Thailand for farang

10 things I fear the most living in Thailand

A few months ago I read this article in The Telegraph titled “Expat wives' biggest fear in south-east Asia? Hubby running off with a bargirl”. Although I liked reading the article, it’s just the most silly statement! Maybe it is different for me because I live in a rural part of Thailand. Maybe expat wives living in more touristy areas will add “hubby running off with a bar girl” in their top 10 fears, but I highly doubt it. There are much worse things to worry about that are more likely to happen .

My biggest fears living in Thailand are the following, number 1 being my biggest fear.

10. Doing something inappropriate

There are many people who think that Thai people accept anything from anyone because they always smile and always say “Mai pen rai”. Thai culture is inherently non-confrontational, but Thai people can be judgemental though. Because they will never confront you with what you have done “wrong”, I’m scared I will do things that are inappropriate without realising it. I don’t want to be another stupid farang.

9. Food Poisoning

I know the chances of dying of food poisoning are quite low, but I’ve been very very sick multiple times in Thailand already. I will always avoid ice cream stalls, drinks and dishes which contain fresh cream, street food stalls in touristy areas, sushi street food stalls and al kinds of dishes with chicken. I’ve been hospitalised because of severe cases of salmonellosis before, so I tend to be a bit more carefull with food.

chicken-sate Example picture, did not get food poisoning from this stall.

8. Sharks

I know this sounds ridiculous as there have only been 2 fatal shark attacks in Thailand over the past 50 years. But I still prefer to keep all my limbs intact. I love swimming, I love the ocean and I absolutely love snorkeling. But whenever I snorkel over coral reefs on the one hand I’m amazed by the beauty of nature but on the other hand I’m shitting my pants. The chance that I’ll ever spot a shark is quite small, but still more likely than my husband running off with a bar girl.

7. Never wanting to leave

At first my husband and I planned on staying here for 3 years. We’ve been living here for 2 years now and I can guarantee we’re not moving next year. We both agree on that but I’m a bit scared that when the time comes that my husband wants to move, I won’t be ready for it. I feel very much at home here. I do love to travel, but I feel like I find inner peace here. And I’m far from ready to give that up.

6. Getting fat

It’s not that difficult to get a bit chubby in Thailand. It’s too hot to run and if it is not too hot to run than you have to watch out for snakes. It’s to hot to go to the gym as we do not have those air conditioned gyms (like you HiSo people in Bangkok).

Besides from the fact that it is too hot to do anything, there is a lot of sugar in the food and drinks. Many restaurants add sugar to a lot of dishes, noodle shops add sugar to the noodle soups and coffee shops add sugar (and sweetened milk) to the drinks. It’s hard to escape from sugar in Thailand.

5. Spiders

I haven’t seen much spiders since I live in Thailand. But my fear of spiders started here in Thailand when I was about 8 or 9 years old. So I think it’s quite normal to still be afraid to run into them. I’m afraid of spiders in general, but my biggest fear is to run into the real big monsters like I experienced when I was a kid.

4. Stray dogs

I love dogs or animals in general, but I’m not an idiot. Rabies is a big issue in Thailand. Most people think they can only get rabies if they get bitten by a dog that clearly acts insane, but nothing could be further from the truth. Some forms of rabies are hard to notice as the animal will just appear to be depressed. Plus you can get rabies simply by being licked, scratched or coming into contact with an infected animal’s saliva.

An other issue I have with stray dogs is they are covered with ticks. Ticks are not only disgusting looking creatures whose head and or mouthpart can be left behind in your body if you pull the body off incorrectly, but they also spread serious disease. The most know would be Lyme disease. Most people with common sense would not pet stray dogs, but stray puppies can be very adorable. I advise you to resist.

Knowing Thailand has a huge problem controlling the amount of stray dogs, these 2 issues are quite scary to me.

3. Snakes

I’m not that scared of snakes when I see them, but I’m more scared of snakes surprising me. I live in rural Thailand, so we often walk by high grass and paddy fields. I do run into snakes from time to time. But what do you do when you run into a cobra or another lethal kind of snake? During rainy season I’m more alert, because the rain and the cooler temperature leads to snakes in our garden and driveway. Plus how scary are the stories of people being bitten by snakes in the toilets or showers. I’m not a 100% at ease in the bathroom. Thai-snake Snake on our driveway.

2. Mosquitoes

Oh mosquitoes…they are everywhere! Even if you bathed in Deet, wear long sleeves and long trousers, Thai mosquitoes will bite you through your clothing anyway. In Belgium you hear the musquitoes buzzing around you, but in Thailand they make no sound. You just get unwarned bites. Every time I’ve got bitten I think I’m a step closer to dengue fever, yellow fever or Malaria. It would be so creepy to get one of those.

1. Thai traffic

There are very capable Thai drivers for sure, but there are too many people on the road who should not have, or simply don’t have a driver’s license.

I always feel like some Thai people transform into raging monsters whenever they get into their car, bus or truck. It feels like they are all playing GTA and the worse part is there are no cops chasing them! Thai traffic is crazy. The road markings are decorating, nobody obeys the speed limits, turn signals are provided in order to make your steering wheel symmetrical with windscreen wiper lever and headlights are to indicate that you are not planning on driving courteous.

Then you have the motorbikes, bicycles and tuk tuks. They all seem so suicidal! Trying to find blind spots of the cars they are passing, never using their turn signals, never wearing a helmet, fitting as many people as possible on a motorbike, racing through traffic like they are invincible. They are so dangerous and there are so many of them! You are never prepared for the amount of motorbikes zooming passed you from all sides of your vehicle.

Thai-Traffic

On top of that you have many stray dogs, who sometimes cross the street right in front of cars or motorbikes, or they chase people on bicycles and motorbikes or they are just sleeping in the middle of the road.

So of course Thai traffic is my number 1 fear! I can’t control what other people do and they are so unpredictable. Thailand is one of the countries with the highest road accident fatalities. Driving in Thai traffic simply is dangerous.

My conclusion: don’t fear the bar girls, be careful on the road in Thailand and you both might survive living in Thailand as a couple.

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