Safety Tips For Women In Thailand
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Posted 2007-11-04 11:21:55
Please post your personal safety tips here for women, either ones you have used yourself, or your girlfriend/wife has used or even ones recommended to you but you've never tried out.
Remember, no flaming if you don't agree with someone please!
Posted 2007-11-04 11:24:10
My #1 tip (from my wife)
Do not get into a Taxi alone late at night.
Posted 2007-11-04 14:24:30
Well, it would be an excellent safety tip if there were always a choice in the matter. Sometimes, there is not. I prefer not to take taxis late at night when in Bangkok but sometimes I have to --flights to the US leave very early morning and a taxi is necessary at 3am. So, I make sure to stay at a guesthouse I know, and use the taxi belonging to the man who is married to the night clerk.
Posted 2007-11-04 15:28:13
-To arm yourself with at least some basic cultural understanding of the country/area. (ie: how to dress, how women interact with men, etc)
-To have a 'back-up plan' in case something happens. It isnt nice to think about what might go wrong, and what to do, but unwise to at least not have some idea of what you may do if something happens to you. Run through some scenarios and work out what you may need to help you out. Things like some basic phrases in Thai, emergency money, important details such as passport info scanned into a computer and sent as attachment to your own email address, important telephone numbers stored into your phone (and saved online/or on paper in your room), a phone with full credit, medical insurance details on you (if you have cover). If you are going away for the day, make sure you at least leave a note in your hotel room where you are going (and who with) and how to contact you. If you do not return, then at least Police have an idea of where to seek you out. (Of course, this is all very extreme, and not likely to happen. But as they say "better safe than sorry".
-Good idea to learn some basic Thai phrases. Not necessary of course, but I find the more Thai you learn, the less you are viewed as a possible dumb tourist or new tourist and less likely to be taken advantage of.
-Talk on your phone to 'invisible' caller/receiver.This is a good one if feeling unnerved, such as walking alone at night or in a taxi that you feel is making you feel edgy. You can even fiddle with the ringtone to make it look like someone has called you, or just talk into saying things like "will be there soon", and giving out taxi drivers number loud enough for the driver to realise what your doing. You can also use a similar one when arriving home..ie: open the door and say "hi" to invisible person if you live alone/noone home, to put off anyone you think could be following you.
(Thats all i can think of at the moment)
Posted 2007-11-04 19:01:22
A very good idea.
Posted 2007-11-04 19:06:47
when driving my car alone, i always lock the doors to prevent anyone opening the door at traffic lights.
easy to do, and its free.
i also dont usually do things that i would not do at home. this would mean walking home alone at night, leaving my doors unlocked, and dressing appropriately.
Posted 2007-11-04 19:30:40
my top tips, as thailand is not as safe as it is made out to be at times-
1) it's been said, but be careful with taxi drivers at any time. be confident and cool towards them, not too friendly. sit in the back seat, make a point of taking down the number on the door (you can track them this way), play with your phone. if anything feels wrong, get out and get another one. if it is late at night, cover up and keep your money and valuables hidden. another thing i often have to do is ask them to slow down! if you are barrelling towards the airport at 160k/hr. you can say "pee, cha cha noi mai? chan klua!"... this means please slow down i am scared. some of them will just laugh and speed up, but most will be surprised and will really make an effort to be safer. most taxis for some inexplicable reason do not have seatbelts in thailand.
2) bar boys, fishermen, construction workers, and other thai men who have gained most of their knowledge of farang women from western movies or porn, not to mention from the girls on holiday who throw themselves at thai men in some areas, can be a nuisance at best, dangerous at most. keep in mind that they will always have this pre-judgement of you as being "easy". they are coming from a culture in which dates are escorted or forbidden until the girls are adults, and if a thai girl is caught sleeping with a thai boy, they are often expected to marry. also a thai man must pay a lot of money for his bride. in comparison, westerners do have looser boundaries, and are cheaper! unless you are really here to have fun (in which case use condoms), then you should do what you can to dissuade these impressions. number one is to dress conservatively. do not wear short shorts and skirts, spaghetti strap tops, bikinis off the beach, or go topless! thai people will not scoff at you to your face, but they will behind your back. and the boys will be happy to f*** you, but they won't respect you. usually all it takes with thai guys is a firm "no", so if they are giving you problems be confident, and walk away. a friend of mine did not realize that her cues were all wrong and ended up being gang-raped by a group of thai boxers.
