| March 9th, 2023 | 88 Comments

Food poisoning. Are there two words more dreaded by any traveler? Probably not. Food poisoning in Thailand is a risk that every traveler should be aware of. 

Microbes and bacteria that our bodies are completely unfamiliar with lurk everywhere and one bit of bad luck is all it takes for them to invade and disrupt the sensitive balance found within our digestive system. And the food poisoning timeline is an unforgiving one.  Moments after you feel ill the worst can begin…

There are many ways you can introduce “bad bacteria” into your system. Drinking contaminated water or eating spoiled meat is not the only way to let these microbes into your body.  Many developing countries have hygiene standards that are not up to par with those of North America and Europe, and all it takes is one pair of unwashed wands handling your food to trigger days of discomfort.

Randi and I were recently unfortunate enough to eat or drink something contaminated, and boy, we suffered for it. Our ordeal began early one evening with the sudden and dramatic onset of stomach cramping, nausea, and sweating. This happened to be the best part of the night, it was pretty much all downhill from there. Projectile vomiting and diarrhea soon followed and the next twelve hours of our lives devolved into a series of foot races to the toilet. Our time outside the bathroom was spent curled up in a fetal position, shivering and aching, wondering if death had chosen that night to come calling.

It was really THAT bad. It would have been comical if the reality wasn’t so miserable. The food poisoning timeline was fast and furious, to say the least.


Thankfully we were in a position to rest, rehydrate, and recuperate. The process took a few days, the first two of which we were utterly useless. Anything more demanding than a 10 minute walk was hard to conceive of, and even harder to act on. We drank a lot of water but we didn’t start drinking Oral Hydratation Solution until the third day, and it wasn’t until then that our strength began to return. By the 5th day, our appetites came back, and we started eating regular food again.

If you are reading this because you, or a friend of yours, is suffering mightily right now, we feel your pain. We’ve been there, walked in your shoes and we know how badly it sucks. But you WILL get through this. Believe that and take all steps to ensure your quickest possible recovery. You, too, will have survived food poisoning in Thailand.

Food Poisoning Timeline – Preventing Food Poisoning

Avoid eating uncooked leafy greens that you have not washed yourself when in Thailand!

The best way to recover from food poisoning or T.D. (traveler’s diarrhea) is to not get it in the first place. Let’s be honest, this is not always possible, as even the most cautious traveler can consume something they think is safe…but isn’t. However, here are a few key points for preventing food poisoning in Thailand, or anywhere else you might travel, and minimizing your risk.

Preventing Food Poisoning While Traveling in Thailand or Elsewhere 

  1. No fresh leafy greens – Unless you are absolutely sure these have been copiously washed with filtered water it is best to avoid eating anything in this category. Cooked greens are usually ok, especially in boiled soups. In the same vein don’t eat raw unpeeled fruit or vegetables.
  2. Avoid Ice – Most restaurants/hotels/bars in touristy areas use ice that comes from frozen mineral water, and they have it delivered daily. Usually best to ask first if the ice is made from tap water before ordering anything with ice in it, however.
  3. Wash your hands – wash your hands with soap often and use antibacterial cream before eating for maximum safety.
  4. Bottled or filtered water – Unless you enjoy playing Russian Roulette never drink tap water in developing countries. That said, it really sucks to contribute any more plastic waste into the ecosystem of whatever country you are visiting, so if your hotel or hostel has a water refilling station be a responsible traveler and use it or travel with a water bottle with a filtration system.
  5. Is Street Food in Thailand Safe? – In a word….maybe. Eat only food made to order. Street food in Thailand often looks and smells amazing, and is usually pretty safe to eat. However, you want to avoid anything that looks like its been laying out for a while, especially in the sun. Stick with bubbling boiling soups, freshly made Pad Thai, and meat that has been grilled before your eyes.

Food Poisoning Recovery – Hydrate

rehydrations salts, thailand
A packet of oral rehydration salts, like this one, should cost you 5 – 7 Bhat.

If you are experiencing diarrhea or vomiting you need to make sure you rehydrate properly. If you are not doing a great job holding water in, go to the nearest pharmacy and pick up Oral Rehydration packets like the one pictured above.

They are the mana of the gods in these situations. If you are suffering from food poisoning in Thailand you NEED these packets. They should cost you no more than 5 baht. Use up to 5 a day, really.

Once Food Poisoned – Seek Medical Treatment If….

when to visit the doctor with food poisoning in thailand

If your symptoms of food poisoning are “limited to” vomiting and loose frequent stools avoid hospitals in Thailand unless you feel you are in immediate need of aid, and instead seek out an English speaking doctor (Google is your best friend for that). We learned this the hard way after visiting the hospital and getting nothing out of it but a large bill. Clinics are often cheaper, more attentive, and it’s always good to have an attentive doctor you can communicate with.

That’s not to say that your experience at a hospital won’t go better than ours, but it’s best to remember that hospitals tend to be for emergencies, and your food poisoning, while seemingly dire and world shattering, is not probably not life threatening. You are one in a hundred tourists with the same symptoms, sadly.

We were lucky enough to find a great private doctor in Chiang Mai (see the comments below for her info) who took us in, spoke with us for 20 minutes after running tests and taking samples, and told us what each and every drug she prescribed did and why she recommended taking them.

Be on the look out for blood in vomit and stool and for high fevers. If you exhibit any of these symptoms seek out immediate medical care. In a hospital. Immediately. Blood in vomit or stools or/and a fever over 101 Celsius is nothing to be trifled with. So while we don’t mean to be alarmist it is best to get immediate professional care.

