Stickman Readers' Submissions March 29th, 2004

First Timer In Thailand

Note: This is kinda long and is not a sex tour diary, so do not continue if that’s what you are looking for.

After several vacations in and around the U.S. (Caribbean, Hawaii etc.), we decided to try something a little different for my girlfriend's 40th birthday. Thailand seemed to fit the bill as exotic enough, yet still being civilized enough to be comfortable for a 3 week stay. So off we fly out of Seattle on a 777 connecting in Tokyo for BKK. So at midnight we go through Thai customs and after that we are immediately set upon by 10 different limo touts offering to take us to our hotel for 500 baht. I tell them I am going to the metered taxi and they keep following me. I am tired from a 15 hour flight and after the 3rd time of telling them metered taxi, I just start to ignore them. Anyway, we get into the taxi line and off we go. Right away I notice that driving fast is the way it is and we got there in no time.

He Clinic Bangkok

Bangkok –

The hotel is great and great value for $50 US including tax, breakfast. So off we go the next morning to Victory Monument station to get the 3 day pass. Along the way, I see my first sight of a family of 4 on a scooter at a stoplight. What looks like a 3 year old boy in front of his dad holding the bars and a little 5 year old girl between dad and mom. Then she smiles real big and waves at me. That’s when you know you’re in a different world and it really melts your heart. The skytrain is excellent and I can’t imagine what the city was like without it. We got off near Siam Square and MBK to check things out. Now I have read all the hype and warnings about scams etc. and thought that those things were probably rare and you just have to be unlucky to get targeted. Well, let me tell you, not 5 minutes of walking in Siam square and some “friendly” Thai lady offers help and starts chit-chatting with my girlfriend. I am immediately suspicious, but don’t want to be rude so I let her keep talking. Finally, she starts talking about shopping and jewelry and tailor shops and all that crap. So I butt in and say were on our way to MBK and don’t need to go anywhere else. So she says MBK is closed until 10:00 AM and she can get a tuktuk to drop us off there after we go shopping at these really good places she knows. I say no thanks and she keeps following us. Now, this is my first time here and really don’t want to be an asshole yet, but I finally have to tell her to leave us alone or I’m going to find the tourist police. She gives me this pout and says, “you no let your lady shop?” Then I get really upset and yell at her, “Get out of here now!” and she looked startled and just stood there looking really weird with her head all cocked sideways. Immediately I feel bad and have embarrassed my girl, but we keep walking towards MBK while explaining what that bitch was trying to pull. All is forgotten and we get some cold drinks and buy shoes and some decent Italian made FEDO sunglasses for 199 baht. These may be fake, but they are really pretty good quality. Back to the hotel pool for some drinks and sunning etc.

The next day we go to the skytrain and down to the Thaksin station and visit the Oriental Hotel and buy tickets for the Sala Rim Nam dinner that night. That hotel is very cool and we had drinks in the garden bar right on the river bank across from the Peninsula. After the drinks we took the boat across to the Peninsula to check it out. I thought the Oriental was nice, but this place is classier in my opinion. And while $180 US/night might seem pretty steep, a comparable stay in the US or Europe would be double or triple that. So after our little tour of the elegance, we decide to take a long tail boat tour. It was OK, but other than the sight of the palace and temples, the river is pretty ugly and dirty. Typical southeast Asian waterway. So we get some pictures and then exit the boat where we are forced to pay a landing fee of 20 baht at some rickety pier. Oh well, I fork it over. So we exit into the street and I pull out the map to get oriented and am immediately set upon by tuktuk guys and who knows who else offering a ride and other crap. I say we are going to visit the Grand Palace and am told I can’t go in with shorts. OK, I say, then we will walk to Wat Po. “Oh, sorry sir, today Wat Po closed. Only for Thai people worship today”. Now I’m getting a little sick of this shit. So I look at this dumbass and tell him I know better and to go make a living without trying to lie to people. He didn’t like this idea and starts spouting some shit in Thai and we start walking to Wat Po while he yaps on about something. We get there and go in and immediately are impressed. It is a nice peaceful place with lots to see.

