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Thailand warts and all (my guide, read before you go!)

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Thailand warts and all (my guide, read before you go!)

Postby Cyrus » February 11th, 2013, 4:57 pm

Thailand’s one of the most popular expat destinations. I am currently on the swan song of my 6 month stay in Pattaya. I will probably end up back in Thailand soon because of many connections out here and one really cool girlfriend. But, it is not ‘paradise’. Before you come here, you need to understand some gritty realities about this culture.


I’ll try to make these brief:


Yes, women often hustle farangs. I could write a whole book about the thin lines between prostitution and normal courtship. Yet, at the same time, there are tons of beautiful girls who are very receptive to ‘falling in love’. Thai people seem less shy to me than other Asian cultures. I am in such high demand as a 26 yr old American that it’s ridiculous. I found one long term relationship here that I am faithful to and enjoy every day, but I could get a new, beautiful girlfriend in ONE day if I wanted to.

However you can still fail in Thailand if you have NO game whatsoever (e.g. the slimy, overweight unbathed British expats in Pattaya). These are the guys the ‘bad egg’ bar girls take advantage of with great glee.

If you’re a social misfit and think Thailand is the answer…. Well, good luck :o)


I pay about $310 (US) per month including utilities for a condo that’s right near the beach. Unlike people’s complaints about the Philippines, Thailand is not sub-par to me. My building has 24-hour security and everything works perfect and is high-quality. The beautiful ladies at the reception desk have great customer service. Many places out here in Jomtien are like this. Besides some of the streets being a little dirty, it’s not “third worldâ€￾ at all. This alone may justify tolerating every complaint about the country I have, but you must still read on…


From beautiful Phi Phi island to the countryside of Isaan, Thailand is a very nice country. Toward the gulf region it becomes muggy and hot year-round, but I’m not going to list this as a major complaint because if the weather is really intolerable then you can head north and experience cooler temperatures.

Let’s not forget some of the truly glorious temples. Again, this could be a whole book.

Meanwhile Bangkok, unlike ‘dirtier’ Southeast Asian countries, is quite clean in the central parts of the city. By staying away from the red light district and the Sao Khan area I find Bangkok to be very safe.


Thai vendor food may make you sick if you’re unaccustomed, but a decent cheap street restaurant for locals is filled with delicious pad tai, garlic beef and herbs, amazing soups, etc. There’s so much good local food here, and some of the countless expat operated restaurants are amazing.


All of this sounds wonderful. And, a lot of it really is awesome, but, there are some reasons why Thailand is no longer my idea of the perfect place to go. There are serious problems with this culture and the country that you must consider.

Thailand is a kleptocracy

“A government run by thievesâ€￾. The Royal Thai Police are completely bought out by local mafia. Do not drive a car in Thailand unless you want to be inevitably blackmailed by police who will pull you over and falsify charges (this has not happened to me, but I’ve heard about it happening many times).

They love to make the lives of locals hellish, too. I heard about one Thai woman who was beaten and had all the items in her restaurant confiscated because she listed the sign out front in English letters first and Thai letters beneath it – which is apparently against the law.

If you come to Thailand, keep the number of the tourist police handy – they are somewhat less corrupt than native police.

Thai people do NOT care about you and they exploit emotional weakness.

This is a shame to say, but this revelation is very real to me. Thai people are pathological liars, and the biggest lie of all is the one used to nab tourists – that Thailand is a ‘land of smiles’. They smile yes, but it often masks true intentions.

When I say ‘Thai people’ are this way, I am referring to the bad tendencies inherent in the culture, that do not apply to all Thai citizens, but may appear in as much as fifty percent of the population. My Thai girlfriend told me she strongly believes “halfâ€￾ of her countrymen are nefarious. I also notice about 50% of Thai people are very nice, good-hearted people, while the other half merely pretend to be.

Bad Thai people believe themselves to be master liars and manipulators, and I’ve gotten by with only minimal scams and problems simply because of my hard-nosed skepticism. Others, however, may not be so lucky. Even so, I’ve still been scammed twice and lost about $250 since I’ve been here – which is actually very little compared to what most people experience.

