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My girlfriend and I are planning to visit Thailand during September-October.

We are going to be visiting central urban areas as well as more remote places.

Most areas would be touristic destinations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai (and Chiang Rai, Pai), Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, etc.

We're generally young and healthy and will be taking part in various kinds of activities (nothing super risky or out of the ordinary), but are particularly worried about life-threatening allergies. We don't have any diagnosed ones but my girlfriend has had a mild allergic reaction to Thai food once before.

We were wondering about what would be the best way to receive quality medical care during an emergency which may or may not happen. Things like: life threatening allergic attacks, venomous animal stings, and/or various other injuries.

We have insurance so cost is not an issue, and the priority is speedy and high quality medical care.

  • What would be the best way to act in case such an emergency happens, with regards to getting to a hospital, i.e. call an ambulance? hail a taxi/tuktuk or some other means of public transportation?

  • Where could we find a list of high quality hospitals in each area? As far as I understand the quality can vary greatly between areas and/or private/public hospitals.

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    Does your girlfriend have a peanut allergy? Shellfish? It would be good to take a formal allergy test for a proper diagnosis, etc.
    – travelgasm
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 9:21
  • Does Thailand have an emergency telephone number, like 911, 999 or 112 in other countries, and would the person on the phone be able to handle a call in English?
    – Willeke
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 9:53
  • @travelgasm none of the common known allergies, she got a formal test after said reaction. We are very adventurous eaters and so far had zero problems, including with many other Thai dishes. It was a one time thing and we don't even know what it could be related to. Nevertheless we prefer to take the maximum precautions. We've got Epipens and trying to do our homework regarding emergencies in advance.
    – eliba
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 10:32
  • Even though an allergy has not been formally diagnosed, I would check with your insurance company before travelling
    – Traveller
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 11:22

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Seems a bit like a moot question: if you have an actual emergency you most likely will have to go with whatever is available at the place you are. This being said, most local in hospitals in Thailand are quite good, even in the more rural areas.

Thailand is one of the most popular destination for medical tourism, so if you want to be extra safe you can research medical facilities that specifically cater to foreigners in the areas where you will be staying.

The tricky part may be the language barrier. English is spotty in Thailand: some of the younger people speak fluently, some of the older don't speak any at all. Having access to good translation tools (e.g. Google Translate) would certainly help.

Some emergency phone numbers

As of 2021 Thailand has nearly 100 "hotline" telephone numbers to call for assistance. They include 911 or 191 for emergencies,[5] fire, or unwanted intruding animals; 1699 or 1669 (or 1646 or 1554 in Bangkok) for medical emergencies; tourist police, 1155; car theft, 1192; a taxi refusing a trip, 1584; road accidents, 1146.[6]

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  • I'm assuming that more often than not, several options might be available, for example: 1) call an ambulance using the emergency number, 2) grab a taxi/tuktuk to the nearest hospital. My question was mainly to try to understand whether in some areas ambulance arrival might be too slow and/or unreliable, and/or some public hospitals which would be the default choice for emergency services being of a poor medical standard.
    – eliba
    Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 8:42
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    @eliba: I think nobody can list quality of care of all zones. Do you have a travel insurance? Get their number ready. Probably in case of emergency, you will not choose where to get, but then you (or your girlfriend) want to transfer in a more international facility (and get some papers that allow the other one to decide for such transfers). Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 12:31

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