The story of Living with a Thai Lady HERE has proved to be my most popular post the original purpose of which was as follows:
If like me you have spent any time on the many farang based forums and you happen to end up in the often depressing topic area called “Farang/Thai Relationships” then I hope my post will do something to add some reality and positive words to the subject
My words seem to have resonated with a lot of readers and I have received many comments over time, most of them pretty positive about their own situations or asking for further clarification or answers to questions either about relationships or other varied topics. I thought that I would extract some of this feedback and place them in a separate post that made for easier reading than in the format at the bottom of the original.
Enjoy and thank you to all who have contributed.
Hi Tony I have found your story very informative.
At present I am in Roi Et (Thawat Buri District). I have just bought land in my girlfriend’s village to build a house there next year.
Like you I have felt overwhelmed by the community spirit which is sadly lacking in the UK and other parts of the world. I will have no regrets to giving up modern living and going back to the simple life.
I am pleased you found the post useful Nobby. We have lost so much in the west due to our endless striving for material things rather than focussing on the far more rewarding and important aspects of life such as relationships, both immediate and in a wider community sense. Thailand is changing and wanting to be more like us while we farang come here to be more like them!
Good luck with your build. If you haven’t found it yet there is a week by week record of my build in Isaan on the blog. Around 600 pages of information.
Again, very impressed with your blog about Thai (Isaan) women and family life.
I believe you have nailed the ‘perfect relationship’ that most normal Farang would love to have ie a loving and caring wife. I am very lucky to also find my partner who has similar values and thinking
Terry and his lovely partner have come to see us a number of times.
My Name is Gerard
And I have just started reading your blog and I am really enjoying it.
I live in Melbourne I am 52 and a world traveller however I have never been to Thailand.
i have just starting dating a lovely Thai lady who also lives In Melbourne but I also spend a lot of time back in Thailand where she has her business and family.
I to have only ever heard the cliched stories of Thai women which has made me approach this relationship with extreme maybe unnecessary caution.
This lady and is educated has fantastic English has property in the south Thailand and two properties in BKK.
I was hoping to get your personal email address to ask you a lot of questions because everything you are saying is what I am experiencing it is very although only very new.
I would like to chat to you help me understand more about her culture especially from and Aussie/Thai level to help me educate myself to give this relationship its best possible chance as I have never been to Thailand.
I have already replied to you directly Gerard if you wanted to get in contact.
As one of your x wives I am delighted to read your new topic blog. I am so happy for you, I smiled the whole way through reading it.
You deserve every spark of love and joy that comes to you.
I am delighted my friend. X
That must rate as one of the nicest comments ever made by an ex-wife to an ex-husband 🙂 Thank you so much Gina.
What a great way you relate your story.
I have too am much the same as you you, and married 2 years now to a lovely Thai lady. We live in Pai and run a small resort.
Are you hungry??? 5555 I laughed so much, I get asked that at least 5 times each day! Your story is very similar to what I could say, and sure the real Thais are not found in the “hot” spots
Regards and thank you for your story, if only more “farangs” took the time to really find out.
John from Melbourne.
Cheers John. I am so pleased to hear equally positive comments from you. There is a majority of wonderful Thai ladies out there and you’d never know reading the Thai Visa type forums. I am delighted to hear you have found a good one and aren’t hungry 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to write. I spent time in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai but never made it to Pai. We now have an incentive to drop in, spend time at your resort and see your town. Your wife can feed my wife and everyone will be happy!
Thanks again. Tony
Thank you I have really enjoyed reading your account of living in Thailand.
I am in relationship with a beautiful caring young Thai lady, I am 59 and she is 36. I have spent time with her family and friends and have never before been made more welcome.
I am English but work and live in Bahrain. I am about to buy a Mango plantation and build a home in Wangthong in the district of Phitsanluk. I plan to retire there at the end of this year and marry Ancharee.
I am sick of hearing negative stories of money grabbing Thai women and feel sorry for farangs who only seem to meet these type of women. Ancharee has never asked for money and has no interest in material possessions.
I like you Tony am blessed with a very good private pension and I look forward to a full and love filled life in Thailand. I thank you once again for sharing your experience and would like to communicate with you in private.
Sorry for the delay in getting back Martin. My internet has been off since Saturday and I am catching up at a local cafe. Thanks for your comment. It always gives me pleasure to hear of other farang who are experiencing the same positive relationship that I have with Gaun. I am sure there are more positive things happening than the negatives but we just don’t hear of them. People are always more inclined to complain then write about the happy times.
I will leave my reply at that and write to your private address.
