The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has intensified its travel advisory to Thailand focusing on the Samui Archipelago, the scene of the recent murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.

It warns of unprovoked attacks whether by individuals or in gangs and now includes Koh Tao in addition to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. The FCO advisory is based on complaints which have been recorded by police or to the Embassy direct. Last week a young Scots woman complained of being raped in Krabi, but had not reported it.

The updated FCO advisory is as follows:

Western tourists including British nationals have been victims of vicious, unprovoked attacks by individuals and gangs in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao (the Samui archipelago). For example, in January 2013 a British national was killed in a shooting incident while at a beach party in Haad Rin on Koh Phanang and in September 2014 two British nationals were killed in Tao.

Violent sexual assaults and robberies against both men and women are reported regularly in the Koh Samui archipelago and Krabi province and are particularly common during the monthly Full Moon parties and generally occur late at night near bars.

Alcohol can lead you to be..less aware of your environment – Lotus bar Koh Tao

Tourists have also been robbed after bringing visitors to their hotel rooms. In some cases their drinks were drugged. Be careful about taking drinks from strangers and at clubs and parties, particularly in Koh Samui, Pattaya and at the Full Moon party on Koh Phangan, where date rapes have been reported.

If you drink – know your limit

Attacks have also occurred in other tourist districts in Thailand including Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Krabi. In light of the risk of unprovoked attacks you should be cautious and take care, especially at night.

Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment resulting in accidents, injuries, robbery, assaults and lost travel documents. 

If you drink, know your limit. Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Some British nationals in Thailand have suffered severe psychiatric problems because of drug use, resulting in some suicides.

Be aware of the possibility of credit card fraud. Don’t lose sight of your card during transactions. There have been incidents of ATM skimming in Thailand. Where possible use an ATM within a bank and always protect your PIN.

Be careful to observe demarcation lines between shops and stalls, particularly in market areas and at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Taking items from one shop’s area to another may be treated as suspected theft.

Be on your guard against pickpockets and bag snatchers. Foreigners have had items snatched by thieves on motorbikes when walking along busy streets or travelling in open transport like tuk tuks. If you travel by bus, make sure cash and valuables you have are kept securely. There have been incidents where passengers have had items taken from bags while asleep.

‘Foreigners have had items snatched by thieves on motorbikes’

You should report any incidents of crime to the
Thai police before leaving the counry

Gem scams are common. 

There have been reports of visitors buying gems for inflated prices from seemingly respectable establishments then later finding out the stones are worth a tiny fraction of the purchase price.

You should report any incidents of crime to the Thai police before leaving the country.”


BE WARNED: It is not unknown for foreigners to be set up by Thai police or shaken down themselves after reporting crime in Thailand.


  1. This will give a little insight about the dangers Hi guys, just wondering if any of you have experienced the same problem as me on arrival at Bangkok Airport. I've been coming to Thailand about 10 times over the last 4 years or so. I've never stayed longer than 30 days each trip, so have never needed a visa. I arrived a couple of weeks ago, got to the immigration/passport desk, the guy who was checking my passport was taking a long time. Then he called his boss over, who took me to a small cubicle. He asked me why i didn't have a visa, so i explained that you only needed a visa if staying for more than 30 days. Then he said i have come to Thailand many times, and i am doing a visa run! Then he said everything has changed since the curfew, and he should send me back to England! I took a deep breath and knew it was no good getting angry with this bloke, as he held all the cards. I said i'm very sorry if i've done anything wrong. So he said maybe if i give some money to him and his team they can have a nice breakfast! I offered 1,000 bahts, he said maybe a little bit more, so i gave him 2,000 bahts. Then he let me through, and said next time i must get a visa. Now i'm not sure if i was incredibly unlucky, or whether they are trying it on with many of us. Left a nasty taste, as i have never had any problem of any type in all my travels here. I'm also not sure whether to get a visa next time, it seems bloody stupid because everyone says you do not need one for 30 days or less.
    of visiting Thailand. Don't do it.

  2. London have gone further than usual but I agree your point about the RTP, Gerry.

    The FCO in London is beginning take this seriously with travel warnings which are stronger than those normally issued. (Thanks owed to AD for keeping up the pressure) But at the end of the day the Thai authorities need to find a way of saving face while arresting the real criminals and creditably showing the Thai people and the world that there genuinely is a change in culture and honest transparency in getting the right people prosecuted. Never before have the Thais themselves been so incensed against the police and the poo mee ithipon. Prayuth could play some strong cards, but will he? I'll wait and see.

  3. if you had back to back 30 days visa – well yes then this is not allowed anymore – it must have showed in your passport

    I can see what The PM is doing and so far I am on his side. He is doing things that should have been done years ago.

    If you drink and take drugs then it doesnt matter what country you are in – as you become a target.

  4. 10 times in 4 years, less than 30 days each. That's doesn't seem a back to back situation to me, retireasap. The PM has tackled corruption and is giving detailed weekly broadcasts with some good ideas but we really need to wait and see. Not sure I'd agree with his comments on the UK backpacker rape and murders though. Are you aware of those?

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