Ying, May, Bun, Nicha & Ratta are what some might call good Thai girls. All are university graduates, two are natives of Bangkok and the other three come from around the country. And they all happen to be employees of Sunbelt Asia. One's a lawyer, one's the office manager and the other three are what I guess you'd call office girls. I sat down with them when I was in Bangkok and we talked about Thai women, foreigners and specifically, what mainstream Thai women make of dating foreigners today. Here's what they had to say.
Ying, May, Bun, Nicha, Ratta
What do you think about foreigners in general, foreigners living in Thailand, foreigners visiting Thailand, and dating foreign men?
Bun: Farangs living Thailand? There are so many different kinds. The ones who are working, professionals who have a good profile like a businessman. Then there are foreigners who are looking for a job, to make a future here and the 3rd kind, visitors. For me, the best profile is the guy who has business interests here, at least when we think about looking for a good guy.
May: I feel indifferent. Foreigners might be a little different to Thais but we are all human. People are people.
<Everyone nods their heads.>
May: Foreigners are just people who speak a different language.
So today what does the average Thai women – I mean women similar to yourselves, middle-class Thai women – think of Farang guys in terms of relationships?
Ratta: I think many Thai girls like foreign guys and I think some of these guys think that just because they are a foreigner a Thai girl will like them….but it's not like that. It's not true that all Thai women like foreign guys just because he is a foreigner!
Would you like to date a foreign guy? Have you dated a Farang man?
May: Yes, absolutely!
May: So many reasons. If he is good guy then he will have an open mind.
OK, so what makes a good foreigner in your eyes and why do you want to date a foreign guy and not a Thai man, that is someone who speaks your language and understands what you say?
May: I think many foreign guys have a good mind, are nice, sweet and gentle.
But that sounds like many Thai men!
Bun: Thai men can be real gentleman but on the other side they are assholes. For me, I don't have much experience with Thai guys because the first one was an asshole and I dropped out from them. Never again!
Tell me more.
Bun: They are sweet the first time you meet them but when they get the candy, they can become an asshole!
May: The culture is different between Thai men and Farang men. Foreign men open the door for us whereas a Thai man won't. So foreign men are more like a gentleman. With foreign guys, everything is like lady first but for Thai guys, it isn't. We have to obey the Thai guy.
So foreigners put a woman first?
Bun: For Thai men, the culture is such that we have to obey them and be the housewife. We have to do this and do that.
Ying: The Thai guy is the leader, the boss.
So a Thai man thinks he is higher than a woman?
<Everyone nods in agreement.>
Bun: Foreign men are reasonable in their way of thinking but Thai men are stuck in their ways, very strong-willed and they will not change their thinking. We have to accept what they say.
Ratta: If we speak back to a Thai there will be a fight.
May: Only with some Thai men, not all.
Bun: And then they go to another girl.
So a Thai man will hit you in public?
Bun: No, never in public. If they do that they will lose face. But in private, yes.
It's really that bad?
Bun: Generally. Some Thai men have a lot of partners.
So it sounds like Thai men rule the roost. Does this mean Thai families want to have a male child rather than a female child?
May: That's more the Chinese way and not Thai, but there are a lot of people with Chinese ancestry here.
Bun: Some Thais also think like that because they think a boy can work more than a woman and bring more money to the family.
Nicha: In my opinion, some families would like to have a boy to ensure the family name continues. When the girl adopts the surname of the husband then there won't be another generation of the family.
So what about these things….are they important to you when you look at Farang men? That you can have a look-kreung baby? Money? Does he have to be wealthy? And the way a farang guy looks, I mean the farang look with white skin, long nose and being tall.
Bun: We do not think about how a baby looks. We look at a guy's appearance but we don't go that far! First, we look at how he looks, then we talk with him and see if we get along with him.
Nicha: I like a nice smile.
May: Good body!
Ratta: Tall guy with white skin and a big nose.
Ying: I look at a guy's eyes and listen to what he says. His brain is important to me.
So you're all different. So can I assume then that money is not a part of it as no-one said that?
Bun: Foreigners always think that Thai women always go for money. It's not always the money. That is part of it, sure, but not all of it. In our culture, the guy looks after the woman. Most women still think like that. It's not that we like a foreigner for his money, it's that any guy – be he Thai, farang or anything else – is expected to be able to look after the woman. It does not matter if he is a foreigner or not!
