Thailand - The Problems With Thai Girls
As I have described elsewhere, there are many good reasons for Western men to get involved with Thai girls. For many men above a certain age (around 40) who have average looks and limited means it is impossible to have a relationship with a young, attractive girl in their own countries.
That certainly isn't the case in the undeveloped parts of Asia, including Thailand. Age differences and looks don't matter, and wealth is relative. You may not consider yourself very wealthy, but in Thailand an average Western income can provide a good life for a poor Thai girl.
However, in life there is never any such a thing as a free lunch and although it is extremely easy to get into a relationship with a young, attractive Thai girl there will be problems - I can guarantee it.
You may spend an idyllic, problem-free two week vacation in Phuket with a Thai girl who repeatedly tells you how much she loves you, but never be deceived into thinking that a long term relationship with the same girl will be the same.
One foreign man who did this wrote to me afterwards and was very excited about the prospect of marrying a young Thai girl. He went back to Thailand to meet her family with a view to discussing wedding arrangements.
At the family home he was given a long shopping list. He wasn't an enormously wealthy man and couldn't afford to buy her father a new pickup truck and have air-conditioning installed in their house. When the family realised this they threw him out. The wonderful new relationship he believed he was entering into was over.
Most of the Thai girls who make themselves available to foreign men are from a poor background. They have a low level of education and have had bad experiences with Thai men. Academically they aren't very bright, but they are extremely astute and perceptive and they are masters at controlling foreign men.
Western doctors have written to me about problems with Thai girls and I have heard about other Western men of very high intelligence who have fallen victim to the charms of poor Thai girls. The problem is that the girls tap into the man's conscience at a very primal level. At this level no amount of education or intelligence can deal with the feelings and emotions that are involved.
Never have an expectation that there won't be problems with Thai girls. All relationships have problems and when there is such a massive culture gap (which I shall come on to) the problems will be bigger. All you can realistically do is try to get involved with a Thai girl and have a relationship in which the problems are manageable and which won't get you into huge trouble.
Many Western/Thai relationships fail, and some fail quite spectacularly. There are now many homeless Western men in Thailand and the main reason is that they have lost all their wealth in a failed relationship with a Thai girl or, in some cases, a Thai man. I should add that this page is primarily for heterosexual Western men who get involved with Thai females. I have heard from homosexual Western men who have had problems with Thai men, but I have no personal experience.
Thailand is exceptionally protectionist and every law is designed to give Thais an advantage while disadvantaging foreigners. The fear of losing a young, attractive Thai girl may cause an insecure Western man to transfer lots of his wealth, but there is absolutely no protection for foreigners in Thailand. Foreigners cannot own land in Thailand and the easiest option always seems to be to transfer money to a Thai wife or girlfriend, but this has great risk attached. To use the classic old caveat, never give more money to a Thai girl than you can afford to lose.
Before I go on I will give you my credentials. I first visited Thailand in 1987 and mostly played around with bar girls, but I also got into a relationship with a girl in Pattaya that was a bit deeper. She was married to a farang who worked in the Middle East and visited Thailand occasionally, but he had virtually deserted her. On subsequent visits to Thailand as a tourist I messed around with some loose women, but there was nothing serious.
In 2003 I went to live in Thailand and got into a relationship very quickly. This turned out to be very volatile and she tried to trap me by making a unilateral decision to get pregnant. Subsequently, she slipped over on a wet bathroom floor and lost the child. She wasn't a bad person, but after this I could never trust her again. She just wanted someone to take care of her and tried to force the issue without asking me if it was what I wanted.
I had girlfriends afterwards, but was always a bit wary based on that experience. At around the age of 50 I started feeling quite lonely - the first time I had felt this way in my life. I no longer had any desire to travel around alone, as I had always done, but felt a desire to settle down.
I got married in 2010 to a teacher at the school where I worked. The marriage was arranged fairly quickly because she was pregnant, but this time there were no surprises as I knew what I was doing. Our daughter was born in 2011, followed by a son in 2014. When the relationship is going well it is good, but - just like my previous girlfriend - she suffers from quite extreme mood swings and she can be an exceptionally difficult person to get along with.
