Tagged: Thailand hostels

Cheap International Travel Secrets

What is the real secret to cheap international travel? It is the same as the secret to doing anything for less. Learn to be an opportunist. Opportunistic travelers get to travel more, see more and do more. Of course, you can ignore this advice if you have unlimited funds.

I went to Ecuador because it was cheap. Honestly, aren’t there many interesting places in this world? Why not choose one you can travel to inexpensively? The other places will be there in the future, and you may have an opportunity to go to those places cheaply at some point.

Cheap Countries

Ecuador is my favorite international destination. You can still get a decent meal for two dollars. U.S. dollars, by the way, since that’s conveniently the official currency of Ecuador now. From the beautiful snow-capped Andes Mountains, to the Galapagos Islands, you’ll never run out of places to explore in Ecuador. Travel there is safe and inexpensive.

South America in general is inexpensive, and the most affordable countries are, in my opinion, the most beautiful. These are the countries along the Andes mountains; Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Argentina, thanks to its recent economic troubles, is once again a cheap place for travelers as well.

In Central America, it costs very little to travel and vacation in both Nicaragua and Guatemala. Nicaragua, in particular, has become more stable and safe for travelers in recent years. Costa Rica is a wonderful too, and though it is one of more expensive counties of Central America, that probably still leaves it cheaper than Europe.

In Asia, India is still low-cost, especially if you stay in the numerous hostels and boarding houses. Thailand and Indonesia are also very cheap. With all international destinations, the plane tickets will be your single biggest travel expense. This is especially true with the Asian countries. Being there is cheap, but getting there may not be.

Cheap International Travel Tips

Wherever you go; there are things you can do to keep it cheap. Eat where locals eat, for example, instead of at the tourist restaurants. To keep it really cheap, eat fruit from street markets (wash it well) and packaged snacks from grocery stores.

Visit the free and cheap attractions first. It’s possible you’ll have so much fun that you’ll never get around to doing the expensive things. A higher price means better quality with travel bags, but not with travel experiences.

Busses are cheaper than taxis in any country, but be careful of crowded city busses, where pickpockets hang out. Walking is even cheaper, and it’s a great way to learn about a city. Just ask the locals where the dangerous parts are before you wander too far.

For cheap accommodations find out where local visitors from within the country stay. Negotiating room charges is common in some areas. In Banos, Ecuador, we negotiated our room rate down from $12 to $6 per night, by paying for several nights in advance. Consider hostels, if you don’t mind sharing a room. They’re much more common overseas.

Cheap international travel is often only as cheap as your plane tickets. Use the techniques outlined on our site to save big on tickets, or search the fares to several interesting countries. If one is $500 less than the others, consider going there. $500 can buy a few extra days, or an extra mini-vacation some other time.

Memoirs: Traveling

“PLEASE be aware that Singapore is a country of strict legislation. You are expected to know the laws before arriving. The penalty of trafficking drugs is punishable by death,” the pilot announced when we began our descent after an 18-hour direct flight from New York.

Whilst I was still reeling from the severity of his words, the passenger next to me added to my chagrin, “Littering is a fine of up to S$1,000 (US$650) and no smoking in public spaces! The police wear plain clothes to catch offenders unaware. Chewing gum used to be banned too, right up till Jan 2005!”

Thank God, I had quit smoking two years ago. And what was that about chewing gum, I wondered. I felt stupid not reading up on the laws before. It was not that I did not do sufficient research on the things to do, what to see and eat. I had it all planned. After wowing all my friends and colleagues telling them how I would storm Southeast Asia all on my own, it seemed foolish now that I had overlooked the basics that could get me into serious trouble. Hopefully, nothing would go wrong.

My holiday plans were to spend an initial three days exploring Singapore and finish with a four-day-three-night-cruise on the Superstar Virgo to Phuket (Thailand) and Langkawi (Malaysia).

The biggest draw point was the advantageous exchange rate of our strong US currency in all of South East Asia. Everything would become cheaper and cheaper as I traveled, from Singapore, to Malaysia, and finally, Thailand.

