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Coronavirus Travel Safety Tips: Is traveling in Thailand safe?

coronavirus travel safety tips

How To Avoid Coronavirus and Enjoy Your Trip

First off, we just want to thank you for taking the time to read about this important issue. We’ve previously covered travel safety tips like how to avoid scams in Bangkok, but this is much more urgent and important. We ask that you share this information with your fellow backpackers (and your family back home so they know you’re traveling safe)!

Turn on the news at the moment nowadays and you’ll hear about Coronavirus. With a rapid spread from a handful of cases in central China a few weeks ago to a global outbreak today, there’s plenty of media coverage and a fair amount of worry worldwide.

It’s natural to be nervous about a health scare like this. If you’re planning a trip to Asia then you want to know you can still get on that plane without too much risk to your health. You want to head off and enjoy your trip, but you don’t want to get ill while you’re away! 

The good thing is that there’s plenty you can do to keep yourself safe. We’ve put together a Coronavirus travel guide with some simple steps you can take to help yourself stay healthy, because the only illness you want to worry about is the headache the day after our infamous pool parties! 

What is the Coronavirus?

Every day there’s a new update on the spread of Coronavirus. Originating in Wuhan, a city in central China, there have now been cases reported in more than 20 countries and the start of February saw the first person die outside of the Chinese mainland. 

That doesn’t mean that the entirety of Asia is affected though. Almost everyone outside China who has developed Coronavirus had recently traveled to China, or was living or working in close proximity with someone who had. The World Health Organization (WHO)’s latest situation report (as of February 2nd) stated that no new countries had reported a Coronavirus case in the previous 24 hours which is good news.

How serious is catching Coronavirus?

It’s worth a mention that thus far, older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease are more at risk of developing a severe illness linked to Coronavirus than the general population. That’s the latest line from the World Health Organization and they truly know their stuff!

coronavirus safety in Thailand

Coronavirus Travel Safety Tips

Personal hygiene is the #1 way to avoid the Coronavirus.

The first, best thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is to maintain good personal hygiene. Wash your hands as frequently as you can with soap and hot water, or use an alcohol hand gel with a high alcohol content if you’re not able to access clean water for a time. 

If you need to sneeze then cover your nose and mouth with the crook of your elbow or a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Try not to use your hand to cover your mouth as it’s more likely that you’ll pass germs on that way. 

Try not to hang out with too many ill people.

It goes without saying really, but try not to spend lots of time with people who have cold and flu symptoms! They’ll probably just have the common cold or normal flu, but the symptoms are very similar to Coronavirus so it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Cross live animal markets off your must-see list.

The current outbreak seems to have started in a live animal market in Wuhan, and the WHO is recommending avoiding direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces that are in contact with animals.

Given this advice, it’s probably safest to avoid visiting this kind of market elsewhere in the region. Hanging out at an animal market may or may not have been top of your tourism must-dos but for now you’ll have to forgo petting the cute chickens! 

Avoid undercooked or raw animal products.

This next tip could live in any other travel advice article in the world: only eat well cooked, fresh food and avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products. There’s currently no evidence that Coronavirus is being passed through food products, but the WHO is advising caution nonetheless.

Eating food that hasn’t been thoroughly cooked can often be a fast-track to food poisoning when you’re traveling anyway, so no worries with this one. Look for food stalls where your dinner is cooked fresh in front of you and served piping hot and delicious. It’s the best way to eat in Asia for sure!

Airplane Etiquette for Coronavirus Safety

Plenty of people are concerned about the risk of diseases spreading when they get on a plane, and it’s understandable why. It feels a bit unhealthy getting into a metal tube with all those other people breathing around you! 

Be reassured though, that modern planes have very effective air filters, and the recirculation systems are designed to keep passengers healthy and well. If you want to keep air moving around you then turn on the overhead vent but angle the flow of air away from your face. 

What’s the deal with wearing face masks for Coronavirus?

The news reports are full of pictures of people wearing face masks to protect themselves from infection, but do they work? And should you join the club and wear one?!

Medical advice is that wearing a mask can have some limited effects in stopping the spread of respiratory disease, but the best way to avoid infection is still to use good hand washing hygiene and avoid close contact with people who may pose a risk. 

Wearing a mask is a personal choice, but you should definitely wear one if you develop flu-like symptoms to prevent you from passing any potential illness on to others. If you do choose to wear a mask then wash your hands before putting it on, make sure you don’t touch the front of the mask after use, and never use a single-use mask more than once. 

Stay healthy, travel safe and enjoy Thailand!

Coronavirus is worrying, of course, but hopefully these tips will help you plan for a safe and healthy holiday. Keep yourself updated with the latest health advice from your government and the World Health Organization and take precautions where necessary. Get ready for the trip of a lifetime!

Did we miss any key Coronavirus travel safety tips? Leave them in the comments below if you have anything that could help others out! 🙂

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This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Alexis

    do u know where i can buy face masks in Thailand? im in bangkok right now, would be nice to pick up a few before i head down to the islands

    1. Chris Tweten

      You can check out any Watsons, they should have cheap masks and the higher quality half mask respirators too!

    2. Soham Roy

      Hey Alexis what is the condition of Bangkok right now ?? My trip in Thailand is from 23rd march .

      Is it safe to visit Bangkok, Pattaya & Fuket right now ?

      1. Ndifelani Masindi

        I would like to travel from Johannesburg to Bangkok from the 23rd to 27th March 2020. is it safe because of Coronavirus.