Many thanks for the time you have put into these web pages and sharing your experiences Tony…
In many respects your experiences and thoughts are similar to mine (albeit I am in the south – Surat Thani)… So good to see something about real expat life with real thai people…. And not the ‘Pattaya bar girl’ rants and rubbish bandied about on the Internet.
John, it was a real pleasure to have your comment waiting for me this morning. I am happy to hear that it sounds you are also having a good experience of Thailand with a genuine Thai partner I hope. I have never been happier or so well looked after! I will try to stick to your advice to “have fun” and report back on my efforts on the blog.
Thanks again and cheers.
Wishing you the best, for your relationship to Last more than 5 years.
If you stay together more than 5 years, you will be one couple, out of a million.
Sound like the voice of experience speaking there Ron.
I would like to think that I can become a relationship millionaire but as we all know living with any partner in any country is a constantly changing and often challenging experience on both sides.
Gaun and I have been together in Thailand for two and a half years now and we are getting along better than ever and it started on a high. We have a built beautiful house together, we both love living in Isaan, Gaun’s family are extremely supportive and have never asked for money or raided my fridge! and we share a lot of common interests. I am also very lucky as Gaun is the most consistently happy person I have ever met and we have yet to argue about anything.
I know it all sounds a bit ideal and where’s the downside but that’s the way it is. With two failed marriages behind me I know what the path to divorce looks and feels like so I am not delusional in any way. I even get along very well with both my ex’s. One of them came to visit us in Chiang Mai with her husband last Christmas and they are back to spend Christmas with us in Isaan this year.
I think finding a long term partner is the most difficult thing to achieve in our lives. It is often hard to find someone to enjoy spending a weekend with let alone a few years or a lifetime. I will report back in another two and a half years and see if I can hit the marriage jackpot!
Relationships! It does sound like your experienced enough to make any observation you desire, and all those you have put forward are all similar to our experiences.
Firstly I lived with my Brother and his “Thai Wife” for 10 years. (Since they have separated after 14 years, but hay that’s a good innings in any culture these days) During this time I inadvertently learnt to eat Issan. In hindsight I had subliminally become Issan in some minor ways.
It was a little over 6 Years ago now that I accompanied by Sister in-law back to her home town of Ban Na Di to meet her family. On my very first day in Issan, I meet my wife to be, Pijittra. We have been married now for more then 4 years. We are best friends. We live in Australia, we work together everyday in a high pressure environment and still we enjoy coming home together each day.
I have not spent a large amount of time on the ground in Thailand as you have but I have lived with a “Thai Women” for nearly half my life now. The grounding influence they have provided me over this time has been invaluable. I get out of bed every morning and the first thing I think to myself is “How lucky am I”
In saying all the above I am sure there is no greater and lessor values in a Thai Women then any other women from any other Nationality.
Life takes us on paths that can lead us to anywhere. It just so happens that yours currently has you situated Si Bun Reuang, Issan. Hope to see you there one day.
Enjoy the pleasant Temperature while you can.
Hi Jon. I am pleased to hear back from you and hear about your long term connection with Thailand. As I said in a reply to another comment to this post finding a partner that you enjoy sharing your life with is one of life’s greatest blessings. I still have days when I wonder “how did that happen?” I hope it a feeling that never fades.
I would be a pleasure to meet up with you both if you ever make it our way.
Yes, the weather is almost perfect. Sunny warm mornings and not too hot during the day. The rice fields are turning brown and the harvesting has started. The sugar will be next unfortunately – a time of burn offs, black ash raining down on the house, smoky grey skies and huge ancient sugar trucks cluttering up the roads and regularly overturning. Not my favourite time of the year from that point of view.
Jon has come to see us in Isaan.
Thank-you Tony for opening up about your relationship. It was a very uplifting read with great photos. I am so glad that I found your blog, as we have a lot in common and you are living the dream which I hope to be living in the future.
I have been with my Isaan wife for almost 12 years now (married for almost 9) and these have been the happiest years of my life. The points you make in this blog are exactly my experiences with our relationship. I nodded “yes” as I read each section of your blog – the family bonds and obligations, the village, food/meals, the companionship and the roles we have in the marriage, the close bond that can be developed between two people who love and respect each other…… I even had to laugh when you talked about traveling around and directions.
My wife (Lat) and I live in the USA, in a beautiful spot on Long Island in New York. The area where we live, believe it or not, is very rural with agriculture, fishing and tourism being the main income producers, but the expenses to live here are ridiculous. Unfortunately, I am not at an age yet where we can retire to Thailand, but we are in the planning stages…. which is why I am hooked on your blog. Your writings, photos and information are absolutely exactly what will help us transition more smoothly into a rural Isaan village way of life!