3) do NOT drink alone with thai men, they can be very volatile. this is a culture that holds in emotions until they build up and snap! it is hard to predict the things which might offend them. these problems are magnified by drinking. it is rare that a thai man would fight a girl, but it can happen. and when thais fight, they aim to fight to the death. saying the wrong thing can get you bottled or jumped by a group of them. another thing is you need to watch your drinks. i have heard many reports of drinks being drugged, especially in bangkok, koh samet, and koh phangan.
4) make sure you have a good lock on your guesthouse door, if not you can wedge something up underneath it to prevent it's opening easily.
5) as someone else said, make sure your phone is charged and has credit at all times.
6) keep your valuables hidden/locked up- robberies do happen. i was robbed of $5000 worth of stuff on chaweng beach because i was stupid, became complacent. was told by the police that there were groups of farang tourists doing the robbing, so you can't necessarily trust other travellers.
7) don't be too paranoid! keep a confident and positive demeanor. make friends with locals and stay aware of your surroundings. use common sense.
Posted 2007-11-05 00:34:37
Yes, good ones Eek, especially about talking on the phone while in a taxi at night, and giving the license number to someone in Thai.
I have already made comments regarding safety on another thread (Safety of Young Woman in Thailand), so I won't repeat the information here, as many people here have made similar suggestions.
One thing that hasn't come up: taxi license plates. White and black plates are unlicensed, yellow and black licensed. Get into the habit of looking at these before you get in. I also always check for the photo license on the dashboard and make sure it matches the driver, because sometimes you will see that the driver and the photo identification on the dashboard do not match.
Many flights are in the middle of the night, so I try to arrange a taxi before hand, and if not, I choose carefully. In addition, I have someone from my hotel walk me out and put me into the taxi, take the taxi number in front of the driver, and then tell me in front of him to call them when I get to the airport. I do the same exact thing when putting my friends into a taxi in the middle of the night, headed for the airport.
Posted 2007-11-05 00:36:05
Keys, keys have been my best freind in my home country & in the numerous countries of varying safety for the lone female traveller. Make sure you carry them with one between your second & middle finger, it is a very effective weapon against attack, for gouging, jabbing & scraping an attacker.
Also just holding them IMO feels like you are doing something positive for your own safety so in turn gives you the confidence to walk tall & assured when out alone, which is another one of my rules about travel alone. Always look confident & like you know where you are going.
I have to disagree about using your phone whilst outside of a taxi. It is just another thing to make you a target & when walking alone you HAVE to look like you have your wits about you. Most attacks are opportunistic so don't look like you are distracted or aimless.
Posted 2007-11-05 00:43:09
I suspect this a rather small and obvious safety tip, but something I was told a long time ago. And that is to carry your handbag or shoulder bag on the side away from the street to prevent opportunistic or even planned snatch and run from motorbike riders.
Posted 2007-11-05 00:48:20
* I decided to post anyway, because it is important for newcomers to see the repetition of certain points from the perspective of people who have lived in LOS.
Most taxis are generally safe, but there are some issues to be aware of to stay safe as a single woman in Thailand. This should be considered with care, because being culturally appropriate is key to staying safe, but usually not obvious to the newbie Western female, hence the importance of HONEST and OPEN discussion of this issue here.
The truth is that it can be safe with no incidents whatsoever, but there are also many incidents of sexual harassment for women travellers, especially THAI WOMEN and other Asian females. In fact, I've learned how to stay safe and heeded the warnings from THAI WOMEN themselves. Part of the issue stems from cultural cues and perceptions about gender, morals, advantage and disadvantage, and part from plain governance, such as the lack of reliable taxi license regulation and overall transport safety.
I've had a few great experiences in Bangkok taxis, innumerable frustrating ones, and a couple of very scary, close calls.
sit in the back seat, as a single woman you do not want to give off any unintended messages by sitting in the front. THAI WOMEN DON'T DO IT.
