by Last updated Mar 14, 2023 | Asia, Thailand, Travel Tips
Bangkok is one of Asia’s biggest, busiest cities, full of action, entertainment, and Thai culture.
Most tourists traveling around Thailand stop in Bangkok, even if just for a few days. But being a huge metropolis, it’s normal to wonder, “is Bangkok safe to visit?”
This guide will discuss how safe Bangkok is for tourists, what and where to avoid, and the most important things to consider to ensure you have a fun and safe city adventure.
Despite being one of the largest and busiest cities in the world, Bangkok is surprisingly safe for tourists. In fact, the majority of people visiting Bangkok do not experience any trouble at all.
However, like all tourist destinations in Thailand, scams are common. Unfortunately, a small percentage of locals try to take advantage of foreigners by overcharging for tours, day trips, transport, and even goods.
To avoid scams, I recommend researching beforehand to understand the average price for things.
It’s generally safe to walk along on the streets of Bangkok as assaults and muggings are very low here. However, pickpocketing is common in the busiest tourist areas, such as Khao San Road.
Thus, always be sure to keep your bag zipped up, don’t leave your belongings anywhere unattended, and stay vigilant of what is happening around you, particularly at night.
As of early 2023, Bangkok is safe to travel to, and all Covid restrictions have been lifted. There is no mask mandate, but many of the locals still choose to wear them in public.
In the last few years, some anti-government protests have been happening in Bangkok. However, these appear to have died down significantly and do not pose any threat to tourists visiting the city.
Some people claim Bangkok is dangerous because, like many other big cities, petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching are common.
However, these typically only occur at night in busy tourist hot spots. You can easily avoid this by staying vigilant and not putting yourself in a vulnerable position by getting highly intoxicated.
Another reason people may say Bangkok is dangerous is because of the traffic. The traffic is chaotic all over the city, which poses some risks to pedestrians but much more to drivers.
This is why I don’t recommend any tourist to rent or ride a scooter in Bangkok.
Riding a scooter here is totally different from driving on one of the tourist islands like Koh Tao. Luckily, this danger can be easily avoided by not renting a scooter and taking taxis or public transport instead.
Lastly, burglaries happen in many parts of Bangkok, but this typically occurs in houses and villas. Most hotels have 24-hour security and cameras throughout the building, so there is minimal risk of someone breaking in.
Make sure to book a stay in one of the best hotels in Bangkok.
Best hostel: Apartment45 Hostel
Best mid-range hotel: Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn
Best luxury hotel: Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Most central neighborhoods in Bangkok are very safe, such as Sathorn, Sukhumvit, Thonglor, Riverside, and Ari. But, like most big cities, the most dangerous neighborhoods are the city’s outskirts, where tourists don’t tend to stay.
However, I don’t recommend choosing a hotel on Patpong, Soi Cowboy, or Sukhumvit soi 4 as these are red-light districts full of bars and clubs. These streets can be seedy at night as they are rife with drugs and sex tourism.
Two common scams in Bangkok are taxis and tuk-tuks. Tuk tuks are a fun and iconic way to travel around the city, but they can be unsafe.
Some tuk-tuk drivers operate a scam where they tell you the place you want to visit is closed. They then say they know a similar, better place that is open and offer to take you there.
However, they take you to a shop or temple they are working with, where they will overcharge you for entrance fees or the goods you buy there. So if a tuk-tuk driver tells you somewhere is closed, walk away and find another driver.
Aside from tuk-tuks, you should be careful with taxis. Some taxi drivers may not turn on the meter, claiming it is broken. As a result, they will charge you a much higher fare than average.
To avoid this, ask your hotel reception to call a cab instead of hailing one from the street. Or use the Grab or Indrive app to order a ride. On these apps, you agree on the price beforehand.
If you’re planning to get a taxi from the airport, be sure to walk past all the people holding taxi signs and trying to call you over. Instead, follow the locals to the taxi-by-meter area, where you will get the fairest price.
One more thing to note about traveling from Bangkok airports to the city center is toll fares. Bangkok has many toll roads, which cost a small fee but can significantly shorten travel time.
Your driver will ask you if you want to take the toll road because you will be expected to pay for it (it is not included in the agreed fare or meter price). Toll roads typically cost between 50 and 100 baht.
Avoid renting and driving a scooter in Bangkok. The roads are incredibly hectic and complicated to navigate. Even if you’re used to riding scooters in other countries, this doesn’t mean you’ll be fine driving here.
Driving in Thailand is an entirely different experience than anywhere else, especially in Bangkok.
Even after living and driving a scooter in the south of Thailand for three years, I would still not ride a scooter in Bangkok. You may see some foreigners driving, but they are most likely expats who live there and know the roads.
As a tourist, riding a scooter in Bangkok is not worth taking the risk. Instead, I recommend taking a taxi scooter, which is very cheap. Taxi cars and Grab rides are also very affordable in Bangkok.
Plus, in the city’s central region, there is the BTS skytrain, which is a cheap and easy way to get around.
Bangkok is a safe place for people traveling alone, and it is not uncommon to see solo travelers here. I’ve visited Bangkok several times on my own and always felt safe.
Because of the significant presence of bars and clubs, solo travel in Bangkok can be super fun.
However, if visiting alone, I recommend staying in a social hostel where you can meet others and explore the nightlife with them, rather than going out on your own.
Of course, like anywhere in the world, if traveling solo, always be cautious of the people you have just met. Don’t leave your belongings with anyone while you go to the bar or toilet.
Watch your drink at all times and only accept drinks from people you trust.
When coming home from a night out, I recommend ordering a Grab rather than hailing a taxi from the street or following someone who “claims” to be a taxi driver.
Bangkok is generally a very safe place for female travelers. In fact, I do not find Bangkok any less safe for females than for males.
Things like sexual harassment or abuse are not that common in Bangkok, but that does not mean they never happen.
Thus, like with every other city, don’t put yourself in a vulnerable situation by getting drunk or taking drugs, especially if you are traveling alone.
Out of all Thai cities, Bangkok offers the most opportunities for expats. The city is home to many large international companies and highly-regarded international schools. Thus, it’s no surprise that there are many expats living there.
Bangkok is also reasonably popular with digital nomads who enjoy bustling city life. But you’ll likely find more digital nomads in beach destinations like Phuket.
Still, if you plan to live and work in Bangkok for a few months, you won’t be disappointed.
There are several coworking spaces, especially in and around Sathorn, along with plenty of great cafes and coffee shops to work from.
Not sure if Bangok is a great place to live? Read our guide featuring the best places to live in Thailand.
Aside from everything we’ve mentioned above, here are a few other things to consider when visiting Bangkok.
Travel insurance is a must for traveling anywhere in the world, and Thailand is no exception.
Insurance for Thailand provides peace of mind and financial protection should unexpected events happen, such as getting sick, losing your luggage, or having flight cancellations.
We recommend SafetyWing for comprehensive coverage in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand.
SafetyWing covers all types of possible emergencies.
Plus, unlike many other insurance providers, you can sign up from anywhere worldwide, not only in your home country.
So is Bangkok safe? Yes! Bangkok is generally a safe city, and most tourists enjoy their visit without problems.
However, things like scams and pickpocketing do unfortunately happen here, so it’s essential to stay vigilant and use your common sense.
Moreover, although riding a scooter in Bangkok may seem fun, it is hazardous. Thus, stick to taxis, Grab, and public transport instead. Learn how to get around Thailand to be on the safe side.
Traveling to Thailand soon? Read one of the following guides:
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by Last updated Mar 14, 2023 | Asia, Thailand, Travel Tips