Crime and criminals are to be found in whatever country you go. In Asia, most crimes against travelers or tourists is opportunistic theft in one form or another. While no amount of preparedness can guarantee safety, there are a few things to remember which will help minimize the chances of falling prey to criminals:
1. Wear a concealed money belt at all times. Place your money here and all important documents. In cases where carrying a money belt is impossible or impractical, leave your important stuff in security boxes or safes at your hotel.
2. Never leave your valuables unattended on the beach while you swim. Keep them locked away in a safe place and keep the key with you in a waterproof container that are widely available for uses like this.
3. Unless in a very reputable hotel, never leave your passport, traveler’s cheques and credit cards for safekeeping. There have been stories of credit cards being used while you are away. Usually the deed is discovered upon your return home to an unusually high credit card bill.
4. Keep photocopies of all your important documents (passport, travelers’ cheque numbers, airtime tickets, insurance policies, emergency phone numbers, credit card company numbers) in a separate place, plus a small amount of cash in case of theft.
5. Don’t flaunt your belongings. Avoid wearing flashy jewelry, use a cheap watch and secure gadgets like cameras well.
6. On long distance journeys were you may fall asleep (like in bus journeys) use padlocks to lock your bag and attach it to immovable objects. This also protects against criminals placing or hiding illegal items, like drugs in your stuff.
7. Use an additional padlock to supplement or replace the locks on guesthouse doors.
8. Never carry important items in a backpack (backpacks or rucksacks are very vulnerable to theft), if you must carry a bag, go for smaller bags which you can carry in front.
9. Be wary in accepting food and drink from anyone. Some criminals have learned to spike food and drinks to make the unsuspecting victim fall asleep or become drowsy leaving their valuables unprotected. When going out for a drink in local bars, make sure you are with friends and are not alone.
10. Don’t automatically trust other travelers, foreigners or countrymen. This holds true whether they are tourists or residents of the place. There have been cases where travelers were tricked by other tourists after their trust have been won.