One Western man wrote to me stating that Western/Thai marriages never last more than four years. Mine has and I also know of other Western men who have been married to Thais for a long time, but it is never easy.
This page isn't about worst case scenarios. The worst case scenario is being murdered for your money (which does happen occasionally in Thailand), or being left penniless and homeless. Depending on your own personal outlook, being left penniless might actually be considered a worse fate than being murdered.
It's more about the problems you may encounter with 'normal' Thai girls who, after meeting them initially, appear to be totally innocuous and harmless. In most cases, they aren't.
The Land Of Smiles?
I have never liked this sobriquet and I think that it misleads a lot of foreigners. Every year there are news stories of foreigners getting into big problems in Thailand and basically it is because they do stupid things. I think that the 'Land of Smiles' tag lulls many foreigners into a false sense of security. Thailand isn't necessarily a dangerous country, but it certainly isn't a safe one.
When you live permanently with Thais you notice that they don't smile much, actually they are quite miserable most of the time. Even if you don't live with a Thai, just observe Thais when they don't realise they are being observed and there is a lot of sadness and misery on their faces.
From a very early age they are taught to put on a happy smile to the outside world, no matter how they feel inside. I see it with my wife. She can be as miserable as hell indoors, but when she meets someone outside it is all smiles.
Nothing is ever as it seems on the outside in Thailand. It is the land of image over substance.
I said above that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Western men who are totally undesirable to females in their own country can have relationships with young, attractive Thai girls but it isn't because Thai girls are genetically predisposed to be attracted to fat, old farangs.
Ignore anything the girls say about love. The only reason you even get invited to the party in the first place is because you are perceived to have money. The majority of Thais live quite close to the poverty line and many Thais believe that all Westerners have infinite reserves of cash.
Unless you are extremely deluded you will realise this already. It's no big secret. But, it's understandable, you think. Life isn't much fun if you don't have enough money to meet basic needs so you can understand the obsession with money. You think.
The problem with many Thai girls is that it goes a lot further than meeting the basic needs, which you are happy to provide. Thailand isn't a poor country - it's a rich country with a lot of poor people. There are displays of wealth everywhere and most Thais - even very poor ones - seem to think that they are entitled to a slice of the pie. If you think that a poor Thai girl will be satisfied with you providing the basic needs of life, think again.
If she wants a mobile phone (which all Thais regard as being essential), don't think she will be satisfied with a model that gets the job done. She will want the latest iPhone. This is how most Thai girls think and when there is a 'rich' farang around there is no need to settle for second best.
Furthermore, it doesn't stop with just providing for the girl. I was told explicitly by one Isaan girl that the man she marries must love her family just as much as he loves her. In other words, he has to support her family financially just as he supports her.
My wife is the youngest of eight and told me that I am lucky because I don't have to give her siblings any money because they are all older, however, if she had younger siblings I would be expected to give them money. There seem to be regional differences with this attitude and the Isaan girls are more demanding that foreign husbands support their families.
I also believe that Thai girls from poor backgrounds develop an unhealthy obsession with wanting more money even when they have money, and that this habit is hard to break. A desire for more money becomes the main thing that defines them. For most Westerners, money is simply a means to an end, rather than the end itself. We need money to do the things in life that we want to do.
With poor Thais the desire for money is the goal with nothing beyond that. If they meet wealthy foreigners who give them money, they don't then know what to do with the money. Having enough money to do whatever they want has never been an option, so they don't think about what they would do in this situation.
If they are given a lot of money they simply want more, or they just buy things that they don't really need or want. There have been Thais who have been very successful in business and who have become very rich, but instead of enjoying their wealth they just want to get richer and richer. Some eventually destroy themselves or end up fleeing the country, unable to return to the country of their birth. There has also been quite a big problem in Thailand with monks helping themselves to temple donations, getting very rich, and then fleeing the country. Money is a real obsession.
