use whilst cooling down. Every Convenience store will have chilled towels, the same as offered in some bars, that are very cheap and refreshing!

The added sweating caused by the heat and humidity flushes essential minerals and electrolytes out of the system so need to be replaced to keep feeling at your best. There are plenty of sports drinks available which contain most of what you need except surprisingly potassium in a lot of cases! This is easily overcome by eating a banana or 2 a day.

A good and very easy alternative is to take a mineral supplement tablet or powder sachet that you mix with water or drink coconut water it's clear liquid is sweet, and sterile having been used as IV's and composed of unique chemicals such as sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, cytokine, and phyto-hormones. Have it from a chilled green coconut, cans from the Convenience stores or bags from street vendors.

Swimming & Sun Screen

The sun even on cloudy days is harsh so it makes sense to use a high factor sun screen on exposed parts of the body when walking around and when at the beach or by the pool spend most of your time in the shade. Limit your time in the pool or the sea as you may feel cool but the water provides no protection from the sun and limit your time sunbathing, a few minutes a day will get you a nice tan.

Consider swimming early in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is not so strong with the added benefit that the beaches or pools are quieter or even deserted. This is when the Thais use the water and they are used to the sun. If on one of the islands don't stay so long on the beach that you miss the last ferry back!

Air-conditioning

A nice cool room is very pleasant to come back to and the maid is likely to turn the temperature down when she finishes your room thinking this is good for you but in reality acclimatizing to the heat will be very helpful. It's a real slap in the face stepping from a very cold room into the heat so gradually raise the temperature of the aircon in your room. Most rooms will have a fan and if you can sleep well just using the fan or a combination of the fan and the aircon set to a higher temp, this will help you acclimatize and avoid breathing problems etc that aircon can cause

Safety

If you get into a situation where you need help call the Tourist Police 1155 (national hotline) or 038 429 371 local number and do not agree anything till they arrive. They know how to handle most situations and they speak many languages which Thai police do not!

Pattaya is one of the worlds nightlife hotspots and considering the Thai population of Pattaya consists of a large intransigent population, motor cycle taxi drivers, bar girls, waitresses, cleaners etc it is surprisingly safe and almost all visitors will have no problems at all even people drunk on the streets at 4am are unlikely to be involved in any sort of trouble, unless they start it. This maybe because Thais take great pride in Thailand and have a history of welcoming visitors and don’t want to tarnish Thailand’s image.

Of course you should still take the sensible precautions that you should take anywhere!

Never carry more cash than you need, you don’t need much cash on the beach or by the pool and cash is better than a credit card, which should be left in hotel room safe along with flashy jewelry, passports etc.

Don't use quiet deserted so is late at night and beach road suffers at times from aggressive lady boys who mug unsuspecting tourists by causing distractions so take a baht bus back to your hotel, its very cheap.

On occasions gangs of pickpockets operate on baht bus's and occasional bag / gold chain snatchers on motor bikes. The authorities crack down on this sort of thing pretty quickly yet the Beach Road Jet Ski scammers are rarely interfered with so if you must rent a jet ski avoid doing so on Beach Road.

The biggest danger you are likely to face is the traffic and crossing roads. Be aware that although there are Zebra crossings Thais have no understanding of such things and wont stop. You also need to know that even when crossing one way streets you need to look both ways as often road traffic rules are not followed or enforced apart from collecting small fines.

This poor enforcement of rules makes Thailand a tricky place to drive and renting a motorbike sounds like fun but is not recommended especially under the influence. If you are going to use the motorbike taxis which are a quick and cheap way of getting round make sure you use the helmet provided. Songkran is the most dangerous time of year on the roads.

Take note Thailand like most Asian countries have a very low tolerance of drugs also they are at times used for extortion at full moon parties, Pattaya Walking St etc with the dealers selling the drugs in league with certain police officers (a lot not real police) who confiscate the drugs and impose large fines / bribes to let you go. This is getting off easy if caught by legitimate police and there are many expect long prison sentences in very unpleasant conditions.

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