CBD bangkok

After an hour or so, we find the massage school and am told that it will be about 10 minutes and take a number. So we sit and wait. While waiting, I hear this chatter and turn around and see a herd of a dozen pale, fat, sweaty Northern European female backpackers coming. Oh my god, thank you for getting us in before I have to lay down on the mat after them. I felt so sorry for those poor Thais having to knead all that fat sweaty ass. Anyway, it was a good massage and I felt relaxed after having to get all pissed off trying to get there through the scam artist assholes. So we get back to the hotel to get cleaned up for dinner at the Oriental and boy was it good. The best Tom Yum Goong I’ve ever had. It was too much for the 60 something British ladies that we were sat down with, but I eat Thai food in the States a few times a week and have them make it as spicy as possible. The cultural dance after was good too. It was a little hard to understand if you don’t know Thai history, but still an interesting story about historical battles.

Next day we go to the TAT travel agent to book our flights to Krabi and boat transfer to Phuket. While there, we booked the bus tour to Bang Pa-In and Ayuttaya ruins. It is a nice ride up there with pretty countryside, but the ruins are really impressive. Huge triple Chedi, pyramid-like temples lined with Buddha images, and a huge golden Buddha. Bang Pa-In is really great too, perfect day for pictures and I took a lot of them.

After all the temples and shopping, we wanted some nightlife so we saw the Hard Rock Café while in Siam Square and wanted to check it out, but I wanted to see Patpong night market and that whole scene first. So we take the skytrain to Patpong and walk through the vendors and sure enough the prices quoted are outrageous. Basically, just cut half off the asking price and that’s the most you should pay. The girlfriend buys something after walking away from the vendor and the woman chases her 20 meters down the street saying “OK,OK, I sell you 150 baht”. So we turn into a Soi where the action is and am immediately struck by the mass of people, and the stench, and the awful state of some of the people there. I am trying to fend off the touts trying to get me to go see a sex show, while making sure I’m not being pickpocketed. I catch a glimpse of the girls dancing in the Kings Castle and they look pretty, but bored. All I can say is that a guy has to REALLY need to get his rocks off to poke something found in that mess. People can do what they want, but I’m thinking that the thought of being the 1257th farang to shag one of those whores makes me wonder how a guy could degrade himself like that. Especially when there are so many good decent Thai women around. If the receptiveness of the women I met in everyday life is any indication, I think the whole commercial sex scene in Thailand is unnecessary for most guys. If you’re not a complete slob, have a job, and have some respect for women, you could land some pretty nice birds. Anyway, we got out of there and took a taxi to the Hard Rock at Siam. During the week, there is no cover and the live band there was damn good. With a name like “Telephone”, you would think they would suck, but NO, these guys/girl rock. I was impressed and we danced, drank like fish, and closed the place down. I wouldn’t recommend the food though. Just drink, listen, and dance.

So next day she wants to go shopping again. So I recommend Pratunam and we walk the 10 minutes from the hotel. Good prices and selection. After that, I want to go up to the Baiyoke tower. So we go in and go up the 83 floors to the observation deck. When you come out of the elevator, you are in a former, disco-type lounge with space/solar system décor painted on the walls and half-empty liquor bottles still behind the bar. So I start videotaping Bangkok from way up there and turn around to the elevator and she is white as a sheet and leaning against the wall about to faint. I have to take her back down to the lobby as she was freaked out by the movement of the building up there. I go back up and lean against the wall and get a fix on a seam in the window to another building about 1km away. Sure enough the whole tower was swaying around 3-4 feet at the top from my guesstimation. Now I know why the disco bar failed, everybody was puking on the dance floor. It didn’t bother me since I’m used to being on my boat and don’t get seasick. So up the next flight of stairs to the 84th floor to the revolving open air deck. This is really cool and is the best view there is of the city other than from a plane. We checked out a bit of the Sukhumvit scene that night and had dinner and drinks at the Londoner pub. Pretty good brew and food. Then I just had to see Soi Cowboy, so we walk over there and I was very underwhelmed. So this is the world famous/infamous Cowboy? Then as we get to the end I find out why. Police everywhere and meth test kits on tables out in the street. TV cameras interviewing what I guess was the police chief. Whores and johns looking around corners, peeking out of doors in the bars. Everybody looking all pissed off. Really lame. So we turn around and go back, but towards the end a few girls actually stand in our path and ask if we want to party. I say no thanks and we head back for some late night drinks in the lounge.