Thank-you again and for all your hard work and open sharing of information. If you are available next time we are in Isaan, we would be very happy to treat you and your beautiful wife to a nice dinner of your choice in Nong Bua Lamphu!
We have enjoyed Michael and Lat’s visits a couple of times.
Thank you for your positive feedback on this post, which is one of my personal favourites. I am pleased but not surprised to get confirmation from a few readers that (a) there are successful relationships out there and (b) my insights are true to form and not just a one off applying to my lovely wife.
A real pleasure as well to hear that you are well ahead of me in the experience levels having lived 12 years together. These days that’s a record to celebrate.
Unfortunately I have little experience of the US but I did visit NY for three days in 2012 on the way to a five week retreat at a little place called Walden in Orange County, New York State. Your location on Long Island reads very different from what most of us would associate with the Big Apple! It sounds as if you have found yourself a little piece of solitude on the edge of one of the most dynamic cities in the world.
It would be a delight to meet you and Lat next time you are in the area so please keep us in mind.
Please keep in touch.
Tony and Gaun.
I will be getting married in Udon Thani next week. I can’t wait! Nim and I have been in a long distance relationship for 3 years now, and she is moving back with me to the US. I have met her family many times and they are such great people. I feel blessed.
Congratulations to you both Gary. I hope you have a fun wedding day. All the very best for your future together. Another good news Thai relationship story to counter the negatives one reads online sometimes. Thanks for the comment. Tony
I stumbled across your website about a year ago and was surprised at the amount of information you have compiled and communicated. I met my Thai wife in a similar unexpected way that you met Guan. I am an American and we are now living in the USA. We have a very good relationship and I have to say that she has been a Godsend for me. I make an effort every day to make our relationship stronger by trying to understand and embrace her as a Thai woman.
Cheers to you and your newfound happiness. Not much of anything better than being happy to the core.
Hi Roger. Good to have you reading the blog.
Congratulations on your relationship. I think all nationalities have their own “flavour” and for me there is an element of fun and childlike enjoyment of even the simplest of things with a Thai lady. A variety of personalities obviously so I wont be silly enough to make a generalisation but for me I have found being with Gaun the most uncomplicated and laughter filled time of my life.
I hope you continue to develop your understanding of this lovely culture as reflected in your lady.
Hello Tony, Great dedication you have here.
Im slightly different to you, I’m 32, based in the UK but work in Thailand every month.
i met my girlfriend dare I say it in a bar in Pattaya 8 months ago, I’ve worked here long enough and im almost fluent in Thai to know whats what here, i can see the “bad girls” a mile off.
I’ve read everything there is really and the whole “Pattaya bar girl” stigma really is strong! ha
my girlfriend is from Khon Kaen and although works in a bar at night for drinks works in a restaurant through the day.
EVERYTHING you have said was helpful and many things ive seen first hand.
the million to 1 chance of working is slightly off putting but im a positive guy like yourself, “you get out what you put in” right? My girlfriend has never asked for anything apart from once a “a 4000bht loan” to which was paid back early and without me asking.
My plan is to take her to the UK as “a test” then move her there but I will give this 2 years to see how we get on.
Thanks for the write up and I’d love to chat with you sometime.
Thanks for the comment. Many farang dismiss bargirls as some sort of lower class of human and it makes me mad. People deserve to be assessed by who they are not what they do. I spent a bit of time in bars in Phuket during my time there and met some really top bar girls and ladyboys. Gaun’s best friend is a ladyboy and she is just a lovely, warm and friendly person. There are obviously the ones around looking to rip you off but you just have to use your common sense and take things slowly to work out good from bad.
Living in Isaan many of the ladies here have or do spend time in places like the bars of Pattaya but come home to family and community just like any other worker. It is much more recognised and accepted here than it would be in our western society. AND of course not all the ladies play the field. There are plenty who just work the bars and not the customers. Lots of other businesses that way too.
I am pleased you could relate to some of the things I wrote about in the post. Your partner sounds as if she could be worth a chance. The money test is a good one. Many farang seem to think they have to “buy” their Thai girlfriend in an ongoing sense and the ladies are often happy to help out. It doesn’t have to be that way. In my case Gaun is the most money conscious person I know and still buys the same makeup and clothes that she always has. It is a hard job to actually get her to spend money for a special occasion.