Their goal is always money. They don’t care about fostering good ‘business sense’ and equally profitable relationships. They live ‘in the moment’ in a BAD way, in that they don’t care about future consequences of bad behavior. It's like Buddhism gone bad.

Thai people are not quite as ‘obviously selfish’ compared to what Winston Wu described in his analysis of the Philippines – where everyone always tries to ‘get’ and never gives back. In Thailand, I’ve had drinks bought for me and a lot of nice things done for me…


This could be because Thai people seem to operate their scams on a ‘higher level’. They may court your friendship for long enough to emotionally exploit you. Examples include foreigners who end up with Thai girlfriends who pretend they are pregnant just to extract all their savings.

Or in my case, a hotel that robbed me and tried to pin the blame on my lady-friend guest by carefully setting up when they entered my room and stole my money…

… Or, the Thai wife of my boss who intentionally tried to gain my trust at every opportunity, but would use every lie possible to screw me over constantly to save mere pennies. Her CONSTANT lying just about ended the company and forced me and another person to resign.

Thai culture lacks honor

This tendency to f**k someone over for two dollars is related, in my opinion, to an inherent lack of honor in Thai culture, and a propensity toward greed and selfishness that completely violates their own Buddhist belief system.
Initially, I believed this lack of honor was limited to Pattaya and tourist areas – WRONG! Deep in the countryside of Isaan I was brought into a family’s home and made into a privileged guest of their town, which even involved being blessed by a local monk.

As I try to be honorable myself, I provided money to the mother of the house who helped host some of the parties that weekend.

Despite giving money to the family, three different people in this group still attempted cheap scams on me to extract more money out of me. They saw me giving money to the matron as a good reason to prey on me.
As I understand this part of the country is very poor, I remained very courteous to the scammers. On my way home I returned with the brother of the woman who brought me into Isaan, and he literally tried to trick me into buying bus tickets for his entire family to Bangkok. I understood what he was up to, and told him I’d buy only his bus ticket. He then became nice about it and bought me food during the 10 hour journey and helped me navigate the Bangkok bus station as a way to ‘pay me back’, but if I hadn’t been sharp I could have been taken advantage of big-time.

The reason I say this behavior lacks honor is because I just don’t see this type of thing happening in South Korea or Japan (or even North Korea for that matter, which I’ve been to). This lack of honor could also be described as total irreverence toward other people.

No reverence means no respect, and thus no shame to prey on others (i.e. acting dishonorably). The only way to deal with it is to see it as a game, and not take it personally or else you’ll find yourself hating the entire country. In the meantime, guard not only your belongings but also your heart.

I’ve come to find those who take Buddhism more seriously here do not act this way, the very selfish people who claim to still be ‘Buddhist’ however are total hypocrites. They pray to ‘Buddha’ for good-luck, but have no concept about building good karma or giving back to other people.

The expat population is a bad parody of the human race.

The disheveled, smelly sex-addicts who prowl Jomtien and Pattaya are social misfits, here to find relationships based on mutual exploitation. Bar girls suck them dry of money while they over-indulge on Thai whiskey at any number of countless sketchy bars.

These retirees have ‘lunacy’ as their common denominator. I’ve had one crazed expat attempt to strangle me to death, while another was my boss (the guy I mentioned earlier who had the lying wife) and he was completely out of his mind.

I think these people cannot get a girlfriend any other way than to come to Thailand, and this is what lures them here in the first place. They settle into the community and attempt to open up businesses. Most of these businesses fail however, as these guys inevitably expire due to massive amounts of promiscuity, alcohol, and drugs.

I don’t even find the 60 year old men with the 18 year old rental girlfriends to be a gross concept. This might be OK if the guy is a gentleman to her, but these smelly old dudes are clearly mistreating the women they’re with -- and the thought that some pretty girl from Isaan has to put up with it to make a few bucks for her family is what really grosses me out.

They’re not all ‘bad’, I’ve met some lunatic expats that are maybe really nice people, but they’re still almost *all* f***ed up somehow.

In Summary

I’ve just presented Thailand, warts-and-all.

