03 January, 2024
- By Natalie

With its endless summers, glorious coastlines, notorious full moon parties and a million and one culinary treats to ‘thai’, it’s no wonder that 65,000 Australians are drawn to Thailand each year!

Whether you’re pining for ‘real’ Pad Thai, or you’re tempted by temples, Thailand caters for every taste. Can't wait to ride an elephant or cruise down the Mekong? Thailand has it all.

Now we don’t like to think of holidays as risk taking ventures, but the truth is, new environments, unfamiliar territory, foreign languages and unfamiliar foods can throw any traveller for a loop.

Though it’s cheap food and exotic culture may lure in many tourists, Thailand’s appeal can also be its downfall. Thai tummy, moped mishaps or picked pockets can turn a dream destination into a miserable memory.

Don’t get banged up abroad- make sure you pack travel insurance on your Thai adventure.

Don’t get banged up abroad- make sure you pack travel insurance on your Thai adventure.

Compare travel insurance for Thailand

Whether you're a budget conscious backpacker, a sucker for the surf, or a worn-out parent seeking some family R&R, it pays to compare travel insurance policies to find the right cover for your trip.

A policy will cover you for unexpected accident or illness, lost luggage or theft, unforeseen trip cancellation and much more.

When comparing policies, it's important to consider benefits, as well as costs…

How much does travel insurance for Thailand cost?

The cost of travel insurance can vary enormously! Say you’re 30 years old and you’re going to Thailand for a one-week holiday. Depending on your preferred level of cover, you can expect to pay anywhere from $32 to $440.

  • Basic policies will set you back, approximately, $32 - $83
  • Mid-level policies will cost roughly $61 - $160
  • Comprehensive policies cost around $73 - $440

What will my policy cover?

If your Thai trip takes a downward turn for any of the following reasons, comprehensive cover will throw you a rope. You can expect cover for:

Medical: Food poisoning, drink spiking, malaria, and moped accidents are all scary possibilities in the Land of Smiles. Medical evacuation in Thailand can extremely costly and private hospitals often require a guarantee of payment before admission. Luckily, your policy will cover the exorbitant expense of overseas medical cover.

Cancellation fees and lost deposits: Thailand is prone to a range of natural disasters including volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods. Travel insurance will cover unforeseen cancellations for events such as natural disasters, as well as accidents, hijackings, severe sickness or injury. Incidents that are beyond your control will usually be covered.

Luggage and personal effects: Theft is common in Thailand, particularly in popular backpacker destinations such as Khao San Road in Bangkok or the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan. In addition to a rise in motorcycle handbag theft, it’s essential to keep your wits about you. Your travel insurance will reimburse you for lost, stolen or damaged luggage. Comprehensive cover also includes cover for theft of cash and travel documents too.

Personal liability: If you injure someone or are held accountable for damaged property in Thailand the consequences could be disastrous, particularly when you are unfamiliar with local laws and regulations. In such an event, your policy will cover your liability costs to a degree.

Additional extras: Each policy varies but look out for top notch extras such as cover for rental vehicle excess, permanent disability, loss of income, cover for kennels and catteries (if you’re delayed home to your fluffy friends) and more.

What will my policy not cover?

Riding risky Thai roads were recently declared the second ‘most dangerous in the world.’ Tragically, 80 lives are lost each day on the notoriously dangerous streets and plenty of those include tourists. If you’ve never ridden a scooter or motorbike, be warned that Thailand is not the place to learn! Keep in mind that your insurer will not cover you if you are found riding without a current Australian licence (valid in the country you are in) or a helmet.

Fighting follies: Fancy yourself a round or two in the ring in the birthplace of Muay Thai Boxing? A few bad blows could put a dent in your holiday budget (not to mention your morale)! Any medical attention you require as a result of "professional" or dangerous martial arts wouldn't be covered. Watch out for those nasty left hooks!

Unattended items: Keep a strong hold over all your belongings as leaving your stuff unsupervised will not be covered for. That also means not leaving your stuff with your brand new hostel chums.