Ummm, that sounds awfully like it is about the money to some extent! I interviewed a bunch of escorts earlier today and some responded to a question about marrying an ugly old dude who was rich and they all said they would be totally ok with that, even if it meant they had a shitty life – so long as the guy supported their family well i.e. provided a lot of money, that was what was important.
Bun: Some women are willing to sacrifice themselves for their family and will do whatever with whoever, wherever. They are happy so long as the guy supports their family. For us, we work hard so we might have a different opinion because we can stand on our own feet.
May: For us, our family is important but not to that extent.
Bun: We want to have a life too.
So what do you make of the idea that some foreigners think Thai women are gold-diggers? Let's take, for example, the dowry situation. For me it is beyond objectionable, it is reprehensible….yet at the same time to you it's completely natural. What do you make of it? Sometimes I wonder if the differences between Thais and foreigners are just too wide for a relationship to work and both parties are genuinely happy.
Nicha: I have talked with foreign men about this. They do not accept it and they strongly disagree with it, just like you. One guy said he can show that he can look after me. He can show he is capable of looking after me but he won't pay a dowry. But at the wedding, it's very important for us that a dowry is paid. In reality, we have to share everything together. I think it's ok to show the money for display at the wedding and then give it back.
May: My family doesn't think about it too much. If the guy is the right guy to look after me then it is fine. If the guy has a great job and everything is ok, a good job will be enough. To build a family together will be enough.
Ratta: I think a foreigner here has to follow the culture if he is here because this is Thailand. If he loves me then he has to follow the Thai way. Why should I change when it is my culture and he is in my country? If he just shows the money then he is selfish. It means he is not serious about me, at least that's what I think.
Ying: My family is not so serious about this. My parents want me to find the right guy to take care of me. That's enough.
So what is your idea about what happens to the dowry money?
Bun: Every family looks at the dowry differently but according to our culture, it is for the family.
Nicha: These days, usually half is given back to the daughter. The tradition in the past was that it all went to the family but now I think it is half : half and the money might be used to set up the new family.
OK, that sounds a little more balanced, I guess, although I am still not convinced. Let's not dwell on that but move on.
How does a guy know what to do with a Thai woman when all of the guidebooks say that Thai women are virtuous and public showing of affection is a no-no, yet these days it has been the experience of me and many of my friends that the average middle-class Thai girl shags on the first night? I'm not talking women from the boonies who want to snare a guy as her boyfriend and think that sex on the first night will do that, or trap a Western guy by falling pregnant, but women with the same profile as you – university-educated with a good job and an above average income. I used to date women with great jobs, some with a very, very high income, and let's just say that things happened fast – about as fast as they could.
Bun: Those girls are hungry! They should not do it on the first night, come on!
But they did!
May: On the first night is not right.
Bun: The first night, we exchange numbers. No bang bang! You need to take your time, a lot of talking, and then maybe after a month or more.
Nicha: You need to take time to see how a guy thinks.
Ok, I won't push the point!
In the past Thailand had a notorious reputation for prostitution and if you go back 20+ years, in Western countries the mere mention of Thailand often elicited comment about prostitutes. Within a certain subset of (mainly younger) Western men, today the reputation is come to Thailand and bang good girls with ease and with no need to pay anything. What do you make of that?
Nicha: Mostly it is online. Guys come for a holiday and things happen. One-night stands.
Bun: I can understand why foreigners won't go to places like guys used to go when they can find these other girls.
Nicha: I met a guy at Oskar and he came to buy us drinks and he was like expecting something.
In your experience do Western guys here expect to get laid on the first night?
Ratta: Guys have tried on the first night….
May: I never had one try.
Ying: Not me, they never tried.
Does it make you angry if he wants to go from zero to 60 in under 5 seconds?
Bun: I would say that the third date is ok, the second maybe if there is a connection. 50:50 on the second date.
Nicha: The second date is not tomorrow….and it should not be the second date. The dates should be over a few days.
Ratta: It should take a couple of weeks.
May: I don't know about the second date. You should take some time to get to know each other first.
<My own experience goes against everything these girls say. 80% of Thai women are good to go on the first date. The sample size is…..not insignificant. So I guess I have at last found the virtuous girls the guidebooks describe – they're all employed at Sunbelt!>
Thai men have a reputation for playing around. Infidelity has long been a concern for Thai women and Thai men don't have the best reputation but Thai women don't always rate well when it comes to infidelity either. What do you say about that?