If you go to a trendy club and are wearing your trendy clothing around trendy people, COVER UP when you get in your taxi at night; Most taxi drivers are not trendy, and will perceive you in the glare of their own context, not the one you just left. Tuck away a silk shawl or scarf in your bag that you can use to cover your shoulders and chest for the trip back home at night. If you are wearing a mini skirt, consider bringing a very large shawl.
Make sure your cell phone is amply charged before you go out at night, with plenty of money on it. Consider this a necessity - as important as having enough spending money or looking good. The phone can also help you when you the driver gets lost, doesn't read maps, and doesn't understand your Thai, no matter how conscientious and valiant your effort.
You should have a couple of people with whom you have an agreement with in advance, that you can call at any time in case things get weird inside a taxi. If things get dicey and it is a male Thai friend who can convey status on the phone, all the better. If you need to call someone and they don't pick up the phone, FAKE a conversation. Things you should be saying is where you are, where you are going, and the number of the taxi on the side of the door. It would help if you could say these numbers in Thai, but honestly just making a phone call to someone when in the taxi to make it obvious that someone is waiting for you, is very helpful.
Maintain a forceful, assured attitude when in a taxi alone at night. No small talk, no laughing, no nothing! You are not looking for new friends and definitely not new cultural experiences late at night in a taxi, so just blunt it. Don't be hostile, but don't be friendly either.
Be aware of how you are perceived or what image you may be presenting at your point of pick-up. Who is putting you in the taxi and from where are you departing?
If there is an issue late at night stay calm, stay focused but definite in your actions, and call a few well-chose people. The phone is your best friend at that point.
Many Thai women also go out of their way to choose elderly taxi drivers at night. And quite honestly, a fair amount of Thai women don't go out after 10 or 11 at night alone, so we are challenging social mores when we are simply out alone, day or night, but especially at night. You might want to consider a group strategy when going out, such as a few of you going home together and staying over each other's house.
When on vacation at the beach I made it a point to party very near to where I stayed, and made sure the walk back was out in the open and safe. If I'm going to walk back along the beach alone, I do so in a group.
Do not drink with Thai males alone, especially those that you don't know or groups of them. If you have only met them on this trip, or have only known them as casual acquaintances - which are the majority unless you have met their friends and family and known them for years - then YOU DON'T KNOW THEM. Thai male culture associates male group drinking as a ritual before visiting brothels, gambling, or "boy" activities, so quite simply, you don't fit in as a female, period.
Thailand is a beautiful country, with many beautiful people. However, SEA in general is rife with cultural and gender-specific signals, which differ vastly from our own cultural understanding and signals. We will not be able to read signals here according to our own reference points at first. It is very important that young women and men stay aware of this very significant fact.
Have fun, but be informed.
Edited by kat, 2007-11-05 00:59:50.
Posted 2007-11-05 03:08:00
Yes, very important point. Thanks for pointing that out, Boo.
Posted 2007-11-05 17:49:08
This may come across as an unfair blanket statement, but I personally abide by it:
Never take a tuk tuk at night if not altogether. The biggest problems I've had have been from tuk tuk drivers and I rarely used them before I decided to avoid them altogether. At best, they will charge you too much. At worst, I was groped by a driver that stopped before getting me to where I was going. He stopped when I dialed 1155 (Bangkok tourist police) and showed him the number.
Another tip is to always know the local number for the tourist police, even if you aren't a tourist. It varies by province but if you aren't fluent in Thai and don't have anybody Thai and nearby to call, it's your best bet.
Posted 2007-11-07 11:38:45
In taxis in BKK late at night I always phone a friend and give her the taxi number and make it obvious I am doing so to the driver. I also never take tuk tuks simply cos they are a rip off! Also second the key trick and my ultra paranoid friend has also recommended hair spray or deodarant in the bag as well. Just be careful not to enrage an attacker further by a failed defense attack.
The most important thing though is to listen to your own instincts. Practice doing this and you will get better. This also means trusting sometimes as well when in a sticky situation. It is THE most important sense that you have and even if it means taking an extra hour to get home, not meeting your friends, not seeing a beautiful tourist spot or whatever then still listen to it. Nothing is as important as your safety and if you are switched on and alert then you are the best person to ensure this. Also arm yourself with some good friends who will look out for you, receive panicked calls in the middle of the night, come and pick you up and assess whether you are to inebriated to look after yourself.