It’s an amazing place to write a book and just muse on the wonders of the planet in all the world’s sordid details, however as a place to call ‘home’, I’d prefer a culture with a stronger sense of honor and respect toward other people, and where the reputation of the country is not exclusively centered around debauchery so that it does not attract the bottom-of-the-barrel from other countries.

Japan, Korea, Taiwan etc. with their very low crime rate and clean streets is more likely to have such qualities, even if the women are more prudish and the rent is more expensive. To me, these might be trade-offs that are worth it.
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Postby xiongmao » February 11th, 2013, 8:05 pm

Useful article - I'll bear Thailand in mind in case my China plan goes wrong due to visa issues.

Cheap beer and easy women - Thailand is a big draw for older guys.
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Postby Mr S » February 12th, 2013, 1:01 pm

What kind of Visa are you on? I thought it was difficult to do visa runs nowadays there so nowadays you have to have some kind of business/marriage/work or education visa to be able to stay there longer then the initial tourist visa upon arrival provides.
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Postby clowny » February 12th, 2013, 1:48 pm

That was a very interesting and informative post, Cyrus. I no longer have any ambitions of going to thailand, after hearing so many horror stories about scammers and so forth. It just doesn't seem worth the hassle to me. The country sounds like a paradox; a country of smiling, friendly people with sinister intentions.
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Postby Cyrus » February 12th, 2013, 4:56 pm

Mr S wrote:What kind of Visa are you on? I thought it was difficult to do visa runs nowadays there so nowadays you have to have some kind of business/marriage/work or education visa to be able to stay there longer then the initial tourist visa upon arrival provides.

Visa thing has been weird. The original company I came to work for promised a work visa, but never provided me with one (I had to apply before coming to Thailand, and they totally screwed up). If you get a non-immigrant Visa to come for either work or school you can stay for 1 year. Or else you can stay for 6 months by doing some "visa runs", then a regular tourist visa (2 months) then renewing it for 1 more month...
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Postby celery2010 » February 13th, 2013, 5:51 am

Although there is some truth in what you state in your post, i think that people's experiences tend to be heavily based around the people that they surround themselves with.

I did not have any issues during my 3 1/2 weeks time spent in Thailand and met a ton of wonderful and honest people all over the places i went in Thailand.

A few caveats, however. I am of Asian descent and thus i am aware as stated on this board of how Asian foreigners are usually treated well. However, i'm a pretty savvy traveler and was well aware of the scams in Thailand by reading up on them before my trip.

What i am trying to say here is that if you spend a lot of time around bargirls and girls who seek foreigners, you are preselecting for some of the worst people in the country.

Now i agree that Thais can be dishonest and you should definitely be careful, but it is similar to having a bunch of foreigners spend time in weekly motels in Las Vegas and complain that Americans are lying, lazy, cheating types.

Also a lot of the younger guys meet middle class girls in the RCA area in Bangkok and the good ones will often pay for themselves or even pay for you. However, go for the easier, shadier chicks, and don't be surprised if your iphone is missing in the morning......

continued in the next post
Last edited by celery2010 on February 13th, 2013, 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby innovatorsclub » February 13th, 2013, 6:07 am

not sure how to attatch a picture in this site..not going to spend time looking since it isnt obvious but the picture of my brother happier abroad in thailand with the sweet, young and petite beauty i am looking at from his trip last month validates my amazing experiences 3 months earlier

but you opinionated guys that are quick to stereotype go ahead and believe something else. More for us

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Postby celery2010 » February 13th, 2013, 6:09 am

Thailand is a big diverse country with all types of people, from some of the most honest and kindhearted people i met on my entire trip to less than honest types who piss you off.

