A Newbie’ Observations In Thailand
A Newbie's Observations In Thailand
I first came across Stickman’s web site about a year ago when I was researching business opportunities in Thailand. Reading his diatribe and Readers’ Submissions was my weekend highlight. I finally made it to the Kingdom. Here are my observations.
LOS: I did not find Thais smiling all the time. Their smiles usually were too brief to feel sincere. Actually, they frowned a lot in BTS. What is interesting is that Thais smile broadly when they were anxious or angry. I did feel Thais were friendlier than Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexicans and Americans. I leaned to say “Pown ben coon Thai” (“I am Thai”) before the trip. My Thai usually got them to laugh and loosen up. I did not encounter anyone trying to rip me off. Of course they usually asked for a bit more but were readily to negotiate down.
Police: Thai police were among the best dressed officers I have seen. In Bangkok I saw a police flag down a motorcyclist. The cop smiled ear to ear as he gave the ticket to the unlucky guy. In Karon beach I saw a police kick his heel and saluted to every tourist passing him, me included. I did not see Thai police bother anyone.
Thai Business(wo)men: Dress to impress is probably very important in Thailand. They liked to ask me how big is my company? Which hotel do you stay? What kind of room do you stay? What kind of car do you drive? How big is your house? These were not just small talk or curiosity. Their attitude was evolving with each answer. Next time I will tell them I stay at the presidential suite in the Ritz Carlton.
Bangkok: Contrary to all the Thailand bashers in this site, Bangkok looked absolutely a world class cosmopolitan city. The number of cars on the road was horrendous. The majority of the cars on the road were newer models of Toyota or Honda, with Camry and Accord being the most popular. It cost 800 baht to fill a tank of gas. I wonder how they can afford it if their average wage is 30,000 baht a month? <average wage is about 7,000 baht a month! – Stick>
In the Emporium food court they had an interesting system to keep the food servers at bay. First you visit the vendors to decide what you want to eat, from which you estimate the costs. Next you go to a coupon window to buy coupons. Then you pay the food vendors with coupons. After the meal, you return to the coupon window to cash out the unused coupons!
Women: (For a reference point, most China Airlines’ stewardess are 8s, some 9s and occasional 10s.) Unfortunately, I did not find Thai women attractive. In Bangkok, 70% of them were below 5, most of them had a shadow on their lips. The better looking ones can be found among high end hotel receptionists and upscale restaurant hostesses. I did not find the girls in Emporium department stores particularly good looking, even at the cosmetics and jewelry counters.
A big turn off about Thai women is their feet. I am not a foot fetishist, but I consider pretty hands and nice feet are part of the package. It must be the hot weather and cheap price, 90% Thai women wore plastic sandals with no pedicure or toe polish. I saw a very pretty hostess (a solid 9) in an upscale restaurant. She dressed in a beautiful Thai traditional gown. But looked at her feet, dirty toe nails in a pair of well worn dusty sandals. No wonder Thais think feet as the lowest body class. TAT should have a campaign to improve Thailand’s foot image!
I found Thai women were as proud as their Western counterparts. Some were approachable, others were not. Many had college or university education. Many had good jobs. They were very content with their lives and had little interest in emigrating to Farangland. In fact, I think Thai office women have better standard of living than the cashiers do in the U.S.
Nana: Thais pronounce it in a flat tone as nar nar. As I walked into the plaza, my heart sank. 90% of the girls were butt ugly. Maybe 1% were 7s. The rest were ladyboys. No one called me “hansuman”. All looked bored as hell. Why would ANYONE send them money months after months is beyond me. Went to the highly acclaimed Angel Witch. It was a VERY small room packed with people but the girls were below par. Walked over to Angel Disco. It turned out this was the only place worth a visit. I joked the 160 baht cover was too expensive. The door girl got serious. She asked me again and again “Are you sure you want to come in?”. Was I a Cheap Charlie or something? Around 11:00pm 5 hot dancers went on stage. Two of them were quite good looking. Anyone know if they are bar-fineable? By 11:30 lots of hookers were pulling tricks in the disco. They preferred Farangs over Asians.
