March 28, 2023

Video #46 | July 26, 2018

In this video I’m going to cover the important topic of vaccinations for Thailand.

Click on the following link to check out more on Important Advice For New Visitors.


Welcome to the forty-sixth video of Bangkok Unmasked! The YouTube channel that helps you get the most out of your visit to Bangkok city! If you’re new here, please consider subscribing! In this video I’m going to cover the important topic of vaccinations for Thailand.

Note. The opinions expressed in this video are based on my own thoughts, knowledge, and experiences. Please keep in mind that I’m not a Doctor or health professional. Also, be sure to purchase medical insurance for your trip to Thailand!

Let’s get started!

It used to be that travel to Thailand was a risky affair. Tropical diseases were rife, and for many unfortunate visitors, a death sentence. In 1958 malaria claimed 36.0 deaths per 100,000 population through the Kingdom of Thailand. Fast forward to 2014 and there were a total of 38 deaths through the entire country. [Which stood at 68.42 million people].

Disease is still a factor, but due to Thailand’s advanced medical system many serious diseases have been pretty much eradicated. Those that haven’t aren’t an issue if you stay in Thailand’s major tourist hubs like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya.

Over the years I have been asked by many friends and family what vaccinations they need for Thailand. I used to advise that they take all the vaccinations available. These days as long as you don’t venture into the jungle, or the border regions. Especially the Thailand-Burma border. You likely don’t need any vaccinations. You should though make sure that you’re up-to-date on routine vaccines like; measles-mumps-rubella (or MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (or chickenpox), polio, and your yearly flu shot. If you do this, you should be pretty much good.

With the above said, the US CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] does recommend that some travelers consider the following vaccinations for Thailand. Honestly, I think that they’re covering themselves for travelers who really go off the beaten track!

1. Hepatitis A.

You can get Hepatitis A through contaminated food or water.

My thoughts: If you drink bottled water and eat in standard restaurants the odds of you getting Hepatitis A will be pretty close to zero.

2. Typhoid.

You also get typhoid through contaminated food or water.

My thoughts: Again, if you drink bottled water and eat in standard restaurants the odds of you getting typhoid will be pretty close to zero.

3. Hepatitis B.

You can get Hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products.

My thoughts: If you’re having unprotected sex in Thailand, especially with commercial sex workers, definitely consider getting the Hepatitis B vaccine. Otherwise, it’s almost certainly unnecessary. All hospitals and tattoo/piercing shops are required by law to use disposable needles. I very much doubt that you’ll find any businesses breaking the law here.

4. Japanese Encephalitis.

This is a type of viral brain infection that’s spread through mosquito bites.

My thoughts: In my 19 years of living in Thailand, I don’t know anyone who has contracted Japanese Encephalitis. As stated earlier, as long as you don’t venture into the jungle, or the Thailand border regions. Especially the Thailand-Burma border. You likely don’t need this vaccination.

5. Rabies.

Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats.

My thoughts: Rabies is really not a major risk to most travelers. That said, if you do get bitten, scratched or licked on broken skin by a dog, cat or bat you must go to the nearest hospital immediately and get the post-exposure rabies vaccine. Rabies is almost always fatal after neurological symptoms have developed so you don’t want to take a chance on this!

Other Health Risks

1. Malaria.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes.

My thoughts: You cannot be vaccinated against malaria. Honestly you really don’t need to take the malaria tablets unless you are going way off the beaten track. Like Japanese Encephalitis, I don’t know anyone who has contracted malaria in Thailand. [Both Thai and foreign].

2. Dengue Fever.

One major health risk through all of Thailand [including Bangkok] is Dengue fever. This is a viral illness that’s transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. Note. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day, and is more common in urban areas. Symptoms include fever, headache, severe joint, bone and muscular pain – hence its other name ‘breakbone fever’. There’s no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites.

If you get Dengue fever, you’ll almost certainly spend a day or more in hospital. 3 of 4 Thai nieces and nephews who all live in Bangkok have contracted Dengue fever, so be aware! Basically, if you can, try not to get bitten by mosquitos – especially during the day.

3. STDs.

I won’t say much on STDs other than, if you can, to try and practice safe sex. According to the WHO, with nearly 520,000 people (ages 15-49) living with HIV and AIDS, Thailand has the highest adult HIV prevalence in the South East Asia region. There’s also a laundry list of other STDs that you can potentially catch if you sleep with the wrong girl, boy or ladyboy.

Final thoughts on vaccinations for Thailand

If you’re just about to travel, and you’re only now thinking about vaccinations for Thailand, don’t panic! You can walk into pretty much any hospital and get whatever vaccination that you want. Within reason of course. You’ll also pay a lot less than you will in the US or UK. If money is an issue, I’d get the vaccination, or vaccinations, as soon as you arrive in Thailand.

Ultimately, while it’s possible that you might contract a disease while you’re on holiday in Thailand, the odds are that it’ll either be a gastro bug or sun burn!

Anyway, that’s it for this video. Expect a new video next week.

For all you techies out there, this video was shot on a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and edited using HitFilm Express.

To check out details on arranging a bespoke Bangkok tour with experienced tour guides, please click on the link in this video’s description section.

Finally, please don’t forget to subscribe to this channel through the button below! Also, I’d like to hear from you if you have any advice on vaccinations for Thailand. Please do reach out to me through the comments section of this video!

Thank you very much for watching. I’ll see you next week. Goodbye.


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