Singapore was often mistaken to be part of China, or Vietnam, but really, it is an independent nation no more the size of Austin, Texas (or 682 square km), and had a population of about 4 million. Commercial skyscrapers and residential homes expounding on vertical expansion were the norm. The average household lived in 30-storey flats housing approximately 180 apartments, or pigeon holes’, as the locals coined it.

Geographically situated at the tip of Malaysia just above the equator, and surrounded by Indonesia, the climate was warm, humid, with no natural disasters, not even the tsunamis, thanks to the protective circumvention of the two neighboring countries.

I stayed in a hostel in Singapore’s Chinatown, where the rates went from S$55 (USD 35) per night for a standard double room. The location was ideal being near the Outram Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train station, where the two (and only two!), cross-directional, train lines by-passed as they ran across the entire island.

Turned out

Lonely Traveler – No Home, Sweet Home

One thing is for sure: family life is great and vacations with your loved ones is possibly the best way to share a nice time and to have great memorials of the places you have visited related to the persons you have been there with. A lonely traveler, for sure will not have this opportunity, but many others are opened to him.

Who a lonely traveler must be? Is it anything special you need to go around the world alone? I can say right now that there are no born lonely travelers, but self-made ones. Nobody is born to be anything. In other words, and more typically said, we are what we do.

To be a lonely traveler you need to gain confidence in yourself and from this everything else comes together. The kind of way society is structure nowadays is fighting to make the lonely traveler to disappear. But you know one thing? We will survive! Sure we will, because traveling alone has many advantages that can’t be left behind.

Society makes us dependent. You can look it from the point of view you prefer, but society always tries to classify us in groups, sub-groups, tries to find us a position in this world and makes us assume this position and act accordingly. No way. As almost a 95% of people follow this rules, it is obvious that everybody has told them their obligations but nobody told them about their rights. And you all have the right to avoid following society. But nobody will tell you.

Difficulties for the lonely traveler exist. Hotel rooms is one of the discriminating examples for the lonely traveler. Why do I have to pay more if I travel alone? I do not need a double room! Don’t you have one for a single person? Sounds like obvious they should have but many times that’s not the case, or they have so few that you will need to book ages ago to get it. And the lonely traveler does not like to book hotel rooms in advance, it takes away the independence that traveling alone gives.

For this reason and not for our level of craziness it happens that the lonely traveler has been forced to find alternative ways to travel, probably not so luxurious but more interesting. Sharing a house with local families, many kind of hostels, working in farms to have the “sleep and meat” for free, etc. In the end this turns us into people with a very strong potential to save, and that also allows us to spend a lot more time in a destinations than the usual way of traveling.

One of the great alternatives for the independent travelers are places where prices are cheaper, and a great place to explore is Asia. One of my friends spent 3 months visiting China, Thailand and Vietnam for the same cost you would pay for 1 week at a 4 stars beach side famous resort. He was normally sleeping at hostels and traveling always by road or slow trains across the country.

The experience you can get from this is so deep that I could see it in his eyes when he was telling me about it. He knew almost everything about the region. The cultural immersion you have when traveling alone is extreme, as you don’t rely in your travel partners for everything, but you need to interact with the locals directly. When we are traveling in family or friends we tend to keep more closed to the new world, our senses many times are too much into our colleagues or loved ones than into what we have in front. Taking all distractions away lets the lonely traveler to go deep into every single place visited, and this is what makes the real enjoyment of traveling.

In no way my aim is to criticize the travelers that, like myself in many occasions, stay at quality hotels. The idea is simply to open your eyes to a new universe to discover. Still, not everything will be easy, and common sense needs to be a quality over all. No excuses to be a woman. If you put common sense and get informed you are safe everywhere as a lonely traveler. Still not convinced? Well, I’ll put you in contact with my other female friend who spent 2 months alone in Brazil. Her age? 22.

Have a Luxurious Stay at Five Star Hotels in Phuket & Bangkok

 

Phuket is the world famous tourist destination. People around the globe love to visit this large island of Thailand which is located in Thailand’s west coast in the Andaman Sea. Accommodations of Phuket provide enormous luxury facilities. Along the beautiful beaches and natural ambiance, Phuket offers a variety of hotels and resorts. Staying in one of the 5 Star Hotels In Phuket can create an everlasting impression.

