The Sinister Tuk Tuk in Thailand.

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Today I am writing about an incident that occurred to me in Thailand.

Lately, with so much publicity with the press, magazines and TV appearances, I have been asked many times what has been my most scary moment traveling solo. To which I have often answered "that nothing of great importance."It was only last night that I suddenly remembered one particular incident that occurred several years ago in Thailand

At the time I was staying at a small hotel in the center of the town of Phuket in Thailand. One evening the staff suggested I go and visit the big fair that was just on the outskirts of the town.

They kindly arranged for one of their drivers to take to my destination. Of course, I was so excited; It didn’t occur to me to ask him to pick me up later that night to return home.

The fair was fantastic. Everywhere I looked, the Thais were preparing all sorts of delicious morsels, which I couldn't resist sampling. I spent several hours wandering around chatting with the locals, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Before I knew it, it was almost eleven thirty, and I decided to make my way back to the hotel. As I reached the main road, I saw many locals returning home. So I found that I had to wait quite a bit before I could see an empty tuk-tuk.

Note! for those who haven’t met these crazy vehicles yet! Tuk- Tuks or Auto Rickshaws are the traditional form of transport found in Thailand and several Asian countries. They are a more modern form of a rickshaw with a motorbike at the front.

Then I spied one coming towards me. Strangely enough, it had all these gaudy colored lights flashing like crazy. Something I had never seen before. Anyway, I hailed the guy down and asked how much he would charge to take me to my hotel. Well, Jeepers Creepers! I don’t know if he thought I was related to the Rothschild family but the price was ridiculous. Naturally, I immediately told him “No Way and sent him on his way” However he hadn't gone very far when he stopped and signaled that he would charge me the correct price. Let me add at this point that the guy was NOT Thai.  Now I wouldn't want you to get the wrong impression. There is one thing that I have, and that is an excellent sense of direction. I am rather like a human “Sat Nav” or “GPS” You can take me anywhere, and I will always find my way back.

Needless to say, I knew that we had to go straight along the main road to get back to my abode. When the driver suddenly veered off to the right onto a narrow lane. I was very surprised. Looking around, I could see a smattering of small local shops and ahead of a very dark road leading up into the hills. I immediately asked him where we were going. He replied, “taking a short cut,” My eyes and my instinct told me that it was impossible to be going a quick way back when he was heading towards a lonely desolate hilltop. Without a second thought, I jumped off that moving Tuk Tuk while I was still near the little stalls. Fortunately, I was very soon back to the main road. Consequently, I found a local Thai driver who took me safely home.

Many times I have reflected on that evening, and what could have gone wrong.  No, nothing happened to me, but I have no doubt in my mind, that it could have been a very different ending to this story. From my experience, Thailand is a very safe country, but like all places in the world. Sometimes something nasty can happen.

People often ask me about safety. Below is what I tell travelers.

  • Always listen to your gut instinct. It will never let you down. If something doesn’t feel right, get the hell out of it.

  • You should never judge someone on face value. At home, you more or less know the people around you, but when you travel, you will meet mostly strangers. Some of whom, are experts at reinventing themselves and spin you any tale. Remember that many sickos can be handsome and charming.

  •  In 2003 when I was living in the Costa del Sol Spain. There was the horrific murder of two teenage girls. However thank goodness the murderer was finally arrested. The unbelievable thing is that I used to go daily to a small restaurant behind my business to have a quick lunch. On several occasions, a pleasant looking, and very polite young man served my table. Well, folks I later discovered that this kind guy was none other than Tony King the murderer.  Never in a million years would I have imagined that this person could have committed such atrocities. Repeat, DON'T JUDGE ON FACE VALUE. 

  • Avoid wandering around late at night alone in desolate places because there is a lot of truth in the expression “safety in numbers.”

  • Be very careful in bars and nightclubs as it is not unknown for people to get their drinks spiked 

    Having said these little tips. Please don't start thinking OMG I can't go anywhere! Only Just use your common sense and be aware.

A local fair in Phuket Thailand
A typical Tuk-tuk in Thailand

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