A successful relationship is a miracle no matter what your partner’s nationality but I have found my Thai one to be particularly rewarding. Gaun has changed my life for the better.
Good to hear from you and I will send a copy of this to your mailbox so you have my personal email.
Hi Tony, really enjoyed your story. It’s great to hear your positive comments. I too (58y/o) have a Thai wife (3 years now) & live in Nong So Sae, not far from Lamplaimat, Buriram.
I count my blessings every day to have this lovely lady, pretty much echo your comments. Just wish more men with simalar story would share it to help balance all the negative stuff out there.
Keep up the excellent work, cheers,
Thanks very much Geoff. It is good to hear someone else has stuck it lucky. I know that we are in the majority but like with everything people are far quicker to report the negative than the good news. Gaun continues to be a delight and central to my enjoyment of Thailand.
Keep up the good work 🙂
Will be selling my house here in the states and moving as soon as that happens to Isaan to live with my wife, whom I met last year in NE Isaan and married in September.
Have been married before here and was willing to take another chance with a beautiful woman that I love more than anything. The change will take some time to get used to I know, but after living in the states for 59 years, I think a move to the country will do me good.
I love her huge family and they love me also. I would do anything for this family that I could, and they will have a son in law they can rely on. Only problem is finding work, seeing that it’s about 5 years until retirement.
One thing I will miss is hunting, but I’ll be taking trips back to the US to visit family anyway, so I’ll hunt when I return to visit. Fishing for certain species also, but there’s always a plane trip to somewhere if I get tired of big catfish and the like.
By the way, we are expecting a child this December also, and even though I’m kinda old, I’m looking forward to having a child with this woman so much. I take good care of myself, and I’m in the shape of a solid 35 year old, so I’m hoping I will be around a long time to see our child grow up. And I hope to live a long life with my wife also.
Good to hear you have a future planned here in Thailand Ken. Another positive report on Thai ladies and their families to balance up all the negative stories. With your hunting I guess life is full of compromises and as long as you have more on the plus side of your life then you are a winner. It sounds as if life here will give you most of what you want and the rest can be made up in other ways.
Good luck with it all and thank you so much for sharing.
Came across your blog looking for health insurance advise and your Pacific Cross reference is exactly what i was looking for.
I just read your article on living with a Thai wife. I agree 100%. I married Kay 10 years ago in both Aust and Thailand and we lived in Australia until recently. We are also in a rural village 100k north west of Udon Thani. Built a farang house thai style 2 years ago but it’s only recently been occupied. Kay is living there now while i stay in Australia this year so i can get my pension early next.
It’s taken a while, but now her family tell me how proud they are to have me as part of their family. i can resonate with all your experiences as mine and my responces are very much in line with yours.
The biggest problem with many farang’s is their reluctance to fully understand or their desire to fully involve themselves in thai village culture. This is what I love the most about living there and can’t wait to be there full time from early next year.
I will keep an eye on your blog, it’s very interesting to get another farang’s view of living in Thailand
All the best
Thank you for the comment. How good to hear of another success story. There are plenty out there I am sure but never shared to the extent of the disasters. I have met many delightful westerners from various nationalities through the blog and many of them, like yourself, are enjoying long term relationships with their Thai partners, mixing the two cultures in various combinations.
How wonderful you are on the verge of making the move to Isaan permanent. I can recommend a retirement career! Best time of my life. So good to hear you are enjoying and participating in the local culture. It would be such an isolated lifestyle for a westerner otherwise especially if situated in a village environment.
Let me know how you go and the very best of luck with your new life.
Hi Tony — Wonderful to read all this (I read all the comments also).
I have dated a lovely woman from Maha Sarakham for almost 5 years (I fly over for 5/6 weeks 2/3 times a year. I agree that so many of the negative stereotypes about these women are baloney. Most of the 30-60 year old Thai women I’ve met are feminine, genuinely sweet and nice, low key and not at all materialistic.
This last visit things went South suddenly and I do not know why. This is because I have experienced what farang sometimes get and that is a contrived story (often generated to avoid hurting our feelings).
The problem is that you are often left with a communications gap which keeps you from finding out what you have done wrong. And it has left me wondering if we can build a life together if this kind of thing is going to happen (She walked out in the middle of the night from a hotel in Chiang Mai). I was floored. She told me she was very sick. I knew that this wasn’t true. So, we are “on hold” now. !5,000 kilometers is a long way. But she is priceless.
Thank you for your comment. It is good to hear from another person who has a more balanced view about the majority of Thai women.