Bun: Thai women think they are clever enough to do something behind a man's back and not get caught!
So why play around? Is it for fun, or is it about plan B, a possible upgrade? Or is it a lack of attention, perhaps?
Ratta: The promotion period has ended and he is not the same after that.
May: For me, if we are just boyfriend and girlfriend then we have a chance to look and choose. Once I am married then it is different. If the relationship was good, but then it seems like we are going to break up then maybe it would be ok. But if I was married, no. We have a relationship but if we're not getting along together….
So you take a look around before you split up? Doesn't that mean you get the benefits of the relationship when your heart is not in it?
May: Maybe, it depends. If we're living in different places, not living together then who knows. If we're living together then it's different.
It's like a monkey jumping from one tree to another – it doesn't let go of one branch until it has grabbed the next one.
May: We have to test that the new tree is strong enough!
Ratta: I don't do that. Normally a guy says goodbye to me.
Nicha: For me, if I know that the relationship cannot continue then I will say goodbye, and then I can be clear in my mind to look for the new one.
If you had a really good guy and everything was good and the promotion period went on and on and on, would you cheat if you saw a really handsome guy and he got you feeling excited? Well, would you?
<No all around.>
So there needs to be something wrong in the relationship before you would play around?
Bun: If a guy is perfect, why would we cheat?
I think if a man cheats, he will still return to his wife, but if a woman even starts to chat and flirt with someone new, there is a real danger that the relationship is over.
<All nod in agreement.>
Bun: If there is no excitement and the guy sees the girl has done something with someone else then some guys can suddenly become sweet and do everything to get the girl back.
Really? So what about the other way around? What will a Thai woman do if they catch a cheating guy?
Bun: Most Thai women will be quiet and say nothing. They will not confront them. I think they will keep it inside.
So if you get a photo of your boyfriend sent from a friend's iPhone which showed your guy in public with another girl, what would you do?
Bun: I myself would not be quiet! I would ask the guy about it. I can't keep it inside, but many women can.
Nicha: I had this experience 2 years ago. I met my boyfriend with another girl at Central Rama 9!
What did you do?
Nicha: He asked for a week to decide but I told him it was up to me to decide what happened, not him!
OK, so what about if you found your boyfriend's profile on ThaiFriendly and it was active?
Bun: I would be shocked.
Nicha: If we're in a relationship, there is no need for those sites.
Would you say goodbye right away?
Ratta: I would not be ok with that.
May: It may be ok.
What if he said he was looking for someone to practice his Thai with?
Ratta: If he says he is just practicing his Thai I would join and say I am just practicing my English and see how he feels!
What do you make of the effect of the Internet on relationships? I think there is so much opportunity these days. What do you think? Is it the place to meet farangs?
Nicha: Some foreigners are too shy to meet face to face or to approach a lady in other places so the Internet makes it easy for them.
Bun: They are only good on the keyboard.
Nicha: It is a way to meet guys.
Ratta: Not bad.
Anyone ever used it?
<4 shaking their heads in denial.>
Nicha: I used it two years ago but I deleted my account.
What about Tinder?
Nicha: I know that. I used it but deleted that account too!
Ratta: Tell me about it!
Nicha: I dated two people from Tinder.
Bun: Shit, we didn't know that!
Nicha: The first guy was from France. He lived in Bangkok but we didn't keep in touch. The other was an Aussie with a business here. I still see him sometimes! I used to use ThaiCupid but deleted it.
Nicha: Mostly it was old men, 40 years old and up.
So what is the best way or best place to meet a foreigner?
Ratta: Go out and meet him in a bar.
Really? You think that?!
Bun: Have a drink in a bar. Oskar and Australian Bar are quite good places to talk to guys in, and Levels. RCA also.
May: For me, I never like pub or bars. I have had guys approach me in regular life, like at the MRT or when I am shopping and guys have come up to me. It means they have to introduce themselves and make conversation.
Nicha: I prefer online with Facebook. I don't like to meet men in pubs. I think it is mostly a place to meet for one-night stands and I think people who meet there don't keep in touch and it's not about lasting relationships.
Ying: For me, I don't like bars. I prefer to meet through friends of friends.
