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Traveling in Thailand

Sep, 19 || Comments Off on Traveling in Thailand | Tags: , , , ,

Traveling in Thailand

When on vacation, we all want to cut loose and relax to forget about our stressful lives and this is a good thing. Not only is this a good thing for you but it’s a good thing for anyone looking to take advantage of you and possibly relieve you of your valuables.

Traveling in Thailand

Author: T. Bull
Category: Travel & Leisure | Destination Tips
Keyword: Thailand, travelling tips, driving in Thailand, safety tips,
Source: ezinearticles.com
Post Data: 10/09/2009 03:06:52
Word: 1475

When on vacation, we all want to cut loose and relax to forget about our stressful lives and this is a good thing. Not only is this a good thing for you but it’s a good thing for anyone looking to take advantage of you and possibly relieve you of your valuables.

As a traveler, whether you are going to Disney World or Thailand, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Whatever tourist destination you find yourself in you can bet there are people waiting there who make it their job to take advantage of you in your relaxed state. Don’t take for granted the security of resorts.

As with any trip to any destination in the world you need to be aware of your surroundings, especially in tourist areas where you may be prey to an unsavory element. I covered the basics in 5 rules of not being a stupid tourist.In Thailand the real dangers may not be what you expect. Thailand, as any other place in the world, has it’s fair share of crime and scam artists. While you are watching out for your valuables and personal safety it’s pretty easy to ignore certain aspects of your trip that you might take for granted back home. Taking these aspects of your trip for granted could very well lead to an untimely death.

Crossing streets, crowded clubs, and road accidents take more lives annually in Thailand than any other activity including crime. Just in a few days last year there were over 226 road fatalities throughout Thailand and one club fire at Santika Pub that has left 86 people hospitalized and 59 people dead. Of the 59 deaths at the club 21 were foreigners.

Nightclubs are the first piece of this awareness trifecta. Some clubs can be quite large and pack the people in, if that’s your thing then you should really take a walk around the club and check it out. Make sure you know where the exits are and if possible make sure they aren’t locked. Last year a club in Pattaya caught fire just before opening resulting in a fair number of staff dying. The fire marshal determined it to be an electrical fire and found chains locked on the secondary exits to keep people from entering for free. This New Years Eve saw a fire at the Santika Pub caused by fireworks lit off inside as part of the celebration that hit the foam acoustical treatment on the ceiling.

Small clubs deserve just as much awareness as they are usually dark and exits hidden. A lot of the fires that do happen in Thailand are electrical. The electrical in most of these places is substandard at best, criminal at worst. Club fires aren’t a daily event in Thailand but they do happen, and when they happen there are usually deaths involved. Go to the clubs and have a great time if that’s what you’re about. Just be safe and scope out the places you find yourself in, it may just save you.

Driving in Thailand

As with any other travel destination in the world you can rent cars, trucks and motorcycles in Thailand. The best tip I can give you is DON’T. Everyone I have ever met in Thailand from expat to the two week vacationer that has driven in Thailand has been in an accident. It’s not a matter of if you will be involved in an accident, but when.

Some have been minor scrapes but others have required surgery and long hospital stays. Last year a Thai woman on her way home from work one night in Pattaya riding her motorcycle fell into a pit in the road that was 6 feet deep and 4 feet wide. The contractor working on the road didn’t think a barricade was necessary.

Sometimes accidents are related to bad road conditions but more often than not road accidents in Thailand, from rural areas to the big cities, can be chalked up to bad driving. Motorcycles weave in and out of traffic as fast as they can and cars defend their space with a passion. My second trip to Thailand I saw two motorcycle accidents in one night. The first accident a motorcycle taxi cut in front of a baht bust that decided to drive right over him. The second accident a motorcycle crashed into the rear of a Mercedes at high speed. My last trip when I was coming back from Mukdahan to the bus station in Pattaya we passed a motorcycle torn to pieces in the road with an obvious dead rider 100 feet away.

One taxi ride from the airport to Pattaya my driver could not decide which lane he wanted to drive in so he decided to split the difference and drive between lanes and cars for a half a mile or so. I think the falang screaming in the back of his taxi unnerved him so he stopped.

Traffic is so bad in Bangkok that it’s not unusual to see a motorcycle taxi jump the curb and take to the sidewalk. Driving is more of a sport in Thailand and a blood sport at that. The bad Asian driver may be a cliche stereotype but when it comes to Thai drivers there’s more truth than fiction to that sentiment.

If that doesn’t give you pause to reconsider driving while in the Kingdom then consider the the following two articles:

In 1999 a study was done by G D Jacobs and Amy Aeron-Thomas called A REVIEW OF GLOBAL ROAD ACCIDENT FATALITIES. It broke down road related fatalities by region with Asia comprising a full 44% of all road fatalities world wide. It should come as no surprise then that Thailand has been the leader in road accidents world wide for some time. In 2004 it was estimated that Thailand had an accident rate of 6.6 accidents per 10,000 drivers, in comparison all of Europe was at only 1.8 accidents per 10,000 drivers.

