How to Call an Ambulance in Thailand for Expats and Tourists

Being prepared for medical emergencies is crucial, but due to language barriers and different emergency response systems, it might seems like a daunting task. We'll tell you exactly how to call a nearby ambulance and communicate with them effectively

Understanding the Emergency Numbers

In Thailand, there are specific numbers to remember in case of a medical emergency:

  • For general medical emergencies throughout Thailand: 1669.
  • In Bangkok, for public EMS: 1646 (Erawan dispatch center, more info), though 1669 will also work in Bangkok.
  • For private EMS under the BDMS hospital network (including Bangkok Hospital, Samitivej Hospital, BNH, Phayathai, and Paolo): 1724, which offers English-speaking operators and emergency physicians on board for serious conditions.
  • For private EMS from Bumrungrad International Hospital (Bangkok only): +66 2011 5222.

Choosing Between Public and Private Hospitals

  • Public Hospitals: Accessible via 1669, suitable for most emergencies and available everywhere in Thailand
  • Private Hospitals: Offer services in multiple languages and are experienced in dealing with foreigners. For direct access, save the emergency number of your chosen hospital.

When to Call an Ambulance

Consider calling an ambulance if:

  • The condition appears life-threatening.
  • The condition could worsen en route to the hospital.
  • Moving the patient might cause further injury.
  • The situation requires the skills/equipment of emergency medical personnel.
  • Traffic or distance could delay reaching the hospital.

What Information to Provide

When calling, you should be ready to provide:

  • The patient's location (look for landmarks to aid identification).
  • Your phone number.
  • Patient's condition, including consciousness and breathing status.
  • Patient's name, age, gender, and medical history.
  • If contacting a hospital directly, patient's hospital number.

Emergency Preparedness

  • Stay calm and provide clear, concise information.
  • In public places, seek immediate help; there might be a first-aider nearby.
  • Keep medical insurance cards and important documents handy.

Language Barriers

If you are having trouble communicating with the phone operator in English:

  • Contact a nearby private hospital directly as they deal with more foreign patients.
  • Seek a Thai-speaking person nearby who can help translate

If you don’t speak Thai or English:

  • Call your nearest private hospital and request an interpreter, many private hospitals have interpreters for a variety of languages.
  • In emergencies, seek a Thai-speaking person to communicate your location and situation.

Using Apps to send your location

The quickest and most accurate way to communicate your location, especially if it's not near any landmarks, is to send your location using one of the EMS apps

Consider registering on the EMS1669 application (Apple or Android) or the BES i lert u application (Apple only) to do this. These apps can aid EMS in locating you through your phone's GPS system, which is particularly useful in Thailand's traffic-heavy areas like Bangkok.

Note that the EMS1669 application can be used every where in Thailand but focused more on Thai users while BES i lert u is for private EMS under the BDMS hospital network (including Bangkok Hospital, Samitivej Hospital, BNH, Phayathai, and Paolo)


Being prepared for a medical emergency in Thailand involves understanding the emergency numbers, knowing when and how to call an ambulance, and being aware of the language assistance available. By staying informed and prepared, expats and tourists can navigate Thailand's healthcare system more effectively in emergencies.

Are you looking for assistance in coordinating medical care in Thailand?

As a medical tourism facilitator, we specialize in helping individuals navigate Thailand's healthcare landscape. Whether it's selecting the right hospital, arranging medical appointments, or providing guidance during emergencies, we're here to help. Reach out to us for personalized support and peace of mind during your medical journey in Thailand. Let us be your trusted partner in ensuring a smooth and stress-free medical experience.

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