Visit Thailand: The Complete Wheelchair Travel Guide397
BY PWD Guide Bear

Visit Thailand: The Complete Wheelchair Travel Guide

Have you ever thought of touring Thailand? It can be a little complicated to tour in a wheelchair, but it’s worth getting there as it is one of the best countries to visit. If you are just motivated and have a plan for how to get from one activity to another, you’ll be perfectly fine ♿ Are you ready to start preparing? Here, I have developed a complete wheelchair travel guide to Thailand. 

Young Disabled Man Wheelchair Fishing

Do you need to know my number one recommendation for travelers with a disability visiting Thailand for the first time? The distance and the anxieties of a different location do not hinder it. The Thai people are so friendly and generous. Therefore, you will soon feel quite at home ♿ Proper planning allows the country to be open to visitors with disabilities, no different from anybody else. Example itineraries could encompass visits to Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok), Ayutthaya, and Kanchanaburi in Central Thailand. 

Beautiful View Wat Traimit Temple Located Chinatown Bangkok Thailand

Compared to any other country in Southeast Asia, how well do you think Thailand differs in terms of facilities and ease of access for disabled travelers? ♿ Better than some, less promising than others.

But the kindness and hospitality of Thai people trump all. Anyway, today, I wanted to share with you all the things that you should know about wheelchair travel to Thailand.

 

⚠️️ PWD Alert #1: 

The following places are on the top list of wheelchair-accessible attractions:

  • Grand Palace
  • Chinatown
  • Chatuchak Market
  • Ayutthaya City

 

 

Wheelchair Visit Around Thailand

Disabled Man Wheelchair Beach

Facilities and access for travelers with disabilities in Thailand may not be as in countries like America, Australia, and the United Kingdom. But that doesn’t mean that if you have a health condition or impairment, you can’t still enjoy it ♿ Some tourist attractions have ramps or are easily accessible by wheelchair, but Thai people generally help you if you politely ask for assistance.

Thailand is a must-visit country for all travelers in any circumstances. Not only are there delicious foods, but the scenery is glorious! ♿ The locals are friendly, and historic sites will pull you back in time. So, it’s a tourist destination you really shouldn’t miss.

Thai People Drive Long Tail Boat Bring Travelers People Tour around Chao Phraya River Riverside Bang Pa Palace

In recent years, Thailand has made considerable progress in enhancing access for disabled travelers. This is especially true in Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok), with modified facilities at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, BTS Skytrain, and MRT Metro stations ♿ While there have been welcome changes for travelers with disabilities, there is still room for development.

 

⚠️️ PWD Alert #2: 

You can hire a long-tail boat to tour Bangkok’s canals. But you might need someone's assistance to get you in and out of the boat if you wanted. Some of Thailand’s ferries can be difficult to access for disabled passengers, as steps are sometimes launched instead of ramps.

 

 

Thailand's Transportation for Visitors with Disabilities

Asian Male Tourist Sitting Wheelchair Looking Beautiful Scenery Mountain

As a tourist destination, Thailand is well-connected through various transportation modes. Hence, traveling in and around Thailand is easy for locals and tourists ♿ Here are some modes of transportation that can facilitate physically impaired tourists.

 

Flights 

Woman with Son Mother Wheelchair Waiting Boarding International Airport

Every airport in Thailand can encourage travelers with a disability. Suppose you are a wheelchair user, visually impaired, or need assistance. In that case, you should advise the airline when booking ♿ The main international airport, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK), uses air bridges for most international flights.

However, that isn’t always the case for some domestic flights and at local airports where steps may be used instead. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi also has new and well-maintained facilities for disabled travelers, including electric carts, lift access to all levels, and good toilet facilities.

 

Bangkok Airport Rail Link

Side View Disabled Woman Waiting Train

If you’re traveling to Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) from Suvarnabhumi, the Airport Rail Link (ARL) has suitable access for travelers with disabilities ♿ This includes elevators that are not only ample enough to accommodate wheelchairs but also encompass braille buttons. 

Moreover, voice announcements in Thai and English imply which level the elevator has arrived at ♿ The ARL ticket machines and access gates are wheelchair friendly. On the train itself, an area is allocated especially for wheelchair users.

 

Trains

Train Running Track Hellfire Pass Mountain Riverside Sai Yok Waterfall Khwae River Bring Thai People Travelers Travel Tham Krasae Cave June 20 2021 Kanchanaburi Thailand

State Railway of Thailand (SRT) staff are well-trained and usually very useful to all passengers ♿ Not all trains have facilities for people with disabilities, and you should check before booking. New rolling stock was introduced recently on some routes. 