You can't always protect yourself though, and if you are the victim of a crime always remember that:
1) it WAS NOT YOUR fault, even if you did any of the things we advised against. You are not stupid, they are, and they will get their comupance.
2) you are NOT an unlucky peron. Shit happens, to everyone. Next week, month or year will be fanatstic. Think of all the good stuff that has happened in your life and focus on that.
3) Do NOT stop living your life. Learn whatever lesson you were meant to about protecting yourself and move on. I was mugged in the UK outside my front door and bar moving out the next day, there was very little I could do to avoid it happening again so I just had to keep on doing what I was doing. I actually also feel that fear can diminish your natural instincts as it masks the things that you really should be scared off. Keep a cool head and listen to yourself.
Posted 2007-11-13 10:05:06
When i first came to live in Pattaya Thailand, nearly 7 years ago, i was watched withdrawing cash from an ATM machine on pattayaklang, i drove quite a way, and realised i was being followed by another motor cycle, when i stopped and got of the samlor, my shoulder bag containing 38 thousand baht, bank cards and personal belongings was ripped from me by 3 boys on a motor cylce - please dont carry huge amounts of cash around with you, and try to go to an ATM machine that is pretty busy, as soon as your cash comes out, put it away quickly and check no one is behind you. also when you walk away, check nobody is following you. The police never caught these thieves, and i have well learnt my lesson now, i wear a body or bum bag, and i only take out with me what i need. i also never wear my thai gold jewellery, maybe a couple of rings, its tempting the poor, so i dont bother. hope this doesnt happen to anyone else.
Posted 2007-11-20 03:56:10
Sorry to hear this Pattaya Girl. Unfortunately it's very common in Pattaya. They'll even snatch the bag from a moving motorcycle and from one with a man on the front and a woman on the back
Posted 2007-12-17 16:26:57
A tip from my all-time favoured taxi driver:
Any driver can look right through you. They know if you are having a bogus conversation with a call-center and pretend to be giving details of the taxi to a friend. He said the most important thing for anyone boarding a taxi is to check whether the person driving is the same as the person on the taxi-ID. I think he is right by saying that most of the misbehavior or mugging or worse is not committed by taxi drivers, but by posers. If the photograph does not show the guy behind the wheel: don't get on. Yes, he also confirmed that most of the fake taxi drivers are on the loose at night.
Another tip: avoid the overpasses on Rajada. They are a favoured place for muggings and you have no way to run (except jumping on the road beyond you) if the guys come from either end once you are on. Also heard some of the same of other overpasses.
Try to have a look at a map before you call a taxi (not only in Thailand). Even though you might not be able to speak Thai the driver will presume you know the route when you tell him the place you want to go is quite close to this-and-that.
Posted 2008-01-17 21:12:27
Learn a little Thai, the bad boys MAY backoff if you sound like you have been around Thailand for awhile.
Posted 2008-04-03 11:28:08
The best course of action is avoidance. Carrying a silk shawl is a great idea if you are going out on the town. It can slip into your purse when you arrive, but it covers up while in transit. I hate to admit that a woman shouldn't be able to walk about as she pleases, but here, wearing a low-cut or short dress may be perceived as being "easy," so prudence should take precedence over principle. If feasible, wear running shoes to-and-from, then change into those heels after you arrive. Also, find a male Thai-speaking friend or acquaintance. If possible, a hi-so or other educated man who can speak with the accent and affectations of someone in a position of power. Call him as you enter a taxi, then hand the phone to the driver so this friend can give some sort of instructions to the driver, maybe inferring that he is at your destination waiting for you.
I would recommend carrying some sort of panic alarm. A whistle is good, but the piercing panic alarms can go along way to making a would-be attacker run. At which you run, too, in the opposite direction.
If actually attacked, well, there is the crux of the matter. Do you fight or comply? There are schools for self-defense for women which advocate fighting. A knee in the testicles can be a great defense. A key across the face can be as well. Biting an ear, or if it is a sexual assault and things have degraded to that point, a severe mauling of the penis and/or scrotum with fingernails or teeth may save you from further assault.