If you are unfortunate enough to have to seek medical treatment, travel insurance will be your best friend. We recommend World Nomads. Click here for a quote, it takes less than a minute. 

Recovering From Food Poisoning – Rest

food poisoning in Chiang Mai

If you are food poisoned your body will spend a LOT of energy trying to get rid of whatever is making you puke and vomit. So you will need rest to recover.

Get plenty of it. This should be obvious but sometimes its hard to admit temporary defeat. Don’t be afraid to miss out on a couple of days of activities as a result. You need to let your body recover.

When Suffering From Food Poisoning While Traveling – Upgrade Your Accommodations

Hotels in Thailand

Speaking of rest, that might be a bit challenging if you’re staying in a dorm room with a shared bathroom when you get food poisoned. When we were both struck with food poisoning at the same time, we were lucky enough to have access to a private toilet and soft and cozy beds to recover in. This really helped us recover.

If you’re not fortunate enough to be in that situation, we highly recommend you upgrade to a nice hotel room or private hostel room to recover in. Because really, what’s worse than running full speed to the toilet only to find that it’s occupied? Also, you’re in Thailand! Take advantage of the fact that you can get a nice hotel room for only a fraction of the cost you would pay at home.

Recovery From Food Poisoning – Restricted Diet

treating food poisoning in thailand

The good news is that in most cases, food poisoning lasts no more than two to three days. You will be your old non puking self soon enough!

Ease your digestive system back into solid foods by eating simple, starchy snacks. Stay away from foods that are high in fat, sugar, or spice. When traveling, it can be difficult to find foods that are appetizing after a few days of illness. Instead of going to a restaurant, hit up a grocery store and invest in bread, cereal and other foods that will sit comfortably in your tummy.

The recommended diet for recovery is called the BRAT diet. BRAT is an acronym that simply means bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Bananas five you potassium, rice fills you with starch, apples are nutritious and relatively easy to digest, and toast won’t offend your stomach while soaking up liquids that might make your poo watery and super soft.

Make sure you eat even if you feel no appetite, you need every bit of strength to get back on your feet. Do not drink coffee or caffeinated beverages, alcohol, or soda loaded with sugar.

Get better soon!

You are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask fellow travelers or locals for help if you find yourself suffering from food poisoning while traveling, whether it is in Thailand or anywhere else. And if you are ever sick on the road and feel alone shoot us an e-mail 🙂 We will do our best to help you out.

Feel better soon!


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Surviving Food Poisoning in Thailand

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Written by Michael Miszczak

Michael has been traveling the world while writing, photographing, and sharing his stories and travel tips since 2010.

He is originally from New York City, and currently lives in Prague.


88 thoughts on “Surviving Food Poisoning in Thailand – Lessons Learned in Thailand

      1. Probably the same one? are you kidding, there are so many spots to get food poisoning here, it’s unreal. I have lived in Phuket for the past 7 years and I have had 5 times food poisoning and one time of it was extremely severe. 2

  1. I’m in Chiang Mai right now. About 24 hrs in to this food poisoning ordeal. Would really appreciate the name of the doctor that you used. Thanks

    1. Funny. I got food poisoning from a restaurant in Chiang Mai. Only time in my travels I ever had that happen.

  2. Hi everyone! If you’re reading this article because you’re unfortunate enough to have food poisoning we feel your pain and wish you a speedy recovery! We’ve gotten a lot of requests for the name of the doctor we saw in Chiang Mai so wanted to add her information below. We hope your experience with her is as fantastic as ours was.
    Dr Morgan
    HCMC Clinic,
    Hang Dong Road.
    (almost opposite Tesco)
    Monday-Friday 08.30-19.30 Hrs
    Saturday 8.30 – 13.00 Hrs
    053 804405

    1. Why was your Chiang Mai doctor in VietNam ?.
      Is that not a tad impractical, particularly if your suffering from acute diarea 🙂

      1. Hi there, I’m not sure what you mean. The doctor was in Chiang Mai at the address given above. Full details can be found on the website, also listed in my previous comment. 🙂 Have a nice day.

  3. Thanks so much for this article, its really comforting. I’m sitting next to my boyfriend in our hotel room in Patong, I’ve never ever seen someone vom so much! It’s horrendous to see him so sick and feel so helpless. I’m about to run to the pharmacy and grab some of those rehydration salts. Hopefully they’ll do the trick however he’s only been ill for a few hours, I’m in for a long couple of days by the sounds of it!

    1. Awww, Gen, I hope your bf’s issues passed by rapidly. It really really sucks being that sick. Do you have any idea what he ate/drank that brought this on?

  4. Thank you so much for this article, my girlfriend was spraying out of every single area possible it was horrible… we made the mistake of taking the charcoal tabs and mixing it with what I assumed was Ex-Lax… She was throwing up black demons…I’m glad I saw the part about the rehydration salts…. your life saver thank you again!!!!!!

    1. Jason, so sorry to hear about your girlfriend and the black demons! We are really happy our article helped. Our experience there was brutal so we know how important it is to have good information on how to recover.

      We hope she is feeling better soon!

    2. Hi, I am curious as to what Charcoal tabs and Ex-lax is? (as i am trying to avoid these possible situations. I am traveling to thailand in a couple weeks and trying to do my research.) Im sorry she had to experience such a horrific sickness. Thanks for passing on the information!

