Recent Tourist Deaths In South East Asia – Is It Really That Dangerous?

by Marc Valentine

Tourist deaths southeast asia

Koh Pha Ngnan’s Full Moon Parties Are Notorious In SE Asia

If you follow the media at all, you’ll be well aware there has been a string of recent tourist deaths in Southeast Asia

Many of these deaths are shrouded in mystery, often with no facts or insights provided into the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

The seemingly ineffective authorities in the countries where the deaths occur, usually conduct an investigation, then offer a statement suggesting the death was a result of food poisoning, or the consumption of a toxic beverage (usually pinpointing a cocktail as the likely culprit).

This ultimately serves to add more fuel to speculation about the possible involvement of foul play.

So is Southeast Asia really that dangerous?

And what can young people do to ensure they come home to their families & loved ones from their backpacking trip to Southeast Asia?

Firstly, you should make a special effort to remember that you’re in another country… you don’t have the soft blanket of Mum & Dad, or a well structured government health system to fall on – should you find yourself in trouble.

Make sure you have great travel insurance

I’ve mentioned it umpteen times on this travel blog…

DO NOT scrimp on Travel Insurance

You’ll want the best possible health care available to you, should things go really pear shaped. Often victims are flown to other countries where they can receive specialist medical care (can you afford to pay for this if things go bad?)

Make better decisions

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”

Many situations will present themselves to you in Asia, including but not limited to…

  • drugs
  • prostitution
  • and insanely cheap alcohol.

Yes, you have access to affordable alcohol & drugs. No, that doesn’t mean you should consume them!

FACT: Many tourists & backpackers in Southeast Asia make extremely poor choices.

I’ve traveled extensively through Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos… being in my twenties, I’ve witnessed first-hand what young people get up to in SE Asia.

It’s my personal belief that you can avoid most dangerous situations during travel, by making better choices.

Can you eliminate the risks completely?

Probably not.

But you can manage risk, by making smarter (sober) decisions.

There really is safety in numbers

You need to start looking after your mates better. How many times do we need to hear the same account from the victims friends…

“they were fine when we left them, but then we went to find them in the morning…”

Don’t leave your drunk friend on his or her own, in a strange nightclub, in an unfamiliar country or town, to find their own way back to their room.

Look after your pals, be accountable for each others safety.

The drinks

I would definitely be staying away from any cocktails in Asia for the time being. Stick to bottled drinks. Probably something that you know.

Same goes for medications. I would be very careful about what medication you take in Asia, even if it’s prescribed. The fact is, Asia’s restrictions regarding medications are not as stringent as many other countries. I don’t want an allergic reaction to a prescription tablet ruining my holiday.

Would I avoid Southeast Asia altogether?

Hell no. I LOVE  Southeast Asia.

I traveled with Anna my partner through the region in 2012 for 5 months. The closest we came to any danger, was being ripped off $30 by a unscrupulous travel guide in Loas.

There are so many safe & rewarding experiences to be discovered in Southeast Asia.

You, will have to make your own decision.

Stay safe & travel well.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan Look, Jr. February 18, 2013 at 9:25 am

I have traveled many places in the world and to me Southeast Asia feels safer than many. I am from the US and fear gun violence there more than here. Yes, be careful of course but sitting home and getting scared of what you watch on television is a sure fire waste of life.
Jonathan Look, Jr. recently posted..Beartooth Scenic BywayMy Profile


Marc Valentine February 18, 2013 at 9:31 am

Could not agree more Jonathan…
“So many people tip toe through life to get to death safely” (Tony Campolo)


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