Chiang Rai is very safe city. It’s an easy place to travel and is a safe city to visit from both the health and personal safety aspects. However, that doesn’t mean nothing can go wrong here. Like in other cities in the world, there are always dangerous things we need to avoid.
This post present you with 5 most dangerous thing in Chiang Rai base on personal view of local people. Hope it can help you prepare yourself to be save while traveling in Chiang Rai. Here they are:
1. Road accident
First thing, in case you don’t know, road death toll in Thailand among highest in the world. Each year up to 26,000 people are killed in road accidents every year in Thailand. This number puts the country in the 3rd spot in terms of the world’s road casualties in 2013, according to the Thailand Accident Research Centre (TARC). Of those killed, up to 70 or 80 per cent are motorcyclists or their passengers.
Second thing, which you already know, Thais are worst drivers in the world. We have to admit that large portion of Thai people are less responsible when it comes to driving.
Songkran festival is the peak period for road accident in Thailand. Chiang Rai from time to time hold the number one city that has the highest number of road accident. Statistics from Road Safety Directing Center shows that Chiang Rai is ranked number ONE for accumulated number of accident during 7 days for Songkran Days 2013 with 125 incidents.
What to do to avoid this danger?
- Understand that for foreigners, driving in Thailand can be very different to driving in their home country. Motorbike riders frequently drive on the wrong side of the road and cars do not always respect Thai road rules. Those new to the country will need to take great care to avoid accidents.
- Motorcycle is easy way to commute. But don’t ride someone else motorcycle unless you completely trust him. Once you’re on the back of the motorcycle rider, you’ve just put your life on his hands. If you plan to rent motorcycle, make sure you ride it well. High ways, for example from Phayao to Chiang Rai, or from Chian rai to Mae Sai, is very dangerous for motorcycles and bicycles.
- Ride with safe vehicle such as authorized metered taxis.
- In a short distant, just walk because you can prepare yourself on the ground better than on a vehicle.
- When you’re on the road, don’t expect people on the road will respect road rules.Always be prepared at any moment
Drug is extremely serious crime in Thailand. Thailand has a mandatory death sentences for drug smuggling. Recently it is almost always reduce to life imprisonment for foreigners. To be in Thai prison for the rest of one life, death penalty may be the better option. Number of prisoners is huge, mostly related to drug. Now Thai prisons contain a number of travelers sentenced to life who are awaiting either help from their governments or a royal pardon.
Here is the deal. If police arrest someone with a large amount of any drug, the police will assume he is a dealer. That will guarantee at least 10 years minimum in prison or even dead sentence. Even if the police were to catch you with a small amount of any drug, they will not care whether you use it or not, or it belongs to someone else, or you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As long as you in the spot where the drugs were found, there would be still big trouble because the police will initially assume you’re using the drug. Even you can prove yourself innocent on the scene, you wouldn’t get out easily. Most likely you would be locked up and demand large sum of money. That is why you should never get associated with drug or anybody who uses drug in Thailand.
Despite being illegal, there are some places in Thailand where drugs can be purchased openly, at least to certain groups of people, in many bars on Koh Phangan during Full Moon parties. Take Full moon parties for instance, many travelers might think it is a good place to try something of sideways – a bit of weed at the full moon party can’t hurt because it is everybody else is doing it. Don’t fall for this. From time to time, travelers get caught by undercover police but we don’t normally see them in television and local newspaper.
How to avoid this danger:
- Never do drugs or associate with people with drugs in Thailand. Dealing with drug just lead you to associate with bad people, and bad people always get you into bad situations
- Be careful when getting drinks at the bar. If you’re in touristy areas, watch who makes your drinks. There have been many reports of foreigners getting drugged and robbed in popular destinations.
- Be careful for drug scam. The scam starts by the traveler seek for a place to buy common drug among traveler like marijuana. For some mysterious force, the travelers are often shown the place or bar where to buy the weed. When a traveler asks in a bar to purchase small amount, the bartender sells it to them. Immediately a couple of police officers who may not be legitimate officers appear from no where and catch the travelers on the spot with the weed they just purchased, and demands for large sum for money in exchange for not being arrested.
3. Dengue fever
According to the Public Health Ministry, Thailand could face one of the largest dengue fever epidemics yet with anticipating that over 120,000 people could contract the virus this year. That would surpass the number of infections during the major outbreak in 2010. This year Chiang Rai has the highest number of people infected with dengue fever.
However, if you don’t sleep naked in jungle, chance is quite low that you will get dengue fever . This sickness normally occurs to small children in local villages because they get used to spending all day exposing to the local environment and mosquito is already part of their daily lives. As a result, local people get infected without being aware of it.
How to avoid it:
- Since the virus is transmitted mosquito-to-human, prevention entails both controlling and eradicating mosquitoes and taking action to protect oneself from being bitten.
- Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts helps guard against mosquito bites, and consider using a mosquito repellent when visiting places like local house, woods, waterfalls, etc.
- Avoid areas with standing water and stay indoors in the morning until two hours after sunrise and at sunset to further reduce your risk of being bitten.
