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MAFS' MELISSA RAWSON: 'I was robbed in Thailand whilst on my honeymoon – here’s what happened.'

I’d been eagerly awaiting our honeymoon to Thailand for 15 months. 

That's how long it’d been since we were married (for real).

The trip was wonderful with a few, let's say, unique events that certainly made it a memorable honeymoon – like being robbed and a flight from hell.

Arriving at Melbourne Airport, we toasted our nuptials and first-ever solo holiday together.

We were headed to Koh Samui for a few nights and then on to Phuket.

Engagement/wedding rings by Shannakian Fine Jewellery. Image: Her Second Shift.


I highly recommend an overnight flight if you can manage to sleep on a plane. 

The long haul to Bangkok was comfortable in economy and I slept most of the way with little disturbance. 

I also had a whole row to myself so that was a bonus.

Just before 6am, we were scheduled to land on time in Bangkok. 

Bryce pointed out the incredible lightning display as we approached the airport. 

But as the lightning drew closer and intensified, I started to feel nervous.

Sure, I’ve encountered storms before, though never whilst flying nor had I seen an electrical storm like this.

The plane was hit by strong wind and rain as we descended beneath the clouds.

Then, it suddenly jolted and dropped violently. 

There were audible gasps from passengers – me primarily.

We don’t have a will…

The plane then accelerated quickly, and we ascended into the sky. 

It was only 10 or so seconds of turbulence but I was genuinely terrified. 

The first thing that came to mind as I clawed at Bryce’s arm was “We don’t have a will…”

We had to do a lap of Bangkok and were told we’d attempt another landing. 

After 20 minutes of circling, the plane bailed out of its second attempt. 


We drastically changed course mid-air and were diverted to a local airport 15 minutes away. 

Due to the extreme weather, we had to refuel before making a third attempt at landing. 

"It should take us about 10 minutes to refuel before we depart…" the pilot claimed. 

Great, we had a connecting flight to catch and were still confident we’d make it. 

Four hours later and we were still grounded.

We were the first plane to land before half a dozen other aircraft landed after us. 

We had well and truly missed our flight to Samui.

As had every other passenger headed to connecting destinations.   

People paced the aisles while children and babies fussed.

Passengers became unruly, shouting out to staff for information as we sat stranded. 

There was minimal communication from the pilot and no one was offered food or water during this excessive delay. 

When we eventually took off, most on the plane cheered.

12+ hours from Melb > Bangkok.

Nearly five hours later, we begrudgingly arrived in Bangkok and joined the thousands stranded, looking to rebook their missed flights. 

Thankfully, we were put on the next flight to Samui. Instead of arriving on the island at 9:30am, we reached our destination by 4pm. 

At least we made it physically unscathed. 

Lessons learnt.

  • Pack extra snacks in your carry-on. I packed a bag of Allen’s Red Frogs which we devoured during the four-hour delay. I had also packed a mega bag of chicken Twisties – in our checked baggage. I regretted that so much.  
  • Allow plenty of time for connecting flights where possible. We thought two hours between flights would be enough. 
  • Invest in this power bank from Amazon for charging all your devices; especially if your flight doesn’t have charging ports (or they may not be capable of charging). I only had to charge this once while we were away!

Koh Samui.

Night markets, beautiful beaches, cheap shopping, amazing street food, inexpensive cocktails, bantering while bartering and if you’re interested, a cannabis shop every three or four stores along the streets.


Despite the overflowing trash, the smell, and the narrowness and unevenness of the sidewalks, I did enjoy Samui. 

And my favourite thing – a daily massage. 

I’m a sucker for a foot massage. Especially at 300 baht for an hour. 

On our drunken walk home one night, I was keen for a massage before bed.

When in Rome!

It was nearly 11pm and I had already taken a spill during the walk back – mainly due to the variety of cocktails I’d consumed in the sweltering heat and partly the unevenness of the sidewalks. 

I must have been a beacon to the ‘come-hither’ ladies watching me stagger up the street. 

They kindly beckoned us over and in my inebriated state, they offered a great price for a full body massage for us both. 

I needed little convincing. 

I had also just stopped at an ATM on the way back to the hotel and had withdrawn all our money on our card for the next day’s activities so I was ready to spend. 

Although, they had rules. 

Their parlour was just off the main street (four or so shops back from the main street), we had to pay upfront, and we’d be in separate rooms. 

Three red flags that should have been as clear to me as the walking red flag that is every particular man on a particular reality TV show (joking, of course, husband!).


As I was one cocktail away from waking up as Stu from The Hangover, I dragged us in.  

The end of the night.

The place was dark, cold and seemingly lacking clients. 

I headed upstairs into a windowless room that looked similar to a prison cell.

With a single springy bed, I got undressed, laid face down on the questionable bedding and put my jewellery in my bag, along with all of our cash.  

I had put my bag along with my clothes on the chair at my feet. 

During the massage, the woman moved my belongings, including my bag, up to my head. 

I thought nothing of it. It was closer to me at least. 

Once the massage was done, I had no need to go into my bag as we paid upfront – something I had not done at any other massage.

As we walked back to the hotel, I thought it would be a great idea to get one more wind-down cocktail to finish off the night. 

And as I went to pay for said cocktails, I opened my bag. It was empty.

No cash or jewellery. My Francesca necklace that I had had for one week. Gone. (#gifted… but still, very sad).

Image: Her Second Shift.


And as I had just withdrawn all the money from the travel card (our credit cards were in the hotel room safe), we were skint. 

The bartender was kind enough to offer us to return tomorrow and pay. He must have noticed my permanent brow-frown deepening as I mentally kicked myself for being so naïve. 

Another lesson learned – know the difference between a normal massage parlour and a ‘rub and tug’ establishment when on vacay!

Thailand tips.

  • Don’t go for a massage off the main street or while heavily intoxicated.
  • Don’t give cash before a service or purchase (or your passport – for anything!)
  • Always keep spare cash in the hotel safe.
  • Try not to separate from your partner or friend/s – unless you know it's safe to do so.

Other than these two experiences, the honeymoon was wonderful and I am eagerly planning another trip back.

This article originally appeared on Her Second Shift and has been republished here with full permission.

Feature image: Instagram.

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