Bun: Networking events are a good way to meet people too.
Getting back to the money thing, is money an expression of love in Thailand? Does the buying of gold and other gifts really show someone that you love them?
Bun: Yes, there is some truth in it. If you care about her and you want her to look good and to stand out from the crowd you buy things for her.
May: You love your wife so you should give the best to her and she will take care.
Ah, ok, so what do Thai women mean by take care? We hear it all the time but I have never heard a good explanation of what it means.
Ratta: To spoil us!
We keep coming back to money! So it seems like it is all about the money?!
Bun: Everything you do for them can be spoiling them. Go shopping as girls like shopping!
May: Another meaning for take care – and what it means to me – is that he might give me support when I have the need for support.
Bun: We love the guy who we don't have to ask for everything from, the guy who can see what we might need and just take care of it without us asking.
May: We have to do it in return too. It's not just one way.
Bun: We take care of him too – in bed, by cooking, by doing stuff for him.
So take care is about long-term support, it's not putting money in your hand like paying a hooker?
Bun: We don't mean like naughty girls who get money placed in their hand. That's different.
So how important is money in relationships in Thailand? If the guy is good-looking, kind, fun, respectful and sweet but he has only a modest salary of say 40,000 baht a month, what do you think about that? What about, say, an ajarn in a government school earning less than 30,000 baht a month?
<Gasps all around, followed by silence. They don't say it, but I get the definite impression that they are almost surprised that there is such a thing as a foreigner in Thailand earning so little!>
Bun: If I met a guy in a bar and he said he was an ajarn earning 35,000 baht I would disappear and go to the toilet. I know there are different levels of teachers and I was married to one before and am dating one now so I am good with ajarns, just not someone making less than 30,000 a month.
Ratta: I'm not sure about dating ajarns.
Ratta: In my mind, maybe they can speak Thai ok, but the salary of some ajarns in Thailand is too low. Maybe his salary is about the same as mine.
Some teachers do very well. I was earning a touch under 100,000 baht when I stopped teaching several years ago and my ex-colleagues are probably on well over 150,000 baht a month now.
Bun: We need a guy with greater financial ability.
We're back to money again, ladies! So money is important, right?
Bun: Mmmm, it's not totally yes. We want a guy we can lean on if we have trouble. If I lose my job, who can take care of me? If I am in hospital and I have no money to pay the bill, who can help me? I guess it's like we need a pillow.
Nicha: If he has like one million dollars and he doesn't share it, it's not important. We just want someone who can help if something happens to us. That's all.
Bun: It's not about him being a millionaire or the richest man, it's that he has the ability to help if need be and shows himself to be responsible and reliable. Can we lean on a teacher with 35,000 baht a month? Come on, you know Thailand much better than that!
Ok, so what are the bad things about foreigners, maybe stuff you find off-putting or objectionable?
Nicha: Some farang guys look down on Thai women. Foreigners living in Bangkok a long time may think they know all about girls here but maybe they only know about a certain kind of girl.
So have you ever had a foreign guy ask you, “How much?”
Bun: They may know the girls in the naughty places but not the girls with a different profile. I think too many farang men have learned the wrong stuff and maybe got a bad impression about Thailand from those places. We find it really rude when they apply that thinking to us. They disrespect us so it is hard for us to respect them.
Nicha: If a guy asked me how much I'd say 100,000 baht per night!
Most Thai women are great and I think most Thai women would make a Western guy a wonderful wife. But not everyone is perfect. What should Farang guys be careful of when choosing a Thai woman?
Bun: Learn Thai culture first. We will adapt to your culture but learn about us before you talk in a bad way or before you offer a wrong opinion. And be careful of adopting the ideas from other people who might have a bad impression. We can adapt.
Nicha: When a foreigner comes to Thailand, they should stick with educated girls. They will have a much better impression of Thai people, Thai culture and Thai women with educated girls.
Absolutely excellent advice, I absolutely agree.
Bun: Outside Thailand I know we are famous for the nightlife. They might stick with that and apply that thinking to all of us.
May: Don't just go to pubs or places where people tend to meet people for short-term fun.
Bun: Weeks is not enough time to develop a serious relationship. You need to take a long time.
May: We need more time to get to know you and to learn about each other. The guy himself has to be a good guy too. If you want to meet a good person, you must be a good person yourself.
