I remember watching a programme, I think it was an Australian travel program about the Australian. Embassy in Thailand. The program was simple, it was showing Who the Embassy was dealing with their citizens and the situations they get into.
One of the Embassy officials, when making a comment of the incidents they deal with on a daily basis was “People leave their brains at the airport” she went on to say that , reasonable, sensible and people with who at home, are responsible, have good jobs and in places of responsibility. Yet, when they go to Thailand, they leave all their brains at the airport, for some unknown reason.
Every day I get e mails from a Thailand ex pat forum , it has news, events and Thai news in english. It lets me keep in touch with world events as well as Thai events and news.
One of the things I see regularly are tourists asking for help, as they have been injured and have no insurance and cannot leave the country until their hospital bill has been paid.
One of the things I had to sort out, when I decided to move to Chiang Mai, was medical insurance. If you fall ill, need emergency treatment, or even visit the doctor, it costs money. Nothing is free, from the ambulance , to the small cotton bud or plaster, you will be charged for it. So travel insurance is a must.
You can get cheaper treatment, so if you happen to need medical or hospital treatment, tell them you don’t have insurance and they will cut back on the stuff they will use, to help you.
In Thailand, if they need advice, they ask their nurse or doctor friends what they have, it costs nothing or very little, then they go to the chemist and ask for medicine for that complaint.
When people come to Thailand, they come for sun, fun, relaxation and to see the sights, which , I totally agree, I love the place for all these reasons. Things here are cheap, you can rent a bike or scooter for very little and scoot around, like the locals to see the sights and it is a lot cheaper than hiring a tuk-tuk or taxi.
It’s simple, all you have to do is to pop into on of these scooter hire shops, which I may add, are everywhere, and at a good price, hire a scooter, for a day, a week or a lot more. All you have to do is show your passport and sometime your driving licence, hand over the money and you have the choice to have a helmet.
The people in the horse shop, all they want is business, to earn money, so if you don’t have a licence to ride a scooter or bike, no hassle, they will hire you one anyway. If you don’t ant a helmet, no hassle they want the money.
So what has travel insurance have to do with all this?
So, If you don’t have a scooter / motorcycle licence in your home country, you will not be covered by your medical insurance.
If you don’t wear a helmet, again you wont be covered by your medical insurance.
I saw an article a week ago, where a an Australian nurse, and her daughter were involved in an accident were she and her son were riding a scooter, with no helmet and she had no licence and never ridden a scooter before. She sustained bad head injuries and was taken to hospital. Her son, was OK.
She was stuck at the hospital and at the time of reading had about Bht 1,500,000 , or £34,400 and each day she stays in hospital the bill increases. The thing is she will not be allowed to leave the hospital until the bill is paid. ( See article link below )
In another tragic incident a British tourist just collapsed and later died, and her medical bill as over Bht 1,6000,00 or £36,000. Her body will not be released until the money is paid. I can only assume she had no insurance to pa for the treatment and the return of her body. ( See article link below)
When you drive around Chiang Mai , its common to see young foreigners on the scooters , no helmet, and just a tee-shirt. It’s an offence not to wear a helmet in Thailand, and I know in Chiang Mai, they do, do road checks and stop everyone who is driving a bike with no helmet. In some cases the bike can be seized by the police.
One thing you must remember here, its easy enough to get a helmet, however there is no such things as a British Standard Logo , saying that the helmet is of good standard and will protect your head. You can pop into the local supermarket, and get a motorcycle for less than £5 or Bht 500. So I an honestly say it’s not there to protect your head, but to cover the requirement of the law here. I bought two helmets in the UK and had them in my consignments, so I am happy that my helmets will protect me when I am on my scooter.
I have an International Driving Licence ( Permit ) You can get these in your country and it will not cost much and it will cover you if and when you decide to drive in the majority of countries thought out the world. Mine cost £5 at a Post Office and I received it at the counter, you can get in a few months before your trip and it lasts a year.
So , please don’t leave your brains at the airport, have travel insurance and yea, you may get away with it, but its a hell of a gamble.
Have a great time here.
International driving permit ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Driving_Permit )
( http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-27/injured-australian-woman-dawn-weldon–stuck-in-thai-hospital/8218036 )