Fortunately, your personal safety is not usually an issue in the Land of Smiles. Krabi is no different to anywhere else when it comes to health and safety in Thailand: random violence or attacks are virtually unheard of, pickpockets are few and there are no major natural hazards.
Of course, this does not mean you can throw caution to the wind. Follow basic common sense about not leaving valuables unattended, being courteous with local people and avoiding walking alone at night on a deserted beach, and you should have a hassle-free holiday.
If you are the victim of a crime or theft, contact the tourist police immediately on 1155 (24 hours).
General health and safety hazards
Reckless driving is probably the biggest safety hazard here; be especially careful on narrow roads curving through the mountains. Signals are used infrequently – so be prepared for any vehicle to do anything, at any time. Most drivers are, however, fairly courteous to one another, and they don’t travel too fast in built up areas so if you stay aware of your surroundings, you should not encounter any problems.
With motorcycle rentals, resist the temptation to let the wind blow through your hair – always use a helmet, even if it seems like no one else is. Beware of patches of sand on the road; on corners, these can make you skid, especially if driving fast. Thai drivers tend to pull out recklessly in front of oncoming traffic, overtake in the face of approaching vehicles and stop where it pleases them. Be aware that standard motorcycle rental does not come with any insurance, so you will be entirely responsible for any damage, theft, or accidents. You will need to ask them for it and pay extra.
Electric shocks can be another danger here. Local Thai plugs and sockets are rarely earthed, so be careful when using electric appliances outside your hotel. This is also the case for the lightboxes used for signs outside shops and restaurants – keep a close eye on children, who may touch the poles on which they stand.
Healthcare in Krabi province is quite basic, although most of the tourist areas will have an English-speaking doctor nearby, who will also be able to fill in any travel insurance forms required. There is also a hospital in Krabi Town. For serious problems, though, we would recommend travelling to the international hospitals in Phuket.
If you do have to visit a hospital, be aware that they charge considerably more than public ones, overcharging on imported medicines on the assumption that you’re covered by travel insurance. Often you can get an equally professional service at decent government hospitals, who are more ethical.
Sunstroke, dehydration, diarrhoea, ear infections, and, in some cases, sexually transmitted diseases are key issues to watch out for when on holiday in Krabi.
On the water, there is a particular risk of overcrowding of ferries during busy times, mainly due to poor regulations. There is at least one capsize a year in which a few foreigners drown, so it’s best to avoid crowded ferries. A tsunami is another lingering risk, but no one can be sure of the odds of another striking any time soon.
There have been quakes along the same faultline since 2004 but it has only created mild tsunamis onto the Sumatran coast. Evacuations procedures and early warning systems are now in place. Ao Nang, due to it’s elevation from the sea level, is not at risk, but should you be on one of the beaches of the small offshore islands, you’ll need to be aware of possible high ground to escape to.