American faces prison for negative review of Thailand hotel

Thailand has a very strong anti-defamation law, which IMHO means that reviews of Thai resorts and accommodation are pretty much useless. Any Thai hosts here who can comment?

It seems he went a bit overboard, but JAIL? Perhaps I should remove Thailand from my bucket list.

Sorry- if you read the article, it sounds like this was not a simple negative review, but a continuing series of false accusations going out of the way to damage the reputation to the hotel.

Yes Thailand has stringent anti-defamation laws; particularly aimed at Westerners who come to Thailand and then complain to the world that the places they stay and things they do there are not like ‘back home’ in Podunk, Iowa; Outback, Australia; Leidehosen, Germany.

This guy lives and works in Thailand, he knew the score, and thought he could get away with badmouthing a place where he was the one apparently acting like an ass.


I would think that with Thailand’s history of things like this that Trip Advisor would smarten up and just not allow reviews there and save their users some potential prison time.


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For a variety of reasons, Thailand is not on my bucket list other than a two nighter to obtain the necessary visas for Cambodia and Laos, when I finally get there.

I haven’t read the article, or know the back story, but if the guy lives there then, IMHO, he should have known better.


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I think an interesting question is how does this affect Airbnb reviews? Seems like a host there could just claim defamation naming the guest and Airbnb, and since Airbnb doesn’t want to spend any time or money on customer service or legal issues, they’d just remove the review.

One must be careful about Tripadvisor reviews in Thailand. Many of them are fake, especially for Tailors and Jewelry Shops. If a profile has 5 or more reviews, they are “probably legit”. Do not trust profiles with only 1-3 reviews, especially for a car rental, tailor, jewelry shop, etc.

They have an entire industry dedicated to posting fake 5 star Tripadvisor reviews, and have gotten very sophisticated. Tripadvisor is aware and does little about it.

That aside, Thailand is pretty magical in many ways. Most of the people are great, the food is spectacular. There is a lot to do and see. It will be much more chill and relaxing outside Bangkok.

Ladies and Gents - pack one set of ultralight long sleeve top and bottoms - for visiting certain temples and sites. Ladies - bring an ultralight head scarf.

A few quick rules will help one to avoid the prolific Thai scams - these are especially prevalent in Bangkok and far less so in most other areas:

  1. Do not trust ANY Thai who approaches you. Rule #1. Stick with this and most issues are avoided. It will be all lies and they have elaborate scams that sometimes involve multiple people.

In Thailand, there is no such thing as the “curious, friendly or helpful stranger”. Thai people are shy and will not randomly engage with foreigners. If you need help or directions, talk to someone working in a shop.

  1. In particular, never trust a Taxi / Tuk Tuk driver. Much of their pay are kickbacks from local businesses.

  2. Before going, search “thai scams” and become familiar. Again most of it comes down to “never trust a Thai who approaches you”.

Cambodia is spectacular. It takes time to get around from place to place. We recommend flying in, or you can lose a lot of time and endure hassles. Carry-on baggage limits suck - make sure to pay in advance for checked bags. The many temples and ruins near Siem Reap are amazing.

Pick your time of year carefully for SE Asia. Their hot seasons are no joke.


There’s a certain type of ex-pat in many places in the world who gets themselves involved in local affairs and with local people who may be nefarious types, in a way that’s quite dangerous, but they think they’re clever and that they have it all down pat. This guy was probably trying to ruin this resort’s business on purpose to further some business of his own or that of someone to whom he owed a favor. I kinda doubt that it’s because he didn’t know better, he just thought he could get away with it because he “knows people” and was too smug.

There’s often that sort of back story when you read about foreigners getting killed or going to prison in other countries. Of course there is random crime and someone can just be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but often the victims weren’t just innocent of involvement.

Outback Australia??? Those people are very polite and friendly.