What Western Men Need to Do to Stay Safe and Not Die in Thailand

Living a long time in Thailand, there isn’t a week goes by where there’s not a story in the local Thai newspaper about yet another Western man dying in Thailand. In some cases, it’s by accident, in others murder, but in a high percentage of deaths, the Western guy could have stayed safe just by acting a little less like an idiot. If you’re a Western guy visiting or living in Thailand, follow these quick rules and you might actually make it to retirement and beyond.

Don’t Get In A Bar Fight – I’ve lost count of the number of Western men I’ve heard of who’ve died after getting into a fight in a bar. An American was murdered a couple of months ago, after arguing with a British guy in a bar. A couple of hours later, the British guy followed him to his hotel room and stabbed him to death. Right in front of his Thai girlfriend. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

First rule of thumb, no matter how long you’ve been here, you should know there are some crazy people in Thailand and many of them are other Westerners. Don’t get into an argument or a fight in a Thai bar. If one looks like it’s going to occur, walk away.

An even more important rule to follow in the same vein – never ever get into a fight with a Thai guy. Many Thai men are trained in Muay Thai or Thai kickboxing. A deadly martial art, they can drop you with one kick. Or, if they’re not, they won’t have a problem calling in eight of their closest friends to help and they can and may very well beat you to death. Walk away. Your life is worth more than getting drunk and being the badly beaten or dead victim of a bar fight.

Don’t Take A Thai Prostitute Back To Your Room – As most of us probably know, many Western men come to Thailand for the Thai women and a high percentage end up with prostitutes (why, when there are millions of nice, wholesome Thai girls is beyond me, but there ya go).

The worst thing you can do with a Thai prostitute though is take her back to your room. There have been many cases of Western men (including one Western guy in the apartment building I live in), waking up after a night of mad, passionate (paid for!) ‘love’, only to find the girl has left while he was sleeping and his passport and all his money have gone with her. In even scarier cases, the guy will occasionally end up drugged or dead.

If you must go off with a Thai prostitute, pay for a hotel room where you’re not staying, and leave as soon as the act is over. Your wallet and passport will thank you in the morning.

Don’t Go On Balconies With Thai Women – Now, this used to be a joke among Westerners, how so many Western men end up ‘falling off balconies’ while in close proximity to their Thai girlfriends. The problem is, this has now become such a common occurrence just about every Westerner I know, when they hear of yet another Western guy ‘falling’ off a balcony asks “Where was the Thai girlfriend at the time and who else was in the room?”

Particularly with older Western men, they hook up with a Thai girl (usually a prostitute) who, unbeknownst to them, already has a Thai boyfriend. They go back to their apartment with the girl, only to find the Thai boyfriend already there and themselves being heaved off the balcony so the lovely Thai couple can leave with all the loot.

Of course, the Thai police will never corroborate this but, whereas in other countries, someone falling from a balcony is rare, in Thailand we sometimes have a couple of Western men a week this happens to. So, no, don’t tell me they are all ‘accident’s.

Don’t Spend All Your Money On Your Thai Girlfriend Or Wife – Again, I’ve lost count of the Western men I’ve met who’ve married Thai women (usually of the prostitute variety), bought an expensive house for them and their wife, a car, furniture, clothes etc., only to find a few months later, the wife walks off with half the stuff or, in some rare cases, has even had the husband bumped off so she can inherit the house.

Westerners are not allowed to own a house in Thailand so, in most cases, if a Western man buys one it’s in the Thai wife’s name. While Thai law is supposed to be fair and the property is split 50/50 upon divorce, this isn’t always the case. So, if you’ve just met the girl of your dreams and plan on getting married, wait for a while to buy a house or apartment. Until you’re sure it’s real love. For both of you.

Use A Condom – In this day and age, I’m always surprised when I hear men talk about having sex without a condom. Thailand used to have a very high AIDS rate, but it’s falling rapidly after a successful Thai government safe-sex campaign. But, if you’re going to sleep with a woman, and particularly if she’s a prostitute, you’d have to be out of your tiny mind not to use a condom.

Be Careful Renting Motorbikes – Another common occurrence in Thailand is Western men renting a motorbike in one of the country’s beach resorts, thinking it would be fun to drive around. It is, but you have to know how to ride one, you must watch where you’re going and, please, don’t drive one while drunk. A lot of Western men (and women) are injured on motorbikes in Thailand every year, and a few are killed.

I’m not saying don’t rent a motorbike. Only, make sure you know what you’re doing before you do.

Don’t Get Drunk – I know, you’re on vacation or you’re out with friends after a hard day at work and having a few beers is natural. Yes, a few is natural, being falling-down drunk isn’t but, unfortunately that’s a natural occurrence for some Western men in Thailand.

When you’re paraletically drunk, bad things happen. You get into fights. People steal your money. You fall in holes in the street or out of tuk-tuks, an elephant steps on you (yep, that’s happened too) or somebody pushes you off a balcony.

Get Some Common Sense. You’re in a country that’s not your own and where things aren’t always handled the same way as they would be at home. Have a couple of beers then switch to soft drinks and, if you must get incredibly drunk, do it at home where, hopefully, nobody can harm you and you can’t harm yourself.

For all of this, Thailand is a remarkably safe place and the vast majority of Thais are the loveliest people you’ll ever meet. But Thailand, just like every country, has an unsafe side and if you behave like a twat, then bad things can happen.

So act like an adult, not a 12-year old. I’d hate to see you go home badly injured or worse, in a body bag.


Photo copyright – Sausage Man, Thailand by egor kataev, Creative Commons License