I could tell you a few.
Tuk Tuk drivers branishing knives rather than giving change.
A lot about the cost of fixing damaged rental bikes and as a falang any accident is ALWAYS your fault.
The cost of paying for an accident in a car which was supposed to have 'full' insurance, but still cost the renter 20,000 baht.
Bags snatched by bike riders.
But, one incident doesn't change the fact that it is a by and large a friendly and safe country and most people don't let an single incident ruin their whole holiday
If you ask around, there is no shortage of horror stories, but there is about anywhere -- personally I've been stabbed and shot at, but neither happened in Thailand!
Despite what you may see on the idiotic box, Thailand remains a particularly safe country to travel -- and live -- in. Of course there are various ratbags and lowlife who may give you a hard time, but the chances of this can be minimised by using common sense and doing your upmost to avoid tricky situations and by staying in control.
"A lot about the cost of fixing damaged rental bikes and as a falang any accident is ALWAYS your fault."
I have to say a good measure of this is urban legend. A friend of mine here was on his motorcycle turning left when a Thai kid of about 20, driving WAY too fast, tried to pass him on his left as he was turning. Just missed his leg, he and the bike went down hard, but with no serious injury fortunately. The bike, however, was pretty beat up. Police came and the kid claimed that my friend had not used his turn signal. The police officer went over the fallen bike, turned on the ignition key - the turn signal started to blink. The kid was fuond fault on the spot and had to pay for the damages to the bike.
I have also been stopped by the police here for a whole host of violations - all of which I was guilty of - and have yet to pay a bribe or a fine. I always smile, say I'm sorry, and the cops ALWAYS let me go.
If you are friendly (instead of aggresively standing up for your rights) you can get away with almost anything here. Thailand is a get along kind of place.
#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Agree with previous posters
Sure, there are some dangerous situations in Thailand but there are in any country. Once you have stayed in Thailand for a while you will find it is somewhat safer.
Don't be flash and remember whose country you are a guest in. Learn some Thai and learn when to use it...then hope for the best ;-)
'I have to say a good measure of this is urban legend.'
Just to tell you the three incidents I have been personally involved with.
*A friend on a bike turning right, indicating and correctly positioned, was hit in the rear by a car. Unable to be resolved on the spot, the police took everyone to the police station. My friend eventually paid 2,000 to the car driver (he had wanted 20,000) and of course had to pay to fix his rental bike.
* A friend was riding slow on the road and a Thai girl run out in front of him. Taken to the police station the girl stated he was driving on the pavement! (Ridiculous as well as almost immpossible as the kerbs are 8 - 10 inches high!). He eventually had to pay the girl 5,000 Baht.
*Myself while driving a car and turning right (yes I was indicating and correctly positioned and, i fact, I had almost completed the turn) when I was hit in rear by a motorbike. Regreatable he was badly injured. I had to go the police station with the car and my passport. After statements etc, I was given my passport back (truely an admission by the police that I was not at fault as they would normally keep your passport until the issue was resolved).
This do not stop the police, a month later, dragging the car owner and another farang who happened to driving, down to the police station requesting thousand of baht for hospital bills for the injured rider. They, of course, refused to pay and fortuneatly, at this point, I was out of the country otherwise the outcome could have been different.
MADMAC I can only speak as I find, and in my experience I would consider you to be a lucky boy!!!!!!!
Can you say where all this happened? Because where I live all none of the expats have this experience. We've all been treated very fairly by the local police. I have to say I have been treated more than fairly. If I did at home what I do here, I'd have been in serious trouble.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Wonder who said this, "having been constantly jerked around by officialdom, I now begin to understand how the Somalis finally gave into the temptation and destroyed their own government" about the hassels of the run around over a visa?
Mac those fellas are playin wid yo head. After you leave the office there's all kinds of high fives and little victory dances going round, bet they even grab each other about the waist and do a little salsa number complete with exagerated hip movements mimicking the katoys. That enigmatic Thai smile means someone just thought they won the office pool as to wether that ex US military guy loses it or his blood pressure just starts squirting out the top of his head first.
I missed the first train to Uban once. Gave me a chance to get a Dunkin Donut at the station. Travelers angst disipated.
