Third world wiring in a first world city


Whenever you tell someone you’ve been to Thailand or are about to go the first thing that comes to their mind is that it’s a third world country. While a large amount of Thailand is rural farm country which lends to the third world decree surprisingly it’s cities are very modern with most of the amenities you have come to expect from your home country….except for the wiring that is!

The wiring at its best is bad …at its worst they might not even bother to string it up and just let it lay on the sidewalk! I don’t know if they have any standards or a national wiring code but if they do it has been ignored since inception.

Last summer I saw some guys working on the wiring on beach road in Pattaya. I couldn’t tell you if they worked for a company or the city because they were all wearing shorts and no shirt…not the best of attire for working with live lines. They were working on the wire between two poles and actually used a bamboo ladder leaning right on the wires they seemed to be working on!

I’ve walked down a few different streets where the wire is strung up low on the pole where you could grab it and in some cases just laying on the sidewalk or street. Then there is the amount of wire itself. It seems that sometimes there are 100 wires or more strung up…some power, some phone, and maybe some cable. Maybe they just leave the old up when they run the new lines ….hard to tell with the mess of wires going everywhere.


I have to say though that the best example is right when you enter Pattaya. There is a four lane road with a walk bridge spanning it. You can clearly tell that wires were added after the walk bridge was built because they ran them right underneath the railing and across the top of the stairs (pictured)!

I guess the Mai Ben Rai (it’s ok, no problem) attitude is taken towards the workmanship but surprisingly you don’t hear about any falung (foreigner) electrocutions when you do they’ll probably clean it up. Every now and then you do hear about fires and usually the first thought is the wiring caused it and usually it’s right.

Last year Route 999 disco in Pattaya burned down due to an electrical fault killing 8 staff members and injuring 58…they hadn’t opened for business when the fire started. It didn’t help matters much that the fire doors were locked ( something else to look for if you like the crowded clubs).

More pictures of dodgy wiring in the gallery.

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1 Comment(s)

  1. Those hunging wires are phone lines and TV/internet cables. You don`t see them in Cambodia because there was no phones before mobile phones or there is no internet or cable TV. Most of Thai electrics outside are properly fitted. They even have insulation in 20 kV lines and lightning conduction wire, that doesn`t exist in Europe.
    Different thing is how electric are installed at the houses. There is only single isolation in refigerator wire and the wire is switched in non-earthed socket. There is non-earted sockets in the bathroom without recess for the plug and without a deck. Stone floor exist everywhere in the house and it conduct the electric very well. Even fuses don`t exist in some coutry farm houses. Fuses and earthed sockets in the bathroom and kitchen are demanded everywhere in western Europe since 1940`s.

    Jonas Danielsson | Mar 17, 2008 | Reply

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