I am sorry to hear about the situation with your partner. It all sounds very odd and like you I wonder what the real reason is behind it. I do hope that you have a breakthrough and can continue with the relationship as your words indicate an ongoing commitment from your side. My very best wishes for your future together.
I have really enjoyed reading your insightful and honest, balanced blog.
I am 57, am living in Australia. I have visited Chiang Mai and spent 1 month attending a language school.
I do know that one month is “nothing” when it comes to learning a language. But it seems I made so little progress during that month that I wonder (despair) if 18months (for example) will be any better!!
I understand from your blog that you and Guan will converse in English but do you try Thai with other members of your family or just other Thai folk?
I wonder if you learned some Thai language just by immersion, or have tried to learn Thai consciously or by attending lessons.
Hi Mark. Great to hear from you.
I am sorry to let you down after such a glowing report about my blog but my skills in Thai are REALLY limited 🙂 I have met farang living with Thais where their partner pushed for them to learn Thai maybe to compensate for their own inability or disinterest in learning English. In my case Gaun is the opposite. She doesn’t want me to expand my abilities much beyond my current tourist Thai plus a bit for whatever reason. That gives me an out for really just being lazy of course. Gaun was super keen to learn English and still spends time studying her books. Because her English is pretty good now she acts as my interpreter and always has, which means I don’t have to stand on my own two feet. I try to pick up new words but because I don’t actually have the opportunity to use them often they tend to get lost in my increasingly ancient memory.
My other excuse for laziness is that we live in Isaan, which is the language spoken here. You probably already know but Isaan is Laotian and mostly completely different from formal Thai. Different dialects are spoken all over Thailand. Buriram incorporates a lot of Cambodian while there are variations in the north too – Chiang Mai/Rai and Nan. Gaun is fluent in both Thai and Isaan and swaps effortlessly between them. If I ask for the name of something she tells me the Thai and then the Isaan, which is a different word! I am not only not learning one language but not learning two!!!!!
I have friends that speak Thai so I am not saying that it isn’t possible of course. I believe that in some respects it is easy in that there aren’t as many words as English but that the tonal variations are a real pain and that’s before you get into the script!
I have hardly given you an inspirational path to follow Mark. I do believe that necessity improves us in many ways and that if you did immerse yourself in the language for a while you would make progress. Thais are generally kind and understanding and will do their best to work around your early attempts at the language. I so often find that they are delighted when one tries even a simple communication in their language that it provides an incentive to keep on.
Thanks for that information.
Regarding the language certainly for me it is a struggle, but for now I will continue to persevere.
I will be in CM for October and will once again attend language school for a short few hours most days of the week.
My plan at this stage of my life (and that plan might change) is to visit Thailand for 1-3 months each year over the next say 5years and then to perhaps live in Thailand for a longer periods.
Once again I must say that I have found your blog most interesting and I hope we can stay in touch.
All the best
Just read parts of your blog.
I am now building a house with my wife and our 10 year old son in Udon Thani. My son was born here and lived here till he was 7 and then after myself and Ternjai were married in 2013 we moved to Ireland. My son loved Ireland and took to school there like a fish to water. But due to a family bereavement we decided to move back to Thailand in June.
Like you say my wife’s family have been great and have never asked for 1 bhat from me. The land we are building our house on is the family’s old home and is next door to where her dad lives now (her mam has passed away) The land was given to us without any expectation of payment for it.
Our son has settled back in easily and without any complaints about moving back after he settled in and loved Dublin so much. He has upped sticks twice in 3 years to move halfway across the world with not an ounce of complaint, that itself says a lot about Thai culture I think. He calls himself Thai-rish.
I couldn’t be happier at the moment and have no regrets about moving here 12 years earlier than planned. All the moaners on forums who love to knock people who have found happiness here are not worth bothering about. Best of luck with everything and keep on smiling
Hi Geezer. What a great story with an ongoing happy ending!
Maybe we can meet up for a chat once you return to a normal life post-build. I am always so pleased to find another positive local farang.
Thank you for sharing and good luck with the build and your new life here.
What a lovely heart-warming and measured blog. Thank you.
I am a English teacher of English. In Greece, currently, but drawn to Thailand and your region, in the north-east, in particular. Not for me the noise and bustle of, say, Bangkok (:
Perhaps you have commented somewhere on what tends to distinguish the isaan people/ area from others in Thailand. I’ve heard, for example, that they tend to be more independent (lots are self-employed) but I’m wary of the stereotypes!
Once again thanks for the quality of your offering.