Pichai TANEERANANON and Opas SOMCHAINUEK did a study on bus crashes in Thailand called BUS CRASH SITUATION IN THAILAND: CASE STUDIES. The sheer number of bus crashes and fatalities yearly in Thailand is staggering.

If you just have to drive in Thailand then make sure you have an international drivers license or a Thai drivers license and insurance. If you are involved in an accident most likely you’ll be seen as the person at fault and even if you are not there will be fines to pay.

Public transportation is the the alternative and for the most part will be fine. I’ve been on motorcycle taxi’s, taken tour buses up country and used taxis. I haven’t had a problem yet but I know the odds are against me. With drivers working sometimes 12 -16 hour days it’s hard to know what kind of ride you will get. As Elvis Costello would say “Accidents will happen” but if you keep your wits about you and stay aware of your surroundings then there’s a good chance you can avoid being in one.

Walking on Thailand’s Streets

I’ve been out walking the streets of Bangkok by myself at four in the morning and never once feared for my personal safety, although I was very aware of my surroundings. I can’t say the same for crossing streets in Thailand. Pedestrians are pretty much seen as targets and pedestrians in crosswalks are the bullseye.

Trust me drivers won’t slow down for you crossing the road, if anything they’ll just honk the horn to remind you of your imminent demise if you should trip. Add in bad lighting, alcohol or both on either side of this equation and you have a recipe for disaster.

While Bangkok has many pedestrian bridges the same can’t be said of other popular destinations such as Pattaya where 2cnd road plays out much like the old video game frogger. 2cnd road in Pattaya as well as beach road have a very long stretch without any traffic signals and at night the lighting is sketchy at best in some places.

A study of pedestrian accidents was done in Kohn Kaen province which has a population of 150,000 in 2002. As part of the study they gathered information on pedestrian involved accidents between the years 1998-2000. In 2000 there were over 4400 pedestrians injured or killed on Thailand roads with an estimated 65,000 traffic related injuries and deaths. A Study On Accidents and Investigation of Pedestrian’s Unsafe Conditions in Kohn Kaen.

When crossing any streets in Thailand take your time and judge car distances and speed as best you can even streets with low traffic, because by the time they hit you it’s too late and from some accidents I’ve seen there might not be much left to identify.

As always, no matter where you are in the world make sure you are aware of your surroundings and be in control of yourself at all times and you should be just fine.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, I finally set out to discover the world in 2006. South East Asia has always been a beacon for me and Thailand it’s crowned jewel.

I write about my experiences in Thailand as well as the cultural aspects of being a foreigner in a foreign land. My blog Thailand, Land of smiles is full of stories and thousands of photos from my journeys throughout Thailand. I blog about Thailand Daily at http://thailandlandofsmiles.com.

As a traveler, whether you are going to Disney World or Thailand, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Whatever tourist destination you find yourself in you can bet there are people waiting there who make it their job to take advantage of you in your relaxed state. Don’t take for granted the security of resorts.

As with any trip to any destination in the world you need to be aware of your surroundings, especially in tourist areas where you may be prey to an unsavory element. I covered the basics in 5 rules of not being a stupid tourist.In Thailand the real dangers may not be what you expect. Thailand, as any other place in the world, has it’s fair share of crime and scam artists. While you are watching out for your valuables and personal safety it’s pretty easy to ignore certain aspects of your trip that you might take for granted back home. Taking these aspects of your trip for granted could very well lead to an untimely death.

Crossing streets, crowded clubs, and road accidents take more lives annually in Thailand than any other activity including crime. Just in a few days last year there were over 226 road fatalities throughout Thailand and one club fire at Santika Pub that has left 86 people hospitalized and 59 people dead. Of the 59 deaths at the club 21 were foreigners.

Nightclubs are the first piece of this awareness trifecta. Some clubs can be quite large and pack the people in, if that’s your thing then you should really take a walk around the club and check it out. Make sure you know where the exits are and if possible make sure they aren’t locked. Last year a club in Pattaya caught fire just before opening resulting in a fair number of staff dying. The fire marshal determined it to be an electrical fire and found chains locked on the secondary exits to keep people from entering for free. This New Years Eve saw a fire at the Santika Pub caused by fireworks lit off inside as part of the celebration that hit the foam acoustical treatment on the ceiling.

Small clubs deserve just as much awareness as they are usually dark and exits hidden. A lot of the fires that do happen in Thailand are electrical. The electrical in most of these places is substandard at best, criminal at worst. Club fires aren’t a daily event in Thailand but they do happen, and when they happen there are usually deaths involved. Go to the clubs and have a great time if that’s what you’re about. Just be safe and scope out the places you find yourself in, it may just save you.

