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  1. #1
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    Is Bangkok too noisy for you?

    Interesting article in today's Nation (see below). For me, the difference in noise between my home and where I work is remarkable. At home I get to hear the birds cherping in the morning. All I ever hear at the office is the bloody whistle of the guard (I could kill the person who first gave a Thai guard a whistle!).

    Could everyone please just pipe down?

    Noise pollution has become the leading complaint among people living in Bangkok and a growing threat to people's physical and psychological health, experts and anti-noise campaigners concluded on Wednesday.




    As many as one in five Thais may suffer some form of ear damage because of the high level of noise pollution, said Dr Pibul Isaraphan, an ear expert from the Ministry of Public Health.

    "Thailand is becoming the land of the deaf," he warned. "Most Thais who lose their hearing cells are not aware because many other people are suffering like them, so it has become a new standard. "The cells cannot be regenerated. Hearing impairment is something you don't notice until it's too late, and Thailand is facing a big problem."

    As many as 24 per cent of technical school students have impaired hearing, said Pibul. Nine out of 10 workers at some factories have hearing difficulties, while 50 per cent of pilots have the same problem.

    Noise levels on Bangkok roads were beyond safe limits and shopping malls and even public parks, are bombarded by noise from loudspeakers, Pibul said.

    "The situation is not getting better," said Somrudee Nicro, director of the urbanisation and environment programme at the Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), where the meeting of anti-noise campaigners took place.

    Bangkok's streets and shopping malls often exceed the safe noise level of 70 decibels and while most countries in Europe have an action plan, the Kingdom still has none despite the growing danger, said Somrudee.

    The TEI began its anti-noise programme three years ago but its budget this year is just Bt10 million.

    "We must make people aware that when they create noise, it's not just their business," Somrudee said.

    Somrudee, a member of the No Noise Club, said it was imperative to understand the cultural factor behind Thais' addiction to noise.

    The group's campaign is now concentrating on schools, shopping malls and discotheques. Its survey revealed that the average noise level in a Bangkok shopping mall is 77 decibels and can rise to 117. As for discotheques, despite new regulations, some are blasting out music at 140 decibels. "This is like putting your head next to a jet engine," Somrudee said.

    Panchalie Sathirasas, of the People Who Love Quiet Club the penalty for causing ear damage under Thai law was a ludicrous fine of Bt100.
    "Thousands of people can lose their hearing ability within hours," said Panchalie, who also branded caretaker Public Health Minister Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan's introduction of loud aerobic music at public parks as "a crime".

  2. #2
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    It's not just Bangkok, we don't have any whistles here, and few cars, but everybody seems to think the louder- the better, public announcement, festivals, pick-ups advertising with loudspeakers et al. And then there is that sewing shop opposite, who keep changing the radio station, one would think they'd learned by now that you don't need to turn the volume to max in order to find the next station.

    The only time anyone complains is when I decide to have a 'session', watching some Black Sabbath and Metallica videos.

  3. #3
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    Talking

    I've lived in many places and travelled extensively and I have to agree that Bangkok is by far one of the noisiest cities I've ever had the misfortune to stay in. Most 'civilised' countries have laws that outlaw excessive noise but for some reason Thai people seem to have an inherent desire to be surrounded by activity, and the louder the better. I can't even go to the supermarket without someone blasting a promotion in my ear, and the reason that is so loud is to drown out the supermarket PA system which seems to use audio equipment abandoned by heavy metal bands from the '80s.

    Any action needs to start with organisations and businesses that control the ambient sound. Supermarkets and shopping centres are an obvious place for this, but I can't see cities like Bangkok being quiet for a very long time.

    Personally, I put on my headphones and listen to something that I choose to, but not everyone has that luxury. Alternatively carry a gun or something to shut those bloody speakers up.

  4. #4
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    It's not only Bangkok.

    I live in a crappy little moo baan on the outskirts of Korat and it gets very noisy here at times: motorcycles racing down the soi, mobile vendors with music and announcements blaring through over-modulated PA systems, neighbors playing gut-wrenching DVD's with sub-woofers on "high", and so on.

