Thailand, a country of unparalleled beauty, white sandy beaches and clear blue seas. Small islands of rugged rocks that spark the imagination of times gone by. A country of delectable cuisine full of spices and heavenly ingredients. The land of smiles where people are disarmingly friendly and respectful. A country I love. My home.
It is also a country in which I have almost been hit by a motorised vehicle so many times that I’ve stopped counting. You see, the pavements in Thailand aren’t for pedstrians…I mean, they are but…they’re not. By all means use them if you want to walk somewhere but make sure you have a set of eyes firmly placed in the back of your head before arriving here.
It’s not just because drivers use red traffic lights as ‘advice’ rather than a rule but because it’s just a whole lot easier to get around if you drive on the pavement.
This isn’t a criticism of the people who do this despite the fact that technically it’s against the law, but it’s just a warning to anyone wishing to visit here….be aware!
Now, obviously the drivers aren’t trying to kill you or even to leave you with a swollen toe but they don’t give any warning that they’re flying up behind you. Somehow, the motorbikes of Bangkok are incredibly loud…until they’re behind you, on a pavement, then they seem to make as much noise as a ninja wearing slippers on a bouncy castle…zero, zilch, nil! I don’t know how they manage to do that! Many times I’ve jumped out of my skin as a flash of motorbike crashes into my peripheral vision…and I don’t like jumping out of my skin. If I had to make a list of my hobbies, jumping out of my skin wouldn’t be high up there! It wouldn’t be in my top 10, put it that way.
But it’s not just motorbikes…oh no, don’t be so silly! It’s basically anything that will fit on a pavement…
This vehicle can be best described as the back of a motorbike with a huge shopping trolley attached to the front. Useful, suitable for big loads, convenient for many jobs and also liable to mow you down and leave you flat and lifeless, like a character from a Roland Emmerich movie. I am one hundred percent convinced that if cars could fit on pavements…well, you know how that sentence will finish.
Oh and if you think you can get away from all of this danger by slipping down one of the many narrow side streets…think again…
I love Thailand and I love this aspect of the culture, nobody bats an eyelid and the drivers are respectful of pedestrians in that they will slow down but you have to move out-of-the-way for them…not the other way around, so remember to look both ways CONSTANTLY and then look both ways again, keep listening for engines at all costs and as I said, get some eyes surgically attached to the back of your head before you get on a flight here…they’re coming to get you!
Hope you have enjoyed this safety blog, please share and spread the word so we can all take to the streets without harm.