Bun: If you want to meet a good woman, you need to be a good guy. We are also looking for a good guy. If you are a good guy maybe you should do some business and come in and see us at Sunbelt?! A man who comes to Thailand with an idea to do business here will always be interesting and attractive to us. He should be educated, that is important.
What about his personal presentation?
Bun: I met a guy from New Zealand.
Say no more, he sounds like a top bloke!
Bun: He was very sloppy in his dress with flip flops and shorts, but he was very nice. He was actually a lawyer so we can overlook presentation sometimes.
Ratta: The way a man is presented is important.
May: First impressions are important.
What about intelligence? For me, I need that in a woman although I seldom hear a woman say she needs that in a guy.
Bun: Yeah, for me.
Ying: For me, it's very important.
Bun: I like a guy who has his own mind and does not follow me! The guy should be the leader.
But you know, in Thailand, seldom do I see a foreign guy in a relationship with a Thai woman where he is genuinely the leader. And that, in my opinion, is one of the biggest problems in Farang : Thai relationships in Thailand. He might think he is the leader, he might even put on a confident front, but if he has to check with his Thai girlfriend / wife all the time about stuff, or ask her for help for really simply stuff because maybe he doesn't understand the language, then how can he be the leader? Many Western guys here involved with a Thai lady are like a baby dependent on its mother. The language, the culture, the way things are done here along with the sensitivity of many Thais means the farang guy may be reliant on his Thai wife / girlfriend for guidance because he doesn't know what to do / where to go / how to respond in any given situation. I think few foreign guys in a relationship with a Thai woman in Thailand are genuinely the leader.
May: If a guy is great at something then deficiency in another area is not so important.
Before I forget, Thai women have a problem with smell, right?
Bun: Thais like clean-smelling people so yes, being clean is really important!
Are there any other things Farang guys should be aware of when getting involved with Thai women?
Bun: We don't like rude guys. Like sometimes a Farang guy might complain loudly, but we would deal with it in a different way. We would explain that Thai people try to deal with things like this in a nice way. We would explain later to them after dealing with the situation first. One thing we don't like about Thai guys is that they can hit us. It's something we really don't like. But then some Farang guys have a quick temper too.
So why are so many educated Bangkok women single these days? I mean single in the Thai definition, as in not married.
May: It's hard to find a good guy. I'm scared of having a bad relationship. If you have a bad experience it makes it hard to get in to a new relationship. Sometimes it feels like it's better to stay single, especially after some failures.
Bun: You get older and become colder. You start to just look for fun and to find the right one to have a serious relationship with is hard.
Nicha: It can be hard to trust.
Bun: We go through this so many times. I think women are strong these days.
May: Part of making the decision to say goodbye is that we can look after ourselves.
Bun: There are so many questions in a woman's mind. I think every woman you ask will have something different to say. As a woman gets older, she gets colder and colder and it can be hard to find the right guy. When you're 20 it's ok but now, it's so different!
So how many of you have a boyfriend now?
<Silence. Surprising as all are friendly, witty, chatty and while perhaps not photogenic, to my eyes, all are very attractive.>
Bun: Actually, there are lots of single girls in the office here!
Today there are so many single, educated, employed and attractive Thai women in Bangkok. It's unreal that there are so many women in this situation.
Bun: It's better to be single than have the wrong guy or be in a bad relationship.
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken outside The Tavern, a tiny bar on Sukhumvit soi 4 which serves beer, burgers, hot dogs. It is particularly popular with older Americans and a favourite spot to watch NFL matches.
FROM STICK'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.
EMAIL OF THE WEEK – City of exotic smells.
I was chatting with a female backpacker on a Bangkok river shuttle about 10 years ago. I asked her what the most amazing thing she had discovered in Thailand was. Her answer surprised me a bit but when I thought about it I understood her answer: The smells! She was very observant because you can experience so many smells in just a couple of seconds, everything from the sublime to the sewer! If you're smelling something pleasant, give it a second or two and a diesel bus or a herd of motorcycle taxis will obliterate it. Is it that way so even blind people know they are in the Kingdom?
Health and the environment.
