This subject is a but tricky, but please try to see it from my shoes. So I've never been in SE Asia and I dont know how are things concerning security. I dont really think I need pepper gas to protect myself because in the case I ger mugged I would just give them a small amount of money (thats evident that Im carrying, like in my wallet) and hide another couple 100dll bills somewhere like my socks for safety.
The catch here is that Im gonna be carrying a very expensive camera and a couple of expensive lenses and I am not willing to give them away to some idiot with a stick threatening to hit me with it (to put an example)... I would rather spray him and run :-) of course in other scenarios where danger is greater I would just loose everything in order to protect my health.
I live in Mexico and I know that a small pepper gas can be quite useful with idiots like described above and also I've been looking for insurance for my gear but here this kind of thing is not available :-(
So, also... does anyone know how -or more properly- whith whom I can insure my stuff?
Your thoughts about using and carrying pepper spray through airports, buses, borders and the cities is very much appreciated!!
BTW, am I a fool for intending to carry expensive photo gear through SE Asia?? :-D
Unlike Mexico, violent crime in SE Asia is infrequent. I haven't heard many stories of people being mugged while threatened with a stick, knife, gun or any other weapon. I'm from the States - have spent the good part of a year in SE Asia over three trips - and I feel safer in SE Asia, even the larger cities, than I do in many parts of the US. I think it's safe to say that muggings and other crimes based on violent intimidation are much more common in Mexico than SE Asia.
So, I don't think you should worry so much about being mugged, certainly not more than you would be in your home country. However, if carrying pepper spray would make you feel more secure, go for it. As far as I know, if you check it in your luggage it should be fine. Obviously you can't bring it in your carry-on or in your pocket on to an airplane. I've never had a bag searched at an overland border crossing in SE Asia, but my guess is that if immigration agents discovered the pepper spray they would understand why you have it, and would most likely let you keep it.
In regard to the expensive equipment, if you are careful with it you will be fine. While muggings are not common, cat burglary on trains/busses and in guesthouses/hotels is more common in SE Asia. So don't leave your equipment unattended on a train or in a hotel room, and if you take a nap on a train/bus make sure the equipment is very secure... There have been stories of people crawling beneath the seats and swiping bags from between unsuspecting traveler's legs, or even thieves cutting the bags open with a razor and taking out the contents without the traveler realizing it. Also don't hang your bag behind your back on a bicycle or motorbike, or leave it unfastened in the basket of a bicycle or motorbike... Sometimes thieves will ride up on a motorbike and snatch the bag, or cut the strap and grab it right off your back. Bear in mind, these are things to be aware of, but they never happen to 99.9% of travelers in SE Asia, and I personally have never seen it happen.
Be smart, keep your equipment as secure as you possibly can, don't get drunk and wander around at night by yourself, don't get in fights with the locals,,, and you'll be fine.
Pretty much every comprehensive travel insurance plan should cover theft of personal belongings to a certain value (usually from $2000 - $5000 depending on the cover you choose). When you are looking into travel insurance, read the PDS to make sure that you will be covered if theft occurs, to what value are you covered, and what you need to do to make a claim (police report etc).
I would be more concerned about making sure your photos are reguarly transfered onto a computer or USB so that you dont lose those, i find photos to be of much greater value then that camera itself, but thats just me.
You might want to check with the airline before you put pepper spray in your luggage. Probably OK though.
Here in Thailand you can buy pepper spray.
But as DLeuk says, generally traveling here is pretty safe. Thailand has a lot of violent crime, but it's almost all Thai on Thai and it usually revovles around emotional issues. My motorcycle helmut was stolen off my bike once - that was it.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
one thing you should definitely leave behind before entering thailand as it may cause you serious problems when you get here is your apparently violent paranoiac tendencies.
#5 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
Hahaha :) no paranoic tendencies for me dude... I just want to be informed.
thanks very much to all for your comments and knowledge, I will certainly look into other insurance options since of course is the better approach, although loosing my camera would pretty much ruin my adventure, even if I can get the money back Im afraid. I agree with you shaydan, the photos should be secured first but I think I've got that covered.
Dluek, thanks a lot for the info man. I am more relaxed now I see everyone thinks thailand is a very safe place, just wondering what do you guys think about Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Philippines? same case?
just a quick note, I realize I sounded like I thought Thais can be idiots. Im sorry I didnt mean that, I was trying to explain myself. I think the other way around actually, I admire their culture and spirituality. However, you never know right? anyways, thanks again.
My opinion is that Thailand, Laos and Vietnam are all about equally safe, and pretty much Cambodia too although there violent crime is said to be higher than the others (again though, I've never seen it happen). The poverty in Cambodia is probably the most extreme of all the countries I've been to, so I suppose some people are more desperate there and this is why more are now resorting to crime in general. I've never been to the Philippines or Indonesia.
For the record, I didn't think you came off as sounding like you thought Thais can be idiots or that you have "violent paranoic tendencies". You just sound like someone whose trying to prepare yourself for a region of the world you've never been to, which is normal and sensible. Good luck man.
I wouldn't come to Thailand with confrontation in your mind. You jump the gun and spray chemicals in someone's face and their buddies might beat the crap out of you. Thais are generally very peaceful friendly people, but they look out for their own and don't take threats lightly. Jai yen yen.
Ignore Wilko. That boy has issues.
#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
"Pepper gas against idiots in Thailand?" - anyone who titles a post in such a way has issues IMO.
and of MM is a gun-toting paid up member of the "i have issues" brigade.
#10 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
...so you won't complain when it attracts opinions such as mine then will you?
#12 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
I'll complain for him. You never seemed to get tired of denigrating people who see things differently than you do. You are easily the most intollerant member of this board.
#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I have to admit that at first I thought Mexi's post was a bit aggressive and paranoid too. But he's already said that he didn't mean it that way, so that should be the end of that.
I would definitely second Bob's comments above, however, not to show up in Thailand with confrontation in mind. That's very good advice. Cheers.