How to Avoid Food Poisoning in Thailand

Thai street food vendor Thailand

You’ve landed in Thailand, known for its fantastic, wallet-friendly street food. Everywhere you look, there are skewers with beef, chicken, fish balls, and fresh fruit. You’re excited to try everything but also want to steer clear of getting sick. To safely enjoy these delights, it’s important to remember the risk of “Thai Tummy.” Here are a few tips to help you navigate.

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Take note of the obvious. If the stand is well maintained, clean, and visited by the locals too?

Avoid Food Poisoning in Thailand

Don’t leave your common sense at home. If it doesn’t look, taste, or smell right, don’t eat it. Just so you know, we never got sick and we ate everything, so go for it. But keep a few things in mind after you read my article on Top 10 Thailand.

Food consumption, food porn, food overdose, yes… food poisoning, no. You also notice it’s sitting out on a long table, exposed and unprotected. You wonder how long it’s been there, how many flies have landed on it, and whether it will bring you more pain than pleasure.

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Busy Vendors

Choose stalls that draw a crowd. Popular vendors often mean fresher ingredients, and the meat is cooked right when you order it. This approach is much safer, especially for travelers. Busy stalls have a high turnover, ensuring food doesn’t sit out too long.

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Look for food stalls that have refrigeration, clean places to sit, and somewhere with fresh water to wash the dishes. The ones that care about health risks will always keep their ingredients cool and their surroundings clean.

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Practice Good Hygiene

Make sure you wash your hands before you eat. May as well wash the whole body while you’re at it. Well, that’s been obvious since the plague. Look for nearby water sources, carry a hand sanitizer or baby wipes in that backpack you brought for souvenirs.

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Ice and Water

Be cautious about the water and ice you consume. Many hotels in Thailand provide bottled water daily for drinking and brushing your teeth, highlighting the importance of avoiding tap water. If you choose to drink alcohol as a safer alternative, remember that this includes being mindful of the ice used in your drinks. It’s a common oversight, but even in your beverages, safe ice practices matter.

In Thailand, it’s generally safe to use ice that appears cylindrical with a hole in the middle or large, clear blocks that have been chipped or crushed. This type of ice is usually factory-made and delivered in bags to restaurants, cafes, and street vendors, ensuring it’s made with purified water. Many places in Thailand, especially those frequented by tourists, are aware of the concerns about water safety and take care to use clean, safe ice. However, it’s always a good idea to observe if the ice is delivered in sealed bags and stored properly, as this is a good indicator of its safety.

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Fresh Fruit & Raw Vegetables

Fruit, vegetables, and smoothies can indeed lead to food poisoning. If you do feel unwell, it’s crucial to drink plenty of fluids and eat light meals until you start feeling better. If there’s no improvement after a few days, consider asking your hotel for a doctor’s recommendation. While we never had to visit one, reports suggest that doctors in Thailand are affordable and very supportive.

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Seek Medical Attention

If you start feeling sick, getting medical help quickly is crucial. Here’s more guidance for enjoying Thailand’s street food safely. Always clean your hands before eating with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Choose freshly cooked meals over raw options. Watch how your food is made and served. Foods that are hot and cooked in front of you are usually safer. Trust your instincts—if a food seems off, don’t eat it. Following these tips can make your food experiences safe and fun.

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  1. Sue Davies

    Very sensible tips about how to avoid food poisoning. I love eating street food. I usually skip it the first few days while I acclimate and then have fun at the end of my trip.

  2. Ann

    Oh I love this!
    I always seem to get sick whilst eating streetfood, and I do LOVE the streetfoods so I cant lay off it 😀

  3. Mackenzie

    Like you, we ate everything. Luckily, no problems here either. Although I must say I feel like we are some mystery food in china town in Bangkok! Either way, great tips. Hand washing all around. Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to return.

  4. Connie

    I can only imagine how getting sick so far from home coukd be a nightmare. These are good practical tips for staying safe.

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