Yet on the other hand, i did not visit the extremely touristy southern islands, where the majority of tourists are foreign. i read online that prices were higher there and some scams were prevalent.

the worst thing i read about was people who were electrocuted in the shower due to a lack of grounding and people who were poisoned in chiang mai, which had me pretty paranoid before arrival.

yet after spending time there, as you stated it's a well developed place. I broke my eyeglasses and the optometrist at the eyeglass shop was extremely professional, honest and kind. There was also a really great guy who worked in a hostel in Bangkok who took us out to a bunch of local places and told me in great detail the best place to go when i was a little sick--

he told me that the general hospital was free or extremely cheap, but that i'd have to wait all day. and that the big private places were kinda pricy. he recommended a small little private hospital. I did not have to wait very long, costs were extremely reasonable and the doc was good and very professional.

i also went to a bunch of places off the tourist map, where it was easy to have genuine experiences, often even possible in Bangkok, just stay away from the touristy areas.

Most of the cities north of Bangkok have almost no tourists, with the big exceptions of places like Chiang Mai and Pai. I visited at least 4 major cities in the North that were not chiang mai/pai. Again, even in Chiang Mai, you only had to go 2 milles or so outside the center and there were almost no tourists.

In Chiang Mai, i went to s student hangout area about 2-3 miles outside of town with phenomenally high quality yet cheap restaurants filled to the brim with young people hanging out. I saw a few Japanese who were dining there but almost no western foreigners, actually not a single one that i remember, and this is a city with a HUGE number of tourists, expats, permanent and semi permanent residents, entrepreneurs/ artists, etc.

Quite surprising that none of them found this major hangout area!!

Just wanted to provide a more balanced view of the place-- it's a big country with all kinds of people. The good, hard working honest ones are busy and working.

Likewise, in the Philippines, almost no one tried to scam me there either. Of course if you get involved with bargirls.......
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Postby CerealKiller » February 16th, 2013, 6:21 pm

Nice post there Cyrus. Though I do like it here, I would have to agree with the majority of your post.

Kleptocracy... great way to put it. Corruption, hoes, clowns in brown... daily killings, foreigner extortion, overwhelming laziness in general... I've been to communist countries that are better-run than this country. Oh well... c'est la vie.[/i] :lol:
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Postby xiongmao » February 16th, 2013, 6:51 pm

Yeah, nice post.

Danger is everywhere in Asia - I can tell you that the wiring is terrible in this Chinese hotel, but Southern Europe in the late 80's was far worse!!!

Everyday healthcare is cheap in Asia, but if you get seriously sick then you'll end up spending your life savings. DO NOT COME HERE WITHOUT INSURANCE. It only cost me $200 for a year's long stay insurance plan - is your life worth less than this?

Foreigners are rare in most of Asia if you take out the tourist hotspots. I've seen about 10 foreigners today so it's like I have the place to myself.

I can't recall ever being scammed in Asia. However, I need to watch people handing me duff money, as Chinese people won't accept money with tears in it but they'll happily hand you the notes they don't want!
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Postby pandabear » February 25th, 2013, 11:49 pm

One thing that I can recommend in Thailand: the little neighborhood brothels, that are all over the country. They open at nightfall, are very friendly and easy-going, and only cost a few dollars.
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Postby Intolerant » February 28th, 2013, 6:25 am

I'd live anywhere in Thailand except Bangkok. The whole place is a tourist trap. I cross my fingers that the dumber expats in Chiang Mai won't corrupt the locals to act like assholes in bkk.
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Postby Thailand Rockstar » April 1st, 2013, 9:04 pm

Reasons why I love Thailand:

Abundance of good looking girls into dating a foreigner (and I'm not talking bar girls or hookers either), cheap cost of living, mostly friendly people (though some who will take advantage of a foreigner), easy going pace of life, I can live like a rockstar on a modest budget ($2,000USD per month) in Bangkok which is one of my favourite cities on earth and never fails to keep me entertained.
Are you into Thai girls, dating, partying and living like a rockstar in Thailand?

Then go here >>
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Postby momopi » April 1st, 2013, 10:46 pm

innovatorsclub wrote:not sure how to attatch a picture in this site..not going to spend time looking since it isnt obvious but the picture of my brother happier abroad in thailand with the sweet, young and petite beauty i am looking at from his trip last month validates my amazing experiences 3 months earlier

If you have a large numbers of photos to share, it'd be easier to upload them to Google Picasa Web (free) and just post a link to the album.
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