At some point in their life, most Thais will sport what is sometimes referred to as “The Thai Tattoo”. It usually takes the form of a 2-3 inch (sometimes much larger) circular or oval shaped, crimson colored patch, usually on the lower inner calf or ankle. The one pictured in the photograph below belongs to my son.
If you have not guessed already, this is a wound caused by contact with a red hot motorcycle exhaust pipe.
Motorcycles are still the most common mode of transport in Thailand. They are affordable, economical to run and cheap to maintain. Thanks to Thai ingenuity, motorcycles are also very versatile and are often modified for duties which you would associate with motor cars or vans.
Given the popularity and heavy use of motorcycles in Thailand it’s no wonder so many Thai people bear a Thai Tattoo on their leg. Couple this popularity with the casual riding attire, usually a short sleeved shirt, shorts and sandals the resulting motorcycle exhaust pipe burn is inevitable.
Thai Motorcycle Exhaust Pipe Burn Treatment
I’m not recommending self treatment should you be unfortunate enough to suffer a motorcycle exhaust pipe burn during your stay in Thailand. Especially if the burn is deep, you really should see a doctor.
If motorcycle exhaust pipe burns are a typically “Thai thing” so is the practice of treating the burn with Aloe Vera. The healing properties of Aloe Vera are well known. In the west, Aloe gel and Aloe based lotions have long been used for the treatment of sunburn. In Thailand the Aloe Vera is a common garden plant and is readily available in most households.
Aloe Vera is most effective as a burn treatment in its purest form, applied directly from the plant. Despite Aloe gel being available in pharmacies, in Thailand the real thing is never far away. It’s simply a case of cutting one of the fleshy stems from the nearest Aloe Vera plant and smearing the gel straight on to the burn area (as seen in the photo below).