Guest Post: A long-term expat’s take on Thailand

BangkokI’ve lived in Thailand for more than 5 years, and I firmly believe that it’s a Single Dude’s Paradise. I’ve been all over in Asia, but I chose to live in Thailand because it had everything I was looking for: pretty and available women, gorgeous beaches, a thick expat community, and a cheap cost of living. There are drawbacks, but many are overstated and easily avoidable. It’s not perfect, but no place is. I think the Single Dude’s have a fantastic website here, and a lot of their observations on Thailand were spot on. I definitely think they picked up on more more than most casual tourist’s do, so their posts are worth reading. But there’s plenty that they missed, and I think I can fill in the gaps. My intention is to set the record straight about a few issues the writers have had here, and to add some important pieces of relevant information.

Prostitution

I get that the writers here don’t condone prostitution; that’s their right. But they made it seem like most of the girls were forced into the line of work.

… many of the bar girls are teenage single mothers who in some cases are sold or coerced into their “jobs” and others just do it out of pure economic desperation. You have to ask yourself whether or not this is something you want to support?

[SDT: While Mike has a point that not all of the hookers in Thailand do it out of desperation or coercion certainly some of them do. We don’t pretend to know the exact proportions but this is certainly something frequently pursued by single mothers and/or destitute rice harvesters from rural parts of Thailand that live on poverty wages (and that is only in season)]

If that was the case I’d be right there with them, slamming the industry and anyone who pays for play. But in any of the tourist cities, it’s just inaccurate. Girls who work at 7-11 make $300 USD per month, and they can get by on that in the same way that girls who work in any mall in the U.S. can get by on their salary. Prostitutes can get a job at 7-11 or something similar, if they wanted to. They can all go to school for next to nothing. But most of the working girls in the tourist cities choose to become bar girls because they want to make more money than doctors do, and because they think it’s a fun lifestyle. It’s as simple as that. The “trafficked girls” are in regions you’d never find yourself in, and they only have Thai customers.

Some of the bar girls are looking for boyfriends, some are looking to make as much as they can by getting customers each day, and some of them are trying to find suckers to leach off of. The ones that work in quality establishments get checked for STD’s each month, or close to it. You should always use protection, of course, but the girls who get checked are not ticking time bombs as the writers have indicated. Sluts in American colleges are just as risky, since they don’t often get checked. Those with brains will use condoms whether they were with a girl from a Thailand GoGo or a slut from any State College.

Trust me, especially in Patong, dudes, they have some diseases you haven’t even heard of before. Don’t take the bar girl home. Just enjoy the fun, get drunk, ring the special bell that buys cheap shots for the whole bar, make friends and perhaps business connections, play Connect-4 with the very nice but probably disease riddled Thai hookers, and then go outside and get delicious street food. This is and has always been Charlie’s Patong strategy.

[SDT: This is our story and we’re stickin’ to it. There are plenty of things you don’t want to have that you can pickup even while wearing a rubber. Be careful!]

You don’t want to get carried away with any of the bar girls, the writers on the site have that nailed. But you can have a little fun while you’re here without having to feel bad about it later. You should focus on girls who are not prostitutes, I agree with that. But on a night where you didn’t get lucky, some may not be ashamed to pick up a scorching hot dancer for $100 or a cute bar girl for $50.

If you’re appalled by the thought of prostitution, you do not need to encounter it on your trip, not at all. Don’t go to Pattaya or Patong, and avoid a couple of complexes in Bangkok (Nana, Soi Cowboy, and Patpong); that’s about it! Thailand’s big and has more than 60 million people. Around 3% of the girls are or were a prostitute. That’s actually a lot, but it’s certainly not so much that you can’t avoid it. I spent a week in Bangkok and Phuket with an American girl, and we didn’t see any prostitutes the entire time; I just kept her away from the obvious prostitution havens.

Good Girls

Expats have their own lingo here, and “good girl” is code for any girl who has never been a prostitute. Contrary to what you may have been told; you will not get pegged for being a sex tourist simply because you’re white. If you’re 60+ and obnoxious, you may be judged that way. Otherwise, you’re just a middle aged or young man who is traveling and seeing the sites. As long as you go with that story, they will too. I’ve never had a problem with this. In Bangkok and in Chiang Mai, you can meet hot good girls every single day. It’s true that the dating sites make it easy; you can line up more dates than you can go on. But if you’re appearance is half way decent, you won’t have a problem meeting women in person either.

Thailand has more cute girls (like 7’s and 8’s), than anywhere I’ve ever been. There are more gorgeous women in many other countries, but the average looking girl in Thailand can contend for the average looking girl world championship. This has a lot to do with their slender bodies and exotic facial features. They also have great personalities; much funnier and more feisty than most other Asian women. They are extremely talented in the bedroom as well.

Some are looking for husbands or Sugar Daddy’s, but that’s true everywhere. Like everything else, just don’t get carried away. But if you meet a good girl from a good family (which isn’t hard), you might find a really strong connection, even on your first trip. Many guys fall in love every time they come here!