Regarding your observation that many westerners are sickly while in Bangkok, I lived there from 1997 – 2002 and again from 2009 – the end of 2011 and found that I regularly had colds, sniffles, post nasal drip and various other minor afflictions despite not being a big drinker, regularly exercising (Lumpini laps) and eating fairly well. My opinion is that Bangkok is a hub of millions of people with many coming from other countries and importing various cold, flu, and sludge viruses. I found that in the tourism high season, waves of serious colds and flu would roll through my workplace. These weren't just minor problems but ass-whipping afflictions that would stay with you for 3 – 6 weeks. Add to that the relative air pollution in the city (yes, it's far better than back in the late 90's / early 00's when the sun was a vague blob) and people just get ill. Since retiring at the end of 2011 and moving to Udon Thani, I've had just a couple of minor colds, no flu, and I breathe much better than down in Bangkok.
The Cuba Dave jinx.
I have been reading Cuba Dave since last year. He is a jinx. Every bar he visited in the Dominican Republic got raided and shut down. He did the same in Costa Rica. He was arrested in the Dominican Republic last year. He also invited a feminist journalist in to his house in Florida last year and she did a hatchet job on him. His video blogs would make watching paint dry seem interesting. He did not learn and now this in Costa Rica where he is in deep trouble with very little money.
The downfall of Cuba Dave.
I have visited Cuba Dave's website a few times and wasn't shocked when I heard he was arrested. He's so in your face, self-aggrandizing and promoting that he was begging for something bad to happen. He was off-putting, to put it mildly. Imagine the creepy guy sitting next to you at the bar discussing in detail, loudly, his exploits of the night before while fondling a girl on his lap. That's Dave. This is one of the reasons I am reticent to start any kind of blog myself. While I enjoy the naughty side, I do, quite hypocritically I admit, cringe at guys like Dave. I've often thought that these sorts of websites should be run by some guy living in Iowa who never leaves his room and uses correspondents to provide pics and text. I also do not understand why anyone in the age of the cloud would have anything on their laptop or camera that confirms their activities. Even if CubaDave is acquitted, he is going to spend significant time in a shithole prison and will surely suffer.
Not hardcore enough for some.
Just a point on Bar Bar: it is a bit of a comedy place, as is Demonia, and no-one from the real BDSM scene in Bangkok would even walk inside.
From the best beer in the world to piss in a green bottle.
As an accountant I guess I have an appreciation for the past. I really enjoy old pictures and old newspapers as it makes me think about how things were – records of history. As it relates to relatively recent history, like the past 15 years, I often reflect on where I was and what I may have been doing / thinking when reading about things back then. To this point, I have begun a trip down Thailand memory lane. If you have the ability to track your website's viewer activity (especially by geographical location), you'll see that some character in Chicago has gone back to the original Stickman guide and is also making his way (only a few months through) the Stickman weekly columns, starting with the first issue back in 2001 (which was when I met you on my first trip). I read them while at the gym on the stepper and in the steam room. I love 'em. Man oh man, it is so cool to see how things have changed over time, especially you. I am only up to September, 2001, in this rewind through history, but it is so interesting to see how certain things have actually stayed the same, while some things have taken significant turns. I wonder what column it was in that Heineken goes from being the best beer in the world to being piss in a green bottle, as I recall a much later weekly reference!
Sexy ladies comfortable with themselves.
Count me as a likely customer of the new bar, MILFs. At 55, I'm not interested in a teen or 20-something bargirl. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my limited bargirl experience was actually with MILFs. In Bacarra, where we (my, uh, wife at the time and I) went at your recommendation, we barfined a fine-looking lady for a short time. We had so much that fun later in our trip we spent the weekend with her and found out she was 38 and has two kids. I would have guessed 28. Similar situation in Chiang Mai at Foxy Lady. Found out later she was also 38 with one kid. I would have guessed 25-ish. Nice, sexy ladies comfortable with themselves and low-key enough with their clothing style and demeanour that it felt comfortable doing non-bar activities with them, like visiting temples.
Cheap flights to Thailand.
I was recently looking into a flight from LAX to Manila at $576 round trip on Eastern China Airlines but after reading your column I checked the flight to Thailand and was surprised that flights are $581 to $610 round trip from LAX to BKK from Sept thru December (minus Dec 15th thru Dec 22nd). Thanks, I'll probably fly into Thailand.
The view from the Golden Bar.