    Our neighborhood has a PA system. The other day I was out on the porch enjoying some tunes while reading my book and drinking Gin and Tonics. All of a sudden the PA system started blaring Luk Thung music that was so loud I couldn't even hear my own music out of speakers that are less than a meter from my ears. This went on for two hours....

    It's not only Bangkok.

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    Member Penzman's Avatar
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    I was thinking that maybe years of riding motorcycles without helmets made most of them deaf. A Google search seems to confirm my suspicions.

    "wind noise does the most damage to your hearing. It is constant, loud, and very difficult to get away from.

    At highway speeds you will find that wind noise is well over 100 db, even when wearing a helmet!
    All Things Motorcycle - 150: Hearing Loss



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    Yes, definitely one of the disadvantages of living in Bangkok.

    My house is situated just inside one very narrow soi and another even narrower one runs at right angles to it , so my house looks straight up the T intersection. I have motor cycle taxis and tuk tuk turning the corner constantly and they of course have to blast their horn to warn anyone coming around the corner and rev their engines.

    To say nothing of the exhaust fumes and smoke which comes right in my front door.

  7. #7
    ding ding ding
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    Thailand is a noisy place. Thai's seem a lot happier when they beating something with a hammer or grinding thier way through ceramic tiles at 7am in the morning.

    Dogs are my main moan. There's a dog outside my condo that just barks at nothing all day and all night. All the Thai's on the building site opposite feed it and none of them seem in the slightest bit concerned about the noise it makes. Each morning the dog is standing in the street barking at something and I have been trying to drive over it for a few weeks now but it keeps moving out of the way at the last moment.

    I need a faster car.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallace
    I've lived in many places and travelled extensively and I have to agree that Bangkok is by far one of the noisiest cities I've ever had the misfortune to stay in. Most 'civilised' countries have laws that outlaw excessive noise but for some reason Thai people seem to have an inherent desire to be surrounded by activity, and the louder the better. I can't even go to the supermarket without someone blasting a promotion in my ear, and the reason that is so loud is to drown out the supermarket PA system which seems to use audio equipment abandoned by heavy metal bands from the '80s.

    Any action needs to start with organisations and businesses that control the ambient sound. Supermarkets and shopping centres are an obvious place for this, but I can't see cities like Bangkok being quiet for a very long time.

    Personally, I put on my headphones and listen to something that I choose to, but not everyone has that luxury. Alternatively carry a gun or something to shut those bloody speakers up.
    But noisy is SANUK MAK!!

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    Member Penzman's Avatar
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    I've managed to poison 1 dog so far. About 6 to go.

  10. #10
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    The TEI are a fantastic organisation for THialand. Trying to get Thais to take resposnisbility for their countries environment

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    I know a couple who are involved in that.

    They work for the forestry department and are a really cool middleaged couple.

  12. #12
    Member Curious George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buadhai
    It's not only Bangkok.

    I live in a crappy little moo baan on the outskirts of Korat and it gets very noisy here at times: motorcycles racing down the soi, mobile vendors with music and announcements blaring through over-modulated PA systems, neighbors playing gut-wrenching DVD's with sub-woofers on "high", and so on.

    Our neighborhood has a PA system. The other day I was out on the porch enjoying some tunes while reading my book and drinking Gin and Tonics. All of a sudden the PA system started blaring Luk Thung music that was so loud I couldn't even hear my own music out of speakers that are less than a meter from my ears. This went on for two hours....

    It's not only Bangkok.
    Unfortunately, I agree with you 100%.

    You've just reminded me what I'll be in for when visiting soon. I am not an early riser, so I hate the noisy cars, trucks and motorcylces at 4 am, shortly followed by roosters crowing. Then to top it off are the announcements and music? from those distorted PA systems next to my mother-in-laws house before 5 am. In the US, chickens and I get up when it starts to get light in the morning, and not in the middle of the night.
    Geo

  13. #13
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    Thai's have a very high tolorence of loud noise but a very low tolorence of horrible smells.The jail birds get the uneviable task of cleaning the sewage works in BKK.

    Going off topic a little but what the fuck is it when you get on a a/c bus its so cold that you have to have a blanket.

