Visitors to northern Thailand’s backpacker haven of Pai were shocked yesterday, as a motorbike accident left one tourist, a Belgian-Moroccan national, with a broken back.
Issam Messaoudi and a friend had set out to visit Mor Paeng Waterfall, a popular swimming spot 6 kilometers from Pai. However, they encountered treacherous road conditions, likely worsened by rainfall, which caused the motorbike to skid and lose control on the steep and slippery road.
Thankfully the friend was unscathed, but the same cannot be said for Messaoudi, who was taken to the hospital in Pai and X-rays revealed a broken back. Not having enough resources to treat the young tourist, the hospital decided to send him on a long, perilous journey to Bangkok Hospital in Chiang Mai City for treatment.
This is not the only such incident to have recently occurred in Thailand. With the return of many international travelers, motorbike incidents involving foreigners have increased. Just last week, a GoFundMe page was created for an Englishman whose moped crash on Koh Yao Noi island left him needing urgent surgery. In addition, a young Welshman still remains in a government hospital in Koh Samui following a Boxing Day collision that left him with a fractured skull and several broken bones.
The small, hippie town of Pai is usually known for its beauty and low crime rate. Unfortunately, this reputation was tarnished in June last year when a foreign tourist went on a rampage and smashed his way into a Bangkok Bank branch in the town.
Today, Messaoudi’s condition remains unknown as he continues his long journey for treatment. Let us hope for a speedy recovery for the tourist and a reminder for all international tourists to be cautious on the roads.