What can possibly go wrong in Thailand? Well, if you’re careful and sensible Thailand is quite safe. But hey, we’re not always careful, or sensible, and sometimes accidents – mishaps and misadventures just happen right out the blue.
In case you need the police or emergency medical assistance, you can find the telephone numbers at the bottom of the page.
This has been very prevalent in Pattaya for a few years now, two thugs on a motorcycle ride up behind there unsuspecting victim and snatch their valuables, usually a handbag or jewelry and make a speedy getaway. Their attempted snatch can go seriously wrong, resulting in violence or a serious accident. Avoid getting yourself into a situation where you might fall victim. Read more about robbery in Pattaya on this article about Dos and do not’s in Pattaya.
While you should not get alarmed by the threat posed by mosquitoes in Thailand the fact is mosquitoes are an ever present, and so is the risk of contracting a mosquito borne disease. Malaria is actually only a threat in some border regions of Thailand, but Dengue fever is present throughout Thailand, the risk of contracting Dengue fever during a short term vacation is minimal, but you should still take precautions such as covering up and using mosquito repellant.
Lady-boys (kathoeys) can be glamorous, ultra feminine and charming, on the other hand they can be desperate opportunist thieves. There have been many reported cases of tourists being mugged by lady-boys in Pattaya, they usually operate in gangs, often flocking all over their victim in what might be best described as a molestation. The embarrassed victim is usually relieved to escape their attention, but without noticing his wallet is missing, in the worst case scenarios the lady-boys become forceful and violent if help is not at hand. Best way to avoid this sort of confrontation is to keep your valuables in your front pocket, keep a hand on them and keep walking.
Motorcycle Taxi Ride
Thailand’s motorcycle taxi’s are convenient and cheap, they also supply you with a cheap, ill fitting crash helmet, and like yourself the taxi driver is wearing negligible protective gear. If you do have an accident the chances are you will be seriously hurt, by all means use the motorcycle taxis but try and find a safer alternative.
If you’re a competent rider and ride sensibly you should have no issues hiring a motorcycle in Thailand, if you are not then I advise you to read this guide ‘how to hire a motorcycle in Pattaya‘. The danger of hiring a motorcycle in Thailand is it’s just so easy, practically anyone can do it, with or without a license, and regardless of experience. An inflated ego and a powerful bike have been the death of many a tourist in Thailand.
Ferries and Speedboats
There have been numerous ferry and speedboat incidents in Thailand, mainly due to poorly maintained boats, poor seamanship and negligible safety standards.
Songkran is a water festival on a scale not seen anywhere else in the world, it’s a time for merriment, and unfortunately it can be a time for over exuberance. Read the Songkran Survivors Guide before partaking in the festivities or traveling during the festival period.
Be very wary during Loy Krathong, Chinese New Year and the Christian New Year’s Eve celebrations. Besides beautiful firework displays there are some questionable acts, such as setting off giant firecrackers in the street, holding onto lit fireworks, and throwing fireworks.
I’m not going to tar all mini van drivers with the same brush but most of them only drive at one speed, as fast as they can. I’m not saying they are unsafe, but they could be safer.
A pelican crossing, pedestrian crossing (the stripey path across the road), is the logical safe place to cross, they are also the most convenient place to get hit by a car. Motorists in Thailand tend to play by a different set of rules, just remember it is merely a stripey path across the road.
Jet Ski Scams
Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui are all renowned for their jet ski scams, you can find more information by performing a Google search for “Thailand jet ski scams”. I wouldn’t include jet ski scams on this page if they were merely a petty scam, but they are not petty scams. Thailand’s jet ski scams involve huge amounts of money, and very often they involve threats of violence. Do your homework before hiring a jet ski anywhere in Thailand.
Drugs in Your Drink
This really does happen in Thailand, most likely place this will happen is in your room or apartment with a girl you just picked up from a bar. She slips off to the kitchen to pour the drinks, hands you the spiked drink and waits for you to slip away into unconsciousness before emptying your wallet and slipping away into the night. You can avoid this by pouring the drinks yourself, or keep your money and valuables well hidden.
Thais are not exceptionally confrontational but if you find yourself in a confrontational situation you should try and diffuse the situation by walking away. If the situation was to escalate you might find yourself hopelessly outnumbered.
Coconuts grow way up high in the branches of coconut trees, coconut trees grow from coconuts which have fallen to the ground, that’s the cocnut tree’s cycle of life. If you happen to be standing, sitting or sunbathing underneath a coconut tree during it’s life cycle which involves a very large nut falling to the ground, well that could be the end of your life’s cycle. Don’t ponder underneath a coconut tree, they have to come down sometime.