Being intoxicated: Whether your drink of choice is a Singha or Mekong Whisky Bucket, all claims related directly to alcohol will not be paid. So have fun in moderation! Also the possession of even small quantities of "soft drugs" for recreational purposes can result in lengthy jail sentences. And when was a drunken tattoo ever a good idea? If you wake up and find yourself with a permanent Thai souvenir we apologise in advance. Any medical expenses on account of a dodgy tattoo expenses may not be paid.

Terrorism and travel warnings: The Smarttraveller website warns tourists to 'exercise a high degree of caution' in Thailand due to civil unrest and threat of terrorism. While the chances of getting caught up in an act of terrorism are small, it’s still a good idea to keep up to date with travel advisories on sites like smartraveller.gov.au. Generally travelling against DO NOT TRAVEL warnings issued from the Australian Government (which currently apply for the districts of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla from June 15, 2015) will jeopardize your cover.

High-risk activities: Adventure activities are plentiful in Thailand. From scuba diving in Koh Tao, ziplining in Chang Mai, white water rafting Phang Na, or even elephant riding in the north...adrenaline junkies are sure spoilt for choice! But watch out, as participating in particularly risky activities such as climbing (where ropes are needed), cliff jumping or sky diving may not be covered by your policy. Be sure to scan your policy’s small print to check out which of your preferred heart pounding activities are covered.

Pre-existing conditions: Medical conditions that exist before you travel are generally not covered, but it pays to check. You can sometimes pay a bit extra to get some conditions covered. Check your policy wording to see what conditions are covered automatically, and which ones require a medical assessment first.

Unreported items: You need to report theft or loss to the relevant authority ASAP (and your travel insurance provider) within 24 hours.

How to save on travel insurance in Thailand

Choose your destination wisely – You might be able to save yourself a few Baht by finding an insurer that classes Thailand in its own price bracket, rather than grouped under Asia.

Consider how often you travel - If you travel a few times per year, you could save by purchasing an annual multi-trip policy rather than purchasing a policy each time you take off.

Combine policies - If travelling with your family or a companion, a joint policy is often cheaper than purchasing separately.

Increase your excess - Most insurers allow you to lower your premium by opting to pay higher excess in the instance that you need to make a claim.

Shop around - You'll be amazed at how much travel insurance quotes can vary. Offers by travel agents or airlines usually have commissions added on. In fact, you can save up to 50% by shopping around, so it pays to buy your travel insurance direct. Doing your comparison online will allow you to compare loads of quotes in seconds. Yippee

Our top 5 must do’s in Thailand

  • Wat Phra Chetuphon: also known as Wat Pho, this is one of the oldest and largest temples in Thailand, dating back to the 16th century. This temple features the 150ft long reclining Buddha, the largest in all of Thailand. Located in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, this is an urban oasis offering peace and tranquility as well as history and culture.

  • Green Elephant Sanctuary Park: this ethically run sanctuary allows you to see elephants in their most natural habitat. Elephants roam free in spacious surroundings, and you can interact with them during their feeding or bathing times. This sanctuary meets animal welfare standards, so you can rest assured these gentle giants are being well cared for.

  • Chatuchak Weekend Market: With 15,000 stalls spanning 26 sections there truly is something for everyone at these markets. From tasty local delicacies, to home decor, clothing and even relaxing massages, this is a full day activity that will expose you to a lot of what Thailand has to offer.

  • Sanctuary of Truth: this giant wooden structure reaches 105 metres in height! It was built to be able to withstand the wind and rain common at Rachvate Cape. There are many tours you can join which will get you up to speed on the history of this extraordinary piece of architecture.

  • The Grand Palace: dating back to the 1700’s this palace features many buildings and museums of its own. This is the ceremonial residence of the Kings of Thailand, so be sure to head here to learn all about Thai royal history.

    Thailand fast facts

    Capital: Bangkok

    Currency: Thai baht

    Country code: +66

    Language: Thai

    "Thailand": Means land of the free. Thailand’s countless coastal islands are commonly preceded with the word Ko, meaning ‘island.’ For instance, it would be correct to refer to refer to ‘Phi Phi island’ as ‘Ko Phi Phi.