Far from the madding crowds of the city life, Phuket is the tranquil heavenly place where travelers can spend a few moments of their life peacefully. While your stay in the hotels what you can expect at best is the warm hospitality and proper attentive service. However, the deluxe hotels include the facilities like bars, restaurants, spa centers, etc.

Amidst the tranquil settings of vast blue sea, good weather of the coastal beaches and the scenic beauty of sunset, Phuket is such a place to mesmerize you with its every possible sight seeing attractions and Thai culture and its friendliness.

Get your mind relaxed by diving or water-skiing on the clear blue water of the island. If you feel to rest then the resorts or motels of Phuket are just good to mention. The 5 Star Hotels in Phuket are the real place to stay for it provides world class facilities to its visitors. Whether you are availing a honeymoon trip or enjoying a vacation with your friends or family, the requirements for staying comfortably is well arranged for every type of guests.

Thailand’s capital city Bangkok is the home to many luxury hotels and resorts. The city offers a good life style which reflects the cultural combination of Asia and Europe. The Buddhist architectures which prevail in Bangkok are the most significant historical importance of the city. Moreover, Bangkok is also nice place for shopping in the big malls and shopping centers. However, Thai delicious foods make the city’s restaurants the best place to dine.

Bangkok Hotels are the heavenly spots where one can stay peacefully and comfortably but the Five Star Hotels have its own special causes to make your stay better. If you want the comfortable luxury accommodations then choose 5 Star Hotels In Bangkok.

Job Opportunities In Thailand

Thailand is a South Asian nation that lies in the east of Cambodia and Laos; Malaysia and Gulf of Thailand. Thailand is 49th largest country that can be compared to the size of California and France. In terms of economy, Thailand is a burgeoning industrial economy that has seen highest growth rate during the period of 1985 to 1996. Being an Asian country, Thailand culture is greatly influenced from China and India. The official language of Thailand is Thai and according to 2006 census its population is 62,828,706 with a density of 122km square. Major religion of Thailand is Buddhism.

However, if you are looking for job opportunities in Thailand, it is the best country to live as it has low cost of living. Incase you are looking for a teaching profession especially English, Thailand holds great prospects for teachers who want to eke out a living in Thailand for education.

Given the natives who are not well educated, for foreigners, it is best opportunity to start off with a lucrative teaching career that helps in making a good living. Teaching English is one of the constant demands in Thailand. However, in the present scenario, the high demand of English teachers has resulted in the downfall of remuneration. Yet, teaching is the best job that an outsider can take course to in Thailand. Some other important sectors for livelihood include tourism and hospitality industry as Thailand attracts a large number of foreigners to its shores for its breathtaking locales and natural scenery. In case you are planning to live in Bangkok, Bangkok is known for its thriving international market with high rate of property.

Given the low cost of labor and affordable housing sector, many MNC are coming with their establishments in Bangkok. This phenomenon has led to large turnover of expatriates to Bangkok. Thailand’s attractive features of ownership laws, condominiums and apartments for foreigners make it the best choice for foreign investors. Bangkok real estate attracts both middle and higher class investors who are employed in the MNC sector. The high demand of MNC sector is churning large scale job opportunities for managerial and CEO posts. This has made Thailand a cosmopolitan nation that welcomes all its visitors with open arms. Well, if you are well educated and can speak English, you won’t find much difficulty in finding a suitable job.

For skilled individuals, there is simply no dearth of jobs in Thailand as it is catering to a large numbers of skilled professionals. For foreigners, Thailand is a haven that offers tourism as well as employment facilities. The state policies towards foreign employment facilities make it a suitable destination for large number of workers who come from various parts of the world in the search of livelihood.

So, if you want to visit Thailand for employment purpose, it is a favorable place that helps you in finding a suitable profession of your choice. For businessmen, Thailand is a perfect destination for economic activities. In case you are looking for a job in Thailand, you certainly have a bright prospect.

