Thailand: Our Trip, My Views
Firstly I'd like to say that I do not have the creative wording skills of the likes of Dana or The Londoner, I'm just going to give you the best rundown I can of our trip to Thailand earlier this month and our views.
We are Simon and Matt, two 22 year old guys from the North of England. We have been avid readers of Stick's fantastic site since February 2001 when we first heard about the goings on in Thailand. Having done all of our travelling around Europe, Africa and North America we finally decided it was time to check out the place we had been dreaming of going for 2 years….Thailand.
We read all there is to read in Stick's guides, and felt we were as prepared as we were ever going to be for this trip, but to be honest no matter how much people praise the place or damn the place, until you actually experience it for yourself, its quite unbelievable.
The start of our journey was just like any other, drive down to Heathrow, flight to Amman in Jordan and then the connecting flight to Bangkok. I'm not going to bore you with the in's and out's of this. Our original plan was to spend our first three days in Bangkok and then to move on down to Pattaya for our remaining seven days. However as we were later advised by an expat in the Nana Plaza….never plan when you come to Thailand as the plans rarely roll out as intended. Just go with the flow.
Reading Stick's site you hear of lots of scams, and looking back now I can see that in our first few days we were rather naive. Our first mistake was paying 650 baht for the taxi to our hotel on Sukhumvit Road Soi 10. We stayed in the Ruamchit Travel Lodge, very well located for the entertainment in Bangkok, but inside the hotel was very basic, to be honest though all that mattered to us was that we were in Thailand. We arrived there about 3 PM, took a shower and headed straight to the place we had heard so much about on this site, the Nana Plaza. The bars on the ground floor were open, so we sat and had a beer in one of them, this was our first interaction with the bargirls and we were loving all the attention we were getting, massages, kisses and hugs.
Let me explain something, we are young, we are guys who don't have much trouble getting girls in our own country. The reason we chose to come to Thailand at this point in our lives is because this is the first time in about 6 years that we have both been single. I'm not blowing our own trumpets, I just don't want you imagining us as two 22 year old losers who have never even been looked at twice by a girl let alone anything else. What amazed us is the different level of attention we got over in Thailand. It's very hard to explain, but I'll try my best. In England you may go to a club, you'll approach girls and girls will approach you but half of the time you either don't click or you don't find them attractive. If you do find them attractive then you might swap numbers and go out for a drink or you might take them home and shag them and that's it. In the bars in Thailand the girls actually want to please, they want to massage you, they want to interact with you and they enjoy doing it. I know what you're thinking, of course your going to get attention, these girls are after your money and they'll do whatever it takes to get it whether your 22 or 70 years old.. this may be right, but further on in my story I think you'll see what I'm getting at.
Later on that evening we took a tuktuk down to Soi Cowboy (within walking distance I know, however we weren't aware of this at the time). This being our first time in Bangkok I cannot compare how it used to be 'back in the good old days', but I can honestly say that we loved it. The Dollhouse was especially good with the gorgeous ladies and the 30 baht a drink happy hour between 7 and 8-30. This first night we stayed in Soi Cowboy all night. Plenty of action to be had around there, one girl took a shine to myself. She was small, and I'd have said she was about 20, but later learnt she was 28. She had the smallest wrists I have ever seen, no bigger than two of my fingers put together, I spoke with her outside the bar for a couple of hours and eventually agreed to pay the barfine of 400 baht. After hours we went up to a pool hall and played pool into the early hours. Having not slept for a good 40 hours I told my girl I was tired and was going to go back alone tonight, I gave her 400 baht because I'm soft. Matt stayed out until 7-30am, three stunning girls by anyone's standards from a bar had taken a shine to him and took him out for something to eat, they picked up the bill and wouldn't hear of it when he offered to pay.
