Nothing To Compare
When reading articles about Thailand comparing the land of angels 20 years ago and now, it is obvious that most claim what a great time they had in the past. Myself, living in Thailand from 1993 until 2000 I had a great time. I wanted to know if 2015 really was that different from how things used to be. For that reason and because I needed a holiday, I went to Thailand and explored the cities of Bangkok, Pattaya and Korat.
After arriving, we went straight to Pattaya in a private taxi which I had organised online. The lady was really nice and we had some nice talk in the car about Thailand including government issues, the drought and the great food. Those days I was around Pattaya central and I got a bungalow (yeah, it is really a bungalow) at Jomtien.
So what is written about the nightlife in Pattaya and what you can see in the many YouTube videos is more or less true and you can get your 'blow job' offer almost everywhere. There are so many massage places where upfront they offer you a decent massage but once you are there and the rooms are separated by a thin cloth they offer you some extra services for 500 baht. It seems that just everyone is doing it there is no difference if you are on soi 6 or any other soi. I’m able to speak Thai so it was a bit easier to communicate but the fact is that there are so many women in their mid-30ies up to what age, I don't know! Who needs a job when it seems that this massage lark is probably the easiest way to enter the industry.
Pattaya is doing fine and when I see all the Thai / Farang couples living there it seems there is a multi-cultural acceptance which is a good thing. Jomtien is doing some heavy beach 'preparings' and the sea is great for a nice swim and some great waves so having this combination of a quiet beach day and exciting nightlife makes it a nice place.
Then I went for a short trip up to Korat as I love to travel upcountry and chat with the local people. Up there I felt that Thailand has hardly changed these past 20 years as people are friendly and showing the true Thai smile. Korat may not offer much besides some beautiful temples but it is the gateway to Isaan and I certainly would like to go back and explore more than just Korat.
So after Isaan I thought to have a look around Bangkok as my main time living in Thailand was there. I tried to find my location as of 1993 but Sukhumvit has changed so much that I felt I was in another, more modern city. Obviously I checked the nightlife areas like Nana and Soi Cowboy but they remind me of the commercial ways of today. It is not the same any more at all, but what should I expect? 20 years ago things simply were very, very different.
There is no one to blame. Now you just see the facts more clearly that the in the nightlife industry money is the key word. Furthermore, one reader has indicated correctly that those places are more and more invaded by Asians (not Thais).
As a former regular of Thermae, I had to pass there on a Friday night as well and yeah, there was a line-up of nice and young girls but not really looking at me as they were focusing on the Asian men. This is nowadays this place where Asians are in groups and just grab 5 or 10 girls – what a trading place! It's hard to believe that the Thermae still has the same staff working there as there was 20 years ago. And the guy (now with white hair) even remembered me! I gave him once a nice tip some 20 years ago but still he came right away to me and shook my hand!
One big remark I recognize after the comparison of now and 20 years ago is the fact that Thais nowadays are more open to criticize things around them, like the government or even in a small approach about the political sides and their respective supporters. Obviously they would not talk entirely openly with me about it but being in a car or in their home there are discussions about how this land will end up. Especially the current government, it is really difficult to understand for any middle-class person. Maybe I was more talking with basically red-shirt persons but the fact is that the current government is useless and my friends save the governments has driven the economy down and in to one big mess.
Overall, it was a nice picture about Thailand though things have changed a lot. But to compare here with now and before, everywhere is the same as we have our vision of how it was and we wish that it never changed. Oh, for the old Thermae as it was in 1994! But then I say to that I have changed as well so we need to stop a bit and see the reality as it is now.
Thailand is still a nice place to go but as mentioned in previous posts – to do business is getting more and more difficult so I would suggest that a nice holiday with some extras is still a valuable experience.
I bet the country had changed drastically from when you lived there.
Expanding on what point you made about Thais being more willing to criticise things these days, I'd agree. Thais are more business )money orientated and I also think in some ways the country has become polarised. Thailand is not unique in this regard but I think that's never a good thing for any country!