Lessons Learned from Recent Thai History

Last Updated: February 21, 2023

Constant bombings throughout the country increased fear to heightened levels. Public acts of violence and ongoing in-fighting led to disruptions for every citizen of Thailand. The average person was caught between powerful factions fighting for control.

Getty Images

The adept prepper learns from every historical event. They are prepared for both conflicts arising from governmental issues to real disasters. This article is a breakdown of key events in Thailand over the last 20 years relevant to a survivalist.

The Coup D’Etat of 2014

In 2014, Thailand was in control by Yingluck Shinawatra. As the sister of former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra had been exiled.

General Prayut commanded most of the military networks and resources. With the support of a superior faction, the Thai Military took over all operations in Thailand on May 6th, 2014.

Throughout the city, conflict and violence perpetrated terror.

The Erawan Shrine was bombed, killing 150 people.

Pipe bombs detonated inside a hospital waiting room for those waiting patiently and unsuspectingly for medical treatment.

Arson and attacks on tourists and locals alike took place throughout seven provinces.

In the years preceding and following the transition of control of Thailand, the death toll from bombings, conflicts, and national in-fighting totals nearly 10,000.

It was a time of political unrest and murmurings as civil systems shifted in the years following the coup.

Prices fluctuated, supply lines were disrupted, and the economy still rumbled forward amidst the changing operational control of all civil processes. Food supplies and access to medical care were unstable and the people couldn’t depend on basic services.

Prepared, organized Thais bunkered down in the safety of their homes while a country convulsed on itself.

The 2004 Tsunami Impact on Thailand

Before the coup, Thailand was still recovering from the deadliest tsunami in history.

The victim identification campaign was also the largest.

The Tsunami of 2004 broke infrastructures all throughout Thailand and 14 other countries.

Of 5,400 deaths in Thailand, 2,000 foreign tourists were among the dead (worldvision.org, 2019). Indonesia was hit hardest in 2004. The death toll there exceeded 200,000 from both the earthquake and tsunami (britannica.com, 2022).

How Did the Tsunami Begin?

At about one AM GMT, Sunday, December 2004, the deep rumblings of the Earth’s crust began to groan.

96 kilometers south of Meulaboh, Indonesia, a 9.0 earthquake in the Indian Ocean, and the subsequent tsunami reverberated in a circular wave throughout the world.

Corpses of victims from 41 countries floated across flooded areas, contaminating most bodies of water. Thais from far and wide traveled to their home country in hopes of identifying their loved ones because the forensics teams from over 30 countries just couldn’t do so.

If you’re caught in the blast wave of any catastrophe, have something on you that identifies who you are. Then, your loved ones won’t have to struggle in identifying you in case anything happens to you.

Never leave home without identification.

Along the Coastline

Most homes, hotels, restaurants, and other structures along the coastline were completely swept away by the tsunami. Concrete buildings located inland and on higher ground still stand today.

But if you travel to Phuket now, almost two full decades later, the reconstruction of the barrier wall remains incomplete.

Understanding disasters involving the ocean and earthquakes, experienced Thai building owners built their resorts and businesses away from the coastlines of Phuket.

Regardless of the economic lure of the beachfront properties, they chose higher ground and stronger materials. In order to be certain of concrete barrier and wall strength, they built their homes, businesses, and structures with appropriate concrete types, ensuring proper ‘setting’ to account for the humidity and constant weakening forces of wear and tear.

Even with waves taller than cars rushing inland, the experienced and prepared were minimally impacted by the tsunami of 2004.

The other coastal buildings today, do not exist.

While it’s good to maintain sustainable designs in our homes, we learn to respect strong, thick walls for protection. Amidst gunshots, bomb blasts, and raging monsoons, the concrete homes in the coup and disasters withstood more punishment.

And, we learn the need for preparedness in that anything can really happen in the span of a lifetime.

Thai Homesteading

As a result of thousands of years of human habitation in Southeast Asia, with the ancient city of Ayutthaya being one of the oldest metropolises in history, locals have created naturally sustainable ways to live.

Thailand is one of those places in the world where plants and animals grow with mutant speed. One can live here indefinitely with some chickens, an evolving garden, and a homestead to improve. By integrating solar power systems and traditional building materials with some good, old-fashioned handiwork in a chicken coop and bamboo structure, Thais maintain some truly minimal impact lifestyles in line with the environment.

Homesteading in Thailand begins with elevation off the ground. With undergrowth, moisture, and insects, Thais adapt to climate challenges by constructing stilts from a solid foundation. Raised foundations separate any living or working domicile flooring from the ground and any challenges presented by direct contact with a moist, tropical environment. Furthermore, it limits access to vermin and insects. In doing so, Thais avoid the annoyances of weathering (e.g. rain, moisture damage, infestation, mold, and rotting) in living spaces and even local areas.