What’s The Best Way To Book Your Hotel In Thailand?

Let’s look at the available options:

Online with your airline reservation

Online form directly with the hotel

Phone call or email to the hotel

Your local travel agent

Online form with an in-country booking agent

If you book your flight online with a company like Expedia or Travelocity, you will be given the option to add a hotel to your airfare. The prices are usually outrageous and the hotels listed are at the very high end.

Booking directly from the hotel online is a good option if the hotel has an online booking form and it is secure. Check for the little lock at the bottom of your Internet browser.

Phone calls to overseas locations can be expensive and there is no guarantee of an English-speaking receptionist. Even if you make the booking over the phone, there is no guarantee in writing that your room will be waiting for you.

Booking via email can be dangerous if the hotel requires credit card information since your email is not secure.

Your local travel agent may or may not know the current situation or prices in Thailand. Hotels in Thailand have different rates during different times of the year. Prices are greatly reduced during low season and can be much more expensive during high season. There may also be additional fees during Christmas and New Years. Your local agent may not know all of these details.

Booking through an online agent actually located in Thailand is your best bet. They will have access to many more hotels in all price ranges and all locations. They will also be privy to specials and promotions that may not be published outside the country. Also, they will speak both Thai and English, have a secure server for orders, and respond promptly to your enquiries. Their web sites will also publish reviews of the hotels.

Do your homework, check the prices directly at the hotel’s web site, and then visit one of the many in-country online hotel-booking sites. Ensure that the site is secure, find a hotel in your price range and vacation spot, and book your room the easy and safe way.

History of Thailand

Early years

The Thais, most historians believe, began migrating from southern China in the early part of the Christian era. At first they formed a number of city-states in the northern part of what is present-day Thailand, in places like Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, but these were never strong enough to exert much influence outside the immediate region. Gradually the Thais migrated further south to the broad and fertile central plains, and expanded their dominance over nearly the entire Indochina Peninsula. Contradictory as it may seem, however, recent archaeological discoveries around the northeast hamlet of Ban Chiang suggest that the world’s oldest Bronze Age civilization was flourishing in Thailand some 5,000 years ago.

It is difficult to determine the type of culture which existed in Thailand before the Christian era, since no written records or chronologies exist but archeological excavations in the area north of Nakorn Ratchasima indicate that there were people living here over 4000 years ago. Thailand (previously known as Siam) has been populated ever since the dawn of civilization in Asia. There are conflicting opinions of the origins of the Thais. It presumed that about 4,500 years the Thais originated in northwestern Szechuan in China and later migrated down to Thailand along the southern part of China. They split into two main groups. One settled down in the North and became the kingdom of “”Lan Na”" and the other one is in further south, which afterward was defeated by the Khmers and became the kingdom of “”Sukhothai”".

In the early 16th century, the European visited Ayutthaya, and a Portuguese embassy was established in 1511. Portugal’s powerful neighbor Spain was the next European nation to arrive in Ayutthaya forward the end of the 16th century. In he early 17th century they saw the arrival of two northern European, the Dutch and the British, and France in 1662.

In the mid-16th century, Ayutthaya and the independent kingdom in Chiang Mai was put under the control of the Burmese, but Thais could regain both of the capitals by the end of the century.

The Burmese invaded Ayutthaya again in 1765. This time Burmese caused much fear to Thais. Burmase soldiers destroyed everything, including temples, manuscripts, and religious sculpture. After the capital fell in their hands for two years, the Burmese effectiveness could not further hold the kingdom. Phaya Taksin, a Thai general, promoted himself to be the king in 1769. He ruled the new capital of Thonburi on the bank of Chao Phraya River, opposite Bangkok. Thais regained control of their country and thus scattered themselves to the provinces in the north and central part of Thailand. Taksin eventually turn himself to be the next Buddha and was dismissed and executed by his ministers who did not approve his religious values.The British gained a colonial foothold in the region in 1824, but by 1896 an Anglo-French accord guaranteed the independence of Thailand. A coup in 1932 demoted the monarchy to titular status and established representative government with universal suffrage. At the outbreak of World War II, Japanese forces attacked Thailand. After five hours of token resistance Thailand yielded to Japan on Dec. 8, 1941, subsequently becoming a staging area for the Japanese campaign against Malaya. Following the demise of a pro-Japanese puppet government in July 1944, Thailand repudiated the declaration of war it had been forced to make in 1942 against Britain and the U.S.

