Pick pocketing can happen any anywhere, and
Thailand is no exception. Any place with
larger crowds, like markets, malls,
concerts, disco's, sporting events, a busy
sidewalk (pavement), etc. are key areas of
concern. Even in buses, shared taxis
(tuk-tuk or baht busses), trains or places
where you may be attending to something
else, even taking a picture.
pocketing is not something that is rampant in Thailand. in fact, TripAdvisor in
2009 pointed out the top 10 pickpocket cities in
the world and none in Thailand made the
list, but 8 European cities did (Link).
It happens, however, every day and can
happen to anyone. It is import to realize
that for those that take just a few
precautionary measures and stay vigilant of
their surroundings rarely are pickpocket.
This page provides you with hints and tips
so that you hopefully will be much less
likely to be a candidate. Also keep in mind
that it is not just Thais that may be the
one that target you it could also people
that may appear to be a tourist and don't
discount that it can be a man, a woman or a
getting into preventative steps that you may
take to reduce you chances of being do
realize pickpocket can happen to anyone, so
only carry what is necessary and what you
can afford to lose.
Use Front Pockets: The likelihood that
someone can get into your front pocket is
far less likely than your back pocket.
Further items like wallets, currency notes
and passports are far more likely to creep
up and into plain view in a back pocket than
in the front pocket, however, even with the
use of a front pocket make sure valuable are
tucked as far down as possible and put
wallets down sideways and if your pocket
allows for it twist it 180º. Women may
also have their bra as an option.
Back pockets are excellent for things like
maps and other flat and unimportant stuff.
Security Measures: Some clothing are
available with features that make it harder
to access the pockets.
This may include
Velcro and a secondary
pocket inside a main (larger) pocket. Some
of these features are easy to retrofit for
your select holiday clothes and where it may
require a seamstress their services are
cheap in Thailand and can be found
Wallets with a chain maybe an
option, specially is the chain is clipped
onto a sewn in ring in a pocket; even a
large safety pin will do and you do not even have to
open the pin (and poke your fingers if the chain
has a quick-release. Both should be towards
the top of the pocket (possibly all the way
through the shorts fabric) so not to turn
the lining inside out and drop everything
else should a pickpocket pull hard.
pouch (AKA Travel Neck Pouch, Neck
Wallet or Neck Stash) is a choice of
many experienced travelers. It hangs over your neck and allows you
to put it under your shirt in front and
hidden from view. Even if
someone manage cut the neck strap it would
be near impossible to pull it from you. Keep
your valuables including larger
bank notes in the pouch and only access it when you run
out of pocket cash. They can be quite
inexpensive, though they are also available
in name brand designer versions.
Iron-on pockets are readily available and
can be installed in a minute on the inside
of a pair of shorts or jeans. In the US a
set of two large enough for a passport and a
few bill each can be purchased on Amazon for
Velcro pocket lining. If you insist on
carrying you wallet in the back pocket, an
option is to put an inexpensive wallet
patches of Velcro cut to the size of the
wallet. Glue or sew in the soft side of the
Velcro half to the inside of a back pocket of your holiday shorts
and glue the
rough side to the entire surface of at least
one side of the inexpensive wallet. When the
wallet is in your pocket it literally has to
be pried out and makes it near impossible
for a pickpocket to get it out and a little
harder fir yourself as well.
the Wallet: Why even carry a wallet? It
only makes things more bulky and easier to
snatch. Since pickpocket is always a risk you
may want to carry money in two (front)
pockets or maybe some in an inside pocket
where you will have unbutton you
pants/shorts to get to some them. If you are
carrying cash, credit card, ID card, etc.
fold them all up and use a heavy duty rubber
band, maybe twice around, that not only
keeps things together, but it also makes it
progressively more difficult to "ease" the
money and cards out of your pocket (if you
insist on using a wallet it works here too);
besides if they do try the friction makes
you feel it more. Bring a few bands from
home so you don't have to go looking for
them when one breaks.
Cheater Wallet: If you want to make
the appearance that you carelessly carry
your wallet in your back pocket using an old
wallet that you were about to throw away.
Put a little bit of money (like a few 20
baht bills), a few receipts, some useless
business cards and maybe an expired credit
card with an account number that is completely
different from any you actually use. That
will likely lead a mugger or pickpocketer to
believe they got the real thing.
however you keep taking money out of your
front pockets to buy something, it is
doubtful it will do much good.
Transport: When riding a baht bus or
other public transportation be alert. They
generally work in teams of three or four and
often involve ladyboys and/or lesser
attractive ladies. Be particularly aware of
anyone sitting unnecessarily close, anyone
clutching a bag which they bump into you,
people changing seats with no good reason
and people asking you to change seats.
If you suspect pickpockets may be riding
with you, cover your valuables (hands on
pockets or in pockets). A disapproving 'I
know what you are up to' type look may
sometimes discourage thieves. Perhaps catch
the next ride and always take your time when
you get off, still covering your valuable.
Ladies Purses: Purses are often
easy targets as they are often carried in
such way that a good part of it is out of
the wears sight. Here are a few things that
may reduce the change of being pickpocket
when carrying a purse:
||Make sure the
shoulder strap is short enough that most of
the bag is above the elbow (best to sling it
over the neck).
||Make sure it has a zipper
and the zipper lever is to the front.
a bag as small as possible.
||If possible use
a bag with a "Paris Pocket" (a zipped
compartment inside the bag for valuables.
||Never use outside pockets for valuables.
||Consider changing the strap to a metal strap
(if only temporarily) as they are much
harder to cut.
At the Beach: If you are going to
the beach bring as very little as possible
especially if you may take a swim. Bring
just enough for things like beach chair
rental, ice cream, beverages, etc. If your
swimwear has a secure pocket bring a Ziploc
bag and put your money there while you swim.
A smaller cell phone can be made temporally
waterproof by putting in inside a condom and
tying a knot (and yes you can still use it
Cameras and Phones: Wallets and
money and money are not the only item that a
pickpocket would be attracted to, electronic
devices are also targets. One big mistake so
do when putting a camera that has a lanyard
or a wrist strap in the pocket is forgetting
to make sure that the wrist all they way
inside the pocket and allowing it to be
exposed and very easy to grab.
Most pictures on this
page can be enlarged by clicking on them