If someone has an end goal and you give them money to achieve that end goal there is a chance that they will be satisfied. If they have no end goal, but their goal is simply to want more money, no matter how much money you give them they will always want more and they will never be satisfied. I noticed years ago that many Thai girls never seem to be satisfied, no matter how much you give them.
The bottom line is that money will always be a problem with the vast majority of Thai girls. To a certain extent it is perfectly understandable, but the problems often go to a level that isn't understandable because money is such an obsession in Thailand.
This is an extremely significant reason why Western men have so many problems with Thai females, but 'Culture' is another term that I don't really like because I think it is nebulous and not really understood by many. In the 'Culture' section of a personal website about Thailand written by a farang all he had was an entry about the Songkran festival. Apparently, all you need to know about Thai culture is that once a year Thais throw water at each other. Unfortunately, it goes a lot further than that and the subject is so multi-faceted that I can't hope to include everything here. All I can do is give a few examples.
All societies have value and belief systems - the things that people in those societies place importance upon and believe in. In many Western countries the value and belief systems are fairly similar, but compared to a country such as Thailand they are vastly different.
It can take a very long time living in Thailand to learn about the Thai value and belief systems, although some aspects will become apparent quite quickly. If you have been brought up in another society where the values and beliefs are different, you may find Thai values and beliefs difficult to accept.
Not accepting Thai values and beliefs in Thailand can lead to some big problems and some are so sensitive that they are best left unspoken. Others aren't quite as sensitive, but Thais - my wife included - believe that in Thailand foreigners should adopt Thai values and beliefs. This isn't always easy.
In the society I was brought up in a wife's loyalty was firstly to her husband. This isn't the case in Thailand. When my wife says 'My family' she is actually referring to her parents and siblings, not to her husband and children.
I am not the most important person in her life, even though financially she is completely dependent on me. In her value system the most important person is her mother, probably followed by the elder sister who raised her as a mother. I (and even our children) come quite a long way down the list.
Just after we were married her mother came to stay and my wife told me that I would be sleeping alone because she and her mother would be sleeping together. Can you imagine this happening in the West? Of course not, but many things happen in Thailand that wouldn't happen in Western countries because the value and belief systems are so different.
Money is always very high in the Thai value system and Thais are people-oriented, not results-driven. As a kid I always remember that my parents spent a lot of time on their house and garden because they wanted to see the results of their work. Many Thai houses are a mess because Thais much prefer to be out visiting people than working on their houses.
Many of the problems that I now have with my wife have come as something of a surprise because I wasn't expecting to have problems in certain areas. Education is an example.
There have been many education surveys taken in Asian countries and the results are always similar. Singapore, Japan and South Korea come at the top of the list and Thailand is always near the bottom. Even countries that Thais consider to be less developed than Thailand score higher in these surveys.
I have had experience of the Thai education system both as a teacher and a parent. It has some serious problems, however, Thais believe that it is fine. As far as they are concerned it doesn't need changing and they certainly don't like criticism from outside.
I strongly disagree with the methods used in the education system and refuse to make my children follow a system that I believe is fundamentally flawed, but my attitude causes big problems with my wife because she does believe in them.
If you read anything about Thai cultural behaviour you will learn that there is a culture of non-confrontation. It isn't quite true because many Thai drivers are exceptionally confrontational, but generally Thais will avoid confrontation.
If I go to a restaurant with my wife and the service and/or food is really bad, she won't complain or say anything because she wants to avoid confrontation. Instead, she just won't go back again.
This lack of confrontation can be quite soothing and nowadays when I observe farangs being confrontational I find it quite shocking. However, there are problems.
If a restaurant provides bad service and no one says anything it is unlikely that anything will improve because the restaurant doesn't get any feedback. Likewise, when I have a disagreement with my wife and she refuses to discuss the problem because she wants to avoid confrontation, the problem doesn't get resolved.
People don't need to think in exactly the same way to get along, in fact, opposites often attract, but when there are huge differences in your value and belief systems it can sometimes lead to (as they say in divorce cases) irreconcilable differences.
There's a Thai proverb about old cows eating young, soft grass ('ko gair gin yaa on' is an approximate transliteration). What it means is that old men have a preference for young women, and most men do.
