When there is an incident in Hua Hin where a foreigner has physically suffered as the result of a criminal act, that’s news, BIG news. Why?, because it is such a rare occurrence; that it hasn’t been ‘normalized’ as may be the case in many big cities worldwide.
For example three years ago British family members were assaulted near a local entertainment precinct, sending the media into a feeding frenzy. But that single incident along with a very revealing video, may have given some the false impression that Hua Hin is a dangerous place for foreigners. Personal safety is a common concern of those considering a move to Hua Hin.
The most serious safety issue for foreigners in Hua Hin is really about road safety. There are also health safety issues posed by mosquitos (dengue fever) and being attacked and bitten by a stray dog is also high on the list.
Our first consideration is the threat of violent crime. There is a perception among some of those living in Europe and North America that Southeast Asia and therefore Hua Hin is potentially a dangerous region to visit or to reside; but is this perception justified?
Violent crime isn’t fun to think about, but homicide tends to have the most accurate data and be an indicator of other violent crime. When looking at the numbers we can see that Thailand isn’t particularly dangerous.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Thailand had a homicide rate of 3.51 per 100,000 inhabitants (2015). By comparison the US recorded 4.88 per 100,000 but for the same year, Russia (11.31), Mexico (16.35), Colombia (26.50) and Brazil (26.74) were in another league. However Thailand’s crime statistics are at best unreliable and statistics to allow comparisons between different locations are not available.
According to the US Bureau of Diplomatic Security, “violent crimes, such as murder, rape, and assault, against Americans and other foreigners (in Thailand) are relatively rare. When they do occur, such crimes typically happen at night, often when victims have been drinking and/or are separated from their companions. These crimes are most common in Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and in tourist areas in southern Thailand, including Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Krabi”.
There are some places in the world which are not recommended for solo women travelers. Thankfully, Hua Hin is not one of these places. Not only is Thailand more safe for women than most countries in Africa and Latin America, it’s also much safer than Europe.
From the statistics available, Thailand has reported sexual assault figures of 70 per million (2010) with 15 western countries being more dangerous for women than Thailand. They are Australia (289), Belgium (275), United States (274), New Zealand (258), Iceland (245), Norway (192), France (156), Finland (152), Luxembourg (117), Ireland (107), Austria (104), Germany (94), Netherlands (92), Italy (77), and Denmark (72).
Sexually-motivated violence is most likely to occur at parties, discos, or beaches (e.g. the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan). It’s also more likely to involve a non-Thai as the perpetrator.
The obvious higher risk zones for criminal violence against both men and women are places where the alcohol is flowing and where the patrons of bars or rowdy parties may not be behaving at their best. That’s a scene that is not the Hua Hin style which offers much more family friendly entertainment.
It’s best not to be alone; stay away from areas that are not well lit and listen to your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about your surroundings, that’s a feeling that you should not ignore.
The rules about being safe from violent crime are really no different from anywhere else in the world, although many ex pats will tell you that they feel much safer out at night in Hua Hin than in their home town.