I know some of you, myself included, carry pepper spray (sometimes called Bear spray).
Have never had to use it, and hope I never need to, but just heard on the news that if carrying a pepper spray you can get fined up to 1 million baht, or 10 years in jail...
Funnily, for carrying those electric shock things a maximum fine of 100 baht applies...
I thought I just share this ;-)
Thanks for sharing. You are probably OK if the container is marker Bear, rather than pepper spray. Then again, the journalist caught with flak jacket was charged, so it might pay to be careful. A friend was going to bring bear spray over for me, but US customs said it wasn't allowed, even in checked luggage. How dangerous are bears and is there a good way to avoid them?
Difficult question. Not long ago a lady was attacked on her farm bordering one of the Dong Phayayen Khao Yai forest complex parks. So there is a risk.
However I have seen quite a few bears over the years, and was never attacked, haha. They either ran off, or were at a long distance probably not noticing me, or they just continued doing what they were doing and not caring at all that I happened to be there.
The latter thing worries me, the fact they sometimes seem to show no fear at all. Because that could just as easily make them decide to just hunt you.
Still, attacks seem to be rare in Thailand, so I guess there is not a major reason to worry. But I would not want to meet a big Asian Black Bear with young cubs coming towards me on a trail (this situation hasn't happened yet... luckily).
I have once seen a young cub coming down from a tree, must have been around noon, and that worried me. However there seemed no evidence of a mother.
Some say that bears might leave cubs up in the trees sometimes while they go away to forage. Maybe that was the case...
Last July I saw two cubs playing in a tree, but they were not very young. Again no mother visible nearby.
Keeping distance seems to be wise, but you can not out run a bear, and they climb faster, so that's why I think carrying a 'bear spray' could be the last resort in case of attack.
I am sure there are more tips to be found online if you search for American bear attacks/ ways to prevent.
In case you're under attack I have heard, you need to make yourself as small as possible, cover your vital organs with arms and knees. What I've heard, bears do the same thing when they surrender in (play) fights. So all you can hope is that it triggers their instinct to let go of you...
There is no such thing as being 100% safe in the jungle.
I just carry mine when I am going to be in a hide, alone and off piste - its my last line of potential defence after a) hide and b) run :+)
The average forest hiker doesn't really need it - probably more dangerous with it than without. But for someone who is in the forest alone a lot (say like me) or spends a lot of time in the forest (say like flip-flops) then its worth thinking about. If you are not planning to be alone then the fact that there is more than one of you is probably all the protection you will ever need for what is a remote possibility of close encounter.
Mine gives me more of a psychological crutch than a defence - but if the fines are that big I may have to rethink :+)
I guess you are right about that, Trekker. Surely being with a group of people, standing your ground and sticking together, will scare off any big predator.
Being alone is a bit more of a worry.
At the same time, we all know this is Thailand. On paper the fines are high, but I am sure the chance you get a fine is next to zero unless you actually attack a person with it...
Other option is a dog trainer's bite suit ;-)