In all my time in Thailand I have only ever met a couple of foreign men who have Thai wives roughly the same age as them. It is quite easy for foreign men to get involved with girls a lot younger than themselves and - purely because they can - many do.
Some years ago a farang started sending me e-mails about the problems he was having with his Thai girlfriend. Initially, I took the e-mails seriously and didn't ask any questions about age. This correspondence went on for a while and eventually I asked him about their respective ages. She was 19 and he was in his 70's. It was at that point that I stopped trying to help him.
I too have a Thai wife who is a lot younger than me, but the age gap isn't quite as extreme. However, it is still big enough to cause occasional problems. At different times in our lives we all have different desires and interests. This is perfectly natural and everyone is the same.
When I was my wife's age I was interested in things that now bore me, but she - naturally enough - is interested in those things. It results in a situation where two people living together want to do different things and - yet again - it means that one person (normally me) has to compromise.
I have already discussed the problems caused by money and a huge culture gap when getting involved with Thai girls, but when you throw in a big age gap it creates even more problems.
This isn't the fault of the girl, of course, but it is worth considering. If you're 70 do you really want to accompany your young Thai wife to see Justin Bieber in concert?
Many Thai women in their 30's and 40's still look great. If you are in your 50's, 60's or 70's there really is no need to chase girls in their teens and 20's - even if you can. I know that many foreign men lose all common sense when they arrive in Thailand, but just try to be a little bit sensible.
Status, Power And Control
Thai society is highly inequitable. There is a very clearly defined social hierarchy and people lower down in the hierarchy are subservient and follow orders from those above. It isn't very nice and it isn't very fair, but this is how Thailand works.
People lower down don't particularly like the way things are, but in mainstream society they can't do much to change their social position. Entering the monkhood is one way that a man from a low background can achieve a higher status, and this is also why there is a big obsession with academic qualifications. Education in Thailand isn't primarily to acquire knowledge, but to acquire titles which elevate a person's social status.
It's the same on Thai roads, but it works in a slightly different way. This is one of the reasons why Thai roads are so dangerous. There is no concept of following traffic laws or giving way to other people. Right of way is obtained by having a larger vehicle, driving aggressively and/or intimidating other drivers. Some Thais drive with guns or other weapons in their cars for the same reason.
At home many Thai women suffer domestic violence from male partners who are physically stronger. None of these forms of control are pleasant, but this is how Thailand works.
When Thai women are in relationships they also want to be in charge and control their partner. If my wife and I decide to go anywhere, it is my wife who wants to decide where we go or if we buy something for the home it is her who wishes to decide what we buy. I always pay and she hasn't contributed a single Baht since we were married, but she wants to be in control.
Seeing as she has a lower social status, a lower financial status and is physically weaker you may wonder how this happens. Indeed, it confused me when I visited Thailand as a tourist. I met Western men with Thai wives and the Thai women were obviously in control. They dealt with everything and the men acted like lapdogs who simply had one purpose. When it was time to pay it was the men who put their hands in their pockets to give their wives money.
Initially, I attributed this to language. Many foreign men who go to live in Thailand have no inclination to learn to speak or read Thai, even though the basics are quite easy. They just leave this to their Thai wives because it is the easiest option, but by doing so they hand control to their wives. Most Thai women can speak a little English, even though it is very limited and direct.
This is one of the reasons why, after I moved to Thailand, I put a lot of emphasis on getting to grips with the language. My Thai will never be great, but I can understand quite a lot of spoken and written Thai and I can normally make myself understood if the Thai person makes an effort to listen.
However, since I have been married I have realised that it isn't simply a case of proficiency with the Thai language. The language of communication between me and my wife is Thai, but she still wants to control me.
She does this using a variety of emotional techniques, and actually - since I have had children - I have noticed that her techniques are very similar to those of a small child. When my children want sweets or a toy and are refused they scream and cry until they become unbearable and you give in just to get some peace.