Tiles and wood are the standard floor coverings in Thailand, tiles are commonly used in bathrooms, living rooms, patios and driveways. One very important thing you must remember about tiles is they are slippery when wet. Not only are they slippery, they are also a very hard painful surface to land on. Avoid running on wet tiles in Thailand, it’s easy to presume they should be non-slip, but presume they are not.
Certainly not an everyday threat in Thailand, chances are you will not encounter a snake but snakes are something you should bear in mind before you go stomping through the undergrowth. There are a few species of deadly snake in Thailand, most notably the King Cobra
Giant hornets, giant venomous centipedes, wasps and scorpions are abundant in Thailand, some of these bugs are dangerous and can inflict a nasty wound which might require hospital treatment, but mostly they keep themselves to themselves.
Cases of rape seem to be on the rise in Thailand, there have been many cases reported by solo female travelers.
Most cases of food poisoning are actually caused by bacterias which your digestive system is not familiar with, resulting in a case of “deli belly”, but occasionally the hygiene standards in Thailand might not be the same standard as your home country. You should only drink bottled water, and if you are going to sample Thailand’s famous street food you should make sure it is freshly cooked.
Most people come to Thailand for a beach holiday, hence they spend a lot of time on the beach, but the beautiful pristine water of Thailand’s beaches is not always as safe as it might seem. Read more about Thailand’s rip currents and make yourself aware of the warning signs.
According to most medicine websites I’ve referred to, you should assume a sting from a jellyfish could potentially be fatal. That’s because most of us are unable to recognize a particular species of jellyfish. According to most medical websites, vinegar is an effective “on the spot” treatment for all jellyfish stings, including box jellyfish.
Here’s more information on treating jellyfish stings from verywellhealth.com.
Stray dogs have long been an issue throughout Thailand, mostly they are harmless but they often form large packs and become territorial. If you feel threatened by a dog or a pack of dogs you should carry a stick, or pretend to pick something from the ground and throw it at them.
What’s the risk potential in Thailand
I have spent 13 years living in Thailand, many of the dangers listed above have been experienced by me personally, many have happened to unfortunate friends, and others have commonly made the headlines. I will walk you through them one at a time to give you a perspective.
- Motorcycle muggings: happened to my wife, my mother, my niece and countless friends. You should take this one seriously.
- Mosquitoes: I get bitten by a mosquitoes just about every day, the most I have suffered is a bad itch, but I do have a handful of friends who have been hospitalized with Dengue fever. I use mosquito repellent when required (obviously not enough lol), and I advise you to use it too, if only to reduce the chances of you suffering an allergenic reaction to a mosquito bite.
- Rogue lady-boys: never happened to me, seems to happen to tourist who frequent Pattaya’s Beach Road late at night.
- Motorcycle taxi: used them quite a lot, suffered one minor collision resulting in a bruised knee, try and avoid using them on a major highway.
- Motorcycle hire: one or 2 minor accidents as passenger, but I only ride a step-through, there are lots accidents on bigger bikes, if I was you I would just use a step-through to get around town.
- Mini vans: used them to do visa runs and been scared witless, obviously I’m still alive but I prefer to take the bus.
- Pelican crossings: honestly, they are just a place where people gather to cross the road.
- Jet Ski scams: never happened to me, I know better, but believe me it’s a daily occurrence in Pattaya.
- Spiked drinks: happened to a few friends.
- Confrontation: never had one, one or two colleagues have had a good kicking off Thais though.
- Falling coconuts: seen and heard 1 or 2 fall.
- Wet tiles: many times, and seen many accidents on slippery tiles, they really are a nightmare.
- Snakes: had 4 or 5 in the house but never been close enough to get bitten.
- Bugs: never bothered me but I can run faster than they can fly.
- Food poisoning: had a few bad cases, and few cases of “deli belly” but never been hospitalized.
- Beach hazards: worst I’ve seen is a mild jellyfish sting.
- Stray dogs: never been bitten but dog packs are a nuisance.
Who You Going to Call
In case you need emergency medical assistance (ambulance) you should call 1669, and try to have a Thai speaker assist you if possible.
For Police assistance or in case of a general emergency call 191.
For the Tourist Police, call 1155.
Thailand is still a safe country to visit, I’m not scare mongering but every item on this page is a danger or risk to your health which you should be aware of. By simply being more aware of the potential dangers and hazards of visiting Thailand you are much more likely to avoid them.