      1. Hi Karen,

        Charcoal tablets are meant to absorb all of the toxins in your system and move them out. Ex-lax is a medicine used to treat constipation – the exact opposite of what you need when you have food poisoning. 🙂

      2. Hi my other half is in Thailand at the moment and he’s got food poisoning. Pharmacy gave him rehydration sachets as you suggested but also gave him black pellet for poison and stomach cramping tabs. I’m a bit concerned because he hasn’t replied in 6 hours could it be that he’s been given those that aren’t for food poisoning?

      3. Paige,

        The black pills are likely carbon pills. Totally harmless. He might have been in touch simply due to exhaustion and the fact that it was the middle of the night in Thailand when you wrote this =P

        Hope all is better today!

  5. My boyfriend started this morning (we’re in Phuket and he thought using tap water to brush his teeth was a good idea last night)… and then all hell broke loose about three hours ago. Luckily I have some hydration packets with me; I didn’t realise they could help with food poisoning. Thank you 🙂 We have a flight to Singapore at noon tomorrow. Eeek. Wish us luck.

    1. Good luck guys, hope you make that flight! We were in NO condition to move for a couple of days, but our case was severe… Let us know if there is anything we can do to help!

    2. I have food poisoning right now in Koh Samui, literally the worst feeling in my life and had to survive a 5 hour tattoo almost passed out on the 5 minute walk home, ready to admit defeat and quietly die on the side of the road. I think I must have contracted it in the same way as your boyfriend! I’ve only ever brushed my teeth with tap water and was fine… until now. Never again x

      1. Ash, you are doing to need to buy hydration packets and try to drink as much as possible. Your body gets dehydrated both by getting the ink done, and by the food poisoning. Take it easy for the next few days, and HYDRATE!

  6. Great and informative post! We recently traveled to Thailand and were just fine, knock on wood! We were very careful with water, even for brushing teeth used bottled. Also, were very cautious with our food cart selections as you mentioned. Heading to Vietnam shortly, hopefully will work out the same for us!

    1. Hey Robert, it’s great to hear that you didn’t have any issues in Thailand. I was actually there a few weeks ago and thankfully didn’t get sick either. Goes to show what a little prevention can do! Hope you had a great time in Vietnam too. 🙂

  7. Leaving for Chiang Mai December 3rd for a month.. Will be by myself, a bit worried now .. Thanks a lot for all the great tips. I’m saving the doctor’s name and just took a screen shot of your useful list of things to avoid . Will memorize it in the plane 🙂 thank you!

    1. Hi Sarah, don’t worry! I have lots of friends who have done the solo female travel thing there and loved it.

      I hope you have a fantastic (food poison free) time there! Let us know if you need any suggestions.

  8. Ahhhh I just want to say THANK YOU so much Randi! Your post really helped and I hope we do not need to call the doctor but who knows. We are in Chang Mai and had to cancel our flight home because my husband has been throwing up and having diarrhea for over 12 hours. It seems like he should have stopped by now but it comes in intervals where in the beginning it was constant.

  9. Huge thanks foe this post! I’ve had a problem while reading other blog about traveling – everyone who traveled in Thailand praised their street food, and noone ever mentioned risks such as food poisoning, and it made me kinda anxious, because I don;t believe that one can indulge in all sorts of street food without the risk of food poisoning. So big thanks for discussing the problem and giving useful tips.

    1. Hey, we’re glad you found this article valuable. Food poisoning is certainly a consideration in many places around the world, especially if you have a tender tummy like I do. I wouldn’t spend too much time stressing about it, but certainly do follow our list of preventative measures. Happy trails! Let us know how your trip goes =)

  10. Hey there! My girlfriend is in Thailand and got something real bad. Her entire 15 person group did. i read this article and suggested that she take some of the rehydration pills and Ca-B-Bon— what was the dosage on the ca-b-bon? She’s taken one a few hours ago. Thankfully her fever and sweats have passed (possibly thanks to a Tylenol) but it’s been 4 hours and we’re not sure when she can take the Ca-b-Bon. Can’t read the label!

    Get well everyone!!

    1. Neco,

      Sorry to hear about your girlfriend. Hope she gets better super soon!

      Since we are not medical professionals we can not really give you medical advice. However, when we were sick in Thailand we took one carbon pill every 12 hours based on a conversation we had with a pharmacist.

      Where is your gf right now?

  11. I stopped on the way to pai from chiang Mai (I took my motorbike) and decided to have a noodle soup at a cafe along the way. By the time I arrived in pai, i, like you could only think about laying in bed in cold sweat interspersed with runs to the toilet. 2 days later and I’ve hit the rehydration salts and 7/11s finest banana cake. The smell of any Thai food makes me throw as does the smell of sewage. A previous traveller had written a Paulo coellho quote on the wall of my cabin which says, basically, eat when you need to eat and move on when you need to move on. I’ll move on when I can face the journey, thanks. 🙂

  12. With food poisoning / stomach flu, the best things to do is stay hydrated. Pour your hydration packets into your bottled water and sip slowly and constantly. If you drink too fast, everything will come out again. So pace yourself. Alternate this with Coca Cola (small sips once in a while). Coke actually helps settle the stomach. Don’t ask me how. Drink a probiotic capsule every 4 hours to put the good bacteria back into your gut and to help drive out the bad bacteria (which is making you sick). Nibble on salty crisps/chips to help your stomach settle or toast with a salty spread like bovril or marmite (don’t know if this is available/know in other countries – dry toast will also do (no butter). Stay away from any dairy while sick. Hope this helps the next unlucky, unsuspecting traveler. Good Luck!

  13. I found it interesting reading these posts – my sympathy to all sufferers:) My husband and I returned from a 4 week stay in northern Thailand recently. We are both over 67 years old so were very careful about contamination. I recommend following the advice about street food, although we ate happily from stalls that were cooking fresh. We also avoided meat and eggs. We only drank and used bottled water and peeled all fruit. Wash your hands often – more than you do at home. We took lots of rehydration salts and anti-diarrhoea tabs with us, and my husband was slightly ill for a day so we were glad we did.
    As an interesting comparison – a few years ago he got food poisoning from a restaurant in USA, in a town near Plymouth. He was horrendously sick all night, and became very disorientated due to dehydration. At some point during the night he staggered into the bathroom , fell and cracked his head on the basin. I had to call an ambulance and he had several stitches in his head. He’s never touched clams since!
    So it’s not just in Thailand you need to be careful:))

    1. Rachael, thank you for sharing your wise words and story with us. I’m really sorry to hear about your husband’s experience. It must have been terrifying. Really happy he made it through the incident at home and you two didn’t have any serious issues in Thailand! 🙂

  14. How soon after the vomiting and diarrhea would you say it is safe to take the carbon tablets? My wife just came down with food poisoning this morning after a zip line lunch yesterday.

  15. Hi, I’m in Krabi and my 7 year old daughter is vomiting, or retching if she hasn’t drunk water, every hour or so. It started about 8 hours ago. Now my husband has started to feel nausea too. Luckily we have a chemist next door to our hotel and our receptionist is also a nurse, so we got some rehydration salts and we have probiotics, but she can’t keep anything down. She’s complaining of stomach pains every hour or so, how long did it take for the cramps to stop?
    Fingers crossed, I seem to be fine,but then I’m a vegetarian so we eat different stuff….
    Thanks a million for your post, really helps as I sit here fretting about these two…

    1. Really sorry to hear about your daughter and husband! They’re lucky to have you there to care for them. 🙂

      To answer your question, my stomach stopped cramping within 12-24 hours, but I’m sure everyone and every case of food poisoning is different.

      I hope they start feeling better very soon.

      All the best,

  16. What a fantastic post. Thank you so much for this. Really well written and will be invaluable for the future!

  17. Hello!

    Me and my Fiance are looking for somewhere to go for our honeymoon next year.

    We both have sensitive stomachs, I take stomach pills. Is it a bad idea for me to go to Thailand?

    I am just nervous.


    1. Hi Alex,

      If you follow the prevention tips we list in this article there is a very good chance you will be just fine in Thailand. Contaminated water would be your biggest worry.

      What are your other honeymoon destination options?

  18. Hey there! I’m currently in Bangkok suffering from some bad food poisoning. The vommiting has stopped after about 12 hours but the nausea is still there and I burp often. Couldnr find the salts at the two closest 7-11s was wondering if you have any other reccommendations! Also my body aches so bad I can’t sleep. Has anyone else had that experience? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kandice,

      Really sorry to hear that you are sick too! It is not fun at all to deal with while traveling.

      For the salts, please head to a pharmacy. I’ve never seen them at the 7/11s. Also, your muscles are likely sore from vomiting and probably also because you are dehydration. So, the re-hydration salts are important.

      Hope you are feeling better soon!

      Take care, Randi

  19. Hi, I’m in phuket at the moment and got sick last night.. had diarrhea, stomach cramps and felt very nauseous. My fiance went to the pharmacy and got gastro tablets for me which has stopped the diarrhea but the nausea and cramps are still there. Today i went myself to the pharmacy and the lady told me i have food poisoning and gave me nausea tablets and antibiotics.. is this ok for me to take or should i just be using the rehydrate salts? Truth be told i do think the medication is helping but I’m a little worried about taking all this medication.
    Thankyou 🙂

    1. Hi Fay,

      Sorry to hear about your tummy issues! We feel your pain.

      We are not medical professionals, and as such are not really suited to give you any sort of medical advice. However, waiting 3 or 4 days before taking Cipro (the antibiotic i assume you were given) is what we would do. If you have already started on the antibiotics DO NOT stop. Finish the full dose. And definitely start drinking the rehydrations salts.

      Hope you feel better soon!

    2. Thank you much!! Tuesday went to a&C bakery that did it ! 1 week later still recovering from the worst ever bad food illness. Pastry is all we had.
      We have had an item ( random) from other places in Thailand where it was minor and only lasted a few days but this was brutal!
      Fever and all. This has helped me see light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you.

  20. This is one of my worst fear for the kids when we travel. Its probably inevitable that one of us will go down. I will definitely make sure I have rehydration sachets.

    good advice on googling an English doctor.
    Great tips on staying safe x

    1. Marie,
      That’s understandable. Unfortunately, it does happen and we’ve both experienced our fair share of food poisoning while traveling. Nevertheless, we haven’t let it stop us. We hope it doesn’t deter you from traveling with your family. Best us luck and thank you for reading the article!

  21. Having read this I wished I had seen this sooner. I returned last month from Thailand (24th June 2016) back to the UK after having an extreme bout of food poisoning which unfortunately I’m still suffering from – 4 weeks later.