Suitable for wheelchair users, these newer style trains run on some long-distance routes linking Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) with Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Nong Khai, and Ubon Ratchathani.

 

Taxis, Tuk-tuks and Songthaews

Medium Shot Woman Man Wheelchair

Taxis in Thailand are of outstanding value related to the UK or Ireland. Hiring a taxi for a few hours can save frustration in the heat ♿ Alternatively, you could hire a car with a driver for a half-day or full-day. Rates are acceptable; your hotel or the nearest tour office to your accommodation are good places to ask for recommendations.

 

  • Songthaew in Chiang Mai
    • Away from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) and the main tourist resorts, you will discover that the main form of public transport is frequently a songthaew. These are converted pick-up trucks with two rows of seats.
    • In many cases, they run as shared taxis. Still, they can usually be hired privately on an hourly or per-journey basis. Although you can negotiate, it’s best to ask at your hotel or tour office for local recommendations. 

 

Other choices are tuk-tuks, which can also be hired as private taxis for as long as you want ♿ Again, you will need to negotiate a price, and it’s best to ask for assistance from your hotel or a nearby tour office.

 

Bangkok Skytrain (BTS) and Metro (MRT)

Bts Skytrain Electric Train Running Way with Business Office Buildings Background

In Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok), the Skytrain (BTS) and Metro (MRT) can be effective ways to get around the city. The Skytrain is neat and modern, but not all stations have lifts and facilities for travelers with disabilities. Check the BTS website for details or ask at the Tourist Information Centres at Phaya Thai, Saphan Taksin, and Siam stations.

The BTS and MRT can be a practical way to travel around the capital. Still, they can also get crowded, especially in the morning and evening rush hours. However, it has extraordinary facilities for disabled travelers, with every station prepared with lifts and wheelchair access. 

 

Boats

Boats River Bangkok

Traveling by boat is all part of the Thailand holiday experience but can present challenges ♿ The public commuter boats in Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) don’t wait around for passengers, and no matter how self-reliant you are, they are not the best option for solo disabled travelers. Hiring a private longtail boat to explore the city's canals is an alternative option. Still, having a travel helper with you will be easier.

 

Longtail Boats

Longtail Boat Hong Island Krabi Thailand Landmark Destination Southeast Asia Travel Vacation Holiday Concept

Public ferries and longtail boats are more leisurely at beach resorts and the islands than at Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) ♿ However, some ferry boats can be tough to board, sometimes using steps rather than ramps.

 

 

Available PWD Accommodations

Old Man Sitting Alone Wheelchair House

Newer hotels and more luxurious hotels frequently have good facilities for disabled travelers. Unfortunately, many of Thailand’s budget hotels and guest houses don’t have lifts, so constantly check if stairs are an issue in advance. But smaller hotels and guest houses sometimes lack inconveniences they can make up for with a more personal service, which is something to consider. 

Wherever you select to stay, ask questions in advance via email and let them know if you have any specific requirements. Disabled people can rent villas, homes, and apartments with facilities for them in Thailand. One can somehow find a number of multiple bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate at least up to 6 people ♿ Other amenities may also include kitchens, living rooms, verandas with terraces, and swimming pools with easily accessible lifts for the physically impaired. Some homes even provide you with a Jacuzzi.

Many have electrically flexible beds, self-propelled shower wheelchairs, and fixed shower seats with hand grips and hand grips on both sides of the toilets ♿ Some have diverse living quarters for housekeepers who can give you various services such as cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping.

 

Wheelchair-Accessible Accommodations 

Invalid Uses Pad Listens Music Bed

Hua Hin is close to Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) and is fast becoming a popular tourist destination ♿ The selection of self-catering accommodations in wheelchair-accessible holiday homes for impaired people should greatly help you make your vacation a little extra special.

 

  • Care Resorts
    • Everything inside and outside the building is wheelchair accessible.
    • The resort offers wheelchair-accessible transportation via bus to and from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok).

 

  • Akamai Village
    • This establishment is also accessible and offers wheelchair-accessible transportation.

 

  • Prinz Garden Villa
    • The outside of this establishment is very accessible.
    • Any staff goes on to give a detailed description of the living arrangements.

