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Cost of living in the Philippines and Southeast Asia

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

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Cost of living in the Philippines and Southeast Asia

Postby Islandboy » Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:42 am

For those living in the PI or anywhere in SE Asia, would you mind giving a break down of a typical monthly expenses ? i am aware that it will be very different for every one, depending on lifestyle, needs and location, but it can still be useful for people like me who are looking into relocating there!

thanks!
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Postby Mr S » Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:57 am

Excluding Singapore and Hong Kong, if you stayed in SE Asia you could probably live on $1000 a month if you had no foreign debt. Making $1,500 and above you would have a very comfortable lifestyle. But it's all relative cause people spend their money in different ways and one person could spend $1000 in a week and another could still save something out of that same $1000 in a month.

It's hard to break down each country but most of the SE Asian countries are not that expensive to live in if you merge your lifestyle to that of a local. If you have your lifestyle half-way between a foreigner and local you can control your spending and still live comfortably. People trying to live a western lifestyle overseas are generally the ones who spend their money the fastest.
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Postby Islandboy » Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:54 am

Mr S wrote:Excluding Singapore and Hong Kong, if you stayed in SE Asia you could probably live on $1000 a month if you had no foreign debt. Making $1,500 and above you would have a very comfortable lifestyle. But it's all relative cause people spend their money in different ways and one person could spend $1000 in a week and another could still save something out of that same $1000 in a month.

It's hard to break down each country but most of the SE Asian countries are not that expensive to live in if you merge your lifestyle to that of a local. If you have your lifestyle half-way between a foreigner and local you can control your spending and still live comfortably. People trying to live a western lifestyle overseas are generally the ones who spend their money the fastest.


Thanks Mr S,
Been to most of the SE countries, the Phils is the most attractive now coz of the visa, cost, and english speaking people. I am pretty much a minimalist, dont like to accumulate things, and dont drink or smoke and i love local food! I can live like a middle-class local, but i need aircon, broadband internet and a car because i would like to travel around. If i can do it with $1000-$2000, it would be great, i dont see much point working myself until i am 60 here in the US. i guess if i become a father like Winston, the cost could go up tremendously! How much is a decent 1 or 2 bedroom apartment or house around Manila ?
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Postby Mr S » Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:08 pm

It would depend on what part of the city. If you have your own money I wouldn't suggest living in the Manila area unless you have to. Manila is not a great city to live in and it drives you crazy after about 6 months. If you have to live in a large city live in Cebu not Manila.

The decent and safest parts of Manila such as Makati City could vary from 12,000-30,000+ pesos depending on how high quality your living environment is. I live in a middle class, furnished studio condo unit and I pay 15,000 pesos a month, not including water, electricity, cable, cell phone and internet. That is normal price for an apartment in Makati area, the price goes up with the size of course.

If you live in cheaper parts of Manila, but in safer areas a decent one bedroom might go for between 7000-10,000 pesos a month not including other items as listed above.

If you live outside of Manila you could get a decent place to live with good space like a 2 bedroom apartment or decent sized house for under 8,000 pesos a month.

Like where Winston lives in AC you could rent a safe, decent 1 or 2 bedroom for around 4-5000 a month. A large part of it depends on the location and whether they have security and all that stuff.

Take into account that most of these places are not furnished. Furnished apartments tend to cost more of course and the quality of the furniture varies.

Philippines is ok to live long term but you need to have financial options available to you or you will slowly resent the country and it's problems. It's still considered a 3rd world country and in many areas it resembles it exactly and you can't avoid it.

Personally I'm ready to leave after my work visa runs out. It's not the place I want to be long term. I think it would be a great place to visit on a regular basis and just stay 3 months at a time, then move on to another country. Living here permanently and not being able to leave and do what you want because of financials sucks and you end up living too much like a local and getting pissed off about things every day.

