My Thailand Adventure
I am a very keen traveller, and being a single chap and holding down a good IT job in the UK, I have been very fortunate to have been able to travel pretty much wherever my heart desires. Until now, my travelling has been confined to Europe, Australia,
New Zealand, and North and South America.
However, this all changed this year… I have friends in Singapore, and after numerous requests from them, decided to take a trip over to see them in January of this year. The plan was to spend 3 days in Singapore with them, then the 3 of us would head to Hong Kong for a couple of days. They would then return home, and I would head to Thailand for 10 days, my time split between Bangkok and Pattaya.
Singapore, was a lovely place, expensive, but a great place to visit nonetheless. Hong Kong was also nice, and having never been before, I was unable to pass comment as to whether things had changed any since the handover back to the Chinese.
So, on to Thailand. I arrived at the airport around 3pm and was immediately overwhelmed by the incredible heat as well as the smell… not sure I will ever get used to that. I was greeted by the usual taxi touts, and decided against using them, instead getting a limo to my hotel from the Thai Airways desk. OK, so it was probably more expensive but at 1,500 baht still didn't seem like a high price to pay for a little comfort and air-conditioning.
I arrived at my hotel, The Royal President on soi 15 off Sukhumvit Road, got changed and showered and decided to venture out for a bit of a look around, this consisted of wandering up and down Sukhumvit Road, dodging in no particular order – tailors, soi dogs, beggars, massage touts, soi dog shit, cracked pavements, kids selling flowers, other bewildered tourists, and did I mention dog shit?
I got back to the hotel, and got myself ready for the night (now this is rare for me, I didn't do much research on Thailand before going, as it was a last minute thing). I was therefore pretty much at a loose end as to what to do, I knew of the nightlife, and whilst I didn't want to take a girl back to my hotel, I was still keen to have a look in the shop window. I have been to Amsterdam and Prague, so know what the seedier side of life is like, and reasoned that it would be worth a visit.
I went to Nana, and wasn't overly impressed by it all, maybe I'm not a 'hansum man' but I luckily didn't get too much hassle. I hit a few bars and got massaged and propositioned by any number of lovelies, but once I made it
clear that I had no intention of bar-fining anyone, the interest soon waned. The next day, I went to the Grand Palace and before I got there, I was told it was closed for a couple of hours, but that my helpful friend would be most willing to take
me to a gem factory (sound familiar?). I politely declined, and made it clear I was happy to wait for it to open. Lo and behold when I get there it's open… having read numerous submissions it seems this is a well used trick.
My next day was spent wandering the shopping malls in an attempt to find gifts for my nearest and dearest back home… and this is where I met Ann (name changed). She was working in one of the stores, and gave me the most wonderful smile when I entered the store. I completely forgot why I was there, just wandering round the store, trying to sneak a glance at this beautiful girl. After 30 minutes of daydreaming, I wandered off to find something to eat, I grabbed some rice and chicken and sat down to eat. Whilst eating, I could see someone out of the corner of my eye at the next table, I looked up, and there she was, our eyes met, and she looked away.
To cut a long story short, I went back the next day, and headed for the same store and got talking to her. I asked her if she would like to join me for lunch, but she politely declined, saying it wasn't the done thing… well that was what it amounted to, as her English was somewhat limited. Being a persistent chap, I went back the next day to chance my arm again. This time, she was with a friend and made it clear she would join me for lunch, but only if her friend chaperoned us. I was fine with this, and agreed to meet them later that night. They suggested a meal on one of the boats that goes up and down the river, and so I arrived at 8pm as agreed… you can probably guess what's coming… one hour later, I am still by the river-side looking at my watch, thinking I have been set up – as in piss off I don't want to spend time with you, so I will send you off for an evening of waiting. But just as I am getting ready to leave, she appears with her friend, and her friend's boyfriend. I am now thinking that this is going to be an expensive evening for the daft farang, but I was pleasantly surprised when we were presented with the bill, and her friend's boyfriend insisted on paying half. I had an amazing night, was made to feel really welcome by all and sundry, even though I was the only farang on board, amongst at least a hundred Thais. They helped me choose my food, laughed at my half-arsed attempts at the lingo, and were great hosts.
The next day, I persuaded Ann to let me take her to the zoo in Dusit (she had never been before), and once again her friend joined us, again though, her friend insisted on paying her way… Had I found the elusive good girl? We spent the day looking at the animals, and taking lots of pictures, and I explained that I was due to go to Pattaya for a few days before returning home. I asked whether they would care to join me, and said that I would pay for their expenses, i.e. accommodation and the like. After much discussion, they agreed that they would do so. Ann's friend said that her boyfriend would also join us, and that I wouldn't have to pay for her accommodation, and that Ann would share a room with them. I was fine with this, as I wasn't expecting anything other than company and some laughs. I did insist that I would pay the supplement for Ann to stay in their room.
The next few days were great, as I got to see a lot of things that I am not sure a farang on his own would do. We did the usual touristy stuff, and they were very cute in that they always paid for things with me out of sight so I didn't get hit with a higher (farang only) price. We went drinking and dancing most nights, and found some amazing restaurants… each night their was a scuffle between Ann's friend's boyfriend and myself to get the bill and get it paid. They were the most amazing hosts, and also surprisingly didn't spend all their time talking in Thai and excluding me from conversations.
Very soon, my time was up, and with a heavy heart, I bade my farewells, and made my way back home to the UK. I had Ann's number and said I would be in touch, and may visit later in the year. As it was, as soon as I had landed, I was planning my next visit. I immediately visited a local Thai person, and started taking Thai lessons twice a week, and immersing myself in books and websites to gain a better insight into the people and culture.
I returned in March of this year, and spent 10 days in Pattaya with Ann and her friend, and then in May of this year, Ann and I had an amazing 10 days in Koh Samui. I am hopeful in further submissions to talk about our experiences, both positive and negative from the perspective of a Farang / Thai relationship in Thailand.
This all leads me to the present day, as of Friday, Ann received her passport back from the embassy with a 6 month tourist visa stamped in it. We used a visa agent based in the UK ( I am sure Stick will provide details if anyone wants to know who I used), and for the sake of 235 pounds, we managed to get the visa without the need for an interview. She is due to join me here in the UK for 6 weeks… so I will try and keep you all posted.
Hope I didn't send you all to sleep…
Nice, positive story. Great to see that your persistence paid off.