Robbed and Battered in Bangkok

It has been a taxing day. My wallet was stolen and if I have to deal with one more tout I am going to rip someone's head off. And to top it off, I was assaulted by a local today for (inadvertenly) insulting the King. I'll save the details for my trip report, but found it a bit humorous that my attempt to learn more about King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Wikipedia has been blocked by the Thai government:

I can deal with the $130 in lost cash and replacing my credit and bank cards, but I lost five forms of photo ID--two of which are going to be impossible to replace. And all my elite cards...

That's what I get for deviating from schedule, I suppose. The plan was to go to Angor Wat in Cambodia, but my brother talked me into just hanging out in Bangkok and "relaxing" for two days.

The sad thing is that all the travel guides warned of pickpocketers, but I just wan't careful enough. I had my wallet (with my camera, and sunglasses) in my front right pocket. That must have been too much for the pocket, making it easy for a pickpocket to lift the wallet.

I am heading for Vietnam tomorrow, but the loss of my international student ID card is really going to hurt when we get to China and have to pay full price for exhibits I would have enjoyed a discount at...

So a word of advice: don't stuff your pockets and watch your wallet. Closely.


Gene December 30, 2010 at 09:27 am

Matthew, I am so sorry to hear that you were robbed. That totally sucks.

Why were you carrying your wallet around? I always leave my wallet and passport in the hotel room safe, and just carry one or two credit cards, a photocopy of my passport, and a small amount of cash.

I hope the remainder of your trip is better. Try to "relax"!

Derek December 30, 2010 at 10:23 am

Sorry to hear. Sounds like you have your passport, so that is one good thing.

Yeh, I just carry a money clip around with two CC's and cash. Then the backup cards and all the other crap go into the safe.

magiciansampras December 30, 2010 at 03:13 pm

Sorry to hear about that. :(

Sean December 30, 2010 at 03:56 pm

Sorry to hear about this. Good luck with the rest of your trip, its a good thing you're with your brother! Where in Bangkok did this take place?

Murray Head December 31, 2010 at 02:10 pm

I'm shocked that you were pickpocketed. This year, I just read that you had travelled to 5 continents, so obviously you are well-seasoned globetrekker. I'm just surprised that with all your travel wisdom you weren't savvy enough, as the other posters mentioned, to leave some of your valuables in the hotel safe. I guess you learned a valuable lesson... never carry everything with you in the same wallet.

I hope you don't hold this against the Thai people. This really could have happened anywhere... unless you & your brother were looking to "relax" in the areas of Patpong or Soi Cowboy!!

By the way, you really missed out by skipping Angkor Wat. It's the most impressive ruins anywhere I've seen.. better than Machi Picchu, Chichen Itza, Petra, the Pyramids of Egypt, or the Great Wall of China. But if the touts of Bangkok were too much for you, then the kids in Siem Reap would have really caused you to go ballistic.

Darren December 31, 2010 at 03:26 pm

Very sorry to hear that Matthew. And your front pocket even! Hope you can enjoy what remains of your trip.

@Murray Head: I regret not going to Angor Wat as well--I'd probably still have my wallet if I did. Anyway, I knew the touts would be worse in Cambodia, but was prepared for that. I was just letting off steam when I complained about the touts the other day.

@All: I understand the conventional wisdom of leaving wallets in hotel rooms, but I have always found it easier to carry my wallet with me. I have a small black leather wallet that takes up very little space in my pocket. I travel with multiple forms of ID because each form of ID serves a different purpose and I never know when I will need a particular ID. I also travel with only two credit cards and a bank card--that's hardly too much: a primary and a backup plus my ATM card. I also lost my health insurance card, and BD/DL elite cards--necessary to gain lounge access when flying on Star Alliance or SkyTeam respectively. Plus I had five $20 bills and a EU20 note.

That's not too much for a wallet. In the future, I suppose I will carry just a bit of cash and a single credit card in my pocket and leave the rest behind, but up until this week, I just couldn't see the drawback to carrying around my wallet in my front right pocket.

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