Our second day in Bangkok and we decided to take in the sights. We hired one of the riverboats and went around all the usual tourist hotspots. The snake farm was good, but not for the faint hearted. We went to the Grand Palace, the markets and shopping centres. Its during this boat ride that I cut my finger pretty badly on my zipper, the boat driver must have noticed this and pulled over at a riverside store and bought me a bottle of water and some tissue to clean the cut. When I offered her money for this she wouldn't take it. Generosity you wouldn't find back home in England, I left her a good tip for this gesture. Its in one of the markets that we believe Matt was pick pocketed, although I wouldn't like to say we're 100% sure of this, its the most likely explanation. So zip those pockets up peeps!! That night we headed back down to The Dollhouse for the happy hour and spoke to an expat in there. He told us to head off to the Nana Disco about midnight and the girls would be swarming around us, so off to the Nana Plaza we went. We went around the majority of the bars on the second and third floors then headed off to the Nana Disco. What an experience that was. I've been to discos and clubs all over the world, but this one took the gold medal. Picking up a girl in a club is not a new thing to us, but I have never been into a place before and felt like the centre of attention. We were up front on the raised floor dancing away with all the girls up there, we'd walk to the edge to step down and girls would come over to help us down, lots of waves, lots of hugs and lots of "you come and eat with me after". We mingled in the car park after and took a girl for something to eat at Foodland on Soi 5, it was really busy but the price of the food was very reasonable. Matt headed off back to his room with the Nana Disco girl, I stayed on Sukhumvit for an hour or so talking to some expats then headed off to bed.
Our third day was spent taking in more tourist spots and the night was much the same as the previous night, but we stayed in the Nana Plaza until 2am rather than going to the disco. Plenty of girls and plenty of beer, what more can a man ask for?
Our 3 days in Bangkok over, we went to the bus station and jumped on a bus to Pattaya at the cost of 90 baht. Having read about Pattaya being the sex capital of the world and full to the brim with bargirls we thought we were in for an amazing last 7 days. When the baht bus from the bus station dropped us off at our hotel I soon realised that Pattaya was not the paradise we dreamed it was. I'm sure a lot of your readers are from England, so the best place I can compare Pattaya to is a place in northwest England called Blackpool. You just don't feel like you are in a foreign country. It is full of farangs. In Bangkok I felt like a tourist in Pattaya I didn't. We figured we'd give at a go though so we walked along the Beach Road to get our bearings and then headed for Pattayaland 2.
We spent some of that evening going around all the gogo bars in this area and then settled in one specific well known gogo bar there. Matt had seen a girl he had liked when looking on their website before we left, and as we walked through the door he saw her. She was sat with two other older men so he just left it and enjoyed the girls that were on show. We sat drinking away when one of the hostess girls came over and gave Matt a piece of paper with a phone number on it, giggling she explained that J (the girl Matt had seen on the website) thought he was 'beautiful man' and wanted him to phone her. She came over to us as soon as the other guys had gone and chatted to Matt for a while whilst I chatted to a blonde girl. Matt eventually paid the bar for J and we went off to the Marine disco, not a touch on the Nana disco though, if I was to be perfectly honest.
The following day we spent the day on Jomtien beach with J. Not the best beach I've ever been on, and if I was asked if I wanted my nails done once I was asked a thousand times. Its not too bad for the first hour but after 5 hours it really starts to bug you, a good firm NO always worked a treat though. J decided to eventually give in and had her nails done for 300 baht, the old woman then somehow persuaded Matt to have his done, and attempted to charge him 450 baht and when questioned she openly admitted that it was because he was 'farang'. Nice case of dual pricing. That night we went spent the whole night in our favorite gogo bar, and I got chatting to a girl called N who turned out to be good friends with J. We paid the bar for the two girls and since it was late we headed straight back to our hotel and ordered room service.