Other Tourists

A common theme I see in the posts on this site about Thailand, is how terrible the other male tourists are. Thailand gets a lot more tourists than any of the other SE Asian country, over 20 million each year. So you’ll certainly see all types, including Uncle Erection and Great Grandpa Hard-On, or whatever they refer to them as on this site. I came here in my very early 30’s, it’s never bothered me. I immediately met online marketers, entrepreneurs, and even some really young retires. I’ve met many guys from Australia, Germany, and Finland who are thrill seekers and go-getters. Finding good friends here is much easier than it is in the U.S. I just don’t come into contact with the fat, old, and obnoxious guys you speak of, and I don’t know why you would. In fact, their existence only helps my cause, as anyone young enough and decent looking gets the Clooney treatment here, and that’s from non-hookers. Less competition is a good thing.

Drugs

If party drugs and/or weed are important to your vacation destination criteria, Thailand should be far down your list. All recreational drugs are illegal in Thailand, and the maximum penalties associated with possession are really nasty, which is not uncommon for the region. However, corruption is so well organized in Thailand, that you’d never face the max or anything close to it, as long as you don’t have a large quantity, and you’re willing to pay your on-the-spot fine. Party drugs are pretty much out though, because the most common ones (known as yaba and ice), are basically a dirty version of Meth. You won’t find pharmaceuticals, cocaine, or ecstasy, without taking on significant risk in your search. This is because many of the people offering these drugs in touristy places are undercover, and they’ll bust you on the spot. Though most people do get let go after paying their fine, it’s an experience you don’t want to go through. You should know that a weekend in a Thai prison will change you forever.

It’s tough to get good weed in Thailand as well. But if you’re staying in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, and you befriend young expats (often teachers), it’s not too hard to find decent stuff. Despite the laws, I have never heard of anyone being punished with anything worse than paying an on-the-spot fine for having a small amount of weed. On many islands, you’ll find weed without a lot of work. In fact, I’ve seen bungalow hotels that sell it at the counter! But if you smoke anything similar to medical grade marijuana, the stuff you’ll get on the islands is not going to get the job done. As a final note, the island, Koh Phangon, home of the Full Moon Party, is lax onmushrooms and weed; you’ll find it easily there.

Dangers

The risks of going to Thailand are extremely overblown. First of all, if you party hard at night in most places, there’s always a little risk. If you do something stupid or hit on the wrong girl in clubs all over the U.S., for example, you can have a big problem in a hurry. I find tourist cities in Thailand to be safer than most U.S. cities, and far safer than some European and South American cities that are noted for partying. You’ll find that the Thai’s are not looking for a problem. They’re really laid back, and it’s not in their nature to cause trouble where there isn’t any. Of course, if you cause a problem, they’re also not afraid to teach you a lesson. But if you’re the type who will cause trouble when you get drunk, you’re not fit for traveling and drinking alone, anywhere! The guys who get a beating, almost always deserve it. It’s never that they hit on the wrong girl, or looked at someone the wrong way, or took a parking spot – the kind of crap that can get you in a jam in the U.S. You’d have to blatantly disrespect a Thai or get belligerent to have a problem.
Even if you made the mistake of causing a scene, and you realize that you’re about to get jumped by a few Thai’s, you always have the opportunity get out of it. Just say “Mai Pen Rai,” which means everything is OK, and buy everyone drinks. It’s basically a part of their Buddhist code to let you off the hook in that case. And in the very rare case where that’s not working, I’ve never seen Thai’s refuse a stack of money. As ridiculous as this might seem, keep in mind that there’s a very small chance you’d ever have to resort to using these strategies. I’ve never needed to, but It’s just nice to know that they exist.

The issues that rub people the wrong way are about “face.” Basically, people in Thailand, and some other Asian countries, don’t want to lose face, which means to be embarrassed. IF you cause them to lose face, you’ll see that many of them don’t have the kind of thick skin you need to get by in Western countries. Ball busting and pranks are not going to fly here! It is annoying, because it’s like an excuse for them to act like babies. So when you hear about a tourist who got sent to the hospital because he made a little joke at a Thai’s expense, it is kind of shocking. But as long as you know this going in, you’ll be fine. Also, remember: 20+ million tourists per year! And many of them are drunk and feel vacation entitlement. So, you’re going to hear stories, because with those types of numbers, some trouble is inevitable. If you have any common sense and/or any self control, you’ll find Thailand to be really safe. Foreigners almost take it for granted, as they walk from the nightclubs all the way back to their hotels at 4AM, because there are very few places in tourist cities where this would be a bad idea. If you’re middle aged or younger, you’ll never get jumped or robbed. The Thai’s go for the easy score, which means geezers.

Got it? You don’t need me to tell you about the beaches in Thailand; there’s a ton of them and they’re amazing. If you’re looking to party, Bangkok and even dirty ol’ Pattaya and Patong are as crazy as it gets. The food is amazing and everything is dirt cheap. The women are dolls! You’ll easily find a keeper who you can bring around to the world class islands. There’s a lot of stuff to do during the day and at night. IF you want to make friends while you’re here, you’ll do that easily. Put a little time into researching the place before you come; there’s a lot of good information out there about Thailand, because it has such a big expat community. You’ll find it easy to avoid the typical tourist BS. I’ve never had a friend from the U.S. visit me and not fall in love with the place. Some of that is because this is an easy place to fall in love with, and some of it is because I know where to take them and where not to take them. But you can figure that out easily enough on your own, and by day two you’ll most likely have a hot little private tour guide to help you.

Mike
StayingInThailand.com




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