  2. Fiona Sutton

    Hi is it safer to travel from Bangkok to Trat by air, taxi ,or bus ? Because of the Coronavirus threat

  3. Tristaninho

    Hi Chris, I’m supposed to come to Thailand starting March, wanted to know if the country as really been impacted by the virus l, especially Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and in the Islands. Has the Backpacker Community been impacted or there are still lots of people from around the world travelling there and spending good time without worrying?

    1. Chris Tweten

      There’s still plenty of people backpacking and Bodega in particular has been quite full. Bangkok and Chiang Mai pub crawls have been busy lately, despite the coronavirus scare!

  4. Aman Sharma

    Hi, Chris I am travelling Phuket and Krabi 14th of march till 20th march with my wife for our fist anniversary. But we our now worried and scared to travel or not. Due to Coronavirus. Please suggest. It is safe or not. I red article that 36 people got affected by coronavirus in Thailand. Please suggest. Thanks.

    1. Chris Tweten

      Hey Aman, I wouldn’t worry about it honestly. The media is blowing things out of proportion, as it’s literally less dangerous than the common flu. There are plenty of scientific sources backing this up.

      It’s really hurting the tourism industry as a whole though, which is tough for Bodega but…for people that decide to travel despite the ‘warnings’ out there, you’ll have the benefit of enjoying less crowded beaches 😉

      1. James

        Hopefully you save this particular comment and then re-read it when millions of people have died. Update on 21st March – the entire world is shutting down.

        1. Chris Tweten

          Hey James – the situation has changed quite a bit since posting this blog in February. We’ve done more blog content in response to how things have developed – my views and advice for travelers has evolved as news breaks. At the time of writing this blog, Thailand had very few cases and some areas like Phuket had zero reported cases. That’s not the case anymore.

  5. Mohan Muley

    Is it safe to travel to Patya, Bangkok, on dates 27th Feb to 3rd March, with respect to corona various spread

    1. Steven

      She’ll be right mate I’m going in April and no flu like symptoms will stop me.. Keep your hygiene up wash your hands and use condoms. Just be cautious. It’s like any other country in my book. Good luck

  6. Phill Gee

    Hey Chris

    We are traveling to Koh Samui on the 18th to 28 of March. Is it safe to travel there. Stop over in Singapore airport. do we need masks.

    Cheers Phil

    1. Chris Tweten

      We highly recommend bringing masks if you want to play it safe!

  7. Cindy

    Hey Chris
    We are traveling from South Africa to Abu Dhabi and then to Thailand.

    Do you think we will be safe?


    1. Chris Tweten

      I can’t speak on your travel route specifically as I haven’t spent time in either South Africa or Abu Dhabi, but you should be fine in Thailand.

  8. David

    Hi Chris I am booked to stay in Patong in April 10 for 10 days what is it like at the moment is it safe enough to come with the virus?.Dave..

    1. Chris Tweten

      Phuket is safe! The airport and all major tourist spots have done a great job since the beginning of screening, which is probably why there have been zero cases of coronavirus in Phuket.

  9. Nathan Weichert

    Hi Chris, I am planning on backpacking Thailand in April. I have friends in Bangkok and I will be using their house as a hub while over there. I will be traveling to Krabi for a week and then backpacking over to Vietnam then make my way back to Bangkok. My question is, I planned on taking flights around Thailand, is it safer to take train or bus rather then flying? I know they are one in the same but feel that more people fly thus increasing the chance of being around someone with the coronavirus. Please let me know what you think. Thank you

    1. Chris Tweten

      Generally speaking, flights in Thailand will be safer because they have stronger screening processes than train and bus stations.

  10. Tony

    6 of us are coming to Koh Samui from March 18 to 3 April via Singapore.
    Do we need to be concerned about the Carona Virus in both Singapore & Koh Samui?

  11. Kitty

    Gee i know you get pressed for topics but i dunno maybe leave health and medical advice to the experts and authorities, are you qualified to be giving out this type of information? Especially when one suggestion is dont hang around sick people maybe your scope is limited in this topic

    1. Chris Tweten

      We publish at least one blog a day and aren’t pressed for topics to write about. There’s tons of hidden gems in Thailand we still haven’t covered yet.

      However, guests at our hostels (and from other hostels) DM us daily asking for best practices for traveling during the coronavirus outbreak. Writing a long form blog is more suitable than short, back and forth DMs for a topic as important as this.

  12. Debashree BAKSHI

    We r planning to go kho samui on 7th June with two kids.. It will b safe??or we should reschedule our trip?? We will b coming from India..

  13. Vinod

    Hey Chris,
    I am planning to visit Phuket from 31st March to 6 april,20 with my wife.Is it safe to travel during this period & what precautions we need to take while travelling from Delhi(India) having reported 46 covid-19 cases till date.

    1. Chris Tweten

      To my knowledge, there haven’t been any reported cases in Phuket so far.

  14. hollie sykes

    Hi Chris

    Thank you for your helpful blog. Myself and my husband are flying from Vancouver- Taipei- Chiang Mia the. To koh Tao and Koh Samui. It’s for our honey moon on March 19th. What is the current state ? She we be coming ?

    1. Chris Tweten

      Hey Hollie,

      Not sure about Koh Tao, as we don’t have a hostel there. As for Koh Samui, there haven’t been any reported cases of coronavirus (03/12/20).

  15. Phoebe

    I had to cancel my flight to Thailand 2 weeks ago. Don’t dare to go anywhere far away and crowded.

    1. Chris Tweten

      Agreed! The outbreak situation has just gotten worse and worse so we highly recommend just staying at home where you’re safe and sound. At the time of writing this article, things were much different. Since then, we’ve shut down our hostels and are just riding it out until tourism sees the light of day again!

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