wonderland clinic

My girl is petrified of snakes since she grew up in the Philippines where snakes like to come in the house and crawl into bed with you, so the next day I drop her off at the Central shopping mall and walk over to the snake farm. This is a really cool show and these guys are really well trained. The king cobra they have there is huge, but really quite tame. They had to really stamp their feet and get in its face to get it to rise up and take a defensive stance. I got to hold a python and got some pictures. You get to see them force feed some chicken legs into a snake with metal tongs and then they milk the venom onto a glass dish. Definitely worth a few hours of your day. So we meet up and go to get a traditional Thai massage off of Phaya Thai road. The place said traditional and it did them, but when we walked in I knew they did the other too since 12 pretty ladies in dresses were behind the glass smiling and waving at me. So we pay the guy and are lead into a room together and told to get into our gowns. 5 minutes later, a knock on the door and 2 cute little girls with their wash basins and brushes motion for us to come over. They scrub and wash our feet. Then they start in and boy is mine good. Very little English, but find out she is from Khon Kaen in the North. Hard to believe that someone who only weighs 45 Kg could be so strong. She worked me good and I bet she could do a lot more if the missus was not right next to me. Patpong or the Cowboy scene I couldn’t really get into, but nailing this little masseuse after a good rubdown would have been damn nice. Now I’m starting to get the picture. So we get dressed and I open the door and there are 2 other girls standing there looking at me and smiling. One of them starts saying, “You American?, very handsome American.” I’m a little uncomfortable with the girlfriend right behind me, but tell her thank you. So I turn to the left and there are 3-4 girls on each side of the hallway smiling and waving goodbye to us as we walk by them. Is this the normal way to say goodbye, or were they just trying to get us to partake in some last minute action? So after 2 hours of that, I feel REALLY good and we go back to get ready for the Calypso Cabaret and dinner.

This was recommended by our bell captain and I was skeptical, but a nice ride in the hotel Benz to the show was only 250 baht and he walked us in and showed us around. Now the bell captain knew this was my first time in Bangkok, so he found it necessary to mention to me while she was getting the tickets that the performers were all men. I nodded and said, “Yep, all Katoey”. His eyes got real big, looked around and said “shhhhh”, but excuse me sir, but how you know about katoey?” I told him I read about them and he just grinned and told me to have a good time. If you see this show, forget the buffet. It is not so good. Eat before and just do the show. It is packed and we get really good front row seats, I don’t know how, maybe the bell captain put in a word for us or something. The lights go down, and this dreadful, obvious katoey in a fedora comes out and in the worst dick-sucking lisp ever heard “Wadies an gentewmens, wewkum to Cawipso!”. So out come these freaks and I’m just overcome with the comedy of it all. It is the worst feeling in the world to be in the front row and trying with all my might to stop from bursting out and rolling on the floor in hysterical laughter. So I close my eyes and start thinking about executions and torture and other horrible things to block out the freak show. I get control and find that it is all OK, they seem to expect to be found humorous. It is really a good entertaining 90 minutes. Now, I was assured that 100% of the performers are male, and 1/3 of them are obvious. Another 1/3 are not quite as easy to spot, but with a closer inspection, a guy could see the signs. But the last 1/3? I don’t care who you are, or who you think you are, there is NO WAY that you could tell that they came into the world with blue booties. Especially the Hawaiian hula bit they did. I was just amazed and fixated on this. They were absolutely feminine in every way. Disturbing actually that the body can be altered that much.

Krabi –

Next day, we go the airport for the trip to Krabi. Nice quick flight and immediately the sun felt more intense than in Bangkok. I rent a little Toyota Soluna 5 speed and get to drive a right-hand drive car for the first time. Really was no problem, but I’m glad it was in a province not Bangkok. The first thing you notice about Krabi is the amazing limestone cliffs everywhere and the overall beauty of the place.

After getting a little lost due to some signage confusion between our map and what was on the road signs, we find Ao Nang and our hotel. This place is just great and is perfect for us. The pool was fabulous and had a swim up bar and we had Pina Coladas made with fresh coconut juice and meat right in the coconut shell. Lots of great, cheap Thai restaurants right on the beach road. The next day we want to visit the waterfalls and have a day hike in the national parks. So we come around the corner on Ao Nang beach road and there is a traffic backup. As I come closer, I see that there is an accident involving a motorcycle. Then I see that a car has hit the motorcycle. So I tell her to look down at the seat and not look outside. Then I see a dead Thai in his late teens laying on the left side of the road with his eyes wide open and the left side of his head caved in and brains coming out. Then I see his dead Thai friend still under the bike laying on the hot pavement with his body all contorted in impossible ways. This was not what I needed to see on my vacation, but let this be a warning. BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR. DO NOT RENT SCOOTERS IN THAILAND! DO NOT DO IT!! If $30/day to rent a car is too steep, then take a mini-bus or walk. Saving a few bucks is not worth ending up dead, or worse, permanently disabled or brain damaged. So after that bad start, we actually have a great time at the falls and got to swim with some locals under the falls.

