Thanks for a detailed account on your terrible experience on the 'tourist bus'. I found out years ago to take the gov't bus whenever possible. I went from BKK to Suratthani on the tourist bus and vowed, never again. We were not gassed, but people did lost items from the bags underneath. All major cities that cater to tourists have a real bus station as well. The travel agents don't tell you about the gov't bus system since they want you on their buses. But, it is worth the effort to find the real bus station.
Thanks 'laken' for an informative account of your ordeal.
I know it's a hard story to believe and it's your choice to believe it or not. I would just like to warn unsuspecting travellers and recommend that they travel on government buses. I travel several times a year to Thailand and have travelled these "VIP" buses too numerous to count ...without any incident until now. Last year I met a traveller on Khao San Road who told my friend and I how he (and the other passengers) were gassed and robbed on a bus from the south. Both my friend and I thought he was nuts and that he probably got too much sun and smoked too much weed. I wish I had taken him seriously and not dimissed his story so quickly. I went to the tourist police to report the gassing and after some pressing they admitted that they were aware of the gassings but would not investigate. Why...I'm not sure. Anyways, I just feel obligated that I should at least put the information out there...you can do with it as you choose.
Money and other valuable stuffs should be with you, not under the vehicle or somewhere else. Private buses, government buses.. or whatever, doesn’t' matter. There are different kinds of people all over..... the best way to stay away from annoyances is to prevent problems to happen. I know sometimes it's not that big deal but it's annoying and it affects the joy of travel. So, please trust nothing but yourselves. If you don’t' feel safe having too much money with you, then bring a little. Most of ATM machines in Thailand work internationally.
Not only did a bus load of farangs get gassed and robbed, the Tourist Police were not interested enough to investigate. This is really discouraging. The Thai Police not caring I understand. There is no way for them to profit by solving this problem. They are probably getting a cut of the loot for the scam to continue. The Tourist Police not helping to stop this criminal gang is depressing. The way to get this stopped is publicity. Keep letting everybody know what is happening.