I first heard about the book “How Not To Get Murdered In Thailand” when it was posted on British Journalist and Thai Monarchy expert Andrew Macgregor Marshall’s Facebook page in the wake of the 2014 murders in Koh Tao. After my own personal experiences in Thailand including a few close calls with some of the self styled island mafiosos, I figured I’d buy myself a copy and see how the book compares to my own experiences and those of others I’ve met.
How Not To Get Murdered In Thailand was a quick and easy read, though it was made somewhat difficult by it’s poor editing. It feels like it was originally an ebook that has hastily been turned into a print on demand style physical book and hasn’t been passed over by an independent copy editor, instead being rushed out to print in light of the events of 2014, such as the murders in Koh Tao and the military coup.
That said, I still consider it to be essential reading for any traveller, tourist or parent who is (or whose children are) looking at backpacking through Thailand. Not because Thailand is an overly scary place where you are likely to get murdered, but simply because there are risks, whether they be drugs and alcohol, mafia, the southern insurgency or a psychotic Thai lover. The book covers:
- Travelling in Bangkok
- Essential information for travellers in the wake of the coup
- Corruption in Thailand
- Whether it’s an overstatement to call Thailand dangerous
- Thefts and drugging of tourists
- Urban legends
- Cases of murder of foreign tourists in Thailand
- The dangers of falling in love with a local and getting life insurance
- The 2014 Koh Tao case
- Lese Majeste
- The social concept of Face
- The risks of recreational drug use in Thailand
- How to travel responsibly in Thailand
Taken as a whole, the book is intended to give readers and understanding of what can go wrong for tourists who travel in Thailand, especially young gap year students, single men living in areas like Phuket and Pattaya, the party areas of Koh Phangan, and what can happen if you get involved with organised crime or try to start a business as a foriegners. All of which adds up to making Thailand the country where more Australian tourists die each year than anywhere else in the world.
The content of the book shouldn’t scare you, instead it should give you an insights into the culture, history, political and economic situation that has shaped Thailand into what it is today, and give you an understanding of how things could go wrong if you have a false sense of security. It shatters the land of smiles narrative, and instead portrays something far more realistic, but could also apply to travelling to almost any developing or middle income country in the world. It’s a book that if given a thorough edit would be an excellent book, but in it’s current state, full of royalty free images pulled from the internet, spelling (including multiple different spellings of the same Thai place names) and grammatical errors, poorly referenced statistics, poor typesetting and choice of fonts just makes the end product feel rushed and detracts from the overall quality of the book. A second edition will hopefully be of a much higher quality and become required reading for anyone travelling off the beaten track, in Thailand or elsewhere.
You can purchase How Not To Get Murdered In Thailand from Amazon here.