Next day we get picked up to go rafting and elephant trekking. It was quite a drive to Phanga Nga area, but pretty anyway. The rafting was fun with Chinese and Malay women flying out of their rafts into ours and my lap after getting stuck on boulders etc. After, we had a good Thai lunch and off to the elephants. So we get on this thing with the handler in front and start to go up the trail. About 10 minutes into it, he stops and asks it we want a picture, and we say sure. So he gets off, and then the elephant decides it doesn’t want to listen to the handler and starts walking away. The handler says “Oh my gosh”, and then I calmly start putting the camera into the case and untying the rope in front of us. The handler continues to yell commands at the beast and I tell my girlfriend very softly that I intend to grab her and jump off if this animal decides to take another few steps. Luckily, all it wanted to do is go over to some fresh leaves and start munching. After a few minutes of this, it let the handler back on and we continued. We get back and they have a baby elephant show where we are right there and can touch them. One of them is male and I could see that it was not too happy doing it. So I ask how long they can expect to perform. The handler said as long as he will do it. After they get a certain age, the males get too aggressive and dangerous. So after their little tricks, the trainers get out this mat and ask if I want an Elephant massage. I ask what is that, and they say the elephant massages with its foot. Now, I don’t think I’m going to willingly get under a half ton beast and have my intestines pushed out my anus if this animal decides not to listen. So I decline and the trainer gets under and has it done to show me how safe it is. No thanks.

So after this they tell me that a few months ago, that same elephant crashed through the spectator barrier and broke the ribs of a tourist. Sometimes I think these guys get a kick out of seeing stupid tourists get messed up. Anyway, after that there were some really tame Gibbons where we bought them ice-cream on a stick and could get right up and touch them. They really want cameras and you have to be careful or they will get it and break it after they find out it isn’t edible. Got good pictures and had a great lobster dinner that night on the beach at Krabi resort.

Next day, we go to sea cave kayaking in the Mangroves. This was just spectacular scenery and saw some very nice limestone cave formations and ancient cave art. After a long day of paddling, we went to a local swimming hole fed by natural spring water. Everybody was friendly and having a good time. This is where the Buddhist and Muslim seem to be most separate. The Muslim women were not having much fun sitting in their burkhas with their feet in the water, while everyone else was laughing and jumping around. Overall, a great clean natural place to swim and spend the late afternoon.

Next day, we go drive to the Tiger temple and what a great place it is, with a temple constructed at the top of the mountain and a spectacular view. It is a hell of a climb up there (1253 steps) and you will feel it in your legs and lungs, but worth every step. Just when you think its tough, think about the guys that built it. We spent the last few days just relaxing in the sun and walking the beach shops at night. Then we get the ferry to go to Phuket and stop over and change boats at Koh Phi Phi. There is nothing to see on Phi Phi in my opinion and unless you are staying to snorkel etc. avoid this place like the plague. It is crowded, dirty, and NOT a tropical paradise once you get on shore. This is a long trip and we wasted a day to get across. I made the mistake of booking this in advance. Next time I will just drive it with the car and see the countryside. On top of this, my digital camera lens decides to stop extending properly, so only film shots and video from now on.


