The travelling criminologist here writing the latest blog from sunny Koh Samui in Thailand.
In this post I thought I’d share my top tips for safety in Thailand, particularly for women. And also share some tips on not getting ripped off.
Thailand is a beautiful country, and one I would describe as ‘Asia-Lite’ – a really pleasant introduction to Asian countries. Thailand relies on tourism as a country, and tourism is 2.5 of Thailands GDP. That’s massive. Thailand is also the first Asian Country that I’ve been too where English is so widely understood. It was incredible to me after visiting Kuala Lumpar, the Philippines and Hong Kong. As a result, everything is very easy to do and find.
How to Avoid Scam: aka not getting ripped off (much)
As an Australian, our dollar is worth so much more than Thai -1 Thai Baht equals 0.038 Australian Dollar. So don’t worry too much, but be careful of the places that book yout hotel and accomodation across thailand.
The major thing to look out for is tourist scams. The north of Thailand from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Pai and Chiang Rai are much cheaper than the south of Thailand where all the parties are.
Stall holders barter with you, as do the markets. In Bangkok there is a market called MBK, which sells electronics. You can actively get fake phones there, as well as refurbished and new. My advice is not to bother as it may not work when you get home.
You need to barter before getting in cabs or Tuk Tuks, and ask your hotel or hostel personnel how much is fair. This will assist in getting a fair price.
Bangkok I found very easy to travel in provided you stay close to a train line.
Thailand requires women to be covered up, especially at temples and palaces. While I don’t love it, it is best to adhere to this and wear mid length pants and a top that doesn’t show any skin apart from your neck and down from your elbows. Otherwise they will not let you enter until you cover up with a sarong. These are provided free of charge at some places, but it’s easier just to dress as required. I didn’t realise your upper arms couldn’t show, and was stopped at all places we went to that day. The dress standard doesn’t seem to apply to men – men are required to wear tops but don’t need to be as concerned with showing their shoulders.
Other safety tips:
- if it feels wrong, just leave
- travel in pairs where possible
- always tell your friends where you are going
- don’t drink the cheap vodka at the full moon party
- follow the advice of official police officers – they are trying to look out for you.
- get travel insurance. My friend broke her foot at the full moon party and we were sent home shortly after drafting this post as she could’t travel. It cost around $100 each and we were sent home via Business Class so definitely worth the cash!
- have fun! It’s a holiday. My favourite experience in Thailand were the massages (so cheap and good!) and the cooking class in Chiang Mai.