As an expat here for 16 years, I am always asked the question, is it safe to travel to Thailand and how about living there?
My answer is always yes, but common sense always prevails, statistics will tell you
Thailand is rated as the least dangerous country in Southeast Asia for travelers.
There is a history of social unrest and violent conflicts in parts of the country, but crimes in tourist areas are rare. As long as you exercise standard travel safety precautions (like staying alert, keeping an eye on your belongings, etc.) you’ll have nothing to worry about.
All too many ‘green’ tourists are taken in by the alluring females and with their wallet full of cash hanging out their back pocket, theywonder why it fell out and lost all their cash!
Getting into scuffles seems to be one that lands a lot of foreigners in trouble, yet as my Mother would always say; “Certain people tend to follow trouble not the other way around.” There is always one chap you know that somehow gets into fights more often than anyone else, and this chap often struggles to feel the ambience of any given environment he finds himself in, and is often too quick to engage mouth before brain.
In 16 years here I have never been in a scuffle with anyone, as I always try to remember I am a guest in the country and act accordingly, and the Thai people respect your respect and we all get along just nicely thank you.
It’s important to remember that Thailand is still classified as a developing economy. That doesn’t mean it’s unsafe, only that you should make careful decisions—a Thai local can help you pick out the best hotels, restaurants, and transportation so you know you’re in good hands.
When during the last Coup my parents rung me to see if I was safe, I chucked and told them we could actually see the tanks rolling by from the bar where we sat at, and the bar owner rung the bell which means a free round for everyone. He said we do this every coup!
Did we want to go into town and stand on the tanks? Er.. No! Maybe you would if you were a Reuters reporter, then we would wish you well and ask to see your action packed political coup riots photos tomorrow from your hospital room.
Insurance companies are always warning us about Riding Motorbikes in Thailand
Look at statistics and you will know Thailand is top 3 when it comes to road accidents and deaths.
You will have to temper this somewhat with how many motorcycles there are here compared to the west, and the statistics will start to make sense.
Riding a motorcycle in Thailand is fun. The weather is perfect for it, however it is a different kind of riding than anywhere in the west. You have to have your own ‘foreigner driver [email protected]@#ole meter’ turned up full! You have to drive with your hand on the brake at all times and expect the worst at any second.
If you have ridden motorbikes in your home country well then avoiding motorcycle riding here is like a 5 year old girl walking past an ice cream van because she has been told it’s bad for her! Follow good solid guidelines and it is a wonderful experience.
However getting drunk and riding home on a motorbike without a helmet, you would have your Life Insurance company rep having his own heart attack that is up there with jumping out of a plane and sky diving with a parachute knitted by your aunt in the crafts stall on the market.
My Girlfriend tells me; “I ride my motorbike like an old man.” I reply:
“That is exactly how I got to be an old man!”
Like an old man means; drive at a speed you can manage to navigate total surprises each day, and wear helmets and just be ready and alert all the time.
Try to remember from 5pm onwards, which is the official time the governments let our lovely indigenous people drink by allowing the shops to sell alcohol again; a scary percentage of people on the roads will be slightly intoxicated at this time and after midnight almost everyone! So it is all about being prepared for anything and you just have to be 100% sober for that, if you must go out at the ‘purge hours’.
3 things you should heed
- Hold a valid motorcycle license.
By not having a valid license as a driver, or the driver does not have as license, could invalidate any cover from your Travel Insurance, Medical Insurance or Life Insurance policy.
B – Always wear a helmet
You may enjoy the feeling of the wind in your hair, but with sudden braking for a dog, or avoiding collision with another motorcyclist, your head is not made of steel and you could suffer severe injuries.
Never mind the police authorities looking for a vulnerable person with “deep pockets”.
C – abide by the local traffic laws.
Please do not “do as they do”. As a licensed rider, common sense and knowledge of the road laws will keep you sane and safe.
In the 16 years I have been here I have seen a fair few people die. Not all from road accidents or by getting beat up for being a dick, many with natural causes, one dear friend of mine died 1 month into his state pension which he was looking forward to for years leading up to his 65th, and the one thing that is so stressful for grieving relatives back home is insurance, and does your policy cover repatriation of the body the several thousands of kilometers back home.
You need to speak to the guys that live here and have a Robust Life Insurance Policy that covers all eventualities that you are doing, including drunken motorbike wheelies at 3 AM with the locals or sky diving with the crocheted blanket from Aunt Maude as your parachute!
A coffee with Steve at Tigon Consultancy will be perfect for that. The peace of mind and knowing you are not passing a massive burden on to your offspring or folks back home, makes the holiday or your retirement that much more relaxing.
Contact Steve at: [email protected] to arrange a chat or visit www.tigonconsultancy.com.
With more than 15 years helping many people in Thailand, you will have his expertise and services at hand.