Bangla Road in Patong, Phuket, Thailand, is pretty safe unless you are too drunk and invite trouble. Just use your common sense. It’s as basic as that. Most of the foreigners who get into trouble in Phuket and other tourist areas of Thailand have been the ones to blame in the first place. Keep your alcohol consumption under control, avoid dark quiet areas, etc…. the same kind of advice your grandmother used to give you when you were a teenager. In general Bangla Road is as safe as any tourist destination in the West.
A piece of advice, keep your hands in your pockets to pickpockets. But pickpocketing can happen in any country, not just in Thailand. Leave your passport in your room safe and carry only a photocopy and your room key for identification.
The Thais are harmless unless provoked. You should avoid getting involved in any fight with the locals because you will always lose. Just say sorry, even if it is not your fault, and walk away.
Stay in Bangla Road and avoid back streets and alleys when you are by yourself or late at night. If you wouldn’t do it in your hometown, don’t do it in Phuket. Keep your eyes open and you’ll have a good time. However, there are a few things that I would like to point out. Patong has become a haven for all manner of scam artists, stand-over touts, drunk farangs (foreigners), drink spikers, pickpockets, and other individuals conspiring to challenge the safety and wellbeing of any Immature Nomad.
To combat the tide of visitor complaints, and a growing criminal presence, the Thai Government has made Patong the flagship of a zero-tolerance crime initiative by installing CCTV cameras and introducing police spot-checks to provide a safer Patong visitor experience.
To stay safe, here are the things you should look out for in Patong.
If you’re looking for a party, Thailand’s Patong is the place to be. But here’s what you should look out for to have a safe but fun time.
BEWARE OF DRINK SPIKING IN PATONG’S BARS
Reports of drink spiking have been reported in bars around Bangla Road. To stay safe:
- Always buy your own drink.
- Keep an eye on your drink when interacting with groups.
- Finish your drink before going to the toilet.
- Don’t get too hammered so you forget the above rules.
- If you feel yourself getting drowsier than usual, leave immediately and get help. Call the Patong Tourist Police on 1155.
- If you feel yourself getting really animated and speedy, your drink might have been spiked with Yaba. Known as the “Madness Drug”, this powerful stimulant is designed to keep you drinking at the establishment.
DRUNK FARANGS (FOREIGNERS)
A lot of farangs come to Patong to get drunk. The worst-behaved tend to be in the sois (streets of bars) surrounding Bangla Road, and often start fights in an effort to avoid scams. Becoming aggressive or violent is a really bad way to get out of a scam in Patong. Threaten one tout, Tuk-Tuk driver, or ladyboy and you could find yourself in the middle of an angry crowd. Keep your wits about you when encountering drunken or belligerent people; it can get nasty for everybody involved.
Infamous for over-the-top prices, Tuk-Tuk drivers are seasoned pros at separating travelers from their baht. Don’t use them. Better book a hotel near Bangla so you can always walk home. Make sure you stay close to Bangla, so it’s an easy walk back to your accommodation. This should prevent you from having to travel by Tuk-Tuk or risk relying on others to get you back safely, making you vulnerable to robbery or assault.
BEWARE OF BAR GIRLS
Some Patong bar girls have been known to rip off male travelers. The ploy is to get the unsuspecting bloke roaring drunk or to spike his drink, and then take him back to his hotel where he is robbed. It’s a good idea to stay at a guest-friendly guesthouse or hotel which have cameras and require that all guest visitors register their ID on arrival.
Also, it’s a good idea to keep your valuables in the hotel safe.
IS PATONG SAFE FOR WOMEN?
Take the usual precautions, including avoiding walking alone late at night. Pay special attention to your personal effects and listen for any accelerating mopeds. There have been bag-snatching incidents involving female travelers carried out by criminals on bikes, some carrying weapons including screwdrivers and knives. Always be aware of your surroundings.
PLACES TO AVOID
Avoid back streets and alleys when you are by yourself or late at night. If you wouldn’t do it in your hometown, don’t do it in Patong. Keep your eyes open and you’ll have a good time.
If you need to withdraw cash, use an ATM in a bank or hotel during daylight hours. Always shield your pin when entering it.
PATONG’S TOURIST POLICE
These guys are on your side. A mix of Thai nationals and foreigners living in Thailand, they are there to keep visitors safe. The phone number of the Patong Tourist Police is 1155. Put it on your phone.