    Me and a friend went out to Thailand from LGW on the 16th June (arrived 17th) for the full moon party in Koh Phangan which was on the weekend (18th-19th). Our plan was to stay in Thailand for 2 weeks.

    I’m 26 and my mate Mark is 31. Mark has been to Thailand before so knew the level of sanitation was pretty poor out there. Little did I know…

    The night of the full moon party I was hit with the fire skipping rope to my neck and upper back.

    If you haven’t done a fire skipping rope before, don’t. It looks fun and after a few buckets of alcohol and that red bull that feels like speed! It sounds amazing!…..It really is a bad idea.

    I sustained partial thickness burns and was treated in a clinic the next day for my burns and for severe dehydration. I was given some foul smelling cream (MABO – smelt like peanut butter) and a netted gauze for my burn which was wrapped around my neck on my left-side as well as a Saline and electrolyte drip which I was plugged into for 2 hours.

    The next day me and Mark went to Koh Tao (Island close to Koh Phangan). We sat down outside one of the bars and ordered some food to make me feel better. I had a burger, chips and salad and Mark had something without food poisoning :). This was the meal that was going to change the next few days, dramatically.

    I was already loosing a lot of water through the burn on my neck as well as the heat from the weather that many of you will be familiar with. However, after we had eaten we walked back to the hotel and I had a 4 hour nap. I woke up and looked down to see my tummy had grown 4 times the size!

    I sat in bed for about an hour trying to fight the urge to puke but an hour was all I had in me and I jumped out of bed and ran to the toilet. Mark was asleep at the time but was awoken by the sound of me spewing my guts up. I puked more that I thought anyone could over the next 2-3 hours and struggled to sleep the whole night.

    Day two and the fever kicked in. I stayed in bed the whole day feeling hot and cold and having wierd dreams, vomiting and diarrhoea. The diarrhoea was so bad I think all food in solid form had well and truly vanished.

    With the burn on my neck and the severe case of food poisoning I had picked up, I wasn’t doing well. My burn started to ooze more and more. Every time I drank water I had to do little sips as I made that mistake of humming back water after puking and then puking straight away again. Not fun.

    After 4 days of sickness I had decided that I had to get home. I was in a seriously bad way and required the medical care in England to make me right again.

    Unfortunately, at the point I realised I had to get home, I was in Koh Tao and had a huge trip in front of me. 30 hours of travelling before arriving at Heathrow. That trip was tough. I was so ill I kept falling asleep without knowing it. Reality was hard to define as I was unable to think and act normally and the simple lack of food reduced my energy levels considerably.

    However, I made it back and a mate of mine picked me up from the airport and drove me to East Surrey hospital where I was treated for burns and dehydration.

    4 weeks on and my burn has healed well. Incredibly well in fact. However, I still had diarrhoea and stomach cramps. It’s looking like I have something called – ‘Amebiasis’.

    I will let you guys google that 😉

    I should hopefully recover soon and be back to myself. Looking back it was likely the salad on my meal that hurt me. A salad. Crazy.

    Be careful guys!

    1. Oh. My. God. Gary!!!

      I’m so sorry to hear about this nightmare. You’re absolutely right though, it was probably the salad. We’ve been sick from lettuce a few times and now avoid it like the plague when traveling to countries where the tap water isn’t safe to drink.

      I’m glad that you were able to get back home and seek medical attention immediately. Your story is not a pleasant one, but I hope it won’t put you off traveling for long. Even with my fair share of scars and illnesses acquired and experienced during my travels, I’d never stop because of them.

      Take care and I hope you’ve fully recovered by now!

      PS – in the future, fire jumping or fire limbo is never a good idea 😉

    2. Well, well, well, Gary, you basically just told my 34 year old self what to do next in Thailand…I’m going fire jump roping at the Full Moon Party lol I know I just “lol’d” but I’m not kidding. I may be old and I may totally be stupid if I get hurt but one of the things I keep repeating to myself daily here after seeing something insane is, “Can’t do that in America”

      Sorry about the food poisoning, obviously I am on here for that reason but I don’t know what I have. I have never had such severe cramps in my life followed with multiple trips all night to sit on that toilet. We brought (plan on living here for a few years) charcoal pills and I think I better start taking them tomorrow. I have a sensitive stomach as it is.

      Glad to hear everything worked out for you in the end! Man, don’t give up on all the fire activities just yet, maybe just have only 1 beer first then multiple buckets afterward!!

    1. Sophie, I’m really sorry to hear that you too were struck with food poisoning. I hope you’ve made a full recovery. Take care.

  22. I have just returned from Thailand and got food poisoning the day before I was due to fly back to New Zealand. I thought I had eaten sensibly and drank only bottled water and I was so sick I thought I was going to die. I eventually got some electrolytes powder from pharmacy and mixed with water and that certainly made me feel a lot better and travel led home the next day feeling exhausted but no vomiting or diarrhea! !

    1. Ismae, I know the feeling and it isn’t a fun one! Really glad you got the electrolytes and got home safely. Take care!

  23. I am in Phi Phi at the moment. Got really sick, I had crab last night in the restaurant that looked clean and all so wiuld never expect that. I have beeen vomiting and had diarrhea for the last 12 hours. My feiend got me those sachets 4 hours ago amd I already feel the difference. At least the feeling of constant vomiting it gone. Worst experience in my life. Now , I have a quedtion cause my friend she got so scared that she can get sick from staying with me in the same room that she got separate room for her for the next 2 nights. Do you think that it was necessary for us to split for that or she would be safe anyway. Thanks for your advise…the page was really helpfull.

