As a western woman who moved to Thailand alone, I must say, it’s one of the world’s safest countries. Particularly for women, Thailand is also a wonderful vacation destination. But, just like anywhere else, it’s also better to be safe than sorry when traveling around the country on holiday. In fact, for women planning on taking a vacation in Thailand, whether with others or alone, there are some basic safety tips you should follow to ensure you have a carefree and problem-free vacation.
Don’t Walk on the Beach at Night – It’s a lovely night, the waves are lapping on the sand and you’d love to take a short stroll – solo. Don’t. Over the years there’ve been a few incidences of women being attacked, mugged or raped on Thai beaches. In the last two years, there have even been a couple of western women murdered. Of course, compared to the tens of thousands of western women who come to Thailand every year, these incidences are rare – to the point where they make international news when they do happen. But, to be safe, don’t take that stroll on the beach alone at night, or with a guy you’ve just met for that matter.
Don’t Go Topless on Thai Beaches – Too many western women go topless on Thai beaches. Not only is Thailand a conservative country and being topless is against the law, it’s also offensive to Thais and will attract the type of male attention you don’t want. As Thai women are very modest, many Thai men don’t understand why western women are topless on their beaches and often equate it to being ‘loose women’ and act accordingly. Bikinis are fine. Just bikini bottoms are not. So wear your top and you’ll find yourself much safer at other times too.
Wear a Bra –Again, Thailand is a conservative country and Thais don’t understand why western women walk around without wearing a bra. To avoid unwanted attention or the label of a ‘good time girl’, put your bra on. You can still wear a tank top or spaghetti strap top. Just make sure your bra is on underneath it.
Be Careful of Your Bags on Trains – A lot of women traveling around Thailand take trains around the country. Some of the journeys are overnight and, at some point, you’ll probably want to sleep. Before you fall asleep, make sure your bags are locked securely and preferably firmly underneath your seat with your legs in front of them, or somehow attached to your body. Bags (with passports and money) have been known to disappear on Thai trains while women are sleeping. Be careful of yours.
Taking Taxis Alone – In the seven years I’ve lived in Thailand, I’ve only once had a problem with a Thai taxi driver and I take taxis several times a day. During the day, you’re never likely to have a problem with a Thai taxi driver and, even at night, it’s rare. However, one tip for taxi safety a Thai female friend gave me and I do sometimes follow is this. At night, when you get in a taxi, after you’ve told the driver where you’re going, make a call on your cell phone and give a friend the taxi number. Apparently, Thai girls do this all the time, and it prevents any problems with the driver. Plus, you don’t even really need to make a call. It’s just important the driver thinks you did.
Plus, to be completely safe, if you do sense you’re going to have problems with the taxi driver, don’t argue, don’t confront, just ask him to stop, get out and find another taxi.
Don’t Drink Too Much – If I had a penny for every western girl I’ve seen falling down drunk in Thailand, I’d be rich. Sure, booze is cheap and it’s fun to go out and drink it. But in a foreign country and, particularly if you’re a woman traveling alone, be careful how much you drink. Just that one extra beer or cocktail can impair your judgement and cause you to do things you regret in the morning. Have a couple of drinks, enjoy yourself, but know when to stop. It’s safer that way. Really.
Don’t Hitchhike – Hitchhiking is rarely done in Thailand and never by women. Hitchhiking in Thailand, again, is probably safe but why take the chance? As Thai women don’t hitchhike and, outside Bangkok, you’re likely to be picked up by someone who speaks little or no English, problems could ensue that threaten your safety. Take a bus or a van. They’re cheap, you’ll be with other people and you’re much less likely to have any safety issues.
Women will love traveling around Thailand as it’s a beautiful country, Thais are lovely people, very welcoming and friendly, and it’s possible to see a lot in just a couple of weeks. Following these few basic safety tips though can make your vacation in Thailand so perfect, you’ll be desperate to come back again soon.