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Is Thailand safe to visit?
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  1. #1
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    Is Thailand safe to visit?

    We have had discussions on this topic several times over the years. The troubles in the south, Sars, the Tsunami, and now the recent political unrest. The foreign media tends to focus on negativity rather than the facts. Yes, there were protest marches in Bangkok. No, there were no deaths or violence like you might see in other countries. So, why have so many people cancelled their holidays to Thailand? What did they see on CNN or Fox News that made them so scared? I am only asking because our school (35 kms south of Bangkok) has now been directly affected. An American teacher that was all due to start work with us at the start of the new school year in May has cancelled her plans. Apparently, Thailand is way too dangerous! She will come instead for the second term in October. Now, this is not the first time this has happened to us. A few years back we lost some potential teachers because of Sars. Come on people get real. You have more chance of getting run over by a bus back home.

    Come to Thailand. It is safe.

  2. #2
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    Well I recently bort approximately 2,200 News Corp shares, that own the Fox News net work, and it is my interest to sell a story, and as you know in news, a bit of controversy and a bad news story sells News Papers.
    Well the reality of the situation, having traveled all over the world, Thailand in my mind is safer than the USA in most respects, but I would not rate it as safe as countries like Japan and Switzerland.
    Like any where in the world you need to take precautions, but I would be more worried about being in a traffic accident in Thailand, than any of the problems mentioned by Richard.
    The protests in Bangkok, are not violent, you could walk write throughout the middle of one and out the other side no worries, the political problems in the far south have never spread to any other part of Thailand, the bird flew mainly effects people who work in the poultry industry that handles live birds, so your chances of wining the lottery would be better, than catching that if you were not handling live birds.
    Having never met Richard, but spent a few weeks living in the area near his house, I can tell you it is in a very safe area, the people, are very friendly and helpful. Look I used to ride my bicycle around Paknam, I was the only western face in the crowd, I would say hello in Thai and they would smile and say hello back,
    My advice to any one going to Thailand, so long as you stay away from the far south, you use a bit of common sense like you would at home, and look left and right, when crossing the road, you will be as safe as any where.
    For that school teacher, who changed there mind, come on, Paknam is safe, in fact safer than central Bangkok, I walked the streets late at night around Paknam, the streets were full of people, at the eateries and food stalls and I never felt unsafe, even thought there are a few tourist attractions in the area, Paknam it is not a tourist area, you will find it to be a rewarding experience, you will remember for a life time.

  3. #3
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    I have never been afraid of traveling to Thailand. I am kind of glad that things are slowing down because we got a great rate on Thai Airways for our trip in June. It was about $600 less than it usually is with that airline, which means this time we can fly the eastern v. the western route. It is non-stop from New York City to Bangkok. I am always with family members and I have never been afraid of any strangers I meet. Of course, we go directly to Isaan and avoid big cities. People in Isaan are relatively a political, at least those I have met.
    Life is learning. If you stop learning, you might as well be dead.

  4. #4
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    I am astounded that people think it is unsafe to travel to Thailand. The British press has reported the Bangkok protests in a responsible manner, and there has been no suggestion of any danger to visitors from Britain visiting Thailand -not even after the bomb at General Prem's residence slightly injured a British visitor.
    It would be interesting to know how the American Press has viewed events.

  5. #5
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    Thailand is safe, traveling in Thailand is not. whether by Bus, Motorcycle, Car, Truck or skate board, you are taking your life in your hands when ever you leave one place heading for another.
    No one seems to know anything about laws made for safety of people on roadways, There is a news story today about a bus driver crashing his bus because he had had no sleep for 2 days. They would not allow bus drivers from here to sweep out the bathrooms at Greyhound or Trailways depots in the states.
    But it is cheap to ride the bus' here, even the VIPs are very cheap.
    If you think the cab driver scares you going from the airport to downtown BKK, hire him to take you on to Khon Kaen or Phetchabun, that will give you something to write home about.

  6. #6
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    The problem is that the majority of people are ill-informed and cannot put two thoughts together. They watch the TV news or read the local newspapers and that's that. They have no real comprehension as to what is going on in the rest of the world and most of the time, they don't care. And people who have no understanding will take the safe comfortable route every time.