Thank you for such a positive comment about the blog content. I always hope that the enjoyment of my life here shines through my words and perhaps it does. The north east is certainly much more pure Thai with a strong Isaan element in things like language, food and music. I spent a year in Chiang Mai, where a lot of westerners retire to and it just wasn’t for me. I am not a big city fan, like yourself, and Chiang Mai is everything I hate about too many people and cars crammed into a small space. Far too many farang too.
Isaan people are very independent as being Isaan. I suspect they see themselves as Isaan first and Thai second. Most people in this region speak Isaan, which is basically Lao, and their food is NOTHING like Thai. The political protests we see from time to time here are between the Red Shirts, who are mainly people from Isaan and the far north – Chiang Mai etc v’s the Yellow Shirts, who originate more from Bangkok and that area.
Thai people in general are on the whole super friendly, with the normal exceptions you’ll find in any society. I find Isaan folk to be extremely involving, polite and fun loving in the majority. If you show an interest in their lives they will open their doors to you both literally and in a more general sense. My blog reflects the access I am able to obtain to everything that goes on in my local area, which keeps my life here interesting and involving. For a farang it is a far more isolated existence in this part of Thailand, especially id you choose a village life, so you need to be comfortable in yourself and make your own “fun”.
If you ever have any questions or further comments please let me know.
Many thanks for your full and helpful response, and sorry for the delay acknowledging it. Had I posted a letter you would probably have received it sooner than this response over the net!
I did wonder, Tony, how the farangs from more ‘individualist’ societies (the UK, US etc)tend to adapt to the very different one in Thailand. It sounds great to have such warm and friendly people around you, but I imagine an adjustment is needed for those of us who are used to our ‘own space’ but don’t want to offend people who may assume that we are lonely! I guess that you find your own balance and grow into it with the people in your immediate circle.
Did you have any issues with the insects/mosquitoes and reptiles over there? Mind you, I don’t know what you were used to before you arrived. When I got to Greece the mosquitoes seemed to feast on my skin but I got better at covering up and using repellent, and I think I built up an immunity within a few months and the bites were fewer.
Thanks again for such an attractive blog.
No apologies required. It is always nice to hear back from someone whatever the timeframe. I have been slow to respond myself as we have been on holiday in Phuket with a couple of my in-laws and I am catching up with correspondence now that we have returned home.
You raise a good point with your question about the Thai desire to be make sure you are never alone and how that works if we are happiest living a more solitary existence. As with most things of course I can’t give you a definite answer to the situation you might find yourself if making Thailand home.
In my own situation I have no problems. I enjoy being sociable in bursts but not every day. Gaun is surprisingly self contained as well for a Thai and has no desire to let the village intrude into our space. Having said that I have never felt any pressure by locals to share our lives and the family are too busy and polite to spend time at our home unless invited. Yuan and Lud will sometimes pop in but it is only for a specific reason, not to socialise or kill time. The electric gate is a plus because its default is locked and we control who comes onto our land.
I do know that other farang have a far more challenging time in maintaining their privacy with stories of their Thai family raiding the fridge and everyone self-inviting themselves on any trip that may involve the farang paying for food and drink. I have a local friend who is far more socially open than I am and enjoys the flow of neighbours and family through his property so each to their own. I think that a lot of the access criteria is determined by the attitude and confidence of your Thai partner. If Gaun wanted a busy social life based around our home then it would be a lot harder to arrive at a balance that worked for us both. However as I have already stated this isn’t an issue. Gaun is also very open about speaking her mind and super protective of me. If she felt people were being too intrusive she would tell them to back off. She says that her loyalty is to her family and to me and the rest is an optional extra.
As I wrote in this post farang must take some of the blame for the outcome they find themselves in. If we feed the expectation by Thais that we are all rich and want to have the same lifestyle as Thais then everyone will work hard to make that a reality for us! I see no reason why we can’t set boundaries and educate the locals and family that there is a balance. The only people you will upset are those you don’t want anything to do with anyway.
Watch out for lonely farang too! They can be equally intrusive and are often looking for a drinking partner and the opportunity to whinge about how bad life is in Thailand.
Onto your second question. Australia is pretty generous with insects and biting things so Thailand isn’t too much of a shock. There are mosquitoes around but nothing too intrusive in our area. They are mainly active early morning and at dusk. Use spray. Other people elsewhere have reported a far more serious issue with mozzies so it must be a local situation. Make sure you have a house with insect screens on windows and doors. Coming from Australia where this is a standard I wouldn’t have it any other way but for Europeans it is less known. The screens are not just for mozzies. The small and large Geckos, flying insects of all types, scorpions, rats, mice and snakes are happy to share your space given the chance. I look at Thai house with the big double entry doors left wide open at night and wonder at the mentality. There are snakes around and some are dangerous but many are not unless you’re a frog. Mostly they just want to get out of your way. Some Isaan people eat snake so they are a hunted species.
