My Thailand Experience
I am very lucky with my job and I get to travel all over the world, but in all my travels I had never been to Thailand although as a country I have always been fascinated by it, the people, the culture, the temples and just the general place really.
So, when I was looking for flights for a meeting in Dubai last September I decided to see how much extra it would cost to fly to Bangkok for a few days after my meeting.
Normally, my company will pay around £3500 for a Business Class return flight from London to Dubai so when Emirates said they would give me a Business Class flight from London to Bangkok and return with a stopover for work in Dubai for £1800 I almost ripped their hands off!
So it was a hot September morning when I stepped off that Emirates flight for my brief 48-hour break in Bangkok. After being dropped off at my hotel near Silom Road I decided to go exploring.
The first thing to hit me was the smell. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. I have tried explaining this to other people but words defy me. I am sure you veterans know what I mean.
As this was my first visit, I made a lot of rookie mistakes like hiring a car and driver for 6 hours to take me on a whistle stop tour of the sights and being charged 5,000 baht for the pleasure. But hey, you live and learn. After reading the Stickman site before I arrived, I decided I wanted to visit the night market on Silom Road and of course the Patpong area.
I must say, I felt like a rabbit trapped in the headlights here, lots of neon signs and beautiful women. I managed to find a very small bar and plonked myself on a barstool and just watched the world go by for a few hours. I did start chatting to the owner of the bar, a really nice woman about 35 years old and she filled me in on what goes on in the area and the scams to watch out for.
About 1 AM I decided to walk back to my hotel and just savour the sights and sound of Bangkok at night. It was at the point that I decided I would be back time and time again.
Now you may be thinking you are in Thailand and you went back to your hotel alone? Well yes, I have a rule when I travel: I never do anything overseas that I would not do at home. Although I do not judge anyone for going to Thailand and paying to play with some Thai bar girl, it is just not for me.
Back in the UK my company were already planning my next meetings in the UAE and I was planning my next break in Thailand.
I decided that I did not want to be a stranger in Bangkok next time so perhaps I should try and meet a nice Thai girl to take out for dinner (yeah, right, I can hear you all saying) so I signed up to ThaiFriendly. After getting a load of replies, I decided to talk to one or two people who seemed genuine. We shall call them Ping and Pong.
Now Pong is 40 and works as a nurse in a hospital in Bangkok and is divorced with two children, and Ping is 32 and works as a manager in a factory in Chonburi.
Both are what I think you would call good Thai girls, work hard with long hours, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t go to bars at all, actually the type of girl I would go for if I was at home. Some would say boring but hey, horses for courses, eh?
I made it clear when I started to talk to them in September that I was just looking for friendship and a guide for when I was in Bangkok.
After a few weeks, I started to talk to Ping more and more and started to get to know her a little better; it seems she did not get many replies on ThaiFriendly as ‘she is old now and farang man want young girl’ (her words not mine).
So, me and Ping would talk for hours. She would finish work at 4 PM and go to her apartment that the company provide and we would talk on Skype or WhatsApp until she went to sleep at 10 PM. I got to know a lot about Thailand from her, the culture, and the people.
It turns out her family own a rubber farm up North somewhere; she came to BKK to study at University, gained her degree in management, worked for the University for a few years until moving to this factory about 2 years ago. She gets paid around 30,000 Baht per month and sends most of it to her family as she is building a house that she will retire to when she is older. She has never been married nor does she have any children hiding anywhere.
During my next visit in December, we decided to meet up and see how things go. I booked a villa near Bang Sang and she agreed to be my guide for a few days. We had a great time together and by the end of it both admitted that we had fallen in love with each other.
So we have been together for almost 6 months now, she not asked me for any money at all (she says why would I want money from you when I earn enough myself) and we have a good time whenever I am in Thailand.
It has not been plain sailing as we both do things that annoy each other, but this is the thing about getting to know each other and taking it slow.
A couple of things I have learned from my experiences in Thailand over the last 6 months.
Thai girls get very jealous – Hell, I think I can write a book with the amount of times I have been told not to look at other girls, while Ping makes the cut throat gesture!
She can be high maintenance – she needs constant reassurance about how I feel about her and I am not going to run away with a younger Thai girl.
It is not the done thing for a good Thai girl to have a Western boyfriend – Her mother hates the fact she has a Western boyfriend and has told her that only bar girls and bad girls go out with Western men…go figure, eh?
There are some genuine women on ThaiFriendly if you can cut through the gold diggers and drama queens. Just don’t expect to get into the pants of a genuine woman on the first date.
Thai girls work very hard – Both Ping and Pong work at least 10 hours a day, 6 days a weeks for only a modest salary. It is not surprising that some girls take the easy way out.
I still speak to Pong on a regular basis as a friend. She is still looking for love. She recently had a boyfriend from Sweden who dumped her after 3 months as she would not have sex until they were married. She tells me he is now with a bar girl. Pity really as she is a nice person who deserves someone good to look after her. Well I say look after, I think it would be the other way around as despite working as a nurse, Pong is a very rich lady in her own right, she has just sold some land she owns to a developer and has made several million baht in the process but still works as a nurse as it is her calling to help sick people!
There are loads of tales I have from the last 6 months of visiting Thailand and I will do a few more submissions over the next few weeks.
Good on you for not falling in to the trap so many do of going for the online girl who offers sex quickly and who often turns out to be not the best choice, relationship-wise.