TOOWOOMBA woman Miranda Mitchell is keen to return to Thailand even after being pistol-whipped during an attempted robbery.
An instinctive reaction to chase a man down a Phuket street and pull him from a motorcycle just seconds after he had robbed her of her bag at gunpoint could have cost Miss Mitchell her life.
The 30-year-old arrived in Thailand on Christmas Eve last year with the intention of spending a couple of weeks honing her martial arts skills at the Tiger Muay Thai training camp.
She caught a taxi to the Chalong district in search of accommodation near her training camp.
"I didn't have accommodation booked, which is not atypical for me," Miss Mitchell said.
After storing her suitcase at an unattended guest house, she went out in search of a suitable place to stay.
The six or so guest houses she passed were either unsuitable or closed.
It was about 10pm when she decided to walk back to the only one which had been open.
"When three guys slowed on their motorcycle, I just smiled and took a step to the right to get out of the way."
The bike pulled onto the grass in front of her and a man holding a pistol jumped off.
"The guy with the gun held the gun to my chest.
"He was holding the gun with his right hand and saying 'take off, take off'."
His target was the black handbag Miss Mitchell had over her shoulder.
In it were her passport, iPhone, jewellery, camera and the equivalent of about $90 cash.
"I said 'no, no, no, I don't have anything'."
A small struggle ensued and the man ripped the bag from Miss Mitchell's shoulder before jumping back on the waiting motorcycle.
"I kept thinking he didn't seem like he wanted to shoot me.
"I took a few steps after the bike and grabbed the guy around the waist."
She grabbed her bag back and was holding it with both hands when the man hit her in the head with the butt of his pistol.
The man and his cohorts then fled on the motorcycle as passers-by stopped to assist.
Her wound needed four stitches to be sewn together.
Numerous visits to the police station over the course of the next week in the attempt to identify her attacker proved fruitless.
While she did not regret her actions, she advised against fighting back against armed attackers.
"I remind myself it could have been a lot worse.
"I guess I would still teach people to hand over their stuff."
The incident has not deterred her from returning to Thailand.
"I'll go back and I'll probably go back to the same training centre."
- Be wary when travelling on crowded public transport
- Avoid travelling in a train carriage where you are the only passenger.
- Avoid shopping in isolated areas and trying on items in back rooms at bazaars and markets
- For more tips visit smartraveller.com.au
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