Getting Sick in Thailand – How To Treat Yourself Like A Boss

If you plan to live in Thailand for any considerable length of time, there will come a point in time when you’re literally shitting all your bodily fluids and organs out your arsehole, or vomiting your stomach out of your mouth.

Today I’m going to give you my un-educated opinion on what I do when I’m sick.

Disclaimer: I am not giving out advice or recommending anyone to do what I do, in fact you should stop reading this article right now and consult a doctor when you feel ill. That is my advice, see a doctor or registered health professional. And really, stop reading this article, it’s total horse shit.

Don’t see a doctor

When I get sick, I’ll consult with Google and my flower pot before I go and see a doctor in Thailand.

To me, doctors and hospitals in Thailand are very much similar to the game Theme Hospital, where the objective is to make as much money as possible from every patient walking through the door.


Add the first 10 girls you meet on Thai Friendly to Facebook and within 2 weeks you’ll see one of them post an image with a bunch of pills to cure her cold or flu:

sick in Thailand

They love selling you pills (and not the good ones!).

My friend had sepsis and it took one private hospital in Bangkok 3 days to diagnose him, he racked up more than 35,000฿ baht in expenses… luckily he had insurance.

No thanks Doc.

Buy Activated Charcoal/Carbon

There’s a good chance you’ll get diarrhoea at least once if you stay here for 3 or more months, maybe even days.

For 25฿ you can buy something called activated charcoal/carbon which helps to clean up all the shit (pun intended) in your stomach and intestines.

I’ll usually take about 1g per day when I have the runs or as soon as I feel my stomach is about to go full retard.


Avoid Imodium and other tablets unless you have to block your plug hole for a long distance fight, it can cause a lot of harm to your body.

How to get over food poisoning  

The way I recover from food poisoning in Thailand is to stop being a bitch.

When I first got it I was shoving everything (including black hairy dicks) down my throat and nothing worked.

Food poisoning can’t be fixed with a tablet, it just needs to run its cause.

The last time I had food poisoning I couldn’t leave my bed, all my joints were sore, I had a headache and my body would sweat and then shiver in undefined patterns.

I had no appetite, I didn’t want to drink any water and I lost a ton of gainz.

Now when I get food poisoning I just stop being a bitch and deal with it.

I drink several litres of water per day, I’ll solider through eating 4 meals a day and consume coconut water like a mother *****er.

No one cares that you got food poisoning and there’s little you can do about it when you get it other than eat and rest.


If you do decide to go into battle unprotected, many pharmacies will sell you the relevant tablet over the counter.

Use a website like WebMD to find out what tablet you need and you should be able to pick one up at pharmacies.

Cuts and bruises leading to infection

Thailand is not a sterile place where you can leave cuts unattended. If you cut yourself playing football, putting up a shelf (uwotm8?) or falling of a motorbike, you need to clean and bandage that up straight away.

natural meds

Even the water you shower with may have bacteria that can seep into your cuts and get infected.

I usually buy 99% alcohol and rub that over my cuts (and anus for good measure) as soon they appear then tape them up with a plaster.

9 times out of 10 out of ten nothing will happen if you don’t do this, but it’s not worth the risk for when it does happen.

Get good health insurance

I’ve bought health insurance every year in Thailand and used it a total of zero times.

A lot of people debate whether they are scams or not and I agree that many aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

But the good ones cover you in time of need and saved my friend 35,000฿.

With drunk drivers on the road and the numerous horror stories of backpackers in hospital with no insurance, I strongly advise you get one.

Bupa Thailand offer some decent insurance deals for when you’re in Thailand only which are not that expensive.

What about you?

What do you do when you get sick in Thailand? Leave a comment below, and if there’s anything else you’d like me to blog about let me know in the comments.

18 thoughts on “Getting Sick in Thailand – How To Treat Yourself Like A Boss

  1. Wayne
    8 September, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Food poisoning is great. I remember the last time I had food poisoning, I was vomiting into the toilet, and the force of the vomiting was causing me to shit myself. Gotta love when it is squirting out of both ends at the same time.

