Bangkok is a fantastic city and it never sleeps. It can be a paradise for many people but it could be a place to forget for someone who is too careless. This article will guide you a bit about safety in Bangkok.
Things you should know about safety in Bangkok
What kind of safety problems/scams you could potentially face in Bangkok and how to prevent them?
Roads and streets
– Many of Thai people in Bangkok often ignore crosswalk; they just cross a road wherever and whenever they want to. Many drivers also don’t really care whether people are using crosswalk. Therefore, the best option to go from one side to another is to use flyover. If you can’t find one around there and you have to cross a road, please be really careful.
– Some Thais (including us sometimes) think of traffic light differently. When it goes yellow, their subconscious minds would tell them that “oh, I’d better hurry”. Therefore, it’d be safer to wait for 2-3 seconds after the traffic light goes red.
– It is not recommended to take Tuk Tuks as you could be charged more than it should be. Plus, they could offer to take you to “some great places” like jewelry shops or shopping places. Don’t fall into the trap! This will cost you a lot more than usual prices.
* There are many good Tuk Tuk drivers but it does not have any practical systems or standards to prevent them from cheating. Therefore, it is better safe than sorry.
– Taxis, unlike Tuk Tuks, have meters so they theoretically can’t charge you more than what their meters show. However, many taxi drivers will tell you to pay the fixed price as you are foreigners (Because they think you are not used to the country and you come to spend money). The best advice is to ask them politely to turn the meter on or just leave that one and wait for another.
– Street food in Bangkok is definitely one of the best; it is open almost 24 hours and it is super delicious! For Thai people, we have a theory like “The more shabby the stall, the more delicious the food”. It is often true. However, it is recommended to try only cooked food. For uncooked ones like pickled fish or fresh shrimp in fish sauce, try to avoid it as it could cause you diarrhea.
– Tab water in Bangkok is not consumable. You should drink only bottled or boiled water.
– When you buy something from stalls on the street, do check the amount of money you pay and changes you get. They could give you wrong changes.
– If you need cash from ATMs, it is recommended to withdraw from ATMs located in places like shopping malls, BTS, MRT or banks. This is to avoid card skimmers.
Famous tourist attractions
– One of the most infamous tricks is often used at one of the most famous attractions; the temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). As the temple area is quite vast and it is surrounded by walls, you will be busy find the way to get inside. During that time, there will be people coming to talk to you; they will tell you that “Oh, the temple is closed today but you don’t need to worry, I will take you to some interesting places”. If you fall into the trap, you could end up paying more than 2,000 Thai Baht for their special services. The best advice is to ignore them, try to find the way to get inside and see it with your eyes whether the temple is really closed.
You will not only see this kind of trick at the temple of the Emerald Buddha but also other famous places. They could use different approaches but, at the end, it’s going to be the same; you will end up paying a lot more than you should pay.
– A very simple rule “where there’s a tourist, there’s a thief”. Just keep reminding yourself of this rule and you won’t be pick-pocketed.
Who to talk with when you have serious safety problems?
If there’s any problem about your safety in Bangkok, call 1155 or (+6624080333). You will be directed to tourist polices (Free call). You can also call 191 which is the number for regular polices but they may not be able to communicate in English.
If the problem is really serious and you think you may need to meet officers in person. Below are the lists of places you should know;
Airport Tourist Police Office: Suvarnabhumi Airport, tel: +6621321155 and Don Muang Airport, tel: +6625351155.
Tourist Police head office: 20170 Bangkok Tower, New Petchburi Road, Bangkapi, tel: +6624080333 or 1155.
Tourist Assistance Centre: 4 Ratchadamnoen Nok Road, Pom Prab Sattru Phai, tel: +6623560650.
Tips on Safety in Bangkok
1. Some street food stalls may offer you free drink. It’s good as it’s free but it is recommended not to drink that. It is tap water. Try order a bottle of water instead. I will cost you less than 10 Thai Baht
2. Thai people are friendly but they are also shy. If you approach them and ask questions, most are willing to help. However, if they approach you, 9 out of 10 are going to be scams.
3. Bangkok, like other large cities, has both good and bad sides. You will be safe if you don’t put yourself in a wrong place at a wrong time.
4. If you feel that something isn’t right, just trust your instinct.