 

 

Recommended Attractions for PWD

Ayutthaya Historical Park Wat Chaiwatthanaram Buddhist Temple Thailand

Some of the special needs facilities at tourist attractions in Thailand are wonderful. Some are non-existent. It can be a bit of a pot-luck for disabled travelers regarding ease of access ♿ You’ll find that ramps and facilities are in place in some locations and not others. Even if you’re not a traveler who normally hires a local tour guide or driver, it’s worth considering in Thailand.

Most International hotels and affluent shopping centers are wheelchair accessible. However, access ramps to many buildings and some temples often need to be improved. You would require assistance in these areas ♿ Thailand has so much to see and do! Check out the following options for fun activities while you tour the country as a wheelchair traveler.

 

Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok)

City with Buildings Bridge

As the capital of Thailand, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) is an exciting city full of color and beauty ♿ Here are three top attractions in the capital that you must visit:

 

  • Baiyoke Tower
    • Baiyoke Tower is home to the famous Baiyoke Sky Hotel, which, if you haven’t heard, is the biggest all-hotel structure in Southeast Asia. It’s 85 stories high and offers elegant views! You can go to observation decks on the 77th and 83rd floors. The 84th floor has a revolving observatory, but it’s unfortunately not wheelchair accessible.
    • While enjoying the view, you can also try Asia’s only fruit buffet. It’s an incredible place to try what Thailand has to offer! Although they call it a fruit buffet, it’s not only full of fruit but also has pastries and ice cream.
    • You can ask the hostesses for help gathering and picking out food from the buffet if you have trouble doing so alone. The tower is wheelchair accessible; however, as mentioned, the 84th floor is not.

 

  • Lumpini Park
    • Lumpini Park is a beautiful place to relax in the bustling capital of Thailand. It has a lake, a fountain, and a trail running throughout the park. It’s a lovely spot for pictures!
    • This is a great place to celebrate the outdoors as well as somewhere to meet the locals. It’s a famous place for people to spend a fascinating afternoon, whether in Thailand for the first time or have lived there their whole life.
    • The trails there are well-maintained and are wheelchair accessible.

 

  • Pratunam Market
    • Do you enjoy shopping? If so, definitely don’t miss this stop! Pratunam Market is actually one of the largest clothing and textile markets in Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok). It is around 4 blocks in length! The market is on covered sidewalks for a nice, shaded place to shop.
    • You can discover all kinds of clothing, watches, electronics, and toys. They also have plenty of food and drinks in case your stomach begins to complain while you’re there. Going through it all can take a while! Everything there is pretty reasonable.
    • The market is wheelchair accessible. The hidden sidewalks have curb cuts to roll up to stalls easily.

 

Phuket

Phuket

Apart from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok), Phuket Island is also a paradise with its beaches and easy lifestyle. 

 

  • Karon Beach
    • If you’d like to go to a beach, Karon Beach is one of the best in Thailand! It’s relatively uncrowded and offers gorgeous views of the ocean. It’s the third-longest beach on Phuket Island. It has all sorts of things to do and see!
    • You can discover plenty of dining and outdoor competitive activities to keep you and your friends busy all day. It’s also a lovely place to relax with the sounds of the ocean and wildlife you might not notice as much on the more crowded beaches.
    • The beach has a sidewalk running alongside it, making it excellent for wheelchair users!

 

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Trip Nature Pictures Photo Beautiful Landmark Province

 

  • Wat Doi Suthep
    • If you’re hoping for something historic, visit Wat Doi Suthep! It’s a temple built around 1383 on a beautiful mountaintop. Bring your camera along for the view!
    • There can be a lot of traffic on the road driving up to it, but it’s well worth the wait. The amount of history there makes getting a guide for your time worth it if you want to hear all the facts about the place.
    • You’d think that where the temple is located would make it impossible for wheelchair users to reach it. Still, thankfully, there is an elevator from the road level that connects to a cable car bypassing the steps that people usually climb to reach the temple.
    • There are ramps to use, such as one leading into the main temple, that are quite steep. If you want to use the ramps, having someone help would be good.

 

 

Best Ways to Get Around Thailand in a Wheelchair

Young Asian Women Pushing Elderly Woman Wheelchair Garden

One of the best ways to get around Thailand is to go on a tour. Going on a tour gives you a safe means of transportation and help once you reach your destination ♿ One great tour company is Wheelchair Holidays in Thailand. The company also offers airport transfers and accessible van rental. Another option is to go with Wheelchair Taxi Thailand, which offers transportation that meets ADA Transportation requirements. 

