Stickman Readers' Submissions March 25th, 2006

Safe In Bangkok

Let’s start from when you first get off the plane. You need to get into town. Since I know where I want to go, I usually take a hundred baht bus. They are right there at the curb along with a ticket booth manned by a few pretty girls to help you.

I do this not to save money but to avoid those thieving stinking cab drivers. If you do not take the bus, do not accept rides from anyone that comes up to you in the airport or while you are waiting for a cab. After a long wait for a cab
the other day I was approached by a man who said he was a driver and would take me into town. ‘Follow me he said,’ as he began to walk.

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‘Where is your car?’

‘Over here in the parking lot.’

Now I’m going to follow some strange guy into a parking lot? Not likely. Possibly the worse thing to happen would have been is that he had a car and would over charge me. But he couldn’t do that because I did not go.

What’s left? The cab line where they charge you fifty baht extra just to step into the cab. Don’t think you are safe because they will pull away and not put on the meter. After you give them your address tell them to put on
the meter and be sure they do. If they say ‘flat rate’ I say ‘stop let me out’ in a loud voice. They hate to see you go and not give then cash so they usually put on the meter.

The best thing to do is to take the elevator one flight up and grab a cab that is just dropping some one off but you still have to tell them to put on the meter. On the way into town I usually mention that I live in Bangkok. I don’t
but this will give them an idea that I may know what I am doing. If you gave them a hotel address just say you are meeting a friend.

The driver will invariably ask if you want a massage later in the day or even a girl. Don’t go. The girl will be ugly or in a dumpy bar and massage parlor will be dirty and overpriced.
I took a cab over to The Poseidon Massage
Parlor to have a look and the stupid driver was trying to convince me there was too much traffic there and to go to a place he knew that was better.

I don’t think so.

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I don’t go to Patpong anymore because you just can’t get a cab back without an argument. No one will put their meters on so you have to pay a flat rate or walk three blocks so they don’t think you just came from Patpong.
Speaking of which, be careful if you go to the shows in the upstairs bars. Free to get in-a hundred bucks to get out.

The cabs by Soi Cowboy are just as bad. Never get into a cab that is waiting there for a fare. They are all thieves. I always stop a cab passing by or one that has just dropped someone off. But this is no insurance. Rarely have I been picked
up there and not been taken for a tour of the city. I know the way back to my hotel by now so I tell them when to turn before it comes up. This may be annoying -but better them than me. Even the damn tuk-tuks overcharge you. There’s one
always there on Soi twenty-three. ‘Hey mister, you want ride in a real tuk-tuk?’ Like he is doing me a favor, yeah right.

Whenever I take a cab somewhere I usually look at a city map so I have an idea where I’m going and what side of the street to get a cab on. If I know where I am going and the cab takes me for a tour, I pop out at the next light leaving
the back door open and walk rapidly away hoping that the driver will not chase me down the street -but then he would have to leave his cab there in the middle of traffic. I am not suggesting that you do this.
The Skytrain is a good way to
travel. You need to secure your belongings so they can’t be snatched away from you. A friend of mine, Gary, wore his expensive cell phone on his belt –in front.

Two Thai guys bumped into him grabbed the phone and got off at the next stop. When he told me I said “What are you some twelve year old Thai girl? Look at me I have a cell phone.”-You moron.

When you walk along Sukhumvit Road in the evening, keep an eye out for the katoeys, especially if there are two or three together. One of them will fondle your private parts while the other one picks your pocket. Walk well away from these
people as the last thing you want to do is get into a fight with them or chase them to retrieve your wallet. Dana-pay attention here.

Do not drink with Thai men no matter how nice they seem.

If you go into a bar and it has a bunch of Thai guys drinking there- walk out. Now certainly no one deserves to be killed but remember that English couple last year in Kanchanaburi that were shot by a Thai cop. They were out drinking with
him at two or three in the morning. I ask you. What is it with these people? What were they thinking?

If you are safely sitting down with your girl in Soi Cowboy and a couple of drunks get up on the stage right in front of you and start dancing and singing, simply grab your girl by the wrist and move to another seat. Don’t ask her.
Just take her. Say it’s too loud there. I’ll tell you something you may already know. Girls love to see their guy get into a fight over them.

If some big bruisers who obviously have had too much to drink sit down next to you. Don’t wait to get jostled. Change your seat.

This is just good sense.

Now I don’t have to tell you never to let your wallet out of your sight if you take a girl back to your room. I stay in the Majestic on Sukhumvit just up from Soi Four because they have wall safes. They also have mini-bars. The last
time I took a girl from Pretty Girl in Nana to the hotel I immediately put my money in the safe. While I did that she slipped a small bottle of Johnny Walker Black into her bag. Since they restock the bar the next day I didn’t even realize
it was gone until I checked out a few days later.

Do not throw cigarette buts or papers on the sidewalk especially if you are in a tourist area. There is usually a cop waiting to fine you for littering. If you are white and in a tourist area such as The Palace or a Wat beware of people coming
up to you and offering to take you to a gem shop, a free show of some kind or whatever. Just don’t go. Wait let me qualify that last part and say ‘If you are white-or possibly Japanese anywhere in Bangkok.’

The following may sound simplistic but humor me, let me say it.

Count your change.

Wear a condom.

Wash your hands as often as possible.

Don’t flash your cash.

Be aware of your surroundings.

Do not drink too much.

Don’t wear white slacks-like you just got off a cruise ship.

Stay away from drugs. The penalties are severe.

If you think a girl may be underage, run don’t walk.

The food stands are great; the ones where your meal is prepared to order. Don’t eat meat that has been cooked and is just sitting there.

Make sure you can walk from your hotel room to the stairs and out the door with your eyes closed. Where there’s fire-there’s smoke.

Have copies of your passport and credit cards.

Don’t get into arguments with Thai people-walk away.

Think twice about walking along a deserted beach at night-or a deserted street.

Don’t fall in love.

Have a safe trip. Stay alert.

Stickman's thoughts:

A lot of good advice here!

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