Life in Thailand (1): Personal Security and Safety

Thailand is a nice place for a vacation.  It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.  But for many people that journey to Thailand ends up being a one-way trip.

Thailand has the second-most dangerous roads in the world for fatalities.  Libya is number one–maybe because they have a war going on.  Poor road maintenance, sub-standard medical care, unlicensed drivers, poor police supervision, drug use, slow emergency services, drinking and driving, and a devil-may-care attitude towards safety all add up to one thing:  you must be extremely careful on Thai roads.  In fact, if you can stay off a Thai highway, then do so. The holiday periods are especially dangerous because big bus companies push their drivers to the limit and traffic is heavy.

A lot of foreigners come to Thailand to have a big party.  Alcohol makes safety problems worse.  Another enormous safety problem is how electrical devices and simple household items are not designed to prevent injury. Electrocution from faulty wiring and injury from simple things such as faulty chairs–these are real problems in Thailand.

There are a lot of problems.  Rabies is an issue.  If a dog bites you, clean the wound immediately and get the prophylaxis right away.  In Thailand, the prophylaxis for rabies is not expensive.

What often happens is that a cascade of problems arise, exacerbated by alcohol, the kinds of problems that a Westerner would not think of.  People drink and get on a motorcycle and expect Thai roads to be like roads at home.  That is not the case:  unless you are used to suddenly seeing a one-meter-deep hole in the road that no one has repaired for the last month.

Medical care in Thailand is often substandard or de facto nonexistent. When you are injured and taken to a hospital, unless you are in a major city, don’t expect the medical care you would get in the West, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, etc.

Thailand can be extremely dangerous, and you need to keep your wits about you.  Excessive alcohol has led to a one-way trip for many people–be careful!


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