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Thailand forum

Safety of Thailand and Asia in general

Posted by keatonec on 3/3/2010 at 05:02

I was wondering how safe it really is to travel around Thailand and Asia without being apart of a tour or something else.

Is left a big deal on over night trains or in general?

Me and my girlfriend are planning on going to SEA and I have heard different things about it but I would like some other opinions.

Thanks allot for your help.

#1 keatonec has been a member since 3/3/2010. Posts: 12
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Posted by somsai on 3/3/2010 at 07:48

Waiting for the reply from Somtam2000

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Posted by somtam2000 on 3/3/2010 at 08:36 admin

somsai ha ha ha

keatonec Generally speaking SE Asia is a very safe area to travel in. There is always issues like petty theft and scams to keep an eye out for, but overall, I'd say it is one of the safest areas I've ever travelled in.

Safety is not grounds for taking a tour (in my opinion).

somsai's comment is in relation to a particularly nasty incident I experienced/narrowly avoided last week, but I was motorcycling along in a quite remote area of Laos -- probably not something I should have been doing in the first place.

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Posted by exacto on 3/3/2010 at 08:46

hey k,

we still haven't heard all the details of the recent unhappiness where somtam was almost robbed, but if i had to guess, i suspect that even he'd say travelling around thailand and asia is still reasonably safe and certainly safer than travelling around any major city in the united states, for example.

personally, i've only ever had trouble one time, in vientiane, when i was mugged. but even then, i was doing something foolish at the time by riding a bicycle around town with a day pack perched ready to be snatched in the basket.

there are always reports of tourists being the victim of some crime in places like thailand, but i think by and large it is a very small amount, particularly when you consider how many of us there are tooling around the country and how wealthy even a backpacker is compared to an average person.

when travelling in asia, use good sense just like you would anywhere else. don't have too many valuables with you and definitely don't parade them around for everyone to see. watch your surroundings and stay alert, keep good control of your day pack on public transport, and don't ever get sloppy drunk in public, stuff like that.

keep your valuables in the berth with you on the overnight train. even so, while i'm sure it happens, i've never heard of theft on trains being a problem. if you take the first class sleeper, you can bolt the door to your compartment and have an even higher degree of safety.

i just finished up an 8-week visit to thailand and laos, including three weeks where i was travelling completely by myself and never had any problems. in short, be alert, but there is no need to be alarmed. hope that helps. cheers.

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Posted by keatonec on 3/3/2010 at 11:06

I am going to go their no matter what. But I just wanted to know if crime is rampant or if that is just a bad rumor.

I actually was also wondering about flying around, is it cheaper to do that or is it cheaper to take the train. I plan to be around SEA for probably 3 months or so.

Thanks again.

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Posted by DLuek on 3/3/2010 at 12:24 TF writer

Crime is certainly not "rampant." Like Somtam and Exacto say, yes there is "petty" theft and scams, but even that is far from "rampant." The closest thing to "criminal" activity that's ever happened to me is either when I gave a taxi driver a 500 baht note and he gave me change as though I'd paid 100 baht and then refused to give me the rest of the change, or when a street dog chased me while I was on a motorbike and kept jumping up trying to nip my feet. :0

One thing I often tell people is that the level of violent crime is very, very low in SE Asia. You have to worry about things like people snatching your bag out of the basket of your bicycle, or from under the seat of your train, or trying to scam you in to paying more than normal for a given service, but you don't have to worry so much about being robbed at gunpoint and things like that. Coming from the States, where violent crime is so high, I've always found this to be a nice aspect of SE Asia, even the big cities. I've said over and over that I literally feel 10 to 20 times safer walking around Bangkok or Saigon than I do walking around New York City or Washington DC, or even most smaller American cities.

To answer your question of flying or trains, trains are generally cheaper, but often not by much. If you can hook flights on Jetstar and/or Air Asia, you can often fly for very cheap. However certain routes that these airlines don't do can be pretty pricey.

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Posted by mullup on 3/3/2010 at 12:26

Flying is cheap, train travel where available is obviously cheaper. Make use of buses, in Thailand at least they're regular, comfortable and cheap.

Minor annoyances, cheats, cons, opportunistic theft, are the most prevalent form of "wrong doing" you're likely to come across.

Don't be a sucker, don't engage in conversation with "convenient" strangers regardless of their nationality.

No body has a sister who is a nurse, that is going to study English in your home town/country. The offers to visit their abode might sound appealing, a might being sodomised without first being kissed.

If you want to have a great trip, get a good guidebook, and start reading that, as well as these travel sites.

Read some of the yarns on to see what you might come up against.

South East Asia really is a tourist friendly walk in the park... once you're here you'll understand why so many people (have done - or) are doing it.

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Posted by MADMAC on 3/3/2010 at 19:40

I've lived here for coming up on three years and done all manner of stupid ****... you name it, caution has not been my middle name. And I have never had any trouble at all. Ditto my friends here. If you aren't doing anything malicious, this is the easiest place to get along I've ever been, and I've lived in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the US. Be nice, ne friendly and it's pretty easy to get along here. Not to say there are no dangers, but they are few and far in between. For anflos traveling here, I think it's a very safe environment.

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Posted by bedu on 3/3/2010 at 21:20

Thailand is very safe, so long as you avoid large scale protests, Songkran (unless you like that sort of thing), large groups of drunk male Thais in non-tourist areas, and of course, use common sense which you would do in any country, i.e, not carrying and showing large wads of cash and not believing every story you hear.

You will probably be overcharged- it happens, don't sweat it, unless you got really screwed over- keep it in perspective.

I've been here on and off for 5 years, and touchwood, Thais don't bother you if you don't bother them. (Please remember any insult to the Royal family will result in an arse-kicking at the very least- be polite!)

Have fun!

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