This time next week the venue known to many as the Golden will be no longer. The Golden Bar – the open air beer bar on the outside of the Nana Hotel opposite Hillary 4 – will serve customers for the last time on Wednesday night and will be consigned to Bangkok bar history. It's goodbye to another long-running Bangkok bar as full of character as it is full of characters.
In some parts of the world they are called a grass, in others a snitch and now one Patpong bar owner is calling them maggots. Just who are these maggots? Patpong bar owners are on high alert for the two foreigners working with the Thai police who enter bars and look for any sort of non-compliance which they report to the brown-shirts who take swift action. These two maggots are responsible for the closure of Pussy Collection and Kiss in Patpong soi 1. Patpong bar owners know who the two maggots are.
As was reported a couple of weeks ago, following a meeting between officers from the Lumpini Police Station and bar bosses and owners from bars in Nana Plaza, bars in the plaza have been told that they *can* stay open until 3 AM. Most of the foreigner-owned bars are taking advantage of the Lumpini coppers bending the rules, whereas most of the Thai-owned bars close at 2 AM. It should be noted that most bars right outside the plaza are in darkness at 2 AM so if passing by you could be mistaken for thinking that the plaza is closed, when in fact many bars inside are still open.
Cowboy was described as busy this week, one mate relaying that bars were between 65% and 80% full – which sounds pretty good for this time of year.
After Skool in Soi Cowboy has long been known as a venue where oral relief is available on the premises – just beyond the counter at the back of the bar has long been many a naughty boy's favourite spot. After Skool now has a couple of coyote dancers and the Thai manager says the Japanese men like them. It's not known whether they take a bottle of Listerine with them in to work each night.
Word from the bar areas is that bomb issue has passed and is hardly being talked about now, even if it is still lead news in the newspapers.
Rio in Soi Cowboy was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday this past week. Rio is one of the 7 bars owned by the Arab on Cowboy and he long ago stopped answering my emails (not that I blame him with all the shit I have written about him for years) so I don't know the reason why the bar was closed. I doubt it was anything nefarious. Of the Arab bars, Raw Hide opens at 7:00 PM most nights while the rest of The Arab bars open much later, in fact they are often the last bars to open the doors and turn on the neon.
Secrets in Pattaya has another new manager, Steve. Will he last longer than the last manager?
In last week's column I mentioned that the sound systems in The Strip and Black Pagoda respectively were just too loud. That complaint has been taken seriously by the Nameless Patpong Bar Group and this week management purchased a decibel meter in response. That's a start. Here's hoping that the volume is turned down a little and that someone keeps an eye on the DJs when management is not around.
I wouldn't say no to a night out in Bangkok from time to time. When I think about which part of town I'd make for and which would be my bar of choice, you might be surprised. Forget the likes of Rainbow 4 or Bacarra or any other busy, glitzy bar. I'd prefer somewhere you can linger, drink slowly, enjoy older music and generally not be bothered. The bar I have in mind has decor from the '90s and the music is even older. The clincher is that it is the one bar where you're guaranteed to experience the sort of atmosphere you did when you were a newbie. Sure, the ladies aren't the sexiest – far from it – but if that's what you're looking for it would never be your first choice. The bar I'd head to? Sexy Night on Nana Plaza's middle floor.
Is this Bangkok's cleanest (and by definition best) gogo bar toilet?
In response to an email in last week's column about the state of toilets in Bangkok gogo bars, the owner of Bangkok Bunnies responded and claims the toilets in the bar are the best of any chrome pole bar in Bangkok and are kept super clean. Here's hoping they stay that way.
The Dirty Doctor has nominated #35 at Dollhouse for the honour of best butt in Bangkok. He happened to point her out when I was in town a couple of weeks back but alas, I was camera-less that night. For more than a year we agreed that – #95 at Tilac – had the top bum and she did quite well out of it when various mentions were made of it in the column, helping to make her even more popular. If you happen to be in Dollhouse, let me know if you concur about #35's derriere.
I note some younger guys believe that ALL young Thai women are keen to date them. Yes, more Thai women than ever are open-minded to dating white guys these days but there are still plenty of Thai women who simply wouldn't consider a foreign boyfriend at all, often because their family would not approve of them dating a non-Thai. Thailand may be changing but family is still very important in Thailand and in some families that means only dating the right sort of Thai guy – and in some families foreigners are still a big no-no!