Probably - and technically they are police too. But if I have to get hassled, I would rather it be from the visa cops than the traffic cops.
On a positive note, the individual who was giving me such a hard time has been transfered to Nong Khai - allegedly around corruption charges. My last visit was nice and smooth! Let's see how renewal goes.
#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
'Can you say where all this happened'
All of this incidents took place in Kata/Karon Phuket where I operated a dive shop for many years.
The person on the first motorbike was my nephew.
The person on the second bike was a customer from Germany.
And I was driving the car.
Mike. If you operated a dive shop in Phuket for many years then you must be aware of the vast differences between places in Thailand.
In Phuket they can get away with treating farang badly because there are loads of anonymous tourists about and you can continue to try your luck scamming them without too much consequence. Anywhere, that has too many farang seems to be like this.
Where I live in Khuraburi and on Koh Phra Thong there are veryfew westerners and as I am local and known then they treat me differently. Of course I am and always will be farang and I can never know how the local authorities will behave towards me. However, for the past 2 years in this place I have been treated very well and all the locals stare, wave and smile at the strange farang man zipping around on his scooter.
A different world from Phuket or Bangkok
I think Christof is right here. I live in a small city... I know all the cops. And even when I do tours up the river on my bike, I never get hassled. Stopped at check points to check for license - sure. But hassled, no. Always friendly, never a problem.
#14 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Somtam- I'm sorry, I'm a nosey bugger, but where were you stabbed and shot at? Sorry...
The thing I have learned about Thailand from this thread in anticipation of my trip in 2 months: don't ride a motorbike/drive a car.
#15 kraver_alex has been a member since 31/5/2009. Posts: 8
I ride my bike every day...
#17 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Not much to tell really, I was stabbed one night while walking home with my girlfriend while I was living in the UK (Stockwell, London) and I was shot at (though he missed) while travelling in the US.
Bill, I live in Mukdahan
#22 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
"A lot about the cost of fixing damaged rental bikes and as a falang any accident is ALWAYS your fault. " - this of course is not true.
the 2 horror stories of thailand are ....
the rape of the environment.
the complete absence off customer service/comeback.
#23 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
I want you to know that since our last discussion, a friend of mine bought these little solar garden lamps. Sun powers them during the day, solar lighting illuminates them at night. You know the things.
Well, half of them didn't work, he took them in, and they were replaced at no charge with new ones. Some of those didn't work as well, and he took those in and actually got his money back.
I'll admit it's rare, but things are a changin'!!!
Awareness of the environment is just starting to become an issue here.
#24 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Mac I agree with you to an extent but the speed at which it is happening it too slow.
Environmental degradation in Thailand is rampant and it will take more than a few solar spotlights to change it.
My experience with marine environmental issues suggests that we are mostly wasting our time in trying to modify the behaviour of older generations. The environmentalist position should come from the heart and not the pocket.
For instance on the island of Koh Phra Thong where I work there is a turtle conservation project. Sometimes the villagers catch a turtle whilst fishing. Now a turtle is worth pretty good money as the flesh is a delicacy. So the person who caught the turtle is compensated to let the turtle go. Then several days later it comes out that the turtle was recaught and made into yummy turtle soup.
Similarly I don't think you will ever get a huge number of people of chinese descent to believe that sharks fins don't have some magical effect.
Fortunately the environmental message can be taken on by younger generations. I have taught science to kids in Bangkok and a large amount of them are outraged by what is happening to their environment. The next step is to get them involved in field trips and to cultivate this interest and further to get a good % of them through into these fields at University.
On Koh Phra Thong we give up our dive boat for school snorkeling at the local islands. Next season we will be developing simple marine programs for them. I also have a local Divemaster trainee coming through. From the perspective of a marine ecologist it makes sense to influence these coastal communities who are directly involved with the oceans on a daily basis.
I agree it's moving slowly... but ultimately that is up to the Thais... it's their country after all. I appreciate what you are doing. So don't get me wrong. But at the end of the day, the Thais will have to change their attitudes towards the environment - we can't do it for them.
#27 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
#29 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957