I hope this ramble has helped. Let me know if you want more information or clarity on any aspect I have raised.
Thanks again for your informative response. I am enjoying the more recent comments here as a welcome counter-balance to the more vocal negative commentary elsewhere in the blogosphere. That, after all, it might be possible to encounter a thai woman-friend with other than mercenary motives is refreshing (:
I read with some dismay of the general failure of the skin-whitening products in Thailand. I wonder whether artificial tanning items fare similarly (: Perhaps manufacturing is not yet in the ascendant over there, and those with a background in industrial chemistry ought to be encouraged to apply…
With a smile from crisis-ridden Greece!
Welcome back. I find it as refreshing as you to read so many positive comments and via the blog we have had dozens of farang with Thai partners come a visit us some of whom have been in a relationship for many, many years. There are no rules to the relationship business and you can find the best and the worst in a Patong bar or a corporate boardroom. Some common sense with a liberal dose of good luck will find you with the right partner for however long that lasts.
Many of the whitening products are not actually designed to whiten the skin – they just include the word “white” in the name to give that impression. I have a Citra body lotion in the bathroom and it says “Pearly White UV” on the front. The liquid inside is indeed a pearly white but it won’t effect the colour of skin and doesn’t directly make that claim. One of the reasons Thai people apply a lot of talcum powder to their faces is that for a brief period it does make them look whiter. Maybe there are some legitimate aids to a whiter skin but I am sure they would be temporary and topical only.
I read that Greece is yet again on the economic edge. I hope your assets are elsewhere.
I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and all your responses.
You seem to be a level-headed, non-opinionated and maybe even slightly reserved type of person, and I wonder if you think non-pushy Farang may gain a genuine response from Thai people – unlike the fabled fake fixed smile proffered to loud, wealth-flaunting Westerners? One is warned about the standard fake friendly response to Farang, but being quite a humble type myself, I really don’t detect this in the friendliness I encounter.
I’m surprised not to see any annoyance when I tell people that I have a Thai girlfriend, to be honest – one would think that with so many of their womenfolk being purloined, it might grate. But I’d better not put forward my own dating experiences with a Thai woman slightly younger than myself, as I’ve given her the address of this website! But I do tease her about her sulkiness – which she admits.
Is it true that Thai women may be more sulky than others, I wonder? Perhaps though it coincides with the depth of their affection – I get the impression that Thai women are on the whole more full of life, affectionate and faithful that some of their Western contemporaries.
And as regards the modesty of most Thai women – who cares with all those beautiful tanned legs and arms on show because of the climate… I read somewhere in fact that darker-skinned women are seen as ugly by Thai people, which is very difficult to get one’s head around.
Thank you for your comment and the questions you raise. I don’t believe Thai people are much different from any other country in their response to foreigners. You will get the good and the bad and quite a few in-between. A lot of the attitude you may encounter will depend on the situation. Thai people working in whatever capacity in the bulk tourism business are perhaps more likely to be only showing you a professional smiley face – not always of course but the odds are higher. Having said that I have found that generally Thai people are more fun loving, friendly, open and certainly smiley than any other group of people I have met no matter where they are.
I live an everyday life in Isaan as you can tell from my blog and I feel that I encounter genuine friendliness and smiles, which is in response to the genuine enjoyment and pleasure I have in living here.
It is odd that Thais are generally OK with us farang taking some of their beautiful ladies off the market. I am not sure that in my own country of Australia we would be so relaxed in the same situation.
I certainly have never observed sulkiness in the ladies I have had close dealing with. My Isaan family are delightful and always engaged with life. My wife Gaun is the happiest person I have ever met and I wish I could bottle and sell whatever it is that makes her that way every day in the four years I have known her.
I think that you will find the positives you attribute only to Thai ladies happen in any society. Thai forums are filled with stories of failed relationships and that shows that there are plenty of women who don’t live up to those ideals. As I say in the post you are commenting on I believe that in some cases you may find that your Thai partner is more “traditional” in what we’d associate as a female role in times past. You will get the full range in reality but you may strike it lucky if that’s what is on your wish list.
The modesty is also dependent on the situation. As the cool season finishes in Isaan and the the short skirts and shorts appear again it only confirms that I have chosen to retire in the right place.
