There are few baby buggies and strollers being pushed around the side-walks and pavements of Thailand. In part, this is because they are expensive, and as a middle income country, Thais, carrying their babies and telling their toddlers to walk, can easily save their cash for something else. But it is also because the state of the pavements does not lend itself to pushing prams and buggies.
A wide stretch of unobstructed pavement is a rare thing. Lamp posts, restaurants’ signs, rubbish bins (which admittedly, are rather rare), and a range of other obstructions block side-walks. And at junctions or driveways, while there are some low curbs and carefully-placed gradients in the Western style, there are also steep ramps and foot-high steps. And potholes!
In many Western countries, a shallow hole or small dip is described as a pothole in the pavement. In Thailand, you may find gaping holes which seem to drop endlessly into a bottomless abyss. In reality, the abyss is not bottomless – the holes may only go down a metre or so, into the city drains – but the gaps are still big enough to trap a buggy’s wheel or break your ankle in. No one here would think to cordon off such a common obstruction.
So, if walking around Thailand’s towns, leave your baby buggies at home, and mind your step. But don’t only look down. In a country of fairly short people, obstructions overhead will often have much less than two meters clearance above the road, including road signs and commercial signage, and power cables with alarmingly exposed ends.