It's slightly different with my wife, in that she becomes unbearably miserable and when you are living in the same house as an unbearably miserable person it can make your life quite miserable too. She does this if she doesn't get her own way in the hope that next time she will get her own way because I don't want a repeat performance. Just like the other forms of control used in Thailand, it isn't very pleasant but this is how Thailand works.
As I started off by saying, there is no such thing in life as a free lunch. Many Western men actively seek out young, attractive Asian girls because it isn't possible to meet young and attractive girls for relationships in their own countries. But there are some big drawbacks.
With Thai females money is always a problem and the lust for money isn't to achieve an end goal. They simply want more money for the sake of wanting more money. The more money they have, the more money they want, and the cycle never stops. In addition, you may start thinking that you are only responsible for treating the girl and any offspring, but many Thai girls expect you to take care of their entire extended families.
Never underestimate the culture gap and never delude yourself that the differences are superficial. This has nothing to do with wai'ing instead of shaking hands, nothing to do with eating with spoons and forks instead of knives and spoons, and nothing to do with splashing water once a year.
The differences in Eastern and Western value and belief systems are enormous and this can cause huge rifts between two people involved in a close relationship. Most of the time in Thailand I have a contorted expression on my face from biting my lip and holding my tongue at the same time. This is because while living in Thailand it is me who has to compromise. I think that there fewer problems with Thai girls living outside of Thailand.
The Western man who told me that Western/Thai marriages never go beyond four years was probably quite close to the truth. Had it not been for my children there have been several occasions when I would have just walked out, but I don't want to make life difficult for my kids.
If you take a Thai girl back to your own country I suspect it might be easier because she will be more willing to accept Western beliefs and values but, as I have found with my wife, Thai females expect foreign men to abide by Thai values and beliefs if they live in Thailand.
Had I stayed in the UK I would still have been single and childless. Moving to Thailand and taking a Thai wife has given me things in life, such as my young family, that I could never have dreamed of past a certain age in my old life.
For that I am very grateful, but it is never plain sailing. Thai girls, fantastic as they are, can be very difficult people to live with permanently.
If your situation is similar to the one I was in before I moved to Thailand and you are looking for more out of life but it isn't available at home, by all means give Thailand a shot. A new life in Thailand can be very rewarding, but moving to Thailand and getting involved with Thai girls should come with a large government health warning.
No matter how wonderful the relationship is while you are enjoying a two week vacation on the beach in Thailand, never take things at face value in Thailand. The girls are very perceptive, very manipulative, very controlling and fantastic actresses.
Be very careful with money. Thai laws are there to protect Thais, not foreigners. As a foreigner in Thailand you will most probably stay in the country on renewable short term (one year) visas and you have absolutely no rights.
You can't buy land or property, apart from condos, and any investment should be considered a risk. Some foreign men have handed over everything to their Thai partners, only to be booted out and left with nothing - not even the airfare to get home. Always have a backup plan.
Thailand for Tourists
Living In Thailand
Thailand is an incredibly photogenic country, both for its landscapes and its people. Regardless of whether you enjoy large Asian cities, beaches and islands, or rice fields and mountains, Thailand has something for you and it is a dream destination for photographers.
One of the great things about visiting Thailand is that hotels are plentiful and a lot cheaper than in most other countries. I always use Agoda to book hotels in Thailand. The company was established in Thailand and has great local knowledge, as well as a huge inventory of hotels.
If you click on one of the destinations opposite you will get a list of hotel deals from Agoda. It's generally a good idea to book on-line because you will get a good room rate and you won't suffer the disappointment of arriving at a hotel to find that it is full.
I book hotels regularly in Thailand and I have always found Agoda to be the best on-line travel agent. At times I have spent a lot of time researching hotel prices and although other deals sometimes look better at first I always end up returning to Agoda.
If you don't wish to pay for your hotel at the time of booking, Booking.com normally allows you to pay when you check in at the hotel. Some people prefer this method, but I have always found Booking.com to be more expensive than Agoda.
If you want to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined. However, you will normally find that Agoda is the cheapest and therefore you can save yourself time and money by just booking through Agoda in the first place.
Images of Thailand