    Dioralyte comes in handy to help rehydrate with food poisoning / diarrhoea. A table spoon of good quality sea salt in a pint of water will do the same if you can’t get any. Try and get some good quality fruit / vegetable juice into you too. Small sips though to give it the best chances of most of being absorbed before vomiting it back up.

    1. 9 September, 2016 at 3:37 am

      Good points Wayne, it’s all about rehydrated and replenishing lost salts and minerals. Is Dioralyte good? I usually take 13 powder in the 7-Eleven although I don’t think it’s that great.

  2. Wayne
    9 September, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Dioralyte is what a doctor / nurse would recommend in the UK. It’s cheap and gets the job done, unfortunately it still tastes like shit despite being flavoured.

    1. 9 September, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Thanks I’ll grab some of that when I’m out next.

  3. 9 September, 2016 at 10:47 am

    This article somehow Open my eyes…i thought that it is an opposite way with doctors in Thailand. I Had once accident on motorbike (at Koalanta) and for 300 Baht they Really helped (3 girls girls were curing me from my accident). And it takes couple minutes When i found a doctor.
    On the other hand i Had a girl in Bangkok and she Has surgery of her nose and paid so much money and after all she was not happy with it at all. Even she told many times that with doctors in Bangkok is not good because You have to pay so much money and they are not good with their job

    1. alex s
      10 September, 2016 at 2:07 am

      Hi, I am a doctor (and on two occasions Ive also been admitted to hospitals in Thailand, first time Dengua and 6 month ago a bad case of food poison)

      – Sepsis is a severe condition, you cant diagnose it by your self, but rapidly increasing fever, sometimes a bifatic curve, fast irregular plus (over 100), interrupted urine production, can give you a hint. You need IV fluids and electrolytes and faeces and blood bacteria culture taken to determine what kind of antibiotics is first choice,. But sure, in a mild case of street food tummy you can treat it yourself.

      – And yes, its much more expensive these days in farang friendly hospitals.

  4. Scandibro
    10 September, 2016 at 5:23 am

    I had so bad food poisoning once I vomited up everything within minutes of ingesting it, including water, which made me dangerously dehydrated and made my blood pressure fall to below 100 on standing up. I went to Samitivej who made me wait 4 hours without treatment until got the go ahead from insurance (LMG). Then it was a 5 star hotel from there, big suite room, several pages of menu to choose from, a doctor saw me twice for 5 minutes in total and charged 7000 baht. Total cost one night in hospital: 24.000 THB, insurance paid luckily.

    I’ll go with Bupa next time cause they are well connected to hospitals and less waiting.

    1. 10 September, 2016 at 5:30 am

      Haha, same thing happened to my friend. They wanted his CC before they started to do any checks. First thing the showed him was a brochure of rooms, starting from 3,000b upwards. His hotel was only 1,000b a night lol.

    2. Gene
      2 February, 2017 at 11:11 am

      which exact insurance policy did you buy? how much did it cost? did you buy it before you arrived in thailand or after?

  5. Ayman
    10 September, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Hey there Harvie. Thanks for writing this article. I just visited the Bupa Insurance website and saw that there were 3 different plans to chose from, Emerald Ruby and Sapphire. Which one would you recommend I chose?

    1. 10 September, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Just read the difference and get what is best suited for your needs. I think the cheapest one should be fine but take a closer look.

  6. Tim
    10 September, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    My worst stomach incidence was in Chiang Mai.

    This diarrhea was so painful that I almost passed out on the toilet. First I thought I would just try to ride it out alone at my hotel. But the pain got worse and worse, and no shit were coming out.

    The hotel drove me to a hospital in Chiang Mai were I got some liquid in my arm intravenously, after this the pain went away maybe 70%. I have never been shitting as much as I did that night in the hospital. I probably had a constipation in front of the diarrhea, because the stomach cramps were insane and it took forever to get it out.