    Culture: Bangkok's Grand Palace and Wat Prakeaw (Thailand’s most sacred Buddhist temple) are not to be missed. Thailand’s postcard worthy floating markets lure in thousands of hungry tourists while the UNESCO world heritage site of Ayutthaya Heritage City is noted for its vast, ancient culture.

    Not to be missed: If you're up for a bumpy overnight adventure, hop on board a sleeper trains to the lush sanctuary of Chang Mai. Nestled in to the hills of Northern Thailand, the vibrant city offers up a wide array of activities from bamboo rafting to elephant riding, night markers and ancient temples. Diving buffs can’t miss the spectacular sea life of Koh Tao, while Koh Phi Phi’s breathtaking island beauty and non-stop party atmosphere can draw in over 10 0000 visitors a day. Last but not least, a trip to Thailand would not be complete without a stop in Bangkok. A city known for its contrasts; the hustle and bustle of Bangkok can be polarising- it’s breathlessly busy, consumerist driven, profoundly poor in parts but rich in an ancient, regal culture.

    Nightlife: One of Thailand’s greatest drawcard is its thriving, diverse nightlife. Despite its sleazy reputation, Thailand’s party scene is hardly limited to strip clubs and go-go bars. You can watch the sun go down with a few beers at a beach-side bungalow; party with the masses at Ko Phang Ngan’s full moon parties or sip cocktails with trendy young things at a hip Bangkok bar. No matter what your taste, there’s something for every type of party animal.

    Food & drink: If you like you food packed with flavour, you’re in luck. Much like its welcoming culture, Thailand’s cuisine is always warm, inviting and addictive! Spicy, salty, sweet and sour, every Thai dish relies heavily on its core ingredients; chilli, garlic, lemongrass, palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Many swear that Thai street food is amongst the best and cheapest in the world. A few pennies at a street side stall can buy you the best pad thai or satay skewer you’ve ever had. So how to beat the dreaded food poisoning so many tourists fall prey to? It’s a tricky one but the following tips can keep you food safe in Thailand;

    • Only eat at the most popular food carts, the turn-over rate is higher
    • Only chose meals cooked in front of you and avoid pre-cooked food canteens
    • Stay wary of uncooked dishes such as salads and only drink bottled water
    • Wash unpeeled fruit with bottled water
    • Use good judgement, for instance, steer clear of a stall that looks grimy and unclean. Beaches: Sandy shores and turquoise blue waters are not in short supply in Thailand. Cetainly Phi Phi Island’s glorious coastlines are some of the country’s most popular. After Hollywood blockbuster The Beach, was shot on Maya Bay (one of Phi Phi’s most beautiful beaches) tourism to the area shot up. If crowds aren’t your thing you could head to Railay beach in Krabi, Kata Noi, Long Beach or Nai harn...and you won't be disappointed.

    Safety speed dial

    Found yourself in hot water? Should you find yourself a tad ‘thai’d’ up the following emergency contacts should set you straight.

    Australian Embassy 37 South Sathorn Road Bangkok Phone: 02 344 6300

    Tourist Police 999 Nong Prue Bangplee Samut Prakan, 10540| Phone: +66(0)2-134-0521

    Australian Consulate Jinda Charoen Konsong 236 Chiangmai-Doi Saket Road Amphur Sansai Chiang Mai, Thailand

    Australian Consulate Koh Samui Suratthani, Thailand Contact through the Australian Embassy, Bangkok

Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith

Having travelled to over 40 countries, studied tourism management and worked as a flight attendant for over three years, Natalie knows more than a thing or two about travel! She’s an adventure-lover, whose favourite trips have been trekking Machu Picchu and volunteering in an animal shelter in the Amazon. Qualified in Tier 2 General Insurance General Advice and specialising in travel insurance for the last five years, she in passionate about helping travellers get the most out of their holiday.