Thailand Life Choices
An acquaintance asked me if it was a good idea to move to Thailand and manage a bar in Patong as his Thai girlfriend, who owns a bar, was willing to put up some money and get him a visa etc.. After sending the answer, I thought others who are contemplating a similar move might benefit in reading it. I know I might affect some sensibilities, especially bar owners, but it is my opinion. I am 51, have lived in Thailand on and off for 19 years, and currently live in Phuket full time with my daughter. I was married to a Thai woman for seventeen years. It was a good marriage but had dried up. We separated last month and I am contemplating having my current Phuket born, non-bar girl move in. I am however a little gun shy and currently taking my time and enjoying the freedom.
Here is what I wrote.
I don't know what your background is or how old you are, but I would say that running a bar in Phuket is a perfect waste of a good life. It is what people do when they retire to Phuket and don't know what to do with their time.
In running a bar, you are exposed to the seediest side of Thai society, corrupt cops, thieving girls and the worst side of westerners. I thought about doing such a job about 20 years ago when I was living in Thailand. I naively figured that I could get all the pussy I could want for free (this is not your case though). This is probably true but it is like working in a chocolate factory. After a while you wouldn't touch the stuff if they paid you. Fortunately, a good soul explained the realities of life to me so I am passing on the favor.
If you have been reading Stickman carefully, you will remember that the oft offered advice to anyone contemplating a relationship with a bargirl is to get her out of the bar and as far away from the industry as possible, with no contact with her former bar friends. You would be doing the opposite and joining her in the industry. It is a death sentence for the relationship. You mentioned that she is jealous. How will she handle you being surrounded by girls day in, day out.
What running a bar entails is giving up your life to the industry. The hours are a killer. Often 7 days a week. The first rule of the bar business in Thailand is that the manager or owner is always there because the staff will rob you blind the minute your back is turned. One of the reasons for this is that understandably, the bar business does not attract the best people Thailand has to offer. The turnover in bars is astronomical so there is little in terms of long term career prospects. So you must be there all the time until 2:00 in the morning and get home very late and get up very late. You see nothing of the paradise that is Phuket. Bar managers are usually pasty white, never seeing the sun, don't participate in regular Thai life or meet regular Thais or decent farang expats for that matter. Not to mention the liver damage.
I don't understand it in either myself or others, but why do we go for the girl with the heart of gold and the ravaged mind and body when there are plenty of Thai girls with hearts of gold that are beautiful, clean and unspoiled, just waiting to be loved. Could it be that we are just too damn lazy to make the effort to learn the culture and language.
Getting back to your original reason for contemplating the bar life. Remember that you would be doing this for her and that she is pulling you into a life that she supposedly despises. Doesn't sound like love to me.
The alternative if you are truly determined to be with her is for her to get a job outside of Patong, somewhere else in Phuket (yes there is a lot more life outside Patong). She can work for the average 8,000 to 10,000 baht a month in a department store or in a tour company. If she hides her tattoos and dresses conservatively and speaks politely, her English skills will get her far and her salary will go up fast.
My ex-Thai wife makes over 45,000 baht per month mostly because of her English skills. You can get a TEFL teaching certificate right here in a certified Phuket school in a few weeks for $1,500 (check the internet) and teach in a Thai school for 30,000 baht a month. Your rent can be as low as 2,500 baht for a nice room (and I mean nice) in Phuket town. Get a used motorcycle and you are off to a good start with baht to spare. The only hitch is that she will think that 8,000 baht is peanuts compared to the big money she has made sleeping around'. So if she can't wean herself off that, then you know where you stand and dump her. Remember that in Thailand, the men set the pace and the women follow. Lay the plan down, before you leave your country and don't be too gentle with her. They respect a man who leads. Once you are established for a few months, you will see all sorts of legitimate opportunities in Phuket. Teaching is just a jumping off point as is her job. Phuket is booming. If I can make a suggestion, DO NOT come here without a penny to your name. It can take time to get things going and Thailand is not a place to be penniless. Once she has a job, which are not that hard to find, it is even possible for her to buy a motorcycle or furniture on credit (not you though). BTW, once you speak Thai a bit, if you don't look like Quasimodo, regular Thai girls will be lining up for you. I speak from experience. So if this particular love of your life doesn't work out, there are lots more fish.
P.S. I haven't been to Patong in many months but I was there a few days ago for banking. Just for the hell of it, rather than do a quick in and out, I decided to walk around in broad daylight. I have to say that the women are scary in the light of day. The Thais cannot fathom why rich foreigners go for the ugliest girls in Thailand. I used to be a bit offended by this since I hung around bars and thought they were just lovely. Well, after going to Thai only establishments for 8 months plus, the quality of the girls is incomparable. Thai women truly are beautiful, (I particularly like the true southern girls) there are tons of them and they are not in the falang oriented bars.
A lot of really good advice here.