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Holidays In Thailand And Getting Ripped Off By “Friends”

  • Written by Mart
  • February 25th, 2005
  • 9 min read


Just had a 10-day holiday in Thailand and thought I would write up a few of the quirks and happenings on my visit. I went with my Thai girlfriend so no stories of short time hotels or BJ’s in the corner of back street bars. She is fairly broad-minded and comes with me on the odd visit to some of the dodgy bars, but we just wanted a holiday and to get a visa for my girl to visit England.

Got the plane from Hong Kong to BKK with the plan of staying in the Honey Hotel on Soi 19. Excellent value this hotel, only 600 Baht, but it was full so it was off to the rip-off City Lodge on the corner (1600 baht without breakfast) clean and tidy but can only be described as ‘adequate’. Did the usual, trip to Nana, meal in Woodstock and an early night. Next day, had a lazy day, but in the evening made a point of going to that strange whisky bar at the end of Soi Cowboy opposite the fish and ship shop. The owner was there with a couple of other expats and although not a whisky drinker I downed a few. Unfortunately I got carried away and ended up spending 3000 baht…my Mrs. wasn’t impressed. Can’t write any more about that evening, as I don’t remember anything.

In order to assist my girl's visa application I thought it would be a good idea to get a letter from her former employer stating her previous job, in the hope that the embassy staff would look on her a bit more favorable than an ex-bargirl or ‘house keeper’. So it was off to Ekamai for the bus to Rayong. My girl tells me that her friend and husband are to meet us at the bus station; that would be a nice I thought, not realizing how much this ‘meeting’ was going to cost.

We arrived in Rayong and sure enough there is her female friend (mid 30’s) and her husband (late 50’s) in an almost new Isuzu pick up. Wow, Thai people with money, never met these types before. We exchanged pleasantries and off we went the two girls in the back and me and the old guy in the front……for about 400 meters where he turns into a gas station. I looked at the fuel gauge on empty and started thinking surely this guy isn’t going to expect me to fill up. In goes 500 baht of fuel and he just stands there smiling. “Help him please” came a voice from my girl in the back and at this point I knew the afternoon was not going to go well. I gave her my wallet and she extracted a 500 note and handed it to the old guy.

Now I don’t really care for Thai food and had already told my girl I want a restaurant that sells Thai and farang grub but this clown just heads to the beach about 2 km from the petrol station and pulls up at a seafood restaurant. The old git and her friend ordered umpteen dishes of crabs, oysters, lobsters with various filling dishes of rice, noodles etc. There are 4 of us, I have already told them I am not going to eat much and they order the most expensive food available for about 8 people. The bill came to just over 1000 baht, which of course was given to me and the old git just smiled. (No beer as it was election weekend.) Of course the huge amount of food remaining was boxed up and disappeared into the back seat of the pickup. I sat there fuming, why do Thai people take the piss like this, I would never do this to someone visiting my country and it is exceptionally impolite.

The rest of the day panned out as it had started with this old git, who was obviously not short of cash ordering what he could at my expense. While we were chatting with her former boss who was a very nice chap and wanted nothing for the reference, the old git ordered Pepsi for everyone and when we had finished, I headed for the door without paying the bill….because I didn’t order. I nearly made it before the waiter caught up with me and handed me a bill for 90 baht. The old git and his wife just stood there……and smiled, I nearly said ‘cheers you can get this one’ but I didn’t, I am sure they could have afforded 90 baht….”kee niouw” were the words that came to mind but I said nothing. What’s the point? I will never see these people again, my girl would lose face and I would get hassled for the rest of the holiday. Just leave it and they will go back to their little lives pleased with the fact that they have got a 1/2 tank of gas, a few boxes of seafood, a packet of fags and a free Pepsi out of Kuhn farang…….Sad.