However, fighting back is not necessarily the answer. In San Diego, an off-duty cop had a habit of stopping young women on the road and fondling them or on a few occasions, forcing them to give him oral sex. He stopped a young woman who was a black belt in one of the martial arts. When she realized the stop was not an official stop and he was about to assault her, she went into attack mode. Well, no matter how good she may have been doing her katas, she was 110 pounds, and he was a 200+ pound fit cop. He ended up killing her during the fight, something he originally had no intention on doing.
Avoidance is best. Stay away from high risk activities, cover up, be ready to run, carry an alarm, call a friend to tell them when you are getting in a taxi. If all of this fails, and you are assaulted, you have to make the determination to comply or fight. For a simple robbery, give in. Your money is not worth injury or life. If the assault involves your person, you have to make that decision yourself.
Posted 2008-04-25 23:20:40
Mom told me not to go out alone and dont take the van or taxi espeacially in the evening...
also not to stand near the edge of the parthway beside the road
cos there was the news about the van gangsters kidnapped, almost killed, and took everything from the woman in the morning while she was waiting for the bus to office
they just parked the van in front of her, opened the door then pull her in,
even tho the vans in bkk r less dangerous than taxis tho....
[sighh .. my english is so thai eh ? lol]
Edited by thithi, 2008-04-25 23:23:58.
Posted 2008-04-26 08:14:57
Don't let the Taxi choose you. YOU flag down the Taxi.
Avoid Taxis that smell of alchohol GET OUT.
Avoid Taxis that have blackout windows or lots of strange decorations.
Sit directly behind the driver.
Be polite but firm. Don't interact.
Carry Pepper Spray.
If you suspect trouble, phone sombody and tell them the taxi number etc.
Get to know some reliable drivers and call them.
Posted 2008-05-18 07:22:51
Know where you are going, know the route to get there.
NEVER take a taxi who won't put on the meter.
If you feel anything is strange, don't feel shy about telling the taxi to stop and getting out. Be assertive, be strong.
Have a number for a thai friend or tourist police in your mobile phone. If the taxi starts feeling strange, phone your number, tell them the taxi number (LOUDLY) - shown in upper left corner of dashboard or on the door, then give the phone to the taxi driver.
Don't fall asleep, don't get into a taxi seriously drunk.
If a nutty/dubious guy is following you, go to the nearest open shop/food cart and tell them.
If somebody up ahead on the sidewalk looks nuts/dubious, cross the road.
Do NOT get into a tuk-tuk late at night.
Do NOT go drinking with a Thai guy you've just met.
Do NOT be super friendly to any Thai guy - it will frequently be misinterpreted.
Do NOT be rude, loud or hysterical ever - be firm, be polite. Don't yell or scream. Poker faced iciness works best.
Don't wear super skimpy revealing clothes - Thai girls may get away with this, you will be seen as asking for it.
On a positive note, I've lived here 11 years and have had 1 attempted mugging in all that time.
Posted 2008-05-24 10:12:22
1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do : The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!
2. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you.... chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR ,
LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
5. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head, DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it . As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
6. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage: A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor , and in the back seat B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars. C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side.. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
7. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)
8. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!
9. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
10. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer
has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.
Edited by GracelessFawn, 2008-05-24 10:15:27.
Posted 2008-10-07 16:19:16
Interesting. I have lived in Bangkok for two years and must have been in taximeters over 700 times between 11 pm and 8 am. I always sit next to the driver as I get sick sitting in the back. I sometimes engage in small talk with the driver, especially when they find out I speak a little Thai. I never pretend to speak on my cell phone, as that is the most ridiculous and unsafe thing you can do in public. I never ever had a problem in a taxi or anywhere else regarding safety at any time in any situation in Bangkok in two years. I never drink alcohol though. I think there is a difference between foreign residents and people who obviously look and act as tourists. However, I think Thailand is a reasonably safe country if you don't act as an ignorant tourist.
Posted 2008-10-30 13:22:47
Everywhere have to safe and careful ....................................
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