The first time I visited Thailand I was a little concerned about the mosquito problem, I certainly didn’t want to spend any of my holiday laid up in hospital with malaria, dengue fever, or any other mosquito borne diseases. So I did my research, I bought the Thailand travel guides and soaked up all that valuable information telling me to prepare myself for Thailand’s dreaded mosquitoes.
I arrived in Thailand prepared for jungle warfare, I had my malaria tablets, mosquito repellent containing at least 50 percent DEET, mosquito nets and permethrin to wash the mosquito net in occasionally. Needless to say, I never took the malaria tablets, I never used the mosquito net or the permethrin, and the strong concentrate of DEET mosquito repellent was soon discarded because it was like wearing paint remover.
In hindsight, or should I say “the moral of the story” is, I went a little overboard and wasted a lot of money and luggage space due to “mosquito paranoia”. I soon learned that mosquito nets are a good idea for babies and toddlers, but a fan works just as well. Malaria is quite isolated in Thailand, and malaria tablets can have side effects, so bye bye doxicycline. As for the mosquito repellent, it’s always a good idea to have some with you, but there are a 101 brands of mosquito repellent available in Thailand, so I didn’t even need to fetch any with me.
These days, I only wear mosquito repellent if I don’t want the fan on, or if I’m outside eating or drinking, in such cases I always have a bottle Sketolene with me.
What mosquito repellents are available in Thailand ?
When you consider Thailand’s mosquito related health problems it shouldn’t surprise you that there is a huge choice of mosquito repellents in Thailand. Well known foreign brands and Thai brands are available in pharmacies, 7-11, Family Mart, Tesco and various other outlets. There are many 100 percent natural mosquito repellents such as ‘Arun Thai Natural’, and there are DEET based repellents such as ‘OFF’, Sketolene and Soffell. Several brands of baby and child safe mosquito repellent are available, including Johnsons Baby Lotion, and ‘Off’ for kids. If you are traveling to Thailand with a baby or toddler though, it might be wise to source some baby safe mosquito repellent from home and fetch it with you.
Mosquito repellent in Thai language
Unless you’re venturing into Thailand’s wilderness you shouldn’t have a problem asking for mosquito repellent, but if you find you’re in a pharmacy somewhere and they don’t understand English, try asking for mosquito repellent in Thai, see below.
- gan yung = mosquito repellent, written Thai = กันยุง
- cream gan yung = mosquito repellent cream, written Thai = ครีมกันยุง
- moong gan yung = mosquito repellent spray, written Thai = สเปรย์กันยุง
When do I need to wear mosquito repellent ?
Most people will suffer nothing more than a slight itch after being bitten by a mosquito, and many people are prepared to tolerate this, or use one of many remedies to stop the bite itching rather than slather mosquito repellent on every day. But as we all know, mosquito bites can result in diverse effects such as allergenic reaction, also known as skeeter syndrome, those who are visiting Thailand for the first time may be more susceptible to these kind of allergenic reactions, hence they should apply mosquito repellent to avoid multiple mosquito bites resulting in severe allergenic reaction like in the photo below. Dusk and dawn are prime feeding times for mosquitoes, so if you don’t have the luxury of a fan, or you are outdoors you should apply some repellent. The dengue mosquito will feed throughout the day, so even indoors or in heavily vegetated areas such as gardens you would be wise to use mosquito repellent.
So to sum up, taking mosquito repellent to Thailand is like taking clogs to Holland, Yorkshire pudding to England, or curry to India.