Thailand is an utter paradise – exotic beaches with crystal clear blue waters where you can lounge in a hammock on the deck of a bamboo hut; jungle villages where you can connect with nature as you swim under waterfalls and eat homecooked Thai food by the light of the moon; cities where it’s OK to wear dreads and hippie clothing as you meander from temples to parks, musing over the meaning of life with fellow backpacking friends.
But like anywhere, Thailand isn’t perfect and the ladies do need to be careful here. The party-heavy atmosphere can unfortunately lead to dangerous situations, and even in the safest cities, it’s worth being on your guard.
You’ve probably been hearing this your entire life, but never leave your drinks unwatched and be mindful of who you’re partying with. Drugs may be illegal in Thailand but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In fact, they are fairly easy to come by, especially on the major party islands. You’ll meet some incredible people in Thailand, but you can also meet some dangerous characters and it’s worth staying coherent enough to watch your drinks and look out for yourself. In that same vein, watch your drinks as they are being made. Women have died due to DEET, the powerful chemical found in many mosquito repellants here, being used as in ingredient in their drinks at a toxic level. You don’t really want that in your drink at all, so watch to see nothing but booze and perhaps a little mixer gets in there.
Don’t walk home alone at night – another one you’ve probably heard before, but do keep it in mind when in Thailand. There have been reports of women being raped and assaulted, especially in major party destinations. Buddy up with a friend to walk home with, or try to stay in popular, well-lit areas where there will be plenty of people around at all hours of the night. Also opt to stay in a guest house that has some security measures, and doesn’t have a common area open to anyone who happens to wander by.
Carrying a purse that slings across your body isn’t a complete safeguard against being robbed, but it can help. A popular scheme in the northern city of Chiang Mai has a thief on a motorbike driving by, snatching a woman’s purse off her before she even realizes what’s happening, and driving off. Using a purse that slings across the body may be a deterrent to thieves, as it is more difficult to grab. To be on the safe side, put your valuables in a locker or safe at your hotel or guest house – passport, credit cards, anything that would be a major problem to lose.
Most people have a fine time in Thailand, and most of the people you will meet here are warm and wonderful, but as is the case, anywhere, you must be careful. There are many scams that travelers fall prey to, including overpaying for tuk-tuk or taxi rides, getting roped into tours they didn’t want to participate in…just remember to be discerning and trust your instinct when someone or something doesn’t seem quite right.