Over the years I have had many requests to set up a page on this site with the details of bargirls who are supported by a guy in the West but who cheat on him. I have also been encouraged to start a page profiling bargirls who are HIV+ or who are known to be thieves or in some way harm or rip off customers. Needless to say, I would never ever post such info online. Given how many people have made such a request, I'm not surprised to see that an Italian has decided to mouth off to all the world about the HIV status of some Thai ladyboys. I am not going to provide a link to this particular page, but merely comment on it. Said Italian has posted photos of some ladyboys, doctoring them and writing HIV+ on them. I know many will think that what he has done is in the public good. Don't count me amongst them.
Confirmation came this week that the new multiple-entry tourist visa will soon be reality. It will be available from Thai embassies and consulates from November 13th of this year – at least that is the plan. Don't be surprised if some embassies and consulates don't offer it for a while and quite possibly some won't offer it at all. That's just the way it is – not every embassy and consulate offers every category of visa and many locations don't issue multiple-entry, only single-entry. The multiple-entry tourist visa offers a more flexible option for those who wish to spend time in Thailand. Be they long-stay tourists, or those who are jumping between Thailand and neighbouring countries, it will be a good option. Despite much criticism, Thailand offers a wide range of visa options and this new addition means that no matter what your situation is, there is a visa for you so, yes, foreigners can stay in Thailand long-term if they so wish.
How can it be that in a country which grows gazillions of bananas, supermarkets seemingly don't know how to store them and by the time they reach the shelves they are ruined? Maybe it says more about supermarkets than anything but for sure, if you're going to buy bananas in Thailand, buy them on the street or in a market. I'd give bananas in supermarkets a wide berth.
Quote of the week is a Stickman original, "I knew I had become 'Mr. Boring' and the idea of trying out a new vegetarian restaurant in Bangkok excited me more than doing a nightlife photo shoot."
Reader story of the week comes from Hua Hin Harry, "Online Dating – Can It ‘Work’…? – Part 2".
Yet another Eastern European is arrested in Bangkok with a stack of copied ATM cards.
The Bangkok Post highlights the details of the new multiple entry tourist visa which will become available in November.
The BBC reports that printers in Thailand refuse to print an edition of the New York Times Asia edition.
A New Zealander in prison in neighbouring Myanmar ought to remember that if you can't do the time, don't do the crime!
Thailand's military government has ordered the creation of the great (fire)wall of Thailand to control info online.
The Phuket property nightmare article on the BBC website is getting huge traffic beyond just a Thai interest audience.
Ask Sunbelt Asia Legal
Sunbelt Asia's legal department is here to answer your questions relating to legal issues and the law in Thailand. Send any legal questions you may have to me and I will pass them on to Sunbelt Legal and their response will run in a future column. You can contact Sunbelt's legal department directly for all of your legal needs.
Question 1: I would like to know if there is a law that regulates the minimum age of visitors to hotel rooms. I am referring to prostitutes I want to bring back to my room; not families who check in with their children. Hotels have different policies of minimum age 18 or 20 for visitors. Furthermore, are hotels required by law to keep ID of visitor at reception or is just some hotels' policy? Separate but related question: Which law regulates minimum age of customers for bars, discos and gay saunas and minimum age of staff to work there? I read somewhere that you have to be 20 to enter a bar or disco as a customer, but can work there from age 18.
Sunbelt Legal responds: Any guest visitor age policy would be set by the individual hotel and they can require that any guest below age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent or guardian in order to stay. They can also require that a guest leave their ID at the front desk as the hotel is required to submit their guest list to the government.
As for an entertainment business, in order to obtain and keep their license, all entertainment business operators are forbidden to employ anyone under the age of 20 and are required by law stop anyone under the age of 20 from even entering the premises.
Labour Law stipulates that employers are not permitted to employ anyone under the age of 15 and are able to recruit employees between 15 and 18 only so long as they do not work in hazardous jobs, locations or times that are listed in the law.
From the archives, soldiers outside Madrid, Patpong 1
So far away from Bangkok I cannot comment about what it's like on the ground, but the impression I get from afar – and which is shared by mates in Bangkok – is that Thailand actually feels like it is controlled by a military government. In the past the military always said it was in control, and most people tended not take much notice. I prefer to shirk politics in this column so won't say much more, the distinct impression I get – and I am certainly not alone – is that the military is going to remain in charge for some time, and they might just rule in a way you expect a military government to rule.