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Thailand forum

Is Theft an issue?

Posted by hannesnaomi on 7/2/2008 at 04:05

Hi there,
Am just wondering if backpackers are having any issues with theft during their travels. Theft of smaller items (ie: backpacks, clothing, personal effects). Is it okay to leave your backpack behind in your room while you venture out for the day? We are planning on backpacking thru the islands throughout March and will be staying at budget places. I imagine there are no locks etc on your rooms - so just wondering what people are doing with their packs while they hit the beach etc?

#1 hannesnaomi has been a member since 2/2/2008. Posts: 22

Posted by sirhalberd on 7/2/2008 at 05:08

Well a couple things you can do to try and make your stuff more secure. First, bring padlocks or buy some in Thailand. Make sure that you have bags that can be locked. If the hostel offers security storage for valuables - use it! Don't take valuable with you that you would cry over if they come up missing!

Best thing you can do is to move up to better, but cheap, hotels that offer a private room with a lockable door and security box. You can store important information that you need to retrieve in an emergency on the internet. Write "need to remember" info in an email to yourself and save that to memory. Don't use an email address or password that other people have access to for security reasons. If other people have your password - change it!

You also have to figure out how you will get money during your trip. I use a debit card from a credit union in ATMs for cash (ATM fees paid by the credit union.) If you use credit cards be prepared for high ATM fees. Avoid using credit cards to pay for cheap purchases, especially in restaurants to avoid fraud. If you use an ATM card for cash bring an extra card in case the sole card becomes lost of mangled. Only use an ATM when the bank is open, this way if the card does not come back you can ask the bank staff to open the ATM and get it. Some ATMs in Thailand only work with 4 digit pin numbers. Always notify your bank that you will be out of the country and identify that country to the bank or when the time comes you need an ATM withdrawal - it may be declined because of suspected fraud!

Have fun.

#2 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
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Posted by khunwilko on 7/2/2008 at 09:19

I would say that petty crime in Thailand is lower than in Europe or USA, but the problem for backpackers is that there are a lot of Europeans and Americans hanging around where you stay, so protect yourself against them first.

#3 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by Guernseystu on 7/2/2008 at 11:58

In my experience the biggest thieves are backpackers so beware!

#4 Guernseystu has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 108

Posted by sirhalberd on 8/2/2008 at 03:44

Post #3 and #4 are correct - you do have to be cautious of your fellow backpackers too!

I think you are probably more likely to get ripped off by a fellow tourist than any hotel staff!

Be cautious of people who are "over friendly" too!

#5 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
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Posted by hannesnaomi on 8/2/2008 at 12:26

Hi again and thanks to everyone who has replied to my post so far. I just want to clarify that I was not implying that it was any particular person(s) or nationality(ies) that may be thieves. Special thanks to sirhalberd as the tips you provided were especially helpful and perhaps go easily overlooked - such as taking a 2nd ATM card with you and sending yourself an email with important info which may get stolen along the way. Great ideas! Obviously travellers do their best to be careful while travelling - but any other suggestions or ideas are appreciated.

ps - if your accommodations dont have facilities to "lock" up your personal belongings have you heard of these things going missing? (I'm not referring to passports, $ etc as I'd assume any smart traveller would keep these on his body or locked up somewhere) Ie: is it necessary to lock up your backpack and clothing itself.

#6 hannesnaomi has been a member since 2/2/2008. Posts: 22

Posted by Guernseystu on 8/2/2008 at 14:00

I don't think that you have to worry about about locking your backpack up because, as you rightly stated, anything really worth stealing will be on your person. Money belts are useful and not too uncomfortable either.

I'd suggest buying your own padlock as guest house rooms often have external brackets for padlocks as an extra precaution. Bungalows will almost certainly use padlocks for locking so use your own instead of the one provided.

#7 Guernseystu has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 108

Posted by celianz on 8/2/2008 at 14:06

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi hannesnaomi

we are in month 4 of SE Asia and spent 1 of those in the South of Thailand. Happy to say that nothing at all has gone missing so far. Most of the accom has been private rooms in guesthouses/cheap hotels etc so noone else has access (i.e other travellers)and if we don't book before arrival (which we normally dont) we take a few names of places with us (places that i have researched already - on travelfish and Lonely Planet for reviews re propẻty safety. Checking the posts and reviews will show you which places property goes missing, remember those ones and dont go there!!!)In Vietnam, 99% of hotels etc keep your passport in their safe for their own records and regs. We stayed in 350 Baht places in Thailand and all had keys/locks on rooms. Some people do a test, they leave a bunch of small bills in the bedside draw or something (say 100 Baht in small denominations) and if one or two bills disappear during cleaning they leave, we have not done that ỷet as have not felt the need to. Take your credit cards though at all times, some places merely copy the number and details and use it later, you would never know. This includes leaving them at reception in a lock up, I just dont léave them but that is my personal preference. Agree with above posts, I was ready for the reputation of theft but have (so far) found SE Asia better than Europe in this regard. We do have small locks for our pack zips, I'd reccommend this. Enjoy your trip!!!

#8 celianz has been a member since 15/12/2007. Posts: 16

Posted by 2face on 9/2/2008 at 01:07

Hannesnaomi, concerning petty theft: shoes can be stolen if left outside, as is the Asian custom. Try the weekend market in BKK for those hard-to-find oversized shoes.

As to leaving bags in your room, maybe try this:
bring a bike or computer cable-lock and lock all
packs inside the closet, using the closet handles.

In this way your valuables will be locked in your packs with your personal locks, and the packs will be locked inside the closet, along with the front door;
and always check your windows or the sliding glass.

Combination locks (pads, 8 numbers preferably) would be more convenient as you're not traveling alone.

#9 2face has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 25

Posted by limeandsoda on 22/2/2008 at 13:35

Be VERY careful when you're out.... i havent had any problems with theft from hotel rooms etc.... but my bag was stolen last night on the becah.

I am VERY vigilant about keeping my things with me and not leaving them unnatended - cos i have had my bag stoilen before at home in melbourne.... But they managed to get me anyway, when i had my bag right next to me the whole time.

so devestated, not because of any of the belongings, that happens... but because i hadnt been able to back up my photos. Lost everything from cambodia and vietnam. Sigh.

So yeah.... unless you are staying at a really cheap place, with poor security/locks.... i9'd be more wary of things being stolen OFF you than from your guesthouse room.

#10 limeandsoda has been a member since 29/10/2007. Posts: 10

Posted by limeandsoda on 22/2/2008 at 13:44

Does anyone have an idea about what happens to things stolen in the islands? would they just throw the stuff in the bin after taking out the cash??

I'm under no delusions about ever seeing my stuff again, but it intrigues me because whenever anything gets stolen near my area at home, you can pretty much be garunteed of just going down to the second hand shops on Smith street and buying your stuff back!

I'm having fantasies of walking around in Haad Rin and finding someone to sell my camera back to me :D

haha... oh well...

#11 limeandsoda has been a member since 29/10/2007. Posts: 10

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