The politics of Thailand took some significant turn on 24 June 1932 when a group of young intellectuals, educated abroad and imbued with the concept of Western democracy, staged a bloodless coup, demanding a change form absolute to a constitutional monarchy, Determined to avoid any bloodshed, His Majesty King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) agreed to the abolition of absolute monarchy and the transfer of power to the constitution-based system of government as demanded. On 10 December 1932, His Majesty King Prajadhipok signed Thailand first constitution and thus ended 700 years of Thailand absolute monarchy. Despite the number of successive constitutions that followed in the span of just over half a century, the basic concepts of constitutional government and monarchy laid down in the 1932 constitution have remained unaltered.

Today Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty, the present king. The King has reigned for more than half a century, making him the longest reigning Thai monarch. Thailand embraces a rich diversity of cultures and traditions. With its proud history, tropical climate and renowned hospitality, the Kingdom is a never-ending source of fascination and pleasure for international visitors. With the incredible number of visitors who simply fall in love with this mesmeric paradise of a country who find themselves returning year after year, its hardly surprising to hear of the high rental opportunities ( find more information http://www.thaiproperty.co.uk/ ) offered to any investor with a Thailand property. Combined with the fact that globally attractive Thailand boasts 1 of the worlds most empowered and foreign investment boosting economies. Contemporary apartment’s flats and villas that are each ideal for investment or recreational purposes can be found in abundance within Thailand’s borders. With the country’s infrastructure developing at a remarkable pace, land prices are on notably on the increase too which, for property owners, is nothing but reassuringly good news.

Coping With Thailand’s Tightened Visa Regulations

It is the end of an era in Thailand. Political changes occur rapidly in SE Asia. Nowhere is that more evident than inside the Land of Smiles. In the wake of the John Karr / JonBenet Ramsey fiasco, Thailand has tightened restrictions on Tourism Visas and stymied the lives of tens of thousands of travelers. Officials claim the two are not connected.

For many years now, backpackers have flocked to Thailand. It’s tropical climate, gentle citizens, inviting beaches and ease of travel beckon youthful exuberance. Over time, many of us have matured to suitcases and still less-stylish travelers followed suit.

During these Golden Years of Thai travel visitors form 39 countries could enter the Kingdom of Thailand for thirty days without obtaining a visa before their arrival. Those staying on longer would simply make a border run, cross out of the country and return, often within minutes. Whish! Stamp! Boom! They had another thirty days.

Currently details of the new regulations are as clear as mud in an unlit cave. It appears starting October 1, 2006, travelers such as myself will be able to make a maximum of two border runs. We receive thirty days on arrival. Then, we receive thirty days each for the two reentries. After that we may not enter Thailand again for ninety days. In other words, after ninety days in, we must leave for ninety days. Whish! Stamp! Stamp! Out!

The tourism industry will suffer! From taxi drivers and guest houses, to massage schools and laundry services, the impact will be felt. I imagine a Tuk Tuk driver will look up this January and think, “Hey, where’d everybody go?” I like to believe the cumulative economic loss will be more than the Kingdom fathoms and policies will loosen again over time. I also still hang a Christmas stocking up for myself.

Alongside Thais, how are long-term travelers being affected by the changes? If you think the inconvenience to individuals is negligible, consider the following. Here are some examples.

Donald Wood – UK

“My sister and her family were to spend February in Thailand with me. They have canceled their trip. Why? Because, I’ll be out for ninety days by then.”

Kelly Laidlaw – USA

“I paid for a one month TEFL Course and two months ‘volunteer’ teacher training on Samui next year. That’s three months total. I lose days from each 30 day allotment, because I have to do my visa border runs on weekend (to not miss class). This is what I’m left with. I leap into Thailand the day before class starts and sprint for Samui. Then, I fly out the day after I finish teaching/graduate. Perhaps a prospective school can interview me in the Tuk Tuk on the way to the airport.”