  14. #14
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    It's the buffalo that use the main house support beam as a scratching post all night that gets me

  15. #15
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    What is it about Thai chicken crowing at 3am? I always thought it was sunrise.

    One of the worst noise pollution must be the mobile bands that walk and play down the street leading the procession of people when someone goes into a wat.

    Never heard such constant, manic noise.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bung
    What is it about Thai chicken crowing at 3am? I always thought it was sunrise.
    Especially when one cock starts a chain reaction that affects all the others in the muh ban

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobby34
    Thai's have a very high tolorence of loud noise but a very low tolorence of horrible smells.The jail birds get the uneviable task of cleaning the sewage works in BKK.

    Going off topic a little but what the fuck is it when you get on a a/c bus its so cold that you have to have a blanket.
    The more you pay for the ticket, the colder the air-con will be, and the louder the vid will be played.

  18. #18
    There once upon a time...
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsquirrel
    The TEI are a fantastic organisation for THialand. Trying to get Thais to take resposnisbility for their countries environment

    Which means they'll lose their funding before too long...


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    I guess we should be grateful we don't live in Beirut....or Haifa (thought I'd try to be impartial).

    I just remembered that although I moan about Thailand being noisy...has anyone been to Indonesia? I travelled in eastern Indonesia in 2004 and was bloody glad to get back to Bangkok. They've taken 'surround sound' to new limits. Bus PAs are twice as loud and on top of all the crap we get here you are serenaded at 04.00 by a round of muezzins calling the faithful to Allah. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but when it's right outside your window and not exactly Placido Domingo doing the calling, it's a bit painful.

  20. #20
    There once upon a time...
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    Having lived for several years at the top end of William Street in central Sydney, I actually don't find the general "urban din" too difficult to cope with.

    I find it is the ridiculously loud "one-offs" that grate most, and I certainly encountered more of these in Lopburi than in Bangkok...

    * Fruit and vege trucks driving up sois with loudspeakers well over 100 decibel when I am lazily watching TV on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
    * Those advertising trucks, often in convoy around election times.
    * The idiotic public address system on every street that cuts in at 6-00 am for anything up to an hour of announcements...An understandable government communication method 40 yeasr ago, but fuck me, who hasn't got a TV in Thailand these days?
    * Shit box public buses upcountry with deafening sound systems...often worth more than the bus itself, although that is saying little.
    * Neighbours running their diesel-engined trucks for ten minutes across your front gate to cool the car before they get in.
    * Military helicopters doing low-level night manoeuvres 100 feet above your roof.

    I suppose it is possible the "urban din" drowns theses noises in Bangkok, but no, I find the noise less annoying here...

  21. #21
    There once upon a time...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallace
    I guess we should be grateful we don't live in Beirut....or Haifa (thought I'd try to be impartial).
    Why would I be grateful? Simply a matter of choice, really. If I was born there, I would have fucked off long ago...like most Lebanese!

  22. #22
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    Trucks! with open "racing" exhausts - why, more noise - don't seem to bother anyone

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat
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    My neighbour has bought a new stero since last week Worse, he is listening to cover-versions of Elvis and the Beatles, repeatedly And this is a Thai guy who cannot speak any English

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallace
    Most 'civilised' countries have laws that outlaw excessive noise but for some reason Thai people seem to have an inherent desire to be surrounded by activity, and the louder the better.
    They need the noise to prevent them from falling asleep...

  25. #25
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    The worst culprits for noise to me at the moment are the young couple next door to me. Around 2am everynight (although a week last Thursday it was 03:27am) they're banging away at it in their bedroom which must contain hardly anything to help absorb their noises. I get to hear all the moans and groans of delight as well as the screams of 'Mai Ow!" quickly followed by 'Jeb! Jeb!' which informs me of where she doesn't like taking it.

    There are times when I fear their noises are impairing my hearing as sometimes the noises are almost inaudible and I have to use a small glass pressed against my right ear. I'm sure this is doing some internal irrepairable damage to my hearing because sometimes I've even got to use my left ear instead.

    Why can't some people just be quiet in their bedrooms like me? I'm so quiet that anybody living next door to me would think that nobody was at home. That's how considerate I am.

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