After I've lived here a while I think the Philippines is over rated as an ideal location. But it also depends on one's personality. I'm not an emotional, care-free type guy and if you have a more serious personality you won't like living here for long. Some people in this forum love the place and defend the culture and people no matter what. And others bash the place as well. I stand in the middle and can see both sides, but I can site examples as to why I don't like things here and have personal experiences. I have been able to do things and experience poor, middle and high society here so I understand what the good and bad traits of the people and culture are. I don't like the culture and mentality here, period. There are some who say I would be biased because I don't speak the language and so I don't know the culture, blah, blah stuff like that. Well there are numerous languages spoken here and not everyone speaks Tagalog. Its actually a forced language to be learned by the people because of local politics. I don't like the sound of the language myself and if the language is not sophisticated enough to teach high maths and sciences in their own language, how can it be considered a credible language in association with other world languages that can do that? Why should Tagalog be a foreign language to be learned overseas if it is not a complete language itself? The language spoken by Cebu is actually a better national language than Tagalog, but politics are involved of course.

I've attended numerous language seminars here with my previous job and that's what most of the countries own linguists debate about! Each of the provinces have their own language and culture. The country is barely held together in working order in my opinion. The ignorance of the poor masses and keeping the middle class just happy enough not to force things to change keeps the elite in power and the country together. I can go on and on but it's pointless after a while.

Some will love it here and relate to the culture and others won't it's as simple as that. So just leaving the states and living here isn't necessarily going to make this place into paradise for the average guy.
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Postby Winston » Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:53 pm

Well my expenses here are around $400 a month. They would be less if we didn't go to restaurants all the time and I didn't have baby expenses. Let me try to break down some basic living costs to you. Here are some of mine for instance:

(Note: Currently, the peso is hovering around 45 per dollar)

Apartment: I have a nice two bedroom apartment for 6000p a month (around $140). You can get one for 4000p too, here in Angeles City. Water is only 200p, but having an aircon tacks your electric bill up to 2500p a month!

Meals: It depends on where you eat and how good you like to eat, but you can get a decent meal starting at 70 or 80 pesos here and on up, which is around $2. Sometimes 100p or 200p if I eat in a restaurant.

Transportation: Jeepneys are 8 pesos each way. Buses vary but usually are very cheap. The bus to Manila from Angeles take 1.5 hours and costs 130 pesos for an aircon bus. 70 pesos for one with open windows.

Renewing your visa every two months: Costs between 2000 and 4000 pesos which varies each time.

Doctor visit: 250pesos plus the medicine or tests which can cost a lot more.

Movies: 80 pesos.

Haircut: Between 40 and 80 pesos.

Taxis: It depends on where and what city. In Manila, they start at 30 pesos and the meter goes up little by little. Pretty cheap, unless the driver tries to scam you a little. In Angeles, the trikes are a bit pricey, costing at 50p for most rides, and 100p if you ride farther. The trikes in Angeles are considered the most expensive in the Philippines, even more expensive than in Manila. I don't use them unless I have to. (unfortunately, Dianne often needs trikes and hates to walk and can't stand any rain)

Clothes: There are cheap clothes and there are expensive clothes. It all varies.

Internet access: You can use internet cafes for 20p per hour, or get your own connection for 1000p per month but you'd have to sign a year contract.

So you see, you can live here for very cheaply as your dollar stretches out a lot.

There are some exceptions though. Almost everything imported from the US though, costs more than it does in the US or about the same. And electronic items tend to cost more than they do in the US, almost double the price.

It is strongly suggested that foreigners do not drive cars or they will be scammed by people trying to sue them or cops asking for bribes.

Hope that helps.
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Postby Winston » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:11 pm

Mr S is right that there are many annoyances here though. For example, one that I experienced today was constantly being given vague directions. Most Filipinos do this for some reason. They give vague directions and are not articulate, specific, or thorough at all. And they do not have the common sense to realize that giving vague directions will get someone lost and not to his/her destination. It baffles me, as a perfectionist who is big on accuracy. And it's not because of the language barrier either. They do this to their own kind as well, I've been told. It makes no sense, but is a perpetual annoyance. Most of the time after I ask for directions and get a vague response, or a sentence that doesn't even make any sense, I have to follow up with, "Where exactly? Can you be more specific?" that I start to lose my temper.

But anyway, one of my expat friends told me this, whenever I complain about inefficiency here:

"Look, you should appreciate that things are inefficient here. That's what keeps things cheap for you and me. If they were efficient, then everything would be expensive here like it is in Japan, and we couldn't afford all this."
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Postby James G » Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:47 am

Here are some articles on the cost of living in Jakarta, Indonesia and Bangkok

http://theprofessionaladventurer.com/ca ... ing-index/


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Postby Jacaré » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:00 am

Good informative thread. Last year I spent 4 months in Asia, 3 months in BKK, 3 weeks in Cebu and then travelling for 3 weeks in the region in Asia to the likes of Tokyo, Phuket and Pattaya. When I was living in BKK, I was having a very good lifestyle, balling, staying full time at a nice hotel right on Sukhumvit paying about 800 bucks, going out every night, eating out all the time at nice restaurants, and having an all around ball. I was withdrawing every week 15K Bahts ($500) and most times, I would still have a few bucks left. So total, $2k spending money and 800 for accommodations or about 3k a month to have a true plaboy lifestyle. I'm sure if I wasn't that lazy, I could have easily found a nice apartment for 3-400 in a great area in BKK. Or for those looking on the cheaper end, 150 a month for a room on the outskirts of BKK.

In Cebu, I was staying at a decent hotel near Mango square, going out every night, eating out and having a ton of fun. Each week, I would withdraw about 10k Pesos and I had an awesome time.

I have my standards and my comfort zone so based on that and on my experience there before, to have a fun lifestyle in BKK, one would need 2.5 to 3k/month. In Cebu, I gather that 2k would be enough to have a very fun and comfortable lifestyle. Can those who are more familiar with Cebu and the Phils confirm/comment on the above figure?

Another hot spot in Asia, Bali, I keep hearing that 1.5 to 2k a month would be required to be having a great lifestyle there. Anyone in here familiar with the scene in Bali and who wants to comment?

I work online and earn in $ so Asia is very attractive for me and I'm planning on returning there later this year. If I were to select one place in SEA to make my base, it would be hands down BKK. An incredible and addtictive city. God I love that city and can't wait to return.

Winston, have you been to BKK? If not, I strongly suggest you give it a shot. It's got everything you'd want and some more. But 400 bucks a month won't get you very far there. Make it at least 2k and you'll in heaven. BKK is in many aspects, a 1st world city but at 3rd world prices.
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Postby Winston » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:15 am

Thanks for the suggestion Jacare. How is Bangkok better than Manila? What are the pros there?

Actually, my income is growing. I'm now getting close to $1,000 a month, but a third of it goes to Dianne and my son. However, I'm not one of those guys who just spends anything without batting an eye, like most white guys I've seen do. I'm highly frugal and calculating about every little thing and spend efficiently, so I am very good at stretching a dollar. I don't need a full playboy life with non-stop activity. Just a semi-playboy life would be fine.
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Postby Jacaré » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:57 pm

Winston,
I can't really comment nor make any comparison with Manila as I have only transited through it so no idea on that. However, from what I have been hearing/reading is that Manila, outside Makati is a mega dump, where it's quite dangerous and super filthy. Bangkok on the other hand, has all around first world amenities, is quite clean, very safe and ovearll, I didn't notice any difference between BKK and cities in North America as far as infrastructures. In some cases, I felt that BKK is even more advanced than most cities in North America such as in public transportation where you have the sky train (BTS), the MRT (underground), buses, tuk tuks and an over abundance of dirt cheap cabs. Most cab rides in BKK will run you between 50-90 Bahts (1.2 to 3 bucks). During the day, it is much better to use the BTS or MRT due to the crazy traffic but at night, once they shut down at midnight, cabs are plentiful and cheap. Plus, there's a truly unique vibe and energy in BKK that I only felt so far in Rio de Janeiro. That is there's always a buzz in the air and there's always a party right around the corner. People are very easy going, friendly and will be very helfpul if you ask them a question for direction. Give it a try and you'll see for yourself that BKK is truly an addictive city.
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Postby green1976 » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:25 pm

Winston wrote:Thanks for the suggestion Jacare. How is Bangkok better than Manila? What are the pros there?

Actually, my income is growing. I'm now getting close to $1,000 a month, but a third of it goes to Dianne and my son. However, I'm not one of those guys who just spends anything without batting an eye, like most white guys I've seen do. I'm highly frugal and calculating about every little thing and spend efficiently, so I am very good at stretching a dollar. I don't need a full playboy life with non-stop activity. Just a semi-playboy life would be fine.


I don't know why you never gave a try in Thailand and in BKK until now?
It's weird.:shock:

Thailand is a well know spot to fight back against solitude,sexual misery and western feminism.

If in BKK stuff have some common ground with what we know in western countries,principally with the wealthy women,there are plenty of other places around Thailand where everything is cheap and to have a company for the night or a girlfriend can be quit accessible.

Comparing Manila and BKK?lol
Nothing to have in common...i never being to Manila but reading what most guys says on every board,Manila looks like a slum compared to Bkk.

As you are so amazed and attracted to Chinese ladies,take a look in BKK where most of the Thai Chinese communities are.

The Thai Chinese community is very well integrated and it's already know that they have taken the Thai way of life and not replied to themselves like in Indonesia or Malaysia.

They are around 9 million Thai Chinese and more if we count those who have some Chinese blood.

The girls are very nice looking in Thailand and the Thai Chinese chick is quit attractive in my opinion.

It's really quit incredible you never have being to Thailand until now..i don't find any logical response to it..maybe a secret fear about there or something special.:?

I think that the minimum to have a correct life in BKK would be around 2k.
In the countryside or other small town you can live with 1.5k or little bit less.

You still wouldn't be able to have a rich type lifestyle,but it will be a lot more than what most Thai people make.

The vibes in BKK is amazing man.
It's really a party town where disco,sex,prostitution and nice girl can be found everywhere.
Never found something similar in all of the countries i've done before.

Thai people enjoy so much to have fun when they can.
When i compare Paris where i live and BKK..it's the night versus the day.
And Paris have the reputation of being a party city lmaof
It's just a shit compared to BKK where fun,sex,nice restaurants are everywhere for an available price.
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All SINGLE MEN SHOULD VISIT THAILAND AT LEAST ONCE IN LIFE!

Postby Mr S » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:43 am

I've told Winston a hundred times to go to Thailand and hit the bar nightlife scene in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket or Chang Mai but all it ever does is go in one ear and out the other.

YES, it's way better and more advanced than anything the Philippines can offer. The only downfall is the language barrier, but with a pocket phrasebook you can get around it for the most part. If you have the money, you can have a very good time in Thailand. Yes, I would agree you probably need $1500 or more a month to properly enjoy yourself in Thailand, although it would depend on your own nightlife habits. I lived over there for a bit but I was on a budget so my nightlife carousing was a bit more limited then when I just went there as a tourist and tried to do as much partying as I could within a designated time period.

Winston will probably only ever go there if someone actually paid for his ticket there and helped semi-support his nightlife excursions. He wouldn't go by himself on his own anytime soon from what I can predict.

So does anyone here on the forum want to buy Winston a prepackaged ticket and tour of the seedy side of Thailand? Any takers?

The only reason to go to Philippines for nightlife other than Thailand would be because the girls can speak rudimentary English. That's what initially got me hooked on Philippines after hanging around Thailand for a while. It was like night and day talking and hanging around girls in Philippines to Thai girls. Although I think Thai girls are technically more fun than Filipinas. But it all depends how much the girls like you or not. Filipinas aren't as picky as Thai girls, but Thai girls are insane to deal with if they really like you. They are super jealous and get very emotional when they have feelings toward you. Although the language barrier really makes it difficult to really get close to a Thai girl, unlike a Filipina where you can understand all parts of them.

So in some ways Filipinas are better to date and in other ways Thais are better.

I reiterate once again for the last time: WINSTON, GO TO THAILAND AS YOUR NEXT DESTINATION, NOT CHINA. YOUR EYES WILL OPEN TO WHAT THE TERM "ADULT DISNEYLAND" REALLY MEANS. SINCE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE ULTIMATE SEXUAL AND EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCES WITH WOMEN, ONLY THAILAND CAN GIVE IT TO YOU ALL IN ONE SPOT. ANYTHING CAN GO THERE, THINK ANGLES CITY X1000 TIMES.

Enough said... :lol:
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Re: All SINGLE MEN SHOULD VISIT THAILAND AT LEAST ONCE IN LI

Postby green1976 » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:35 pm

Mr S wrote:I've told Winston a hundred times to go to Thailand and hit the bar nightlife scene in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket or Chang Mai but all it ever does is go in one ear and out the other.

YES, it's way better and more advanced than anything the Philippines can offer. The only downfall is the language barrier, but with a pocket phrasebook you can get around it for the most part. If you have the money, you can have a very good time in Thailand. Yes, I would agree you probably need $1500 or more a month to properly enjoy yourself in Thailand, although it would depend on your own nightlife habits. I lived over there for a bit but I was on a budget so my nightlife carousing was a bit more limited then when I just went there as a tourist and tried to do as much partying as I could within a designated time period.

Winston will probably only ever go there if someone actually paid for his ticket there and helped semi-support his nightlife excursions. He wouldn't go by himself on his own anytime soon from what I can predict.

So does anyone here on the forum want to buy Winston a prepackaged ticket and tour of the seedy side of Thailand? Any takers?

The only reason to go to Philippines for nightlife other than Thailand would be because the girls can speak rudimentary English. That's what initially got me hooked on Philippines after hanging around Thailand for a while. It was like night and day talking and hanging around girls in Philippines to Thai girls. Although I think Thai girls are technically more fun than Filipinas. But it all depends how much the girls like you or not. Filipinas aren't as picky as Thai girls, but Thai girls are insane to deal with if they really like you. They are super jealous and get very emotional when they have feelings toward you. Although the language barrier really makes it difficult to really get close to a Thai girl, unlike a Filipina where you can understand all parts of them.

So in some ways Filipinas are better to date and in other ways Thais are better.

I reiterate once again for the last time: WINSTON, GO TO THAILAND AS YOUR NEXT DESTINATION, NOT CHINA. YOUR EYES WILL OPEN TO WHAT THE TERM "ADULT DISNEYLAND" REALLY MEANS. SINCE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE ULTIMATE SEXUAL AND EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCES WITH WOMEN, ONLY THAILAND CAN GIVE IT TO YOU ALL IN ONE SPOT. ANYTHING CAN GO THERE, THINK ANGLES CITY X1000 TIMES.

Enough said... :lol:


Agree with you here.
If Winston,and you sound to know him well,is looking for the ultimate easy sex land having available prostitution surrounded by a good party lifestyle,Thailand is the place to be.

I though the Chinese attraction was to be found in a more traditional type of relation with females where dating,commitment and so on where on the table.

No realistic reason will bring somebody to go to China if he is looking for an enjoyable country having huge massage scene,cheap prices,discos all over the place and an attitude totally relaxed when it come to sex.

I find Chinese ladies to be so boring,so predictable compared to Thai women.
I said in a previous message that i don't believe in the Chinese solution for Winston or for any other guys who goes there to find an easy society where sexuality is in a relaxed available mode.

In Thailand,many ladies have a sexual vibes surrounding them.

It's kinda amazing but i have dozens of anecdotes to be told,where Thai women have made the first move in a way i never witnessed before.

They are very straightforward in what they want and sex,for those who are actively seeking it,is on the menu quit fast if she has a physical attraction to a man.

I see regularly many foreign women coming to Thailand and none of them have this vibration inside them.
That make me certain definitely that my world is quit fixed now and i could not care at all to have others women from other countries in my life.

Chinese,Japanese and even South Korean ladies come to Thailand for holiday but i find them so dead inside,so boring compared to the Thai ladies i seen in my staying in Thailand.

It's just so understandable why Thailand has become the spot to be for so many males around the world.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py_cbFY3xos&feature=related[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HHMHfa6Ha4&feature=related[/youtube]
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Postby Mr S » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:51 pm

billy wrote:Mr.S, what a great advertising for thailand. Yeah the center of adult disneyland.
Where all people around the world meet. Even females. Really it´s the vacation
paradise.

Winston is stuck in Angeles City. He is afraid he will "lose" his soulmate.
But anyway, Winston is old now. He can retire there. In the matter of girls
and cheap leaving nothing beats angeles city.

So, Thailand would maybe be a interesting watch for him. But Thailand is more
expensive than PI. He can save a lot of money in PI.


Actually, Winston moved out of Angeles City, Philippines and currently lives in Taiwan with his parents. So technically he is saving more money now because he doesn't have to worry about living expenses staying there! (Thai girls would probably call him a cheap Charlie for sure once they figured him out though) He used to claim that Diane may have been his "soul mate", however I doubt that is the case now since he feels she and his son are more of a burden to his philandering lifestyle. So as he stays away longer from her and his son, they will continue to fade into the background of his present life. Probably more so if he actually met another female that met his requirements and who actually reciprocated the same interest. Obviously, he is not going to find that sitting around in his parents house in Taiwan. So if I were him I would be planning to go somewhere this year scouting for international women. Thailand would be a great choice but I highly doubt he would go there even though almost everyone on this board recommends the place. Second options would be Vietnam, China or one of the "Stan" central Asian countries. But who knows if he will actually get off his duff and go anywhere anytime soon, regardless of which countries he always asks advice about or women he says he chats with from whatever country online.

Thailand is only a little bit more expensive than PI, not too much more. I think it depends what you end up doing and how you go about doing it. Nightlife is more expensive there than in PI, but it is higher quality and more entertaining so it is worth it. Bangkok is the expensive place really. If you go to Pattaya and hang out at the outside bars and limit your visitations of go-go bars, you can budget your money fairly well and have a great time without emptying your wallet too much. At least in Pattaya the bars compete and have different price lists, whereas in Philippines all the bars copy the same prices pretty much so technically nowadays going out hitting go go bars in Angeles isn't really that cheap anymore if you like to barhop and drink a lot.
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Postby Mr S » Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:10 pm

I used to get hit on by regular girls in the malls sometimes and stores when I was in Thailand and I spent New Years 2003 and there were some stranger Thai girls trying to kiss me randomly while I was bouncing around! I guess they wanted to make out with random foreigner guys they found attractive. So personally I don't know why some guys feel regular Thai girls can't be had, I think they can under the right circumstances and if they are attracted to you. That was almost 10 years ago though so I doubt I would get the same random reception nowadays as I did then. But I have been keeping myself in decent shape so who knows? I haven't been back there in a while though.

Oh, yeah I also met a Mamasan that worked for some French guy that owned a lot of the bigger bars in Bangkok area. She was obsessed with me for some reason and used to give me free drinks and sex in the private rooms when she was working. She used to parade me around the girls she was in charge of, gloating I guess. We weren't a couple though, we just were f**k buddies on occasion. She was psycho though when she drank, one of those mean drunks. So I kinda kept my distance from her after I figured that out. Like I said before every Thai girl I dated there or became intimate with more than once got attached to me emotionally then would have these crazy psycho attacks of jealousy or what not. I guess if you like hot blooded women Thailand is a good place to meet them. However, they can't be trusted so long term GF feasibility is questionable. But if you want the ultimate sexual GF experience than a Thai girl is fun to tryout. Thailand is an addicting place though so if you are a sex addict, you probably will never want to leave or will become obsessed with the place. That's what happened to me for some time. I used to save up my money every year when I was in the states to take a 10 day vacation there and go f***ing mad, literally. I kinda got it out of my system living in Philippines, but if I had disposable income and some extra time I wouldn't mind going on a bender in Thailand again.
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.
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Mr S
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