So we change boats and on to Phuket. We pull into this horrible, littered, dirty channel with fishing boats in Phuket town. We get to see a guy with his ass hanging off the back of the boat shitting into the channel. Then we pull up to this dock into what looks like a third world garbage heap. Now, maybe this was just the travel agent ripping us off and booking us with the lowest bidder for ferry service, but this is not the way to introduce tourists to Thailand’s most visited resort island. You would think that with the billions flowing in there, the govt. could construct a decent dock on the West side and spare us the sights and smells of the fishing community. Hard working, nice people making a living the only way they know, but having to look at men shitting in front of me is hard to take. Anyway, we get into a taxi and off to Kata beach area. We are starving since we underestimated the trip time and buy a burger at the poolside bar at our new hotel. I get it and start munching since I could eat the ass out of a buffalo at this point. Then my girl points out that it is almost raw and doesn’t touch hers. I have eaten half of mine by now and am really pissed. Just what I need, to get sick as a dog from this shit burger the day I get to Phuket. So I tell the waiter I won't pay for it and he gets the other guy and I show him the burger. They offer to recook it, and I say no thanks and find the manager at the desk. She apologizes and said there will be no charge. We are still not happy with the hotel at all, the pool water looks unclean and there are kids everywhere. We stay one night and then start looking for something better. I was not all that impressed with Kata or Karon. They are very nice beaches, but cannot compare to the north shore of Kauai, especially Hanalei bay, tunnels, or Kee beaches. Driving to Patong, we see a beautiful beach and resort down below. We find that it is the Le Meridian and decide to see how much. A very pretty desk girl offered us a 50% discount of off published rate and that’s all I needed to hear. We went back and checked out of the Kata place, and came to Le Meridian. She upgraded us to ocean/pool view for the same price as garden view. Now $150/night is not cheap, but again, this is all relative. A resort of this caliber in the US, Hawaii, or Europe would be double or triple this price. This is a first class resort with a perfect private beach just steps away from the biggest pool I’ve ever seen in any resort. Great restaurants and bars everywhere. There is no reason to leave, it's all there. You can rent jet skis, parasail, or snorkel right off of the beach. There is only one provider for each, and they are controlled by the hotel so after they ask you once and you decline, they remember you and don’t ask again. This is nice so you can relax and not be constantly bothered by these pests. I did snorkel and it was quite good and the water was clear and almost bath temperature.

We took a minibus to Patong that night and thought it was great. Had a good Italian dinner and finally made it to Bangla. I just had to see the whole thing, so I dropped her off at the dept. store and went to go see the Muay Thai boxing. These guys really kick the shit out of each other and is a good show. After that and just out of curiosity, I go down to Soi Eric alone and get grabbed and hugged and my arms almost pulled off. Jesus Christ, where have I found myself! Now, I wasn’t prepared for this level of assault and really had to take a piss from all the boxing beers. So I crawl my way to the end to pay the 5 baht for the pisser. After this, I sit down and 2 girls sit on me, one on each leg. One of them stroking under my shirt and the other smelling my neck and playing with my hair. Now I must look like quite the player there and I was not so comfortable with this is as its not really my style, but I go with it and start talking to them about the usual (name, where you from, how long you stay etc.). They are both quite pretty and I was actually very lucky to get these two after I stayed a few days and saw what was available. But the whole Katoey show really flashed in my mind and I thought I might have a couple guys on my lap. So I told them I was there with my girlfriend and they laughed. But I said I will look for them next time I come back. So I try to get back out to Bangla and this absolute stunner is standing there blocking my way. I am like a limp fish, she just smiles and she grabs my hand and pulls me into the bar. I order a beer and she starts fanning me and giving me a neck and back massage. I think to myself, this is not happening. I am only 2 bars from the street and if I was seen by you know who, well my vacation and my relationship would be quite different. So I tell her that she is very pretty and nice to give me a massage, but I have to go. She gives me this cute little pout and says “you go where?” I instantly feel like an idiot for telling her what I have to tell her, that I am going to meet my girlfriend at the store. I am now starting to become changed by this place and these women, and am not so sure its all good. I pick up my beer and she gives me a kiss on the cheek and waves goodbye. This is tough, but has to be done.

The next day, I decide that I want to know more about what it takes to live there. So we contact a realtor and he and his associate pick us up at the hotel. A Brit and an American expat, so we get along good and they are a good source of info. Which is what I was really after anyway. Well, I was interested in buying something there in a 90 year leasehold, but I was unprepared for the outrageous prices! Property on that island is out of control. Nobody in their right mind would buy anything there. If you have money to burn or have a perverse desire to lose money, buy property on Phuket. It is more expensive than Hawaii and the construction standards are very loose. Especially when asking the realtors about their plans, and they both rent. One of them rents a 2 bedroom Thai-style house for 10000 baht/mo. And they both said overall living costs are still very low. So when I told them that I have a paid-off house in the US that I could rent for 60000 baht/mo. They got all quiet and gave me the “why buy?, just live off the rent and chase women” look. But I would get bored with that and need to do something constructive, so I am currently applying for an Engineering position in Ayutthaya hi-tech park. We’ll see how it goes, but I am definitely making moves to try and get over to Thailand longer term. The country is absolutely booming and has so much to offer beyond the infamous side. If it happens, I just hope I can stay focused and not get too distracted. Overall, a great trip and we thoroughly enjoyed the people and all the country has to offer. It is really tough to be home again and preparing to go back to work to the same old shitheads.

I’ve truly been “Thai-ed”.

Stickman says:

Great report!

nana plaza