There are plenty of taxis around Thailand, but not all are accessible. Arranging for a company to pick you up that specifically helps those with disabilities can remove some of the hassles of getting around ♿ In recent years, Thailand has significantly improved access for disabled travelers. This is especially true in Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok), with improved facilities at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, BTS Skytrain, and MRT Metro stations. 

Accessible Thailand Tours offers tailor-made holidays for travelers with disabilities ♿ Helping to visit Thailand is less daunting; the award-winning tour operator can assist and specially trained guides to help make your Thailand adventure go smoothly. 

 

Accessible Toilet Signs at Don Muang Airport

Scenery from Airplane S Window after Taking off Seeing Wing Airplane Landscape Bangkok Don Muang Airport

As I spoke of previously, Thai people are naturally helpful and polite. They can also be quite nervous. If you need assistance with language barriers, don’t misjudge the power of the smile ♿ A smile in Thailand and being polite go a long way in forming the right tone. Sometimes, Thailand can be discouraging, but always be calm and polite.

 

Pavements (Sidewalks)

Handicapped Man Wheelchair Walk Park Alley

Thai friends joke that foreigners are the only people they see walking in Thailand. I like to walk in Thailand, but it presents unique challenges for everybody ♿ High curbs and different pavements (sidewalks) are just one part of the equation. 

Expect to drive your way around diners having lunch, motorbikes taking shortcuts, parked vehicles, and sleeping dogs. Add some random telephone stalls or signs obstructing the path, and you know what the average Thai footpath looks like ♿ It is not favorable if you are visually impaired or use a wheelchair, but it is a very Thai experience. You have been warned!

 

Shopping and Eating Out

Assisting Asian Wife Wheelchair

Every Thai town, city, and resort has at least one modern shopping mall. Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) has dozens. If you’re out and about exploring, these shopping centers are always the best place to go if you want an accessible toilet ♿ The air-conditioned malls also make for a fascinating respite from the outdoor heat, allow refreshments, and plan the rest of your day comfortably.

The local night markets are at the other end of the scale to the modern malls. You can enjoy local food at these outdoor venues ♿ The low prices and relaxed atmosphere make it even more desirable. The only real downside for special needs travelers is there aren’t always decent toilet facilities nearby.

 

⚠️️ PWD Alert #3:

The kindness and hospitality of the Thai people trump all. This is so true, and although not everywhere in Thailand is as accessible as we would like, most Thai people will be happy to lend a helping hand if expected.

 

 

Bringing Medications to Thailand

Sick Elderly Asian Woman Take Medications Treat Illnesses Concept Health Care Elderly Keeping Yourself Home

If you are taking medications in Thailand, you should be able to verify that your doctor has prescribed these or a similarly qualified professional ♿ If you are not flying directly to Thailand and are traveling via another country, you should check the rules in place in that country. For example, Dubai has very stringent rules restricting some common medicinal items.

 

Top Tips for Differently Abled Travelers

Bangkok Thailand Social Distancing Measure Covid 19 Prevention Shopping Center

If you're caught short on your city travels or need to cool off, head to any shopping center. Most will have differently abled toilet facilities, and the mall's air-conditioning provides a welcome respite from the heat ♿ For good value Thai food, head to the food court, frequently found on the ground floor of many shopping centers.

Caregiver Help Support Asian Elderly Woman Sitting Wheelchair Prepare Get Her Car Travel Holidayxa

Thailand is a welcoming destination with some peaceful people you will discover anywhere in the world ♿ A smile and being calm and polite go a long way in Thailand, so don't hesitate to ask for assistance if required.

 

Visit Thailand The Complete Wheelchair Travel Guide

 

In short, Thailand is somehow disability-friendly in terms of infrastructure and facilities. Getting around in larger cities, such as Bangkok’s downtown area, might be easier. But compared to anywhere else, the Thais are considerably more friendly and ready to help ♿ The kindness of friendly strangers can repay for a lack of disability-accessible streets, buildings, and transportation. 

Doesn’t Thailand sound amazing? Whether you’re looking ahead to flavorful food, beautiful scenery, or history, wheelchair-accessible Thailand has something for everyone. The real question isn’t if you expect to visit the country, but when it will work to go ♿ Do you have some vacation time coming up? It could be the ideal time to visit this lovely country.

 

 

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Written by
PWD Guide Bear

Hi! I'm PWD Guide Bear, an avid traveler dedicated to illuminating the travel experiences of tourists with disabilities. Join me as I assess and analyze accessibility services at various destinations and provide informative posts on disabled-friendly services, including wheelchair access, accessible toilets, and more.

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