What You Should Know About Living in Bangkok


1. Tips for living and staying safe in Bangkok

  • ­ Carry identification with you

You must carry identification with you at all times. Make sure that you have copies of your important documents and store them safely in different places on your person and at home. If you have a UNHCR asylum seeker certificate, it is very important to carry it with you.

  • Staying safe on the streets

To stay safe, it is best to avoid going out in groups in public. Dressing like a tourist or business person is also helpful if you are out in public.

  • Eating street food

Eating Thai food is cheaper for most families than trying to cook at home. You should learn enough Thai to order basic dishes. Use the internet to find out the names of the most common dishes. In the future, we will include additional information on ordering Thai food.

2. What do I do if I am stopped by a Thai police officer?

If you are stopped by a Thai police officer, remain respectful and calm. Call the UNHCR immediately. If no one answers, leave a detailed message with: your name and UNHCR number, who you are with, where you are, how many officers have stopped you and if they are wearing a uniform.

3. Where can I go to speak with a UNHCR officer?

A UNHCR protection officer is at BRC every Thursday. You can go to speak with the officer about any issues you may have.

4. Tips for avoiding exploitation

ALL services by BASRAN member organizations are completely free. Be cautious before you share your information with other people. The organizations in BASRAN sometimes need your information to help give you services, but with strangers, beware because they may be trying to use that information to get money from you.

BASRAN organizations are always happy to give you answers and the real information and facts. Ask us if you’re unsure about something. You can find the contact information for each organization on the Contact page.


1. What options are there for refugee and asylum seeker children to go to school?

There are a few options in Bangkok for refugee and asylum seeker children to receive an education. They are: 1) the Bangkok Refugee Center (BRC) and Good Shepherd; 2) Community Learning Centers; 3) International Schools.

  • The Bangkok Refugee Center

The Bangkok Refugee Center (BRC) offers free education to refugee and asylum seeker children who are 6 years – 16 years old. Refugee children receive classes in the morning while asylum seeker children have class in the afternoon. The classes are offered at two sites: BRC and Good Shepherd.

The education model is designed to place refugee and asylum seeker children in Thai schools after receiving intensive Thai language training. Students study Thai and some other subjects. At the end of the program, the children are placed in a Thai school. 

2. Are there classes available for adults?

Adults can also go to BRC on Wednesdays to receive English, Thai language and computer classes. 

3. What are the benefits of having my children attend a Thai school?

Attending a Thai school can be a good option for your children. They will receive a uniform that can keep them safe while out in public and will receive a free lunch meal each day while at school. Children who learn Thai can help their families with the language and make friends at school. The Thai school curriculum covers 7 subjects while community schools might only cover a few. A child will also receive a transcript of their attendance that can be transferred to a new resettlement country.

4. Community Schools: Can I start my own?

Community schools are another good option especially if you would like your child in school immediately. Refugees and asylum seekers can also start their own. If you would like to start one, please contact BASRAN because there are some organizations that can help you organize it.

5. What about international schools?

An international school is another option if your child speaks very good English. Some schools offer scholarships occasionally, but BASRAN members generally do not provide assistance with getting students into internationals schools so please contact the international schools individually with questions.


1. Do refugees and asylum seekers receive health insurance or health care coverage?

Refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand do not receive any health care coverage from the Thai government. There have been recent updates to medical services for refugees and they are explained below.

2. Where can I go to receive medical treatment?

The Bangkok Refugee Center (BRC) medical clinic is now closed. The BRC is now a referral center. If you are ill, you can go to BRC to receive a referral to a clinic near your home in Bangkok. BRC is no longer providing medical services to refugee and asylum seekers.

There are 3 main hospitals in Bangkok that are used to seeing refugees. There will usually either be interpreters there or BRC can send an interpreter there to assist you. 

With other clinics and hospitals in your area, you may need to find an interpreter in most cases.

It is not likely that BRC will send an interpreter to a hospital other than the 3 listed above.

3. Can BRC pay for my medical treatment?

In some cases, such as life­-saving procedures or chronic illnesses, BRC will assess your medical condition and may agree to pay for the medical services you require. BRC will only cover the costs in very limited circumstances and not necessarily the full cost of the procedure. You should speak with BRC’s referral center for more information.

4. What do I need to take to BRC to ask for help paying for my medical treatment?

You will need to submit a medical certificate in English or Thai that explains what and how serious your medical condition is and what the necessary treatment is. This will help BRC decide whether they can pay for your treatment.

If you have a very serious condition and BRC might be able to pay for it, it is important to take the medical certificate with a clear diagnosis and treatment recommendation to BRC in person.

5. Where can I get a medical certificate form?

Click here to download and print an information sheet to take with you when you go see a doctor. This document is in English and Thai. You can give this sheet to a doctor at a clinic or hospital to help them know what information to include in your medical certificate.

6. What are community health clinics?

There are some community health clinics in Bangkok that may provide affordable or free services. Check back in the future for additional information.

7. Who do I call if I have a medical emergency?

If you have a medical emergency and need the immediate help of a doctor, go to a local hospital. You can also call the BRC hotline number: 086­010­4117.

8. General information on health services in Bangkok:

Pharmacies in Thailand sell almost everything. If you know which medicine you need, take that bottle to the pharmacist and try to get the same medicine. Thai brand drugs will be cheaper than foreign imported ones. Government hospitals and clinics are also much cheaper than private ones.

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