The vast majority of physically challenged Thai people live in rural areas. Generally, it is the responsibility of families to care for and provide for their disabled relatives, and there is very little government help available. This includes a lack of services for physically challenged travelers, such as wheelchair ramps and elevators, and consequently, those who attempt to travel with disabilities in Thailand can have a challenging time.
Travel & Getting Around
Thailand is not an easy place to visit for people with reduced mobility or other physical challenges. The larger resorts and tourist attractions provide facilities for disabled people, but in rural areas public transport is limited and often inaccessible to wheelchair users.
Moving around the city can be extremely difficult for disabled people. The streets and pavements are uneven and few buildings provide ramps and handrails to aid disabled access. Guide dogs are rare and there are few audio signals for the blind at traffic crossings.
Nonetheless, a project has been announced by the Bangkok governor along with the Disabled People International Asia-Pacific Region to ensure that Bangkok pavements are easily navigable for those with reduced mobility. A commitment has also been made to make public transport more accessible.
Public transport is not usually equipped to facilitate disabled access. Public buses are inaccessible to wheelchair users. Disabled people are usually forced to travel through the cities by taxi. However, few taxi drivers are experienced or trained in helping a wheelchair-bound customer into and out of their cars.
Sky Train (BTS) stations in Bangkok are on multiple levels, with ticketing on a level above the street and trains on upper levels, making access difficult for wheelchair users. At the moment only five of the stations provide disabled access. However, there are plans for elevators to be built at other stations.
The national rail network has no special facilities for disabled passengers but assistance will be given to those who ask.
The Bangkok MRT underground (Metro) has better disabled access and all of the stations have elevators. Assistance will be given to disabled passengers if requested. On the trains there are locks for wheelchairs.
At Suvarnabhumi Airport a lack of elevators and disabled toilet facilities makes it difficult for wheelchair users, though assistance is easy to procure.