Why I Could Not Live in Thailand
I have been coming to Thailand since 2003, some trips were long and others short. The first few trips were like heaven in a place with great weather, food and of course the sexy nightlife. But when the rose tinted glasses fall off, and they do, you start
to see things differently. Under the surface you start to notice things more and more than you did before and I must admit it does seem to be worse now than I remember on my first few trips. But then again maybe things have always been this
way but I just did not notice them.
ROAD TRAFFIC CHAOS AND SAFETY
It's every man for himself on the roads of Bangkok and throughout Thailand where you have to keep your wits about you or you may be up for the high jump. I always develop a kind of spider sense when I am out walking or grabbing a taxi through trying to be intensely aware of my surroundings. I have seen broken pavements and metal spikes sticking up out of the ground and the motorbikes that seem to have the right of way no matter where they are.
What never fails to shock me is seeing the sight of a father and his wife holding a baby all jammed on to a motorbike with no protection speeding really fast on the roads. I cannot help but think just one bump and they are a moments away from death or serious injury. And you see this a lot, no wonder road deaths are high in Thailand. When will this change?
Recently two lads from Wales were racing down Pattaya streets by the Big C both on the same bike I believe and they came off their bike both flung across the road dead. Most European countries have strict laws on road safety and what you should have to wear when riding a motorbike. But when people come to Thailand you see them wearing nothing but beach shorts and footwear tearing down the streets like a bat out of hell in some cases. It amazes me that all that basic common sense just goes out of the window when they come to Thailand and what you see is a statistic waiting to happen.
MURDER, SUICIDE AND UNNATURAL MURKY DEATHS
I was watching this program recently called "Big trouble in Thailand" where they stated that 288 British people died in Thailand last year. And it got me thinking about a time some years ago when staying in Pattaya some Belgian guy got shot dead by someone on a motorcycle. The rumour was that he was cheating on his Thai girlfriend and she had him killed.
From all the news sources there seems to be an awful lot of unexplained deaths especially in the tourist areas of Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui. It's usually reported like this “foreign man found dead in his room, a young girl was seen by staff leaving the room. Police cannot find any signs of a struggle”. Then you hear nothing more, no follow up reports of why a young and healthy individual, in some cases, was found dead for no reason.
I bet if someone collected all the statistics from all the foreign embassies on how many tourists died in a year in Thailand and from what it would make you think twice before you packed your bags. I wonder what the ratio would be on murders, accidents, suicide and illness in one calendar year.
Well you have the limousine scam at the airport where I have been asked for 1,800 baht to Sukhumvit. Then there's the recent duty free scam, gem scam, sex show scam, grand palace is closed scam, wrong change scam, two tier price for admission scams where farang pay more because we are all rich, jet ski scam, bus switch scam etc etc… You get the picture.
Then there are those who get conned big time. I read a report of this old guy getting conned out of his life savings by his sweetheart. Apparently it was some investment where all the paperwork was in order and everything seemed too good to be true. Then all his money is gone and he never hears from his sweetheart again. I hate to be judgmental in these cases as we have all made foolish mistakes in our lives but ouch. It's gotta hurt when someone has your number and you get taken.
I remember one year when I was in Koh Samui. I was on the beach talking to these two Canadian lads. They were smoking skunk and asking me if I wanted a spliff. I told them I was not into drugs and especially not in Thailand. Apparently one lad was saying his mate was one of the local taxi drivers and could get him whatever he wanted. Well about four days later I spot one of the lads on his mobile and asked him how his holiday was going. He tells me his friend had been arrested when buying some more weed from the taxi driver and he was arranging, I believe, 50,000 baht to be wired to get his friend out of trouble. Apparently "his friend", the taxi driver, had set him up!
I know I have not scratched the surface and have been speaking in general as I have not had the time to write anything in depth.
In the last few years going to Thailand I have felt that trouble and violence in certain situations are not far away. And with police corruption, scams, traffic chaos, the girls, disease, racism and general day to day life in Thailand that sooner or later I will be a statistic in one shape or another. And that is why I could not live in Thailand on a permanent bases.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to my first few trips when I had virgin eyes and everything was great and Thailand was a total paradise.
What is disappointing is that pretty much every problem you mention seems to have got worse. So much for there being improvement and development! And even when you are aware of the issues, some are almost impossible to avoid altogether. You can become a victim rather easily…