The following day was spent walking around the shops and then later in the afternoon we went elephant trekking. This was an amazing experience other than the fact that the 1-45 pm pick up didn't actually arrive until 2-30pm, but hey its all part of the experience. That night we went to see J and N in their bar and we told them we would pay the bar, however they told us to keep our money and just meet them after work at 2am. So we went to the The Dollhouse on Walking street and had a good time. The girls seemed so much more outgoing and enthusiastic in Dollhouse Pattaya compared to the Bangkok bar. Has anyone else noticed this or did I imagine it? As we walked back down the Beach Road we heard a commotion coming from the back of a baht bus and we saw an English woman smash a glass bottle over the head of an English man. He then punched her several times before it got split up by their friends. If it wasn't for the warm weather I could have sworn I was in Blackpool. We went back to J and N's bar around 10-30pm and spent the rest of the evening talking to them, no bar fine was paid though and we met them outside the bar at 2am and headed back to our hotel. They would accept no money from us full stop. They bought everything for themselves and they turned down all other offers of money, including taxi money we offered the next morning.
We decided that we were going to head back to Bangkok. There were still many things we hadn't got around to doing there and Pattaya wasn't really what we thought it would be. We got the bus back to Bangkok and arrived back around 5pm. We checked into the Grace Hotel, freshened up and headed down to Soi Cowboy. All the usual happenings throughout the night until we got to the Nana disco, were upon walking in we immediately noticed a group of girls sat down. We got chatting to them and ended up dancing the night away, now I admit we had drunk many beers that night so my head was in the clouds and we spotted a couple of ladyboys in the disco. This then started my head ticking over, could these girls that we are with be ladyboys? If they had had all the operations how would I know? They didn't have any of the telltale signs, they weren't tall (not compared to me anyway I'm 6ft 2in). They had small feet, small wrists, no Adams apple and they sure as hell looked like women but the seed in my head had been planted and my paranoia got the better of me. We agreed to all go and eat at Foodland, however once we had eaten I explained to the girl with me that I intended to go home alone. Well I don't know if 'alone' is a dirty word but she absolutely flipped, she explained that she didn't want my money she wanted to be with me because I was a good man, a fun man and she just wanted to spend time with me. My mind was playing tricks on me though about the whole ladyboy issue so I set off back to the hotel alone. (After being verbally abused for about 10 minutes). Matt took his Nana girl back with him.
Money was running out, so during the days now we would take in the sun by the pool until mid afternoon when we would go and check some more places out. Once again at night we went onto Soi Cowboy then moved on back to the Nana Plaza. It was on this night that I was approached by a gorgeous girl called T in one of the second floor gogos. She kind of looked out of place, so innocent as though she was still taking in everything around her. Apparently we had spoken during one of our first days in Bangkok but I couldn't honestly remember, she was sat with some middle aged guy now anyways. She would get up to dance, and as she walked past to get to the stage she'd say "will you pay bar for me?". I explained that money was short and we only had enough to keep us going for the next few days. She however explained that I need not pay her anything, I just had to pay the bar. Matt was with a girl he'd been speaking with before too she was called M. Same with her, he explained the money situation, but all she wanted was for him to pay the bar. We didn't go out that night expecting to come home with any girls, we aren't cheap charlies, we knew what we could and what we couldn't afford and just went out without any expectations, seems we were doing something right though as the girls wanted no money from us. We paid the barfines, had some more drinks in the bar and all went back to the hotel together.
The last two days were more or less the same, we had hardly any money left so the pool seemed the cheapest option during the daytime. At night we went to The Dollhouse for the happy hour and would then move on back to the Nana Plaza. T and M sat and talked to us and requested the same as the night before, we pay the bar but they want no money themselves. We did put up a bit of a fight as it did seem a bit unfair of us, but they called over the mamasan, the barfine was paid and off we went.
