if your going to get the "VIP" bus from koh samui to bangkok, do not put anything valuable or anything you dont want someone else to see like bank details in your rucksack.
we just got the bus which was fine(reclining seats and a tv that you couldent hear over the airconditioning) apart from all our bags were searched down below in the hold of the bus while we were upstairs. even the bags that were locked were looked through. my friend had 40 australian dollars and a couple of euros stolen on her. not a huge amount but it could have been worse.
you can tell if theyve been through your bag because things are in the wrong places and also they close every zip and buckle just incase it was like that before.
A gutter for your friend. Like you say it's not loads but it's still totally annoying when something like that happens.
Anyway, this is something that I'm a bit paranoid about as well, so do you know of any buses you can get where your backpack can be stored on the main section of the bus, e.g. overhead?
sorry it seems to be a russian roullette as to which bus you get, i think it depends on which travel agent you go through. when we stopped at the rest stop there were lots of different types of buses, you never know what your bus is going to be like till it turns up.
i also got one of the VIP buses from Ko Samui to Bangkok, thankfully had no trouble, bags were untouched, but a very sleepless night, since i heard the story about buses being gassed and everyone robbed blind about 5 minutes before i got on board.
the easy way to avoid trouble is to get one of the buses that isnt going to Khao San or some other tourist destination in Bangkok. There are plenty of Thais catching these coaches to Bangkok, but since the backpackers/tourists are all going to the same place, they group them all in one bus and thats the one theyll hit. Get yourself on a bus full of locals where they are less likely to bother with the luggage and get a tuk tuk from where they drop you off. not foolproof, but you stand a better chance of getting your bag back un-messed-with
Also, keep precious stuffs like passport, camera, cell phone (if you take one with you), or even sunglasses in your carry-on bags and not the main travel baggage. Don't take any food or drink from strangers. Don't go far away from your bags when you travel on buses or trains. Don't buy bus or train tickets from any person out of the ticket counters.
Well, I think the above are common tips for travellers in general, not only for those who are visiting Thailand.
Most of Thai people are nice and sincere, but we do have parasites living in our country also, like other countries.
Cheers for the info Just arrived into Kl Malaysia yesterday and am bout to start shopping for bus, train tic up to Thailand. Will search and travel now with new found fear /vigilance, still not dashing excitement and enthusiasm. Any info advice on cheap bus/ train? travel up the penninsular would be most appreciated.
I was recently gassed and robbed on Feb. 11/05 on a "VIP" bus travelling from Suratthani to Bangkok. This is not an a backpackers tale. Do not ride on these buses that cater to backpackers and low -budget travellers like those departing from Khao San Road. Take the train, governmnent bus, plane, etc....avoid these buses,they are not worth the risk. I was robbed both from my carry on bag and my backpack under the bus. I had to be physiclly moved to have my wallet removed from me. I did not sleep through this...I was unconscious. Many people on the bus were robbed and no one woke-up. The passangers do not have any memory from the time of the rest stop break at 12 am until arriving in Bangkok at 5 am. Actually, everyone thought they just had a great sleep and were pleased that they were able to get such a great rest...until they looked inside their bags. This is a very sophisticated orginized crime ring that has been operating for some years. So far, it has been the perfect set-up but I fear that oneday they will accidently over gas the passengers or maybe someone has a medical condition that may result in death. Also as a female, being unconcious and not in control or aware of my body also opens up the possiblity of sexual assault. Anyways, don't ride these buses. If anyone has any recollection of their experiences or of the other passengers on board I would be interested to hear from you. I am particularly interested if any remembers the color of the bus. This a link that gives an accurate account of gassing and robberies that occur on these buses. If this happens to you it is important to report the incident to your embassy.
Whenever you part with a backpack be on a bus, boat or whatever ... you have to be prepared to lose it wherever you go. Valuables should always be carried with or on your person
My valuables were all carried on me (except I stashed a small amount of money in my backpack that was put under the bus in case of an emergency...they got that too along with 4 packs of cigarettes!!)...but I was gassed, as was everyone else on the bus. They were able to physcially remove are personal belongings from our bodies. But yes, you should always carry things with you that are valuable but in this situation nothing could have prevented the situation except not to take one these buses! Also double check all your belongings BEFORE you get of the bus...including inside of your wallet or money belt.
laken - it's difficult to believe your story and the link which you provided says it ever happened only once, back in 2003.
I have been on these buses twice - no problem, with an exeption that they waste time by picking up new travellers around the town or waiting for hours for a connection bus somewhere in the middle of the journey.
It's an overall a better deal to go to the regular bus station than on the farang buses.