Patpong: It was not at all as I had seen in the pictures. The hooker bars were buried in the sea of street vendors. Some bars let the front door open so from the street one could see that topless girls were on stage. It would be very embarrassing to walk into the door in front of thousands of tourists. Needless to say, I didn’t have the guts. Not that I saw anyone walked in.
Soi 33: I was hoping to meet stunners in Monet. The door girl sawadee’ed me. Inside there were two floors. Upstairs had a pool table and the room was not much bigger than that. Downstairs was a beer bar setting, with about a dozen girls sat behind the counter. I ordered an OJ. Before I could assess the situation, 4 girls surrounded me and wouldn’t leave. One aggressive, one cute but chubby, one homely, and one ladyboy look alike. Imaging 4 pairs of hungry eyes staring at you. The drink became hard to swallow. I offered the aggressive one a drink, hoping that the others would go away. I immediately sensed the disappointment from the other three, but they didn’t leave. I ended up buying each of them a drink. It turned out they all came from places not far from Bangkok, all had a failed relationship, and all had baby(s) at home. They got 30 baht from each lady drink and the bar fine was 1,250 baht. The aggressive one offered to go with me for just the bar fine. No money for her and “no se(x)”. So she’s happy with the bar fine kickbacks. Asked who would have “se”, the cute but chubby one smiled shyly.
CM2: I had intended to go to Spasso, but the driver took me to the wrong place and I ended up at CM2. The door girl was attractive but Americanized and jaded. There was a 220 baht cover and a live band on stage. Seats were comfy and the drinks were pricy. This place was supposedly a high class disco, but by 11:00pm it was full of high quality hookers, including some Caucasians (russianska?). Most were 7s and some 8s and 9s. Almost all were well dressed and carried themselves very well. It seemed to me that they were employed by the disco in a stealthy way. I observed a girl handed a card to the bartender before she milked a Farang. A 7 was making eye contact with me, so I beckoned her over. “Buy me a drink.” Here it goes. “What do you do here?” I asked. “I hang around.” The conversation quickly turned into business. “Take me to your hotel?” “How much?” She said something in Thai which I didn’t understand. I raised one finger, she shook her head. I raised two fingers, she nodded. Three fingers, she smiled. Four fingers, she smiled. Back to two fingers, she nodded again. One finger, she shook her head. So she wanted 2,000 baht. When I told her I wouldn’t take her, she dumped me in no time. I don’t understand why they are called freelancers. They all looked pretty hardened pros to me.
Ladyboys: Before the trip I had been worried that if I pick up a ladyboy by mistake, I’d be emotionally traumatized for the rest of my life. It turned out they were easy to spot. Many of them were too beautiful to be true. I had a drink with 3 stunners. One wore a fake breast shaped bra, his buddies had breast enhancements. All kept their manhood. “This is just a job,” they said, “we don’t want to do this forever.” I found it’s ok to compliment and ask “You are beautiful. But are you a ladyboy?” A ladyboy would not deny it. A bar girl understood and would not be offended.
Farang and Bar Girls: Farang with Thai woman was an uncommon sighting in Bangkok. When I did see, it was not that difficult to tell that the woman was a bar girl. I saw a young good looking Farang with an U-G-LY bar girl riding together, kissing and caressing in BTS. It was sooo disgusting. I guess some men like men, some men like ugly women. To each of his own, my hats off to them. My only suggestion is that when you go out with a bar girl, please do yourself and the rest of us a favor. Please ask your girl to dress conservatively. A tight top exposing her belly button with jeans and high heel sandals is the standard hooker uniform in Bangkok. If you are not sure what the proper outfit may be, look at what the regular women wear and ask your girl to blend in accordingly. Think about it this way: If a Thai man comes to Farangland and goes out with a Farang woman dressed like a hooker, wouldn’t it look ridiculous?
Pattaya: Thais pronounced it as partaYAR. I had thought Pattaya to be a small filthy village full of hooker bars. In reality, Pattaya’s sex image is over blown. The hooker bars were concentrated in the Walking Street and the adjacent Pattayaland, but they are only a small proportion compared to other types of business. Pattaya had all kind of stores, restaurants with good prices. There were many Chinese and Russian tourists in Pattaya. Chinese were loud and Russians were rude. The beaches were not as badly polluted as I had expected. Most debris were small and well torn, suggesting they might come from upstream rivers or distant ocean current.