The rest of our holiday went absolutely splendidly. Flew up to Chiang Mai and met a few faces from my 4 week holiday last year. It really is nice up there and everything is so cheap. Met a girl I got friendly with last year, my girl hit it off with her so I bar fined her and the three of us went off to one of the river side restaurants for steak and chips. The live bands were excellent, food and service second to none. Bargirl's sister works at one of those strange Thai bars where several good-looking girls sing on a stage before joining the Thai blokes drinking whisky at the table. If a customer likes the singer it was custom and practice to wrap a 100 baht note around a fork and go up on stage and give it to her. Apparently if you just give her the money it has to be handed over to the bar owner but stick it on a fork and the young lady gets to keep it…..very weird. I was the only farang there and the girls had far too much makeup for my liking, the conversation was a bit wooden and not the relaxed chat normally had with bar girls. The beer was expensive and it seemed to be more about showing your mates how well off you were by stuffing loads of money at the girls and getting as many to sit at your table as possible, not my cup of tea at all.

Back in Bangkok got a room at the Premium Hotel on Soi 20……with no windows. Ok it was only 900 baht with breakfast but a room with no windows just smacks of a short time hotel. Checked out and into the Nana City Hotel on Soi 4. Again probably a short time hotel but the room did have windows and the staff were friendly. 900 Baht, a clean room, TV, fridge and no complaints……will stay there next time.

Had a night out at the ‘Calypso’ cabaret. This is the Katoey show in the basement of the Asia Hotel in Siam Square, not cheap at 750 baht/ticket including one free drink but the show really is a professional affair, even though the entire cast are shirt lifters. The audience were exclusively farang and Japanese and some of the dance routines are obviously aimed at the Nips. Wouldn’t go again, but it makes a change from watching farmers daughters swinging around poles. Had a look in the Hard Rock Café after the Katoey show and the place was rocking. The band had a crowd up dancing on the bar, most of the other punters on the ground floor were dancing and there really was a good atmosphere in there. Don’t know what it is about Thais but they appear to have mastered the art of enjoying themselves. “Sanuk” is almost a religion.

Daytime we took a trip on the river from Saphan Taksin MTR station; unlimited travel all day on any boat owned by the company for 75 baht. That really is a true bargain and includes a shuttle over to the docks where the Royal barges are stored. Didn’t spend much time there but they are worth a look, splendid constructions and very well kept. It would be nice to see them out on the water one day.

Had a look at this strange place:- Ancient City-Muang Boran. We hired a couple of bicycles as this place is huge and set off around the miniature monuments and villages of Thailand. Of absolutely no interest to anyone who just comes to BKK for a shag (I am as guilty as the rest) but it is interesting if anyone wants to see the various provinces without actually going there. My girl found her neck of the woods in the Isaan area, along with goats, chickens and dogs……almost home.

Had a ride on the mechanical bull in Carnival bar, numerous foot massages, wandered around some of the dodgy bars in Soi Cowboy, had a meal at a posh restaurant on Soi 33 before taking in a couple of drinks in the Office. Lots of pretty girls there but they can’t be making much of a profit if they are paying them all a salary.

One last mention must go to the Witches Tavern on Soi 55. Had a bit of trouble finding it but it is a great place. The band was excellent and there is a nice atmosphere, not overcrowded and a good selection of drinks including cocktails. It is expensive though, we only had a couple of snacks and one drink each and the bill came to just under 1000 baht (Hong Kong prices?), but again it makes a nice change from the usual.

My girl got her visa, I got to ogle and chat to some lovely girls, we had lots of excellent food and beer, and we went to many places never before visited. The weather was excellent, entrance fees where very reasonable even with the dual pricing and I thought the taxi drivers were quite pleasant this time.

All in a very enjoyable holiday apart from the old git who ripped me off at the beginning. What are you supposed to do with these people? Do you treat them like kids and just shout at them “PISS OFF, I AM NOT PAYING FOR EVERYTHING, GET YOUR F%#*ING WALLET OUT” and just accept the loss of face? I don’t accept any of this nonsense from touts, travel agents, taxi drivers or hotel staff, but it was her ‘friends’. Anybody got any comments on how they have handled situations similar to this?

Stickman's thoughts:

If things bother you that badly – and you had reason to be annoyed, I think the time comes when you have to say something…