Are Thailand’s Sidewalks Safe for Tourists?

Are Thailand’s Sidewalks Safe for Tourists?

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In a distressing incident that unfolded on May 20, a 34-year-old French tourist suffered serious injuries after falling into a 2.5-meter-high drain in Ao Nang, Krabi Province, reigniting concerns about the safety of sidewalks in Thailand. The incident following a similar story with an American tourist in Pattaya one week earlier has raised the question: Are Thailand sidewalks safe ?

The tourist, identified as Melissa, had arrived in Thailand merely three days prior to the unfortunate accident. After visiting the Ao Nang Night Market, she booked a Grab taxi to return to her hotel, the Poonsiri Resort Aonang. However, her journey took an unexpected turn when the Grab driver deviated from the correct route. Melissa alerted the driver, but his response was anger, leading to the cancellation of the ride and a demand for her to exit the vehicle.

Left stranded on the sidewalk, Melissa faced a daunting 20-minute walk back to her hotel. As she approached her destination in the dark, tragedy struck. Approximately 200 meters before reaching her hotel, she stumbled into an open drain without any protective barrier or cover. Melissa fell 2.5 meters into the deep and murky drain, where she remained for 20 minutes until rescued by locals. The incident occurred around 8:15 pm.

Left: The hole the next morning / Right: The hole after Melissa’s rescue

The fall resulted in severe injuries for Melissa, including a profusely bleeding mouth, several broken teeth, and a deep laceration on her leg. She was swiftly taken to Krabi Hospital for medical attention. However, her dismay grew as she received only superficial care at the hospital, with no effort made to clean her body or provide fresh clothes before sending her back to her hotel.

The following day, Melissa sought alternative medical assistance at Wattanapat Hospital due to the intense pain she experienced throughout the night. Medical staff at Wattanapat Hospital discovered a concerning infection near the bone in her leg. After just one night, her accumulating medical bill had already reached a staggering 140,000 THB (4.000 USD).

Desperate for assistance and guidance, Melissa turned to a French Facebook group dedicated to advising and helping French travelers in Thailand. Some expats visited her in the hospital, offering support and aid. After the administrator of the Facebook group warned them, the Ao Nang Tourist Police promptly visited Melissa in her hospital room, interviewing her and inspecting the drain to ensure it was secured. Melissa is now waiting for an official police report stating that the accident was not her responsibility. A crucial document to support her case if there are complications.

Medical staff are particularly concerned about the infection in Melissa’s leg, which has reached the bone and is still progressing after five days of treatment. As of today, her hospital bill has already reached 300,252 THB (8,645 USD), and she is expected to remain in the hospital for at least another 10 to 14 days. Doctors are awaiting the results of bacteria culture tests to determine the most effective antibiotics for targeting the infection. Melissa may also require surgery. The repair of his teeth will be at her expense because his insurance company does not cover “cometic treatment”.

This incident follows another recent case involving an American tourist who fell into an manhole in Pattaya on May 12. Fortunately, unlike the French tourist, the American, rescued after four hours did not sustain major injuries. Melissa’s experience serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers not only for tourists but for everybody walking on Thailand’s sidewalks.

As Thailand is aiming to welcome more and more tourists after COVID-19 stopped the industry, it may become imperative for local authorities to prioritize the safety of pedestrians, particularly in popular tourist areas. The installation and maintenance of well-kept sidewalks with adequate lighting can significantly reduce the occurrence of such accidents.

Apart from her leg infection, Melissa’s main concern is about her hospital bills exceeding her insurance coverage. It was her very first trip to Thailand.

P.S.: For journalists seeking further information, photographs of her injuries, the latest hospital bill, or contact details for Melissa, please reach out privately on Messenger. It is essential to share Melissa’s story, as depending on the progression of her health condition, she may require additional assistance and aims to guarantee comprehensive coverage for all expenses incurred.