    The next day a Thai girl came to visit me in the hospital. I asked her to pick up some salty chips and a coca cola. Her English was not her strongest trait, so she came to the hospital with a coca cola and a kilo of salt. LOL.

    Totally agree with you that the doctors down here try to milk as much money as possible out of you. Even in the big international hospitals. Every time I go to the doctor down here to just check out stuff. I always end up with 5 different pills to take for WEEKS. It’s unreal…

    I had some pain in my tooth some time ago. I went to see the dentist too see if it was something wrong with the nerve. The nerve was fine but he thought that I had some infection in the gum. He gave me antibiotics. I called my doctor back home in Norway and he said I should not take those pills because they were very strong, and only used in Norway when someone have a life-threatening infection with high fever.

    He said if I took them I would fuck up my natural bacteria flora in my stomach, and end up with constipation or diarrhea, and suffer from general pain in the stomach the two weeks I was supposed to take them. NO THANKS!

    Be careful at the doctor down here guys. Be skeptical about every thing they give you. I’m all for science and medicine, but I also think that the body have a good natural ability to fix itself. It’s just smart to go to the doctor to exclude serious stuff. To bad they throw a ton of pills on you the moment you step inside the hospital.

    1. 11 September, 2016 at 4:54 am

      That’s another great idea, double check the meds you get before you take them. My friend had an upset stomach (nothing crazy just mild pain) and the pharmacist told him to take a full course of antibiotics.

      He didn’t take them and he was fine the day after.

      1. Tim
        12 September, 2016 at 9:55 pm

        Yes. They really like to prescribe antibiotics down here. Seems like no matter what is wrong with you, they will try with antibiotics.

        Maybe it could have something to do with the fact that it’s hot down here and that bacteria and viruses are widespread. I really don’t know to be honest..

        Anyways. I’m enjoying your blog!

  7. 14 September, 2016 at 3:58 am

    Hi Harvie, I ve been reading your blog now for over a month, read just about all blog posts. Why you don’t post more often though.

    I plan to move to Thailand in the future and this source is just awesome, thanks for sharing.

    1. 14 September, 2016 at 4:07 am

      I will try mate!

  8. Some Guy
    24 September, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    The last time I went to a hospital in BKK and told the nurse that I had abdominal pain, she just shouted STD!

    The thai doctor was also hugely disrespectful and incompetent.

    Having to deal with thais in every day situations just made me despise them, but I still stick around because western Europe is just such shithole these days with rapefugees on every corner.

  9. Marky Mark
    18 October, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Gotten the old gastro-intestinal disorder bit a couple of times in the LOS. Food poisoning or bad water? Don’t know. It is true. Nothing you can do about it except for riding it out and hydrating. I would drink a lot of water, gatorade and electrolyte powder you can get at a pharmacy. Also bananas have a lot of potassium and help you recover. Sure, it sucks to have to hang out in your hotel room, but nothing else you can do.
    Always good when you travel to take vitamins, especially the B’s and zinc to help keep your immune system healthy.
    Washing your hands a lot helps avoid some of the frequent medical issues from travel. Once in Phuket I got pink eye. Holy shit, that sucked. Never had it before. Went to a clinic. I asked the doc how did I get it, and he said any number of ways. It’s quite common. He set me up with eye cream and drops and it went away. Would have been cheaper just to go to the pharmacy and buy the stuff but I would have not known what to get before I went to the clinic. I didn’t care anyway. I just wanted it cured. Nowadays I always seem to have one of those little bottles of hand sanitizer. Geeky? Yes, but once burned, twice shy.
    If you run around with the ladies, always wash good after any horizontal activities with them. Wash with a good soap and I recommend cleaning up with rubbing alcohol as well. Your hands, your junk, your whatever. Always urinate ASAP afterwards as well.

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