    1. Sorry to hear that you are suffering Agnes! Hope you feel much better very soon. Food poisoning is NOT contagious, but a stomach virus is. It sounds like you have food poisoning, but we are in no position to diagnose you. Separate rooms for a couple of days might be a good thing for your friend, not because she is likely to get what you have, but so that she doesnt have to listen to you hurl haha.

      Feel better soon!

  24. Hi
    I am in Patong 3 days ago with my wife and kids. The first 2 days we went on a boat trip to phi phi and pha nga bay. I got these cramps from yesterday afternoon. Thank god I don’t have other issues diarrhoea or vomiting. I don’t know how I got it but it should be either the included food on these boat trips (was salad on one) either the sea food ate at patong the first night. However two out of four have these cramps and hoping to get better soon. Your article is very useful wish I have read it before! !

  25. I suffered dreadful food poisoning in Thailand & ended up in a Thai hospital. I thought I was going to die. Anyone contemplating travelling in any Asian country would be well advised to pack the antibiotic NORFLOXACIN. This is what the hospital treated me with & I recovered quickly. The rehydration is essential in the recovery as well if you can keep it down.

    Thai pharmacies will sell antibiotics over the counter without a script. If you’re planning to go off the beaten track in Asia & you fall victim to food poisoning, get on the NORFLOXACIN straight away. If you’re in the middle of nowhere with no meds & get food poisoning, expect to suffer like you have never suffered before.

    1. Agree we travel to Asia regularly from Australia, just returned from a 3 day Trek, we are here for 6 weeks and never leave Australia without, Carbon Tabs, Cylinders of Hydralyte a lemon flavour, makes the water pleasant, as we sweat a lot trekking, we also use on takeoff of plane as body dehydrates quickly in cabins. Hand gel and wipes and your own toilet paperWe always have a prescription filled for NORFLOXACIN although this time in Australia prescription has been replaced by CIPROFLIXACIN. To date never needed but great insurance for $9. Eat where it’s is busy and frequented by the young professionals of town and only eat hot just cooked Asian and fruit with skin on eg bananas, mango, peeled apple. Ensure you skin it yourself…..

  26. Me and my boyfriend have both recently been sick with food poisoning in Thailand. But he was able to stop vomiting after about 8 hours and has then slowly began to regain strength.

    I have seen a doctor who prescribed me some anti vomiting/nausea tablets. Took one but then vomited, took another and then vomited. I have been vomiting now for nearly 24 hrs and my nausea just won’t leave! I was wondering how long you guys suffered with the nausea etc? I know every case is different but I’m trying to drink the ORS sachets and it’s just making me feel more sick.

    1. Hey Vicky, sorry to hear you are suffering. We’ve been there, and feel your pain. Nausea that lasts as long as you describes, and causes you to vomit up water, sounds pretty serious. If you can not hold water down you might need to see a doctor who can put you on an IV drip. We don’t want to dole out medical advise here, but if you are still vomiting in 12 hours you should seek medical attention from a good doctor.

      We hope you feel better very very soon!

  27. Currently on a 1 month holiday to Thailand and I think my other half may have ran into this god awful illness 🙁
    Earlier we decided to explore near our hotel and we found a mcdonalds (in a hospital funny enough). He isn’t really one to eat anything off the streets and only live on McDonald’s, KFC etc. Anyway he had a burger meal and I decided to wait to see what I can find off the streets.
    He started mentioning about feeling sick after a couple of hours later while I was having my food and we then walked back to the hotel. By the time we got to the hotel, he was feeling really ill and i didn’t realise it was bad until he ran to the toilets and had a shower of beef patty chunks.
    He has been sick a few times and I think he’s just passing liquid now. Then the diarrhoea started.
    Normally he does get ill once in a while by a burger or something but he’d rarely be sick and when he does, he feels better after being sick once. He said he noticed the beef looked a bit red but didn’t think it would cause all this.
    I do think it’s food poisoning so going to get some of the rehydration things in the morning (luckily he’s fast asleep at the moment so maybe he will sleep through the night but not very hopeful!)
    Had so much planned for the next few days before we fly to Singapore for a week detour.
    We have also planned to go to Phuket and Phi Phi Island towards the end of our holiday and I’ve read the comments about food position a lot over there. We are staying in Pathong for a few days too so I’m worried.
    Never had this problem before during our few trips to Thailand and we have had lots of McDonald’s too. I’ve been having literally all sorts off streets in Bangkok and also Yangon (we visited last 5 days) and I’m surprised it’s not me who’s throwing up everywhere!!
    Thanks a lot for the useful info, I feel so helpless in this situation but feel a bit better knowing we’re not the only one.

    Kind Regards

    1. Do not eat western food on phi phi infact try not to eat on phi phi the place is one big toilet.just have some beers and party then get the hell out of there.also dont swim in the sea on phi phi unless you like swimming with turds

  28. Thanks so much for the commentary. However happened upon this site just a little too late. Have traveled all over the world and never been sick. Guess my luck ran out. We are in Patong and were fine until a few days ago. Then my spouse came down with repetitive, voluminous, vomiting, Diahrrea and an energy depletion. I just have Diaharrea, an energy Zap and slight headache. My spouse didn’t get better and the Dr. Had to give him an IV injection, Antibiotics, Rehydration Packets, Ibuprophen for cramps and prescription for a bland diet. Said he is the 100th person in the last week he has treated for this. Whole families contracting it. Some afflicted so badly they have anxiety attacks and can’t venture out of their rooms. Please take Heed and be cautious.