Claude DeVosjoli – France

“I had many plans for my six months- sure to travel, but more. I’m always doing something. Mahout training, an expansive meditation experience, maybe I learn to cook Thai. And, there’s trekking, Muay Thai courses… There’s so much to do here. Now I can do only half. Half lose my francs. It’s so hard to choose.”

Barry Anderson – Australia

“Funny thing is Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar) lost business because of the Thai regs. I wanted to hop over there bouts for a week mid-November. Can’t now. That would use up one of my precious two visa runs early. Don’t wanna torch thirteen days I figure.”

Kathy Taylor – Canada

“I sold my home to come to SE Asia for a couple years. The thinking was I would maintain a small apartment in Chiang Mai, take some classes, travel around a bit and have a place to nest and write in between. Now when I travel to other countries it will go lock, stock and barrel, along with my tourism dollars for many months.”

Alan McLawrie – UK

“I’m currently taking classes to learn to speak Thai. I’ll miss the third level now. Of course, I’ll be off in Vietnam not able to practice what I just learned anyway. Also, I volunteer at a dog rescue and will miss the pups. I’m financially independent, yet too young to meet the 50 year old requirement for a Retirement Visa here. Officials actually said this new law will stop bad people and not hurt good people. Well, if financially successful, charitable volunteers who study their culture are bad guys, send me to the front of the line.”

Anita Kroll – USA

“This change is a bit of a pickle for me. I have a three month course this spring. So, in December when my 90 is up, I have to leave Thailand for almost four months, not three. I’ll need the whole next lot of ninety days to cover my class time. The course starts in late April and I’m out in December. I wish there had been more notice before the government changed things, though in retrospect I did not have to pay in advance.”

As you see there are dozens of ways Thailand’s new policies will cause little inconveniences. But, how little are they? You see, I am Anita. I am Alan. I am Kathy, Barry, Kelly, Donald and even Claude DeVosjoli. All these issues occurred for just one peaceful gal who simply loves Thailand. What else do these issues have in common? That’s easy. They take money away (Whish!) from the Kingdom of Thailand and its citizens.

Discount Hotels in Thailand

Bangkok is Thailand’s major tourist destination that’s why large number of foreign tourists arrives in the city around the year.The city boasts some of the country’s most visited historical places like Wat Pho, the Grand Palace and Wat Arun.

Bangkok not only great number of tourists although provide world class lodging accommodation. All the major hotel chains like Hilton, Marriott, and Sheratons has their properties there. The Peninsula Bangkok is among the top ten hotels in the world (according to Travels and Leisure magazine’s top 100 hotel lists). The city also offers numbers of smaller boutique hotels for discerning travelers seeking uniquely designed lodgings. There are large number of discount hotels are also available in the different parts of the city. these discount Bangkok hotels provide all quality services to their guests.

The Imperial Impala hotel, Mandarin hotel Bangkok, Quality Suites Airport, Comfort Suites Airport, Center Point Apartment Petchburi, Miracle Grand Convention hotel, Royal Benja Palace hotel, Merchant Court hotel Bangkok, Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel and The Dusit Thain hotel are some discount Bangkok hotels among the large number of others.

Phuket is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. It is an island there are no land boundaries and the island is served by Phuket International Airport. Phuket is famous for its beautiful natural surroundings and attractions. Old building, Rang House (View point of Phuket town), Rawai Beach, Phromthep Cape and Wat chalong are some popular tourist sites of Phuket.

Phuket also offers world class accommodation facilities from Luxury to discount Phuket hotels. Aloha Villa, Andaman’s House, APK Resort, Baan Boa Resort, Baan Karon Resort, Deevana Patong resort & Spa, Club Bamboo Boutique Resort, Karon Sea Send Resort, Phuket Island Pavilion, Patong Lodge hotel and Kamala Beach hotel & resort are some out of many wonderful discount Phukit hotels.

Crossroads in Thailand and the Big Question.

(Subtitle: “Can you really respect yourself in Thailand now?”)

