Saw in the news that “a ladyboy has been arrested and charged with theft after admitting to stealing a Swiss man’s credit card after a late night romp in Walking Street.” Now, this man was lucky because not only did the police find the culprit, but the suspect also confessed to the crime. So, you might think it is strange to just ignore the fact your credit card is missing, but it is an easy mistake to make. The tip from this story is to secure all cash and credit cards as well as other valuable items when bringing a visitor to your room. Even though you might think that the person is trustworthy and seems very nice, there is no way to know what they might do if the opportunity arises. Many crimes are committed just because there is a momentary chance to do it. So you should try and minimise the temptation. After all, many Thais make lower wages than Westerners, so the temptation might be very large to take something that represents several months salary to them.
This is not to cast aspersions on all ladyboys. Many are very good and nice people. Unfortunately in the media we often hear about these stories more so than stories about regular ladies involved in petty thefts. There is a certain level of discrimination against ladyboys.
A good practice is to have a “burner wallet” which contains only the amount of cash that you need for the evening, while keeping your main wallet tucked into your room safe. Some people choose to carry only cash as well and keep their credit cards locked away, although obviously this can be inconvenient if you need to meet an unexpected expense. Like Japan, Thailand is a cash based society and especially in entertainment areas, credit cards are not widely accepted. Therefore there is really no reason to be carrying a credit card around with you, especially if you intend to consumer alcohol or go with strangers. You might think that carrying large amounts of cash is also unsafe, however, you can minimise this risk by carrying it in the front pocket of your pants so that it is difficult to pickpocket without your noticing, and by staying in the main areas where there is a tourist police presence. We have never felt unsafe walking around Pattaya, even Beach Road in the small hours of the morning, however, if you are less confident criminals will detect your vulnerability and target you for possible mugging.
Another tip is ensure you always have up to date and comprehensive travel insurance. The worst thing would be to have all your cards stolen and no way of obtaining funds. Always carry multiple cards in different places so you have a way of obtaining money if you lose one card. For example, place one card in the room safe, and secure another card inside a lockable bag in your room. THese basic security tips will help you avoid the problems and have an enjoyable stay in Pattaya.