4. Food Poisoning
You will never go hungry in Thailand, and Thai food is delicious, but it comes with a price. Rate of food poisoning in Thailand is extremely high.
Like any country in the world, it is possible for any tourist to get food poisoning in Thailand. It affects everyone in Thailand not just tourists. Anyone who has lived in Thailand for a good period of time would have experienced at least a mild case.
The number one reason why food food poising is so common in Thailand is the country has little to no food preparation and food processing standards. Anyone can open a restaurant in most places in Thailand without a license to sell food, or without ever having a visit from the health inspectors. Also don’t expect that food from nice restaurants is cleaner than side carts on street.
Mostly the cause of food poisoning in Thailand is not where you get the food from, but it’s rather how the food was handled. For example, the ingredients were not washed or clean properly or food hasn’t been packaged properly or has been stored at the wrong temperature can also help food to become contaminated.
Food poisoning in Chiang Rai is not as bad as Bangkok. Local people almost always cook for themselves which means they have to make sure the food are clean and safe for them to eat. When they sell cooked food, it is likely that they prepare and cook food the same way as they do for their meals. In Bangkok, food on street or in fresh markets are normally cooked in mass quantity. Now you can imagine when large amount of ingredients, meat, herbs and everything is mixed together in large container, you don’t expect the processing is done properly.
Eating food on the street become part of Thailand daily culture. To many tourists, missing the opportunity to try food on the street means missing the whole point of visiting a country. In many occasions, you want to eat like locals.
Avoiding food poisoning doesn’t mean you have to skip all local dishes. There are a few ways to prevent it while enjoying local Thai food.
How to avoid food poisoning
- Don’t try local dished in the first day. Instead order in mix dished between local and your home country menus in your hotel restaurant. Give your stomach to adapt to local ingredients.
- At the start look for a restaurant that has a mix of locals and tourist customers.
- After 1-2 days, start trying local dishes
- Don’t drink tap water. Always drink bottled water with recognized-brand.
- Ice is good source of bacteria and other contamination. Avoid putting ice in your water. You don’t know ice in our glass is made from purified water or not. You can bet that it is not.
- Chiang Rai is home for food made from raw meat such as Lap (“ลาบ”), Loo (“หลู้”), Sa (“ซ่า”), etc. Those dishes should be reserved for local only. While trying local dished, avoid those raw meat. Sometime you have to me careful able raw vegetables and fruits also as they are often washed in tap water. Stick with well-cooked meals to ensure bacteria, viruses, and parasites have been killed.
- Buy an Anti-diarrhea medicine
5. Being overcharged
This is actually not a dangerous but it is rather something we should be aware of. Things in Thailand are very cheap, and because exchange rate, they are even cheaper for tourists. Because of the low price tourists have a tendency to over pay for things without even having a second thought. The local people know about this, and there are many store and shop owners, who just sit and wait for tourists and take advantage of them. Now it become part habit for shop owners in Thailand to increase the price for tourists. You might not know that an item that you bought which you consider cheap might be even cheaper than what you have just paid.
In Chiang Rai, overcharge for tourists in restaurants and modern market is very rare. Both locals and tourists know there is standard price for common goods. In local markets, local people are quite nice and friendly to visitor, and normally provide the same rate for both locals and travelers.
However, there are a few occasions that shop owners sometimes find opportunity to overcharge strangers, especially the places that are geared toward tourists. Mostly they are service/item that don’t have price tags which are put to sell to tourists especially. There are fare (Tuk-Tuk, Taxi, etc), souvenir items, gems, silver, local cloths, and handcraft in tourist destinations. Some items can be genuine but the majority of these stuff are pretty cheap to make but aimed to to sell to tourists especially to get higher price, not to mention some items are fake.
How to deal with overcharge price in Thailand (and in Chiang Rai)
- Do a little of research before buying anything
- Practice your smile
- When it is about the Tuk-Tuk fare, always ask the price first and make sure the driver agrees what amount you’re to pay. Chiang Rai has metered taxis, this is a better choice as you don’t have to bargain, but only pay based on the meter.
- Learn a few Thai language ask for discount. The most famous word is “Lod Noi Na” (Give me some discount)
- Do not show your enthusiasm in buying a particular item. The more you show your excitment of wanting the item, the higher price
- When you shop alone, observe other Thai buyers. See how much they pay for the similar items.
- Ready to walk away. In most cases, you wouldn’t need those stuff.
What about tourists get attacked or murdered in Chiang Rai?
As mentioned earlier, Chiang Rai is very safe. Rate of tourists get attacked is very very low and when it happens, it normally is related to quarrel or alcohol thing. Then, it comes to common sense, like everywhere in the world, don’t put yourself in a position at risk. Don’t get involved with alcohol or drug with local people and don’t get yourself associated with drug. Local people are very sweet and warm, but for some people, they can get crazy after they have alcohol. Best to avoid local who’re overly drunk.
Number of tourists get murdered in Chiang Rai is almost none in past decades. That’s why we don’t include in the list. Yes, from time to time there are tourists die in Chiang Rai, and most of the cases are due to road accident, especially from motorbikes.
These are top 5 dangers in Chiang Rai from the view from us.
EPA & telegraph.co.uk
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