And finally yes, you are right. Thai people with dark skin, and that often applies to Isaan folk, are seen as “lesser” than the whiter skinned people in the south. Watch Thai soapie TV, read the magazines and you will rarely see a dark skinned person represented. Look at supermarket shelves with all their “whitening” creams and lotions. It is sickening especially as none of them work. It is a nasty piece of discrimination and a dark side, if you excuse the pun, to Thai society. Mind you many of our own societies aren’t too accepting of dark skin either!
Thanks for responding so quickly – always good to glean from others’ experiences, as it’s easy to get out of one’s depth due to cultural differences. My advice would be to be very patient, but also as you advise be willing to set (reasonable) boundaries and stick to them – chances are that you’ll gain more respect anyway by doing this.
The comment about Thai womenfolk in general being full of life was prompted in part by an experience in Bangkok last summer, while walking at twilight through torrential rain not far from Wat Phra Kaew. I saw vague movement in the big elephant fountain while waiting for a break in the traffic in order to cross. When I got nearer, what I saw was a middle aged woman – certainly not under 50 – turning round and around with her face upwards, revelling in the feel of the sheets of rain drumming on her face and drenched clothes whilst standing in the fountain. Smiling and jokey older women undertaking “menial” work such as collecting recyclable plastic bottles from litter bins, or sweeping the roads, also make me admire Thai women’s spirit greatly.
While flying into Thailand for the first time I talked to the man in the next seat, and it turned out that he also had a Thai partner whom he had met in a North of England cafe – she was separated and happened to be visiting the town for a while from London. It was he who told me authoritatively that “Thai women are a sulky lot”! Perhaps it’s divorcees that can be like this – just a sign of insecurety after bad experiences with neglectful former partners. A friend who used to live in Asia told me that “Thai women like gold”! Not many women don’t… But Thai women seem to be cast in these stereotypes more than any others – maybe it’s a semi compliment that they’re such a centre of attention!
I enjoyed your story of the lady in the fountain and rain. There is still a slightly childish aspect to some Thais in that they are perhaps better at expressing their feelings and immersing themselves in the moment than us westerners. We have got very good at living in our minds as we get older but at the expense of easily accessing the child spontaneity in us.
I have met many male westerners during my four years in Thailand and let me tell you that I would be sulky and probably just totally depressed if I had to live with half of them. A generalised statement but……….walk around the areas where the permanent expats congragate and it’s like visiting a funeral home. A more unsmiling and sad looking bunch would be hard to find. Start a conversation and the first thing out of their mouths is something bad about Thailand. I quickly add that the farang reading this blog are a very different bunch. If you read the comments you will see that there is generally an optimism and enjoyment of Thailand and her people that runs through as a theme.
I had to ask my wife to stop using the whitening cream, as the brown skin is one of the many reasons I’m so attracted to her anyway. Trying to be “american” with the white skin and such is just another way of trying to be something you’re not.
I like the traditional thinking, although I’m still trying to convince my wif and her family that 99% of all people in the world aren’t rich and live paycheck to paycheck every month. You would think that being told a milliuon times would have it sink in.
I’ll be moving to Isann as soon as my house here is sold, to be with my wife , 4 month old baby and my wife’s daughter from a previous relationship. I have been in the states for 3 months,missing them so much it kills me. The only things I will miss here are my daughters and their families and hunting and some types of fishing.
Regarding the smiles, from what I’ve seen in the 6 previous trips there, most women and a large percentage of men all seem to smile my way, although I still get looks from some like I’m some alien, even though foreigners have been living there for many years now.
Absolutely agree Ken. No chance that they would work anyway but like you I just love having a mocha coloured wife 🙂 Isn’t it typical of life that we want to be suntanned and the people who have the skins we have want to be like us. Advertising is grateful for our silliness.
I do realise when writing in the blog about the attitude of my Thai family to my financial situation that there will be a whole range of other experiences from good to bad. I stopped the other day to watch a street festival when a man grabbed my arm, steered me into a shop and wanted me to buy him tobacco! Some farang have families that have exactly the same attitude. Needless to say I didn’t buy the tobacco. I wouldn’t if put in the same situation in Australia so why would I change my behaviour here?
Your comment about leaving kids back “home” when moving permanently to Thailand is the major downside readers write to me about. Modern communicates shrinks the distance in some ways but it will never replace actually being there.
Good luck with your move. I hope it brings you a rewarding new life and lots of smiles 🙂
Your wife seems like such a pleasant and sweet woman. What a lucky man you are!
Wishing you all the happiness in the world with your family in Thailand.
Thank you very much Rose. She is a delight as are my Thai family.