We explained to the girls the following day that tonight was our last night in Bangkok and we had no money left, therefore we were just going to take a walk until 8pm and then watch the English soccer in our room. We told them we understood that they must work tonight, so we would meet them the following day to say goodbye. We took a walk down Sukhumvit Road, and as planned we started to watch the soccer on TV, and there was a knock at the door. T and M came in and explained that they had paid their own barfine tonight so that they could stay with us. We would just have to go down to the bar to hand the money to the mamasan. They handed us 600 baht each and we went into the bar and paid the fine, now stuck for something to do that cost no money, the girls suggested we just go back to the hotel so we bought food from a street vendor and spent the whole night in our room. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel just a bit guilty about this whole scenario, these were working girls after all, but they made the choice I suppose.
Our last day in Bangkok and without much money to spend it was dragging, however T and M met us and handed us both a Buddha friendship bracelet and necklace kind of thing. They also took us to some huge shopping centre to have our pictures taken with them. Once again, they paid for it all, our contribution offers were turned down flat. The time came for us to leave them and we explained that we'd be back again soon. We then got a taxi back to the airport and started the 24 hour trip back to the UK, with a 6 hour stopover in Amman.
That's our story, but there are a few things I'd like to add my two cents on regarding previous submissions I've read. This was my first time in Thailand so I'm not claiming to know everything about the place in fact I know very little, all I want to do is give you my thoughts.
Do bargirls prefer younger men? Each to their own, at the end of the day its all about the money, but I do believe that they can relate to people more their own age. We'd play pool, sing with them, dance with them, play fight with them, play jokes and stuff. Just like we would with girls of our own age back home. Us youngsters can't offer them a long term secure future though, therefore maybe it depends on what the girl is looking for. Is she just a girl who wants to make money, send it to the parents every month and just enjoy herself whilst she can? Or is she looking for a long term sugar daddy who can be her ATM machine? Everyone has different preferences.
To Condom or not to Condom? To not use a condom in my eyes is absolutely mindless, the blame is being placed on the farangs, but what about the girls themselves? Matt had at least one of his girls say "we no use condom". Obviously having his head screwed on he explained no condom means no sex. All it takes though is some guy who lets the girls charms get the better of him, he's all loved up after just a couple of hours with her, they go back to his room, one thing leads to another, he's flustered, she jumps on without a rubber and wham, he's got one of the many STDs that's floating around. Its everyone's responsibility, and someone with even the lowest IQ must realise that if you don't rubber up then you're playing Russian roulette with your life. I understand the guy who goes for tests with the girls and doesn't have sex back home, but I'm talking about the other 98% of people who don't take those tests. Come on gents, let's play fair.
Have I fallen in love Thailand? Hell yes. The majority of what I have written above is about the naughty nightlife, but we did so much in the day time that if I wrote it all down you'd be asleep by day three. What do I love about the place? Its certainly not the sex aspect, that can be found at home without having to pay hundreds of pounds for a flight. It's the way the girls treat you, the bars are great and the level of attention given is amazing, but that's only a small part. The majority of the Thai people are kind and generous, the place and culture are fascinating and the food is out of this world. The streets in Bangkok had a buzz about them from when we woke up right until the early hours and its this that I personally fell in love with and miss the most. Yes its dirty, smelly and busy, but so is London, New York and Paris….the one thing none of these places has though is that big warm Thai smile and the eagerness to please. Give me Bangkok any day of the week.
What Next? Well we both have a very good and stable job here in England. I train new employees at a well known UK bank and Matt trains soccer to young children. To say we would give up our jobs completely over here to live in Thailand would be foolish. We do however have the option of taking a year long personal development unpaid holiday from our jobs. Matt has already been offered a soccer coaching job in Bangkok, and I have the majority of my teaching certificates so its certainly something we are seriously considering. We're going to make a few more trips to Thailand and check out some of the places we haven't been to and then we'll see if a long term move is for us, we don't want to jump into something that we would later regret.
Thanks Stick for giving me the opportunity to give everyone my view and thanks to everyone who has provided us with all the interesting reads over the past 2 years. May it carry on for many years to come. Cheers.
Great piece. Your honesty shines through and makes it a great read. Good luck with whatever you decide to do in the future!