Bangkok has become larger than it’s reputation. Everything you can imagine happening happens in this mega city at the speed and frequency of an eye blink. How many monikers does this town carry…let’s see. ‘The Big Smoke’…The Big Mango’, ‘Sin City’…’The Hip Kingdom’. There are probably others…but I don’t hang out in ‘that’ part of town.
The infrastructure build out of the past ten years is starting to rival and surpass many western capitals. The construction is on an insane trajectory. It ain’t the quiet little ‘Asian Secret’ some people still come seeking. And by the way, what are we to make of those tourists who still show up wearing matching ‘jungle wear’ outfits? Man, talk about a time warp. Seriously people, you ain’t on safari… or anybodies ‘Bwana’ in Asia.
This city is sizzling with mod-cons, the likes of which are a first time experience to many of the Europeans who stumble out of a Finland wilderness or Canadian backwater. The fact that Bangkok has an attractive architectural history, amazing beaches and fascinating Buddhist culture is just ‘the cherry on top’ to suck 30 million tourists a year into the country.
But, as my friends often remind me…”Don’t be complacent about the dangers”. It has, in fact, become far more dangerous to travel in Thailand. The crime statistics are higher than ever, many tourists and travelers bring it on themselves. As a casual observer of the ‘Darkside’ I have definatley noticed the pattern and timing of a majority of crimes against tourists.
Aside from horrible occurrence of road related deaths on weekends and holidays, the worst time to be out anywhere in Thailand ( but especially Pattaya, Bangkok or Phuket) is between 1:30 am and 5:30 am ….when the majority of people on the streets are drunk or those hunting drunks. Simple robbery has many times turned to murder, it’s nothing personal, many Thai’s and related peoples don’t manage violent behavior very well, it’s new to them. Many times the robbers are desperate sex workers and villagers who’ve come to see the big city lights and get the first look at foreigners who seem to drip with a wealth they have never seen .
My advice…’stay out of the infamous wild bar scene’. You’ll say, “What fun is that?” I’ll say, “What’s your life worth?” And people…you simply can’t believe the insane behavior of the ‘Farang’ crowd. Anyone living here will tell you that foreigners are more dangerous than the Thai’s. So , if you want to have a great time in Thailand, stay away from area’s where the greatest numbers of tourists hang out. Tourists attract criminals of all kinds…..there are many criminals pretending to be tourists and hiding among the crowds. That’s where you find the most sleaze and crime.
Street crime is not the norm, but the frequency of people being robbed in isolated places, like the beach, or a historic park is growing. Being robbed by a sex worker is almost a given…these people are not your friends. Sex workers are steeped in the anecdotal tactics of the ‘ladies and gentlemen’ who have gone before them. Even the youngest sex worker can drug and rob you if you slip into complacency for even a second when alone with her/him.
Famously, the airport taxi into the city has been many unfortunate tourists introduction to crime in Thailand. Those guys are sharks…and you should always into that relationship with your eye’s open. Never agree to having the meter turned off in exchange for a flat rate. Try to use some common sense and don’t get into the first cab you see. The idea of ‘queuing’ by cabs is only done in Europe.
Here you want to check the cab and it’s driver very carefully and if ‘number six’ is the only one that doesn’t look like a crackhead…you walk past the rest. But…that’s no guarantee. I only use ‘Uber’…or ‘GrabCar’…you can download either app free after buying a data card from ‘True Mobile’ or any of the other kiosks at the terminal. You won’t regret getting better service if you do. I won’t explain how either system works…just sayin’…that they do good work. So many new arrivals get robbed by taxi driver’s that it’s worth paying attention to.
More to come…just not today.