Stay Safe in Czech Republic
Taxi drivers: Caution: Before using a cab or using a reliable business, negotiate the price (e.g. Liftago, Uber). Taxi drivers in Prague are notorious for driving you the longest route possible in order to make more money. The Prague City Council has enacted new rules that require all legal cabs to be painted yellow. Public transit is also extremely inexpensive, quick, and dependable. In Prague, the metro operates until midnight, and night trams run all night, all of which congregate at Lazarská, a major tram station.
Pickpockets: Keep an eye on your pockets, particularly if there is a throng (sights, subway, trams, in particular numbers 9, 10 and 22) Keep an eye out for huge crowds crowding you. Be wary of pickpocket gangs operating in Prague: they are mostly male, but women are sometimes present; all are very overweight and depend on their sheer bulk and quantity to confuse visitors. They typically run on the trams 9, 10, and 22, as well as the major metro stations, usually just as passengers get on and off or on the escalators. Do not take out your tickets until explicitly instructed to do so. Also, keep your wallet and money securely secured and separate at all times. Don’t confront them since they may get hostile, but keep a watch out for them. Pickpocketing prosecutions are uncommon since the authorities must capture the pickpocket in the act of committing a crime.
Prostitution: In the Czech Republic, prostitution is not prohibited. However, as a legal business, prostitution does not exist. Prostitutes do not pay taxes, and the state does not control prostitution. The health risk is particularly significant in low-cost brothels or on the street. There have also been reports of prostitutes giving their clients a drink laced with sleeping drugs and then taking everything from them. Pay attention to the prostitute’s age; paying a person under the age of 18 for sex is a criminal crime (otherwise the age of consent is 15).
Marijuana: Marijuana is basically illegal in the Czech Republic, but it is quite popular especially among young people. In case the police catch you smoking or possessing marijuana, you want to be very polite with them. The reason is that by the current law, possessing only a “larger than small” amount of marijuana is a criminal offence. A “larger than small” amount of marijuana is defined as more than 15 g.
Ghetto-like localities inhabited prevalently by pure gypsies are feared also by common fellow citizens. In such places, there is somewhat increased danger of pockets, robbery or rape. Whole quarters are affected in some cities of North Bohemia (Most, Litvínov, Ústí nad Labem) or in Ostrava. In last decades, number of homeless people occupying many outlying areas permanently increase but they are not very dangerous usually.
Stay Healthy in Czech Republic
Over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin, are not sold in grocery shops. You must visit a pharmacy (lékárna), which is typically open from 08:00 to 19:00 Monday through Friday. In larger cities, there are 24-hour pharmacies, and you should be able to locate an address for the nearest one to you displayed in the window of the nearest drugstore to you. If you’re in Prague, the most central 24-hour one is in Prague 2 – on the intersection of Belgická and Rumunská streets – they distribute both prescription and non-prescription medicines out of hours from a tiny window on Rumunská – ring the bell if no one is present.
Tap water is safe to drink, particularly in Prague, but the quantity of chlorine added may be very high in small villages.
Nemocnice na Homolce, Roentgenova 37/2, Prague 5, is a renowned hospital in Prague (tel 257 272 350). There is a foreigners’ clinic (Cizinecké oddlen) with English-speaking receptionists who can help you arrange appointments. The majority of physicians know some English, and the quality of treatment is extremely good.
Ticks (Ixodes ricinus) throughout Central Europe and portions of the Czech Republic may transmit Encephalitis or Lyme Borreliosis. Ticks lurk in grass and shrubs, so remain on paths and check exposed skin after a walk. Encephalitis vaccination is available and recommended. If you wish to go bushwhacking, make sure you have the necessary vaccinations and wear long pants. A decent bug repellent (including DEET) may also be beneficial.
Ticks will attach to any soft, warm, well-perfused region of your body (undersides of knees and elbows, skin around ankles, groins, neck area, behind your ears, etc.) and suck your blood until they develop to approximately 1 cm in size. Never attempt to scratch or pull a tick off since doing so may cause a severe illness. The earlier the tick is removed, the lower the risk of illness. Ask a doctor to remove a tick for you, or do it yourself: grease your finger with any fatty lotion and gently wiggle a tick from side to side until it wobbles free. To prevent infection, never crush or burn it before flushing it down the toilet. Keep an eye on the afflicted area: if you see a larger red patch forming there in the coming months, contact your doctor right once and inform him that you may have acquired Borreliosis. It is hazardous, although it is treatable with medicines in the early stages. Be warned that the American Borreliosis vaccine is unlikely to work against European strains (B. afzelii and B. garini). It is worth noting that ticks may be found in city parks, including those in Prague.