    SARS was a case in point. If one had actually researched the subject one would have found that "standard" influenza killed magnitudes more people every year than SARS was ever likely to, given the attention the disease was getting from the various authorities concerned.

    Here in the US the national news is still very "America Centric". When news is reported from the rest of the world it is usually about wars, disease or natural disasters. One can see a very real difference between the 4 major networks, and CNN to a lesser extent, and the news from the BBC shown here on public broadcasting and BBC America. Another thing I have noticed is that the major media outlets also tend to follow the party line so you are never really sure whether the news is colored by "special interests". This is particularly true (in my opinion) of the Fox network.

    One other notion, you can tell how much importance national and international news has here when the networks cancel it because the football or basketball game preceeding it runs way passed it's time slot.

    As far as the demonstrations in Bangkok are concerned. it's just a pity the camera men never panned away from the crowd. Then the world would have seen the rest of Bangkok going about it's business but that's not "news".

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    Yes, SARS, Bird Flu, Mad Cow Disease, and other such things often to attract more attention than other, more dangerous, hazards (such as influenza and road deaths!). I guess the point is that if Bird Flu really did take off the consequences could be extremely serious, so it makes sense to have disaster management plans in place.

    But I don't plan to personally worry about bird flu until that happens, apart from taking the sensible precautions that minimize the chance of catching any number of nasty diseases...
    ไมค์

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    I think it is definitely related to your familiarity with Thailand...or wherever it is you want to travel.

    A few years ago, I planned a fabulous vacation to the UAE. And then my stupid country started a stupid war. I intellectually knew that the UAE was far from the war site and that tourism in UAE was fine, but since I didn't know the UAE well, I was scared and believed the news stories and changed my vacation to..... Hong Kong......

    I was excited to go to Hong Kong and then shortly after changing my tickets, SARS broke out across the news headlines. I didn't know what SARS was, and I had never been to Hong Kong, so I got scared and believed the news stories and changed my vacation to..... Thailand!

    I was thrilled to go to Thailand and meet up with friends again. Shortly after changing my tickets AGAIN, the Bird Flu became news in Thailand. I didn't even flinch. Who cares... I know Thailand, Bird Flu, Smird Flu, it won't affect me! Some people laughed and asked that if I had changed my flights so many times, why I wouldn't again. ...but it was definitely a familiarity issue. I am comfortable with Thailand -- just as I am comfortable in the South of Thailand, because of experiences there.

    Thusly, ignore the news and educate one's self!

  9. #9
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    Pailin, it's an interesting point with familiarity. I agree with you.
    I pulled through the SARS epidemics working in Taiwan - it was basically a hospital infection there that went wrong and left about 100 people dead and 800 infected in two months. there were a few worrying moments, but basically we still had higher chances of being involved in a motorcycle accident (Taiwan is top of the pile in accidents in the world). the authorities were very efficient and strict with anyone with a fever, any infected neighbourhoods were closed down and residents confined to their homes even if they were healthy. the local media was calm and factual. the toughest part was the hysterical calls from back home from family members, because the media in Eastern Europe really enjoys magnifying the facts and reporting exaggerated accounts of catastrophies. my Hungarian friends in Bangkok also got a few worried calls from family during the protests last month, he sent them photos downloaded from Bangkok Post showing pregnant women, children, and people in wheelchairs participating in the rallies. I'm not sure if media works similarly elsewhere, but I can easily imagine at least certain segments of it do.

  10. #10
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    Paul, you seem to have changed your tune,

    ""Having never met Richard, but spent a few weeks living in the area near his house, I can tell you it is in a very safe area, the people, are very friendly and helpful. Look I used to ride my bicycle around Paknam, I was the only western face in the crowd, I would say hello in Thai and they would smile and say hello back,""

    Wasn't to long ago that you wouldn't travel here unless accompanied by bodyguards, what has happened to have changed your mind??
    Or did you have them running along or riding bicycles with you when you went out at night.??

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