Thailand is a popular destination for all different types of travelers. It’s especially a common stop for backpackers and round the world the travelers because of its cheap and delicious food, beautiful beaches, great diving, and friendly people. It’s an easy place to travel. However, that doesn’t mean nothing can go wrong. In fact, a lot of things can go wrong.
While travel in Thailand is easy and amazing, there are some dangers to avoid.
The king is a revered figure and viewed as a God by many Thais. Talking about him is taboo. Moreover, Thailand has some of the toughest Lese Majeste laws in the world. It’s like fight club: you simply don’t talk about it. Never mention his name or your thoughts about him. Bringing him up can bring about serious consequences. Thais' love their king and they may forgive you for not knowing better and asking but try to dig deeper and you will just bring misery and maybe even jail time.
Be careful when getting drinks at the bar. If you’re in touristy areas or places that seem seedy, watch who makes your drinks. There have been many reports of foreigners getting drugged and robbed in popular destinations. I once got drugged in Thailand but luckily I had friends their to watch me. Not everyone is so lucky. Be careful and don’t accept drinks from strangers.
If you want to eat some of the best Thai food in the country, you have to eat on the streets. The best food in Thailand is found there, but to avoid getting sick, eat where the locals do. The food will most likely be better and fresher. I made the mistake of going somewhere else to avoid a line and I paid for it all night.
Thailand is famous for its red light districts. From Bangkok to Phuket to Pattaya, lots of people come here for the sex and the seediness of these areas. However, it is in these areas that most of the bad things in Thailand happen. From robberies to drugging to getting ripped off, everything happens here. If you want to avoid these things, avoid these areas. They aren’t worth visiting. I’ve had friends detained in bars by scary men for refusing to pay an overcharged bill.
You can find drugs in Thailand and you can find plenty, especially marijuana, in the country. You’ll get offered it often. Don’t do it. Drugs are illegal in Thailand. You’ve seen the movie “Brokedown Palace”? That happens. Often times, dealers will sell you drugs, report you to the police, and they will come and arrest you. To get out, you might have to pay a large bribe. Avoid the situation and don’t do drugs.
There are a lot of scams in Thailand. If people offer you anything on the street, just say no. Especially avoid the tuk tuk drivers in Bangkok. They will take you around to shops of low quality because they get a kick back while overcharging you for the ride. Moreover, if they say a temple is closed, don’t listen. My first trip to Thailand I fell for that scam and only realized it after I was in the car. If you want to buy something, simply ask other travelers or your hotel on where to go.
Traveling Thailand is relatively easy and safe. You rarely hear of anything going wrong. And when you do, it is often because people ended up doing something they shouldn’t have. However, that doesn’t mean that danger isn’t there. There are many scams and tricks played on the tourists. Keeping your head about you, using some common sense, and the tips above can ensure a safe and fun trip to Thailand.
Behind the Backpack
Matthew Kepnes has been traveling around the world for the past four years. He run the award winning budget travel site, Nomadic Matt. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian UK, and Yahoo! Finance. For more information, subscribe to his blog.
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