The entrance to Thai homesteads is light and airy, with opposite windows or doors to allow wind to flow freely. Thais ditch centralized air conditioning systems for localized, AC units in each room. A flow of activity and air is predetermined and utilized. Thais position windows and openings nearby a running source of water and build out fans, almost eliminating the need for air conditioning.

Living areas and common areas are ideally placed in line with wind tunnels throughout the home and property, mitigating the need for air conditioning in well-placed and well-designed abodes. Thais tend to open a few windows and let the afternoon or morning air rush through their homes, bringing in fresh oxygen from the wild growth the night before.

Kitchens tend to be outdoors due to the wide range of “wokkin'” where spices, lime, and chili combine in flavorful, but caustic fumes. The outdoor kitchen concept is real, and there’s a real benefit to it, as well as innovative design options in how one lays out the dining and food prep areas, between long-term and day-to-day food storage.

Food storage is the refrigerator, deep freezer, and pantry/cupboards. Long-term storage areas are kept above the ground to prevent vermin infestation. Thais keep their food and water supplies dry, cool, and indoors.

Clean counters and surfaces” is a great practice here (to adapt to any location or area) as there are hundreds of local species of ants with missions. Like a house on stilts, we learn to keep our supplies elevated and organized in closed spaces, free from entrances or cracks for any vermin to enter.

Basements in Thailand are rare due to the challenges from flooding and increased vulnerability to vermin, bugs, and insects from the rich Thai soil. A bunker could be feasible if made out of metal materials.

Additionally, if the bunker or basement is complete with a ventilation system, construction would require atmospherically controlled environments.

Attics tend to be scarce in most home designs. Not many homes have attics, but most do utilize the top floors of Thai homes for offices or storage.

On Thai roofs, you’ll find setups ranging from simple water runoff systems to gardens, greenhouses, grass, shingles, and solar panels.

Rain and monsoons are frequent throughout the year. Most Thai constructions are designed for optimal water flow and management of undergrowth.

News: Government-Owned Land Becomes More Livable

In the jungles of Khao Yai, the strict regulation of farmland has decreased.

While the government owns most of the undeveloped land, over the past 40 years or so, there’s a nifty loophole in residential zoning that’s enabled Thais to build and operate farmsteads on the luscious acreage of Khao Yai.

The jungled areas of Khao Yai are primarily zoned for agriculture and the purchase of or conversion into residential plots was restricted by the Thai government.

However, upon submission of proof of agricultural projects to the local government, a Thai citizen is able to build a small farm where the yield is not tightly tracked. Free to focus on building out their homestead first, and improve farming processes later, this arrangement makes for wonderful access to one of the most beautiful locations in the world.

A Khaoyai home built on farmland converted to an Air BnB.

In Conclusion

From the military takeover in 2014 to the tsunami of 2004, we learn that difficulties can not only come from nature but also the government and their problems.

We learn that even with decades passing, it takes a long time to recover from the impact and disruptions of disastrous events. But, that isn’t everyone.

Those who were prepared and selected their properties preemptively limited damage in the tsunami.

As the years passed, Thais began to have more and more options in choosing their new homestead properties, which coincidentally synchronized with potentially self-sustainable farms.

  • Be prepared for violence. It could happen even if you’re a passivist.
  • When you leave home, keep something on you that definitively identifies you.
  • The benefits of long-term food storage and self-reliance are real.
  • Seek out your homestead and property options in your state, and you never know what kinds of benefits and opportunities are available to you.
  • Learn how the zoning in your local community is set up. There may just be a way to locate a potentially beautiful new location for your family and homestead.

“Always Be Ready” Max

Analysis of the Best States in the US to Homestead

The Thai Civil Unrest, Disasters, and Bug Out Checklist

  • Water Tools: filtration and containers
  • Food and Cooking Supplies: rice, canned goods, seeds of various vegetables, a stainless steel wok, steel water cup (or half a coconut), canteen
  • Warmth/Weather Supplies: a waterproof plastic tarp and a roll of plastic wrap in the car
  • Shelter and Bedding: hammock tent, emergency survival blanket, rain poncho
  • Fire Starting Tools: Paragrenade, flint/steel kit, and/or lighter & waterproof matches
  • First Aid Supplies: tourniquet, antibiotics: ointment, balm, and capsule-based
  • Core Survival Tools: machete or axhead w/hammer, handsaw, knife/multi-tool
  • Lighting Tools: solar flashlight, lamp (gas or battery-powered)
  • Communication Devices: a cellphone. optional: radio, satellite phone, wifi port
  • Solar power

The U.S. .gov and Official Websites, Data, Links, and Information

CIA | US Embassy | USAID Thailand | US-TH Relations | Office of the United States Trade Representative: Thailand | United States Census Bureau – Trade Report: Thailand | 2016 Export Data for 193 Countries | Download the Library of the U.S. Congress’ Book(s) on Thailand | Covid 19 Data | Thailand’s Fact Sheet | Thailand International Travel Advisory 2021 | The Most Recent Travelstate Advisory

Follow us on social!