  29. I think the toilet knows my name by now. Been in Bangkok for about 3 weeks eating street food freely with no problems and although I ended up on the toilet a few times, nothing like this. Every 30 minutes, nothing but liquid but I do not feel sick. Thank God for this article because now I know what to watch out for with the street food I eat. Its funny because in america when you go out to eat you think nothing of it. not here, always think.

  30. Having one right now in Koh samui! allday in bed very hard to move a muscle! unstable stomach.. Had my portion of vomit/ diarhea.

    BRAT Diet is recommended i had 1 small banana and looking forward for getting my appetite back and have a stable stomach.

  31. My husband and I are in Krabi having the time of our life. After an amazing rafting trip we were treated to a buffet lunch. I’m certain the Thai omelette was the culprit. Within 2 hours I was begging our driver to pull over. I threw up on the side of the road and although embarrassed, I felt much better…within another hour, back at our hotel I became violently ill. In fact violent doesn’t even begin to describe it. Continued vomiting, aches, extreme chills dry heaves. Consistently for the next six hours. The next morning I loaded up on meds and braved up to go on a Phi Phi tour. I have no idea how I made it. I was hungry so I ate toast…part 2 began. The most severe diarrhea I‘ didn’t even know existed! I didn’t know where it was all coming from. It was like my internal organs were liquefying. I’m at the airport headed back to Bangkok this morning. I feel like I’ve done one million sit ups…BUT THIS WAS THE MOST AMAZING TRIP I’VE EVER BEEN ON. I have an extreme aversion to Thai eggs right now so I’m sure that was the culprit. We have hydration packets and next time I will bring antibiotics. This did not change my opinion of this country or it’s beautiful people! Visit Thailand! Everyone smiles… even me!

  32. Woke up to leave Koh Lanta yesterday when the worst stomach cramps began. Wave after wave. Toilet running every 15 minutes. Finally thought it was easing, only to continue but with longer intervals. The pain is excruciating! Fishcakes I believe was the culprit. Anyway 18 hours later and I’ve given in to taking some Imodium. Fingers crossed it passes soon. Made it to Krabi, flight back on Tuesday. Surprising thing is, I came to Thailand 11 years ago, stayed 3 months with my 3 children and none of us had anything.

  33. In Koran Beach now… I feel a little shaky and sweats… But not sick “yet” .. I hope it was just the Sun. I went from a minus 42C in Canada to plus 31C in Phuket in the sun all day. I ate some sketch food today. And maybe not as careful as i should be abroad. But this article opened my eyes to things a little better. I may be that naive traveler today. But not tomorrow I won’t be Lol. You guys are the real mvps. If it is food poisoning about to get me… whats my window here? If I am not sick in 24 hours then I made it ? I was how ever smart enough to get an anti biotic prescription for this before i left canada so i have that with me. And i do have 100 percent coverage for everything through work insurance. Let’s hope this is just jetlag and too much Sun. The 43 hour trip to get here kicked my ass a bit also.

    1. Good luck Jason! We hope it’s just a bit of an upset tummy. Your window? Honestly, we aren’t medical professionals but from our experience and research it can be a few hours after eating sketch food to as long as two days. So….take care of yourself, drink a bunch of water (slowly), and pay attention to what you’re eating. Hopefully you’ll be all good…

  34. Oh dear. I am not 100% sure yet but me and my boyfriend are feeling real shitty and pretty sure in the near future this whole story will be my reality 🙁 we shall take it as it comes. We are masaman, so maybe the chicken but I still hope it’s not food poisoning. It’s our last part of our trip and i really don’t wanna miss out!
    PS. I really appreciated this article 😛

  35. Hello! I just came across your article. Me and my other half is currently in bangkok thailand. . Yesterday (March 29,2018) we went to SOI Cowboy and had a dinner and few drinks. . He ordered rice and beef,He was ok till 5:30 am he got up and went the toilet and back to sleep after a few minutes later he’s shevering and got a high fever after a few hours or so he’s started vomiting and LBM.
    We didn’t go to the doctor yet. . But im giving him Electrolyte and Dimenhydrinate tablet (motion sickness) that i bought at 7/11 store.
    Hoping that everything will be ok tomorrow, because tomorrow is our flight back home.


    1. Oh no! I really hope he was able to recover quickly and make that flight! He’s lucky to have you taking care of him. That makes all the difference in the world. 🙂

  36. Just wanted to say thanks for your article. This is now my third day of food poisoning after a bad garlic chicken dish on phi phi and its really getting to me. Although the horrendous non stop vomiting stopped after the first 12 hours, the diarrhoea and abdominal cramps really haven’t! I haven’t been able to eat anything in over two days and am in so much pain. On the electrolyte sachets now and hoping they will help. It’s been really encouraging to hear other people’s stories about going through the same thing.

  37. Kia Ora, I’ve been staying in Kamala, Phuket and have experienced probably my first ever experience of food poisoning. I had eaten at restaurant on the kamala beach front where I suspect the salad I had was not cleaned in purified water. The nausea and dizzy spells kicked in a few hours later followed by diarrhoea and cold sweats. I’m currently into the third day of my food poisoning escapade and I’m still wondering when it’s going to all be over. My sleep has been really broken and I’m peeing a lot! My flat mate managed to buy me packs of the rehydration salts and a few bottles Gatorade to help, which have been a godsend. Strangely I didn’t have any vomiting though .. I was lucky enough to have accomodation with air conditioning, and my own separate bathroom facilities so would definitely recommend upgrading if you can. Thanks for your very handy post. This definitely helped me through such an awful time.

