Readers' Submissions

The Economics of Mongering



If you travel to Thailand often then you know your trips are putting a strain on your finances. Consider this your guide to mongering economically.

First you need to consider when to buy your flight and which time of the year to travel. Always book your flights as far in advance as possible and check multiple airlines. The internet travel websites can be very handy for this. Also be on the lookout for any charter flights that a travel agent may have for package deals. If you travel to Thailand more than once per year you probably also have a lot of frequent flyer miles. Be sure to utilize these as much as possible as they will give you free trips later and you may get extra benefits for traveling so often. These can include airport lounge access and free upgrades to first class. If you are traveling strictly for mongering then go to Thailand in the low season. It will be very hot and uncomfortable but the girls will be happy for your business. Plus your hotel will be significantly cheaper.

Choosing where you stay in Bangkok says a lot about you. If you're at the Nana Hotel then you're as bad as someone who stays in Khao San. There are many better places to stay. Even though you are here to monger, remember to still treat yourself since it's a holiday. I'm not saying to stay at only The Grand Hyatt, but there are plenty of deals that can be had for many four stars that are guest friendly. You want a hotel that is close to the action and staff that are discreet. They should always take your girl's ID and keep it recorded separately from the regular guest list. I recommend you always tip well at any hotel you stay at. If you go back to the same one again they will remember you for the right reason.

Food can be had for a bargain all over in Bangkok. Try to get a breakfast buffet included with your hotel. It will reduce your food budget by a third. Street food is cheap, but if you get sick then you are wasting your vacation. Try to have a mix of as many food types as you can. Try local, international, simple and extravagant. You don't want to feel that you are eating worse than back home but you shouldn't be throwing around reckless amounts on food either. You don't need a steak or crab for every dinner.

Transportation is very cheap comparatively to other cities. Take a metered taxi at the airport instead of the limo. Always make sure the meter is on. There many taxis in Bangkok, if you don't like one there will be another one waiting for you. If you have a hotel near the BTS try to use it as much as possible. It's fast and inexpensive. Plus it's a good way to use up those one baht coins you can never spend. Tuk tuks are a novelty the first few rides but can become annoying. You're spending thousands on your trip already so pay an extra dollar for an air conditioned taxi.

Massages are some of the best value you can get on your vacation. Make sure to have at least one per day. Massages for your whole trip will likely be less than one massage back in the West. Spa treatments can be good too but will still be expensive in a nice hotel. A soapy massage is one of the greatest inventions ever. They can also be cheaper than a night out at the bar. Very good if you have to catch a flight early the next morning.

Drinking will cost you but try to take advantage of happy hours. Don't be stingy with lady drinks but don't buy for all the girls in the bar either. If you like more expensive spirits then try to buy a bottle instead of single drinks. You can also hit up duty free before arriving.

If you have nothing to do during the day then go for a walk. Try to walk as far you can. You might even lose some weight. Try a walk from Central to Emporium. It's not as far as you think. If you decide to take some tours make sure your hotel concierge is not ripping you off. Sometimes a travel agent can get you the same tour for less.

Watch your exchange rates. Learn about the interest rates in your country and the ones in Thailand. If the Thai interest rate go up you will get less, likewise if your country's interest rate goes up you will get more. If you have some savings that aren't invested then you can even buy some baht for future trips if there is a good exchange rate. You can also set up a bank account in Thailand which can be very handy to have. Just don't put in more than you can afford to lose.

Girls will probably be one of your biggest expenses. What can I say? Don't be a Cheap Charlie and don't be Japanese. Never send any money to any girls. If you go back to see the same girl on your trips then you aren't a monger, you're just in a long distance relationship. Enough said.

So what does a ten day trip cost when coming from the West?

About 45,000 baht for airfare, 30,000 baht for a nice hotel with breakfast, 10,000 baht for food and drinks, 3,000 baht for transportation, and 20,000 baht for mongering. Totaling 108,000 baht for an above average Bangkok holiday. Not very cheap at all.

Of course your hotel can still be nice and cost half of what I listed. Everything can be cheaper. This is for a holiday to enjoy yourself. Remember that is what a holiday is for. Consider this the recommended budget for a four star holiday. Not a two or three star in a beer bar and not a five star in a G Club.

So this is what you can do to keep all of your trips manageable. What if you want to retire in Thailand? These are the steps you must take.

1. Find a good job in your home country and stay with that employer for life. You will have a decent pension.

2. Invest you money. Saving is not enough. Your money has to grow faster than inflation. Stay committed to your long term goal and don't worry about market fluctuations.

3. Purchase property. It will go up in value and you will have a large windfall when you sell it for your permanent move to Thailand.

4. Get as many income streams as possible. Start a business on the side or get a part-time job. Try to have your side business be related to hobby you have or take a part-time job at a place you buy things from anyway to get a discount.

5. Live within your means. If you can afford two trips a year to Thailand then great! If you can't then make do with just one. Stretching your finances too much now will put your future trips in jeopardy.

6. Don't get married. She can divorce you and mess up everything. If this is your path in life then don't complicate it knowing what your intentions are.

7. Stay strong. Keep in shape and be as healthy a possible. You will live longer in your golden years.

Hoping you have many prosperous adventures in the Land of Smiles.


Stickman's thoughts:

I realise you're trying to give honest advice, but I think you would have been better simply saying "this is what I do and why". I don't want to appear negative or confrontational, but I could put up a pretty decent argument against almost every point you make in this submission!