Driving in Thailand

As with any other travel destination in the world you can rent cars, trucks and motorcycles in Thailand. The best tip I can give you is DON’T. Everyone I have ever met in Thailand from expat to the two week vacationer that has driven in Thailand has been in an accident. It’s not a matter of if you will be involved in an accident, but when.

Some have been minor scrapes but others have required surgery and long hospital stays. Last year a Thai woman on her way home from work one night in Pattaya riding her motorcycle fell into a pit in the road that was 6 feet deep and 4 feet wide. The contractor working on the road didn’t think a barricade was necessary.

Sometimes accidents are related to bad road conditions but more often than not road accidents in Thailand, from rural areas to the big cities, can be chalked up to bad driving. Motorcycles weave in and out of traffic as fast as they can and cars defend their space with a passion. My second trip to Thailand I saw two motorcycle accidents in one night. The first accident a motorcycle taxi cut in front of a baht bust that decided to drive right over him. The second accident a motorcycle crashed into the rear of a Mercedes at high speed. My last trip when I was coming back from Mukdahan to the bus station in Pattaya we passed a motorcycle torn to pieces in the road with an obvious dead rider 100 feet away.

One taxi ride from the airport to Pattaya my driver could not decide which lane he wanted to drive in so he decided to split the difference and drive between lanes and cars for a half a mile or so. I think the falang screaming in the back of his taxi unnerved him so he stopped.

Traffic is so bad in Bangkok that it’s not unusual to see a motorcycle taxi jump the curb and take to the sidewalk. Driving is more of a sport in Thailand and a blood sport at that. The bad Asian driver may be a cliche stereotype but when it comes to Thai drivers there’s more truth than fiction to that sentiment.

If that doesn’t give you pause to reconsider driving while in the Kingdom then consider the the following two articles:

In 1999 a study was done by G D Jacobs and Amy Aeron-Thomas called A REVIEW OF GLOBAL ROAD ACCIDENT FATALITIES. It broke down road related fatalities by region with Asia comprising a full 44% of all road fatalities world wide. It should come as no surprise then that Thailand has been the leader in road accidents world wide for some time. In 2004 it was estimated that Thailand had an accident rate of 6.6 accidents per 10,000 drivers, in comparison all of Europe was at only 1.8 accidents per 10,000 drivers.

Pichai TANEERANANON and Opas SOMCHAINUEK did a study on bus crashes in Thailand called BUS CRASH SITUATION IN THAILAND: CASE STUDIES. The sheer number of bus crashes and fatalities yearly in Thailand is staggering.

If you just have to drive in Thailand then make sure you have an international drivers license or a Thai drivers license and insurance. If you are involved in an accident most likely you’ll be seen as the person at fault and even if you are not there will be fines to pay.

Public transportation is the the alternative and for the most part will be fine. I’ve been on motorcycle taxi’s, taken tour buses up country and used taxis. I haven’t had a problem yet but I know the odds are against me. With drivers working sometimes 12 -16 hour days it’s hard to know what kind of ride you will get. As Elvis Costello would say “Accidents will happen” but if you keep your wits about you and stay aware of your surroundings then there’s a good chance you can avoid being in one.

Walking on Thailand’s Streets

I’ve been out walking the streets of Bangkok by myself at four in the morning and never once feared for my personal safety, although I was very aware of my surroundings. I can’t say the same for crossing streets in Thailand. Pedestrians are pretty much seen as targets and pedestrians in crosswalks are the bullseye.

Trust me drivers won’t slow down for you crossing the road, if anything they’ll just honk the horn to remind you of your imminent demise if you should trip. Add in bad lighting, alcohol or both on either side of this equation and you have a recipe for disaster.

While Bangkok has many pedestrian bridges the same can’t be said of other popular destinations such as Pattaya where 2cnd road plays out much like the old video game frogger. 2cnd road in Pattaya as well as beach road have a very long stretch without any traffic signals and at night the lighting is sketchy at best in some places.

A study of pedestrian accidents was done in Kohn Kaen province which has a population of 150,000 in 2002. As part of the study they gathered information on pedestrian involved accidents between the years 1998-2000. In 2000 there were over 4400 pedestrians injured or killed on Thailand roads with an estimated 65,000 traffic related injuries and deaths. A Study On Accidents and Investigation of Pedestrian’s Unsafe Conditions in Kohn Kaen.

When crossing any streets in Thailand take your time and judge car distances and speed as best you can even streets with low traffic, because by the time they hit you it’s too late and from some accidents I’ve seen there might not be much left to identify.

As always, no matter where you are in the world make sure you are aware of your surroundings and be in control of yourself at all times and you should be just fine.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, I finally set out to discover the world in 2006. South East Asia has always been a beacon for me and Thailand it’s crowned jewel.

I write about my experiences in Thailand as well as the cultural aspects of being a foreigner in a foreign land. My blog Thailand, Land of smiles is full of stories and thousands of photos from my journeys throughout Thailand. I blog about Thailand Daily at http://thailandlandofsmiles.com.

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