One day while sitting at the beach, a lady approached me “Do you want a foot massage?” Being equality minded I could never have anyone massage my feet. So I told her I would give her 50 baht if she’d sit with me for awhile. I offered her food and drink but she declined both. She’s 40 with 4 kids, but I could tell that once a upon a time she was a stunner. She made anywhere from nothing to 300 baht a day. Her husband used to own a construction company. He died in a motorcycle accident while vacationing in Phuket with “other lady”. “Men Thai no good,” she shook her head.
Gogo Bars: These bars were usually small and dark with thundering music. The girls were not really dancing, they just swung by the poll. I asked a “dancer” how much for LT, she quoted me an astounding 4,000 baht! I couldn’t help but chuckle. She looked offended, “Why you no pay me? Men pay me 5,000 baht!”
Beer Bars: Beer bars were more relaxing. The girls were less pushy. In Sukumvit a head touting girl offered me directions with no strings attached. I was very grateful. I went back to look for her the next day. Much to my regret, I could not find her.
Not all beer bars were the same. I liked the ones in which the girls doubled as waitresses. They served me the drink then left me alone. If I invited them over, they never asked for drinks. They worked every nine days then took one day off. They were paid 250 baht a day and 20 baht for each lady drink they sold. They earned 15,000 to 35,000 baht a month and sent 5,000 baht home “every month”. That means they would need to “go with men” twice a week. to make up the income. Some of them were very chatty. One girl told me that she had two kids. Asked why she was divorced? “He boxing me,” she said with a gesture. Still, she sent him money every month. She said she wanted to work in Europe because “more money”.
I asked her if she would go out with old, fat, bald men? She said it didn’t matter to her as long as they pay. Just then a guy with white hair and looked 60s’ walked in. I said ok, go and ask him out. She giggled and said no no no, she also had to like the man. Asked what kind of men she liked? Japanese good, Korean good, Thai good, Arab no good. How about Farang? She hesitated, “Some good, some not so good.”
Phuket: In my humble opinion, Phuket was over rated. The sky was noticeably hazy (pollution?) The beaches were flat and not very scenic. Patong beach was somewhat muddy with a fishy odor. On the positive side, Phuket has the most beautiful Orchid I have ever seen. Most tourists were Europeans and some appeared very wealthy. The prices in the beach area were exorbitant. A beach chair rental was 100 baht. A plate of Thai style noodle with OJ in Monte Carlo was 280 baht, and an ice cream on a cone was 220 baht! The 20 baht bus ran at 30 minute intervals with limited routes. The taxi cost 40 baht local and 150+ baht between towns (e.g. Patong to Karon). Phuket women tend to have either very dark or very light complexion. They looked more attractive and more approachable than their Bangkok sisters.
Gem Scam? A taxi driver took me to Phuket town for shopping. All the places were cool except a gem store called Multi-Gem. As soon as I walked in, a sales woman started following me at arm length. Then the high pressure sale pitch began. Finally, seeing I was leaving, she took a deep wai and almost cried out, saying if I don’t buy, the manager would cut her salary. This worked. Guess what? Right after I signed the dotty line her attitude changed, like a hooker who has been paid. Avoid this place.
Regular Girls: I met a cashier off the bitten path. She was quite pretty (an 8). She spoke English with poor grammar, but her accent was all American. She asked me where I was from, what language is spoken in my country, and “you are here by yourself?” Gee, when women asked me that question I always wondered what they meant? Maybe Ms. Stick can shed some light? The next day I went back with the intention to ask her out. Just as I was about to say so, the bloody driver came in. He joined the conversation and told me how pretty the girl was. The opportunity was forever lost.
All in all, Thailand is a great vacation place for its value. Nevertheless, if you have high expectations for Thai bar girls, chances are you will be disappointed.
It is always interesting to hear how people enjoy Thailand on their first trip, especially the parts that they don't like.