By Carl “J.C.” Pantejo, Copyright May 2008

(Author “My Friend Yu – The Prosperity Mentor,” Copyright August 2007. Pantejo – Y.N. Vurce Publishing.)

During an afternoon with a fellow Farang (Thai: Foreigner) we talked about how our lives were going in the Land of Smiles. As usual, we talked about our girlfriends and the challenges of trying to understand them.

Somehow we got on the subject of “Love;” specifically, the absence of Love (in the Western sense) in Thailand. The discussion got me thinking. A lot. About a lot of “stuff.”

Many personal questions started to run around in my head. And the subject of our talk lingered in my mind long after I left his apartment…

- Still a Farang -

Although looking like a typical Thai man, I am a foreigner. American. I am not anywhere near fluent in Thai, but most of the time I can get by. Funny thing. Fluency tends to increase with alcohol, with me at least. I wonder if the lowering of inhibitions has the same linguistic effect on other Farangs?

Anyway, like several definitions and meanings between English and Thai, I’m sure that Western concepts of love will never fully translate into Thai.

And “vice”- versa.

To find Eros, Thanatos, and Agape (roughly translated: sexual love, friendship love, and unconditional love) in one person has been an exercise in futility for me here in the Thailand; like the search for the Holy Grail!

I’ve tried Thai women from different social strata, differing levels of education, and different ages. Results of my quest? No dice. No joy. Zip. Nada. Nothing.

In fact, the only time I thought I had a glimmer of hope was when a Thai woman began treating me as I treated her – with mutual respect.

Later, I found out that she had rummaged through my mail and discovered that I was/am a retired U.S. serviceman with a pension, not just another low class (on the Farang social scale) English teacher.

At least she never accused me of being kii nok (Thai: Bird sh*t, a grungy looking foreigner) or kii neeow (cheap, stingy; literally translated: “sticky sh*t, you can’t squeeze anything from it!).

Upon discovering her discovery and thinking about her seemingly miraculous attitudinal change, I told myself to “Run away, run away fast!”

Oh yes, initially, there can be a period of smooth sailing for a few months, pure dove-cooing bliss; but in the end the outcome is the same: In spite of my devotion, support, and sacrifices, I am never anywhere near the top of the list of importance in any Thai woman’s life.

Pecking order? Face? Pecking Order? Face?

Same Difference!

And being relegated to the bench as a second-string observer in the game of life is just not the way I want to spend my days.

Sorry. No quid pro quo means it’s time for me to go.

Western style generosity has only been met with shark-like exploitation.
It’s as if random acts of kindness are often seen as weakness, especially when a man gives, gives, and gives; while the woman keeps taking.

And if a Thai woman wants me to “show my love” via my wallet, she needs to look elsewhere.

- Blinded by love and obviously doomed ventures -

I shake my head when I witness so many Farangs invest their hard-earned money and precious years of their lives into blatantly lopsided arrangements. Pay for a house or land BUT never really own it? Start the business race from way behind all the locals gathered at the starting line? Support extended family to extravagance? Pay for the “privilege” of residing in the Kingdom WHILE contributing to the local economy AND paying Thai Government taxes?

Boy that really makes me feel loved and accepted here.

The closest I’ve come to “love” in the Western sense was with an Isaan woman who is a great friend and lover. She’s not a gold-digger. She is trustworthy (a BIG DEAL for me), a hard worker, and selflessly caring.

I should be satisfied.

But I know from my experiences with her that she will leave me at the drop of a hat if any family “pressures” her to acquiesce.

That fact really bothers me.

You see, to me, the only way someone can be “pressured” into something is when personal freedom, and oftentimes integrity, is sacrificed in the name of what? Face? I’m sorry. I don’t buy into such shallowness.

Why? Because I can.

Blindly accepting such customs and gratefully accepting “crumbs from the table” would make me feel like I was not respecting my true nature as an independent, thinking, and fair human being.

Again, foreign concepts.

Personally, it has to be win/win or no deal. I am neither a despot, nor a doormat. Ideally, I want to be a partner; sharing life’s adventures, challenges, and heartwarming moments.

