Anyone else watched this (its on Bravo at about 10pm in the evening) and focuses on the trouble tourists get themselves in to whilst in Thailand. It really opened my eyes to the differences between the police forces in Thailand and the UK. For example an american couple had a motorbike accident and were both obviously very drunk and were not wearing helmets. After they had declined medical attention (rather violently in the girls case) the police just sent them on their way! The officer told them they should probably not be riding the motorbike back to their hotel as they were drunk! On the other hand a girl caught with a small amount of cannabis on her was taken straight to the police station and faced a lengthy jail term- she got let off in the end but there was another guy who faced the death penalty for dealing drugs!!
I was also unaware of the desperate and often violet nature of some lady boys that drug and mug tourists, I know this is probably not the norm but it does show a whole other side to Thailand that I (probably naively) wasnt aware of.
The fire for instance, when the tourist police said that the health and safety issues in Thailand are very poor - it was an electrical fault.
Then the amount of tourists who died there last year - over 200 I believe
I suppose most tourist places have their problems ie drink, drugs, muggings etc but it's scary to watch how these problems are dealt with.
Have to say Thailand is a bit 'on the nose' recently and I've read heaps of posting about just how much the Thais dislike Farangs. Life for an ex pat in Thailand (who are married to Thai women) is becoming more and more difficult.
But undoubtably can understand the amount of deaths, as having backpacked am aware of massive amount of hard drugs that were / are available. There are a lot of farangs with massive issues in Thailand. Apart from that, cheap whisky, young backpackers, access to motorbikes - also a massive killer. I have 3 friends that have been hospitalised in Thailand over the years due to motorbike accidents.
From what i've seen, the main focus seems to be Pattaya / Patong - the two most un-Thai Thai destinations, and thus gives an unflattering view of Thailand for those who havn't been.
And as for hating Farang's - not and never the Thai's I know! Most warm, open people - the people are the reason I love Thailand!
Glynis - do go to Thailand - it's amazing! But like everywhere, it has some ropey destinations. Just need to ask the people on here where to avoid!
The other thing that shocked me about this programme was the attitude and actions of the lady boys. Some of them drug and then rob tourists and are also capable of terrible violence, one poor australian guy was beaten really badly by 10 lady boys after he refused their services. They also showed footage of another bottling a man in the back of the head! I know this is probably not the norm but I will definatley be more on my guard and wont let my other half wonder around on his own when we are around them! The police turn a blind eye to this because they see the ladyboys as 'outcasts' and apparantly feel sorry for them.
I believe that increasing costs of European holidays over the last few years and cheap prices in Thailand has opened up a holiday destination only previously obtainable by more affluent members of the population and has attracted people to the country who otherwise would not have ventured so far afield plus the attraction for many young people who regard Thailand as something of a right of passage due to the easy availability of drugs, drink and cheap accomodation. So a situation that we have seen on the spanish costas and some greek islands is developing and the police deal with it in the Thai way, which is not always the way we in the west would. Though I don't think anyone could travel to Thailand without being aware of their strict laws on drugs. There is violence from ladyboys and others but normally as in many situations it can on 99% of the time by not wandering around in a drunken state and or being aware of what is happening around you, can be avoided.
Despite Thailand's modern luxury hotels, superb shopping centres, restaurants etc it is still a third world developing country and as such often does not have the building standards as we in the west have come to expect.
I personally haven't experienced what I would call hatred of foreigners but have read about how it is increasing, it exists in many countries including our own and is often brought on by our own individual behaviour. Many people who read of the gentleness of Thai people think of the country as a paradise which it is on the whole but do not realise that there exists a small underbelly of crime and corruption as does in many countries around the world.
I expect the producers of the TV program are only showing the parts of the film that follows their own agenda.
I will continue to visit Thailand, it's one of the world's great travel destinations.
Also there was the story of the Royal Marines who hired jet ski's and when they returned them the owner said one of the boats was damaged and wanted paying. The lad was disputing damaging the jet ski, so the owner went and got his back up gang and a big gun! The rest of the Marines rang their Sergeant who came and confronted the owner saying he'd done this before to his lads. In the end the lad gave the jet ski owner £400 as he'd already agreed to this prior to the Sergeant showing up as the poor lad was petrified!
I went to Pattaya with my wife two years ago and recognised 'Walking Street' immediately. Yes it is the seediest place that we've seen in Thailand.....we've been to Bangkok, Samui, Pattaya and Hua Hin and are off to Phuket (Patong funny enough) next March. In all honesty I expect to see the 'hostesses' in bars, ladyboys and old guys with girls, it is pretty much the norm in any Thai resort, like it or not, even in places like Samui and Hua Hin (where the Thai Royal residence is) you see it so we kind of switch off to it....just a little. The bottom line is, the Thai people are fantastic and very very welcoming. The weather is great, food is pretty much the best you'll get anywhere (full meal for a fiver), beaches are lovely and everything apart from getting there is cheap! You can avoid the Go Go bars by going to a quiet area but by the same token there will then be very little to do of an evening. We prefer to stay on the edge of things to be away from the madness during the day but close enough to be able to get to all the bars and restaurants in 10 mins of a night. Thailand is fantastic and I certainly wouldn't let a TV programme that's made to 'shock' viewers put me off
They show respect to others, particularly to elderly and to monks. Of course Thailand, like any other country, has its share of not so nice people. But then some of the the not so nice people are tourists. Its a shame that the bad is concentrated upon by tv producers.
I truly did not know what to expect and was open minded to everything. We visited Patong and it was everything I dont like about a place...but the tourist only has themselves to blame for this seedy side. We were constantly followed and harrassed by young girls offering us price lists for various services for Rob, men trying to sell us suits or taxi's, girls trying to get us to sit with them in bars and so on and so forth.
We actually sat in one bar and observed the well rehearsed routine..and have to admit it is very clever and they pick thier victims very well. Mind you, behind every young girl, there is a ruthless bloke pushing her on. We often saw the pimp daddy lurking in the background.
If I got up to go to the toilet, in a matter of seconds Rob would be approached by someone wanting to sit with him...and they would disappear pretty quickly as soon as I came back. That said, Patong was an eye opening experience and something I definitely needed to see for myself. You can't go to a country without exploring all parts of the culture..warts n all!
Ao Nang had a seedy side too, but not as pronounced as Patong. We found a couple of really nice quiet back street bars to drink in and again people watch. Again, well rehearsed routines in an attempt to separate the unsuspecting tourist ( and plenty of willing ones too) with thier money.
The worst was saved for in Bangkok itself..we stumbled across Patpong which I understand is the red light district of Rachamdawri...omg..rows upon rows of very very young girls lining up to sell themselves. It was quite stomach turning to see, but there is obviously a market for it. We were openly offered drugs by pushers on streets to allegedly enhance sexual performance, some even going as far as to push price lists in Robs hand. They would not take no for an answer and it got to the point where it was intimidating and could have led to one of us turning aggressive..so i can see how things get out of hand.
On the whole though, I loved Thailand and I loved the culture. The majority of the people we encountered were so polite, so humble and so willing to help. Some were a little over the top it was embarrassing, all the bowing and scraping...but that was my issue..not thiers. I had difficulty accepting a few things in the culture..the lack of compassion towards animals..guess it is a food source,the poverty was a true eye opener. We went out and I took 1000 baht out with me just to give away to beggars. It was nothing at all to us..but one woman was crying and would not let my hand go when she saw how much money I had given her. Just 100 baht (about £2).
I loved Thailand and definitely intend to go back one day and explore further...the pictures shown on TV are a little sensationalised to say the least and all designed to get TV ratings.
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