  38. OMG ! Your article is very good ! I just eat some papaya salad and a chicken ! And now I’m feeling so bad lying in bed in Laos . Thanks god im with people who didint get the chicken and they are taking care of me ! .

  39. I got back on the 29th Jan from a 2 week trip to Bangkok and Phuket, I had a couple of days in Bangkok at the start of my trip and started feeling a little strange, I also noticed that although my stools were solid, they were green! Which was a little worrying! That seemed to pass pretty quickly though then all way good for the rest of my stay.

    It wasn’t until a few days after I got back that it all started for me. It’s been 3 days now (feels like 6) of hardly anything coming out my bottom but frequent trips to the porcelain throne and have luckily only vomited once but fever and general feelings of wanting to die have been very real. Shivering and nausea, sweating profusely and not having the energy or will to move as well as not wanting to eat anything have been my life for the last 3 days.

    I can’t imagine how bad it would have been to have felt like have when I was there and I’m very grateful that it didn’t hit me until I got back. I feel terrible for everyone that got ill whilst on their travels. I didn’t realise how common this was until I started reading up online about it. Four local people that I met out there were sick whilst I was there and a friend was sick from his 2nd day until the end of his weeks trip too. It does put me off going back slightly but it was my first time visiting Thailand and I fell head over heels for the place. I realise now that we can’t live our lives in fear of being ill and can only take the best precautions and remedies if it does happen.

    I seem to be coming out of the other end of my gruesome ordeal now and it’s the worst I’ve felt in a very long time. I’m really glad I stumbled upon this page, it’s been comforting hearing that I’m not alone in my food poisoned misery!! I haven’t read the precautionary stuff yet but have just read all of the comments and will have a look now.

    I’ve just necked an activated charcoal tablet and have some rehydration packs that I’m just going to take now and fingers crossed, it doesn’t last much longer as I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy!!

    Thanks again for starting this page, it’s definitely make me feel better and to anyone else in Thailand or at home feeling sick from food poisoning, my thoughts go out to you!

  40. I’m in Bangkok now on my own with food poisoning. I arrived from UK 5days ago. Unfortunately the day before I was due to fly I was hit with a tooth abscess made me very sick was just about able to make the flight here, was the worst flight of my life. Got here and got some anti biotics straight away as didn’t have time in UK before my flight. First few days was feeling unwell dizzy from abscess then starting getting better after day 3 and absess has nearly gone now. But yesterday day 4 here I starting feeling really unwell but just thought it’s prob the antibiotics as they can make you feel sick so went to get some food. Stuck to western food aswel as didn’t want to upset my stomach anymore unfortuanlty that was it! spent last 24hrs with food poisoning. Havnt eaten anything untill right now as I type this I’m eating plain cereal to replace fibre and easy on stomach. I write this because I want to thank the people for recommending that electrolyte and salt drink as I hadn’t eaten for 24hr and couldn’t bring myself to eat. Had it an hr ago and my god it works wonders went into to boots pharmist they gave me enough for 1 drink then said see how you feel. I had plans to cycle to chiang mai tomorrow but life has other plans so delayed by a day or 2. Staying In bed watching t.v. to recover. I think with my immune system being so week i was always going to get food poisened just sucks so much as my body is so run down right now so no chance I can ride my bicycle. I’m here for another 6wks yet so not all doom and gloom. I didn’t eat any Thai food yet only western food but have been having ice smoothies and brushing my teeth with tap water! (I never knew about to use bottled water for teeth untill i read this) Thanks again for this article such a massive help 🙂 it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Get that electrolyte drink from pharmist it will speed recovery and make you feel a bit better straight away

  41. Just thought I’d add that the drink i got at boots was called OREDA. Same as OSRA just a different brand. Take a bottle of water in with you and the pharmacist will happily mix it up for you their and then so you can start drinking straight away. Boots pharmists are super helpfull here

  42. Omg this has been very helpful to read – omg I had the WORST bout of food poisoning, really scary – I didn’t even have that high of a fever but I just felt incredibly incredibly sick, I could not keep anything down. Just felt incredibly weak.

    When I arrived in Bangkok, I decided to go and see a doctor eventually after about 3 days of not keeping anything down – I went to medconsult Clinic in Bangkok. I would soo recommend going to see doctor, they didn’t overprescribe which I was scared about – had some antidiarrhoeal tablets (domperadone) as the ‘infective’ cause of the diarrrhoea had passed, loads of rehydration salts ( Dr donna said that a very common mistake is only drinking water rather than cokes/ electrolytes/ etc. which is why I felt so tired after a bit). cost about 1000 baht in total with the medicines, which is about £20.

  43. I’m in Phuket and I thought eating a chicken caesar salad was a great idea. At first I didn’t know what was happening with me until the diarrhea hit me a day later. 3 days after, I had breakfast today but I could not keep it down. The goods news is the diarrhea looks gone, and I have no fever.

    Trying to drink coconut water to re-hydrate me, but I’ll just go get the hydration sachets instead and see how they work for me. The worse symptoms I have right now is dizziness, which is probably caused by the dehydration.

    Thanks for your article!

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