I have lived here for 3 years now and not really been close to death yet. I think the worst I have been is when falling off my motorbike in Koh Samui and this some will say is my own fault (although I think I was drugged). The major dangers in Thailand are not weather (although there can be flooding and Tsunamis of course), deadly animals or diseases (which again, there are many) but people themselves.
Whether it be a fault of your own, such as drunk driving on a moped, or smoking some illegal substance, the biggest dangers in Thailand are going to be the ones you put yourself into. OK, you will escape the death penalty if you do get caught in possession of some cannabis, but you are not going to get away with it easily over here. Too many backpackers seem to have a relaxed attitude to drugs in Thailand, and its to a good way to think. There are countless stories of people getting into money problems and deciding to become one off drug smugglers for a quick profit and then back to Thailand to spend all the profits. I for one don’t have any sympathy for the people who do this.
Over the last couple of days, 2 girls have been caught in Peru for drug smuggling cocaine from Lima to Spain (although they didn’t make it to Spain). The girls were protesting that they had been forced into it, but recently more video footage has come out showing one of the girls walking around in public at the exact same time as she said she was been forced into hiding the drugs, so it just does not add up.
The point I am trying to make is that if you start to put yourself in danger with illegal activities, then sooner or later somebody is going to find out and you will suffer the consequences – and when you are in a country like Thailand, then you had better be ready to suffer a lot.
For a possession charge in Thailand, you can expect to get a 5000b fine and a few nights in jail for starters. If you are caught drunk driving, the same rules apply (at least in Hua Hin) – 5000b fine and 1 night in the police cell. If you are drunk driving and hit somebody and kill them, then you can expect a long prison sentence.
Keeping off the roads on a moped is the other main cause of travel dangers in Thailand – I know of a Doctor in Koh Samui and she says that there is around 1 death a day on the island, and its not a very big island either – less than 1 hour to drive around the whole place. If you are going to one of the islands, please don’t hire a motorbike, better to try and find a guesthouse near where you want to spend most of your time – either on the beach or in the restaurants and bars – don’t be driving around drunk at night time on a hired motorbike with no training on how to ride the thing.