What about security and safety in Thailand?

At my age I’m much more aware of personal safety than I used to be, so when I settled in Thailand I began observing the local scene pretty closely. What I found set me at ease and I’m happy to say that my ease has deepened steadily over the intervening years.

There are two aspects of security and safety in Thailand.  One has existed in the shadows for a thousand years and, as in any country, caters to illicit desires. Thailand’s criminals are as wild and colorful as any and they are a hugely popular source for exciting TV news. But, unless you want to mix with that crowd, you will never know that they exist. The Thailand I know is the one inhabited by the other 99%: fun-loving, law-abiding, enterprising and laid back.

Simon and Joan, who talk about safety in the video, are from a country town in England – the world’s benchmark for safety and decorum. Yet both admit to feeling safer in Thailand than they ever did at home. Most of my American friends say the same, even more strongly.

You’ll see why when you get here. Thais are culturally non-confrontational and easygoing. They don’t want to cause anyone else problems and, if you cause problems for them they simply shrug and walk away.  People often ask about crime in Thailand. After all, it’s where the Golden Triangle is located and it has a long history of border wars and drug smuggling. So here’s an amusing infographic that summarizes some of the more common kinds of crime in the Kingdom. Bear in mind that – as everywhere – most crimes are committed by and upon people who know each other. Here’s a video from two British expats who moved here from a well known, ‘safe’ English country town. Listen to how they compare it to Chiang Mai: