By A European Professional
I am a 40 year old western European professional , rather rich and with a university degree. I have been reading your readers submissions for about 2 years now, and I decided to offer my story with some thoughts.
I have been travelling to SE Asia since 1984 ,that is for about 20 years. I have been to all the countries of the region but most of my trips involved Thailand and Philippines, for rather obvious reasons , i.e. sex. In total I have been to Thailand about 25 times, so I think I know the place rather well.
In the early days the 2 countries were comparable in the sex industry (number of available women and prices) with Philippines a little better, due to the very high concentration of girlie bars in the infamous MH Del Pilar St in Ermita (Firehouse, Blue Hawaii, New Bangkok, Australian Club Manila, Kangaroo Club, Rollers, Bubbles, Superstar, Pitstop to name a famous few). The ladies in Manila were also preferable as they usually spoke good English and they seemed more friendly and more laid back. In the early 90’s the crazy mayor of Manila Alfredo Lim changed all this by closing one by one all the bars in Ermita. Some later reopened in nearby Roxas Blvd and EDSA but damage was done beyond repair.
The scene in RP is now rather quiet AND expensive (bars, barfines, hotels) so the clear winner nowadays is Thailand, hands down. Not only in SE Asia but all over the world. The concentration of women available for sex is enormous, the prices asked very low (regarding what services they offer) and the ladies seem to belong to one of the most beautiful races of the world. So Thailand seems to be every man’s sexual paradise where everyone, with a little knowledge of the place can get laid with ladies he could previously see only in x-rated films for comparatively very little money.
Of course you can get a short-time in Europe or USA for 50 bucks but it is usually a 10 minute experience in the back seat. Prices for all-night are prohibitive anywhere except the LOS. These women offer effectively a girlfriend for rent, a type of true fantasy island. So theoretically everybody would fulfill their sexual fantasies and go back home happy and fulfilled.
But this is not usually the case. In the paid-for fantasy most of the male clients lose control and the sense of reality is gradually gone. Why? Most of the customers especially the newcomers have a fixed westernized idea of prostitutes. If a bargirl sees a customer who takes her more than 1 night then her alarm bells goes off. The farang is up for grabs. She offers affection together with sex which sometimes is indistinguishable from the real thing even for veterans of the scene. If the farang stays with her a few days (which happens very often nowadays) and if she is clever and careful enough the inevitable happens. The farang is madly in love and makes plans for the future with his newly acquired teeruk. Because this is what he usually needs deep inside : romance rather than good sex.
I agree that most of this relations end ugly because the motives are rather different. The farang craves for affection while his teeruk to secure financially her future, which is perfectly understandable regarding the type of work she does and the suffering she usually endured in the previous years in the job or in some remote rice field in Isaan.
There also a few facts to remember, verified not from word of the mouth or reading internet stories but from personal experience in the field. Be very careful of HIV. AIDS in sex workers in Thailand is rampant. Do not believe the official statistics which are used to promote tourism. Never mind the alleged monthly health checks. This sometimes involves a few questions asked only rather than a blood check (which costs the clinic 500 baht, so at the end everyone is happy).
Personally I check most of my ladies before sex (its only 500 and worth the hassle if you going to keep them for a few days instead of a one night stand). 25 percent test positive and they are all registered and work in well known establishments. Most of the bargirls, especially the beautiful newcomers have Thai boyfriends aka cockroaches. This is what they need emotionally to withstand the chronic traumatic stress of their job. Usually are the girls who will do short-time only : cockroach is waiting on his bike at 2:30 AM to collect her daily earnings. These guys have multiple girlfriends working in the scene and guess what : they never use a condom. So, bargirls insist on condom usage with every farang but they get HIV from their local teeruks.
Bottom line : ALWAYS USE CONDOMS, NEVER ONE ALWAYS TWO EVEN THREE AND WITH PLENTY OF K-Y. Condoms in dry vaginas break (as is usually the case, as you can check yourselves) VERY EASILY. Also 80-90 % of the ladies use drugs usually amphetamines.
You paint a fairly negative picture but actually, most of what you say is true. The 25% figure you quoted would seem on the high side, but then we do not really know.