I don’t think this is unrealistically romantic, nor irrational. Well, maybe in Thailand it is…

But again, I guess those are concepts (i.e., personal freedom, integrity, mutually beneficial setups, “playing nice” and “fighting fair,” agreeing to disagree, etc.) that will never fully translate/transliterate, nor be fully comprehended by Thais.

- Feeling “loved”? -

By no means are these foreign, conflicting attitudes confined to interpersonal relationships. They fully manifest in business and the workplace too. Pay in advance? Expect frustration and disappointment. Contracts? We don’t need no stinking contracts!

I “love” many things about Thailand (e.g., my girlfriend, new motorcycle, sunny days, Thai meals; time to read, write, reflect, and exercise, etc.). But I tolerate many things too. The list is too long and sounds like a broken record to all who’ve spent much time in Thailand. I fully accept the fact that I am and will always be a Farang.

Outsider in perpetuity. And it forces one to really look at one’s life and the role one desires to assume in it.

I’m sure that this will be one of the major factors why I will finally leave the Land of Smiles.

(It was different in other Asian countries. Japan, in particular. I lived there for over six years and was often embarrassed because I could not match the generosity extended to me by the locals – probably because the Yen was so strong against my military paycheck greenbacks.)

True sharing between Thais and Farangs? I’m not sure it’s possible.

Equitable arrangements? Fair play? PLEEEAAASE!

I guess the only way to make a Thai understand our weird Farang ways is to bring them out of their element (meaning: The hermetically sealed “bubble” known as Thai Culture); and let them experience things in a different setting. That is a huge step emotionally, financially, and psychologically.

It is a step I am not willing to make right now.

Seven weeks ago I was offered another year extension of a teaching contract at a prestigious government High School, four adult English classes at some language institutes, and quite a few private, one student, classes. Although the pay in all the above instances was well above the norm, I declined.

They [the Farang and Thai employers] asked why? I presented my case sans emotion and exaggeration.

They gave me “a deer in the headlights” look and again asked, “Why, Khun J.C.? The students, staff, and parents ‘love’ you.”

Hello? Anybody in there?

A few years ago I thought I had a good plan. I could enjoy retirement while I am still healthy, or at least take pleasure in semi-retirement while pursuing my dream of being a civilian teacher overseas.

I think Thailand has cured me of that affliction.

- Paths in Life -

But seriously, I think I might have retired much too early at age 39. If so inclined, I could easily do another full career. Fortunately, because I am healthy and my skills are not outdated, my choices of occupations are not at all limited. And at this point, the thought of another excitement filled, good paying career with second retirement in about 12 to 15 years seems rather attractive. Who knows, maybe the passing of the years might find me more receptive, tolerant, and satisfied?

One thing’s for sure. I can not feel “loved” among those who can not or will not find a common ground in the meaning of the word “Love.”

In my Thai apartment I pointed a finger at the man in the mirror and said, “After over two years ‘in country,’ can I really respect you now?”

Gravely thinking about relocating,

Carl “J.C.” Pantejo
Pantejo@ynvurcepublishing.com

Love, Crossroads, respect, Farang, Western, Thai, face, generosity, exploitation, losing ventures, relationships, life.

Other articles by the author:

“Imagine That…(1) – The Asian Angel of Mercy and Assassins.”

“Alternative Notions of Life, a Different Path, articles (1) – (7).” (This is an ongoing series of articles that focus on self-improvement, success, and happiness).

“Experiences from ‘The Flow’ series, articles (1) – (23).” (This is another ongoing series of articles about love, romance, Asian/Western relationships, relationship analysis, and more.)

“How Dare She! Out of Desperation I Learned How to Forgive”

“Remember Who You Are!”

“Need to Heal Your Broken Heart? Read on. Overcome Heartbreak and Learn the Illusive Secret of Happiness.”

“Simple (and Priceless) Life Lessons from the Most Influential Prosperity Mentor in My Life – My Father”

And much more!

(By Carl “J.C.” Pantejo and published internet-wide, keyword: [title of article] or “Carl Pantejo”)