So I am a pretty good candidate to write this thing considering I am a big fan of going out often, and I tend to test all limits. I am extremely hesitant to judge, so if I say something is unsafe, odds are it actually is. This is in no way meant to scare anyone. In reality, Surat is actually a pretty darn safe city. Still, I want to warn
When I first agreed to write the “safety in Surat article”, I still had
Since I have been here, someone broke into my friend’s home, my motorbike was stolen, and a teacher in the area experienced a late night assault. I have lived in the outskirts of both Washington D.C. and New York so to me, Surat is relatively really safe. For the most part, people around here are extremely friendly and helpful. Regardless, it is important to constantly be aware of your surroundings.
Background of Surat:
Surat Thani is a port city due to its proximity to destination islands such as Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, and Ko Tao. It is small with an authentic Thai feel; yet has Western comforts such as shopping malls, KFC, 7/11, and even a San Franciscan based Ice Cream parlor. Restaurants and bars close relatively early;
The following are some things than teachers in the area have had stolen:
Unfortunately, teachers tend to be a target for theft here; and I theorize that there is an explanation for this. While Surat is not a tourist hub itself; on any given night, one can find travelers down by the pier waiting to catch boats to the exquisite islands
Additionally, Thai people don’t realize that the exchange rate here is so intensely good for foreigners. Whether you are dirt poor or rich where you come from, like it or not, you are extremely wealthy to the Thais when you are living and working here. Unfortunately, This makes us an easy target for theft. I have a decent number of Thai friends and I am absolutely in no way saying that the majority of Thais steal from foreigners. I am just saying
About a month after I purchased a motorbike, it was stolen. I stupidly left my bike out in the street
I have also heard of two break-ins that have occurred when the individuals were home! The John and Janet Phelps were home minding their business one day and walked into their living room to find their very nice camera gone. A friend of mine who teaches at another school was in her bathroom recently and she came out to find her cash and laptop gone. It is hard to stomach, but you should lock your door even if you are home because you just never know.
The reality is theft happens everywhere in the world. It seems to happen a lot here to “farang” (foreigners) because we allude to having wealth.
Potential for Assault:
Although rare, evidently there is a potential for assault in Surat. Recently a teacher (from a different language school) was assaulted while bicycling home from a club one evening. Several teenagers knocked him off of his bicycle using a helmet. Poor guy ended up with stitches and a fat hospital bill. This sort of thing is pretty uncommon here. Even Peter, who has lived in Surat for many years, was surprised to hear of this. It is likely that this incident was a product of the “
NOTHING heals here like it does at home. People seem to get hurt often in Thailand.
While not the only thing to do in Surat, drinking is certainly popular amongst teachers here as a means to relax. Like at home, many safety issues here stem from alcohol. Here it seems even more so. When you drink, the risk for injury goes up. Man, Thais love their Whiskey. There is actually a government-mandated law in Thailand preventing vendors
One of the many perks of Super English is that we are provided with great housing accommodations. I live at the big house, where there is a
It is so nice to have
Drivers here are animals. Seriously. That, and there are no real rules of the road here. Red lights seem to be optional, and people zip out on their motorbikes out of completely nowhere. The most fearful I have been here thus far is bicycling during “rush hour”. Drivers here are unpredictable, speedy, aggressive, and extremely comfortable on their motorbikes (they have been riding on them since they were infants, so it is second nature to them). I have had a few friends end up in the hospital due to motorbike related incidents and have witnessed a handful of major motorbike accidents firsthand. In
Wear a helmet, drive carefully, and you will be totally fine. Remember you don’t need to buy a motorbike the moment you get here. Your peers will give you rides. Since my motorbike was stolen I’ve found it quite easy to commute to work on a bicycle (albeit scary at times). I recommend waiting until you are comfortable with Surat before getting a set of wheels. Just remember the potential to be injured in an auto accident is fairly common here. Motorbike accidents
In Conclusion: When in Rome, remember the rules DO apply to you:
Just because you are a superstar from the West, does not mean you are exempted from the laws here. OK, so from a cultural standpoint you are. As a foreigner, everything you do here will be considered weird, and the locals chalk it up to you being a silly “farang” who does not know better. What I mean is, we are in no way above the legal law. I have known several teachers in the area to get DUIs. Exists a lot of books and documentaries on foreigners locked up abroad in Thai prison; likely people who felt they were above the law here.
It is important to become at least somewhat familiar with Thai cultural norms before you move here. It will curtail some of the culture
As long as you become culturally sensitive to the societal norms here, you should be fine! Thai people have helped me on so many occasions for no reason. I encourage you to make Thai friends. This way you can learn more about the culture, have a protective social