10 Worst Things About Thailand
Thailand attracts foreigners with its offers of exotic food, tropical climate, and beautiful women. Anyone who’s actually lived in the country for more than a few years has probably come to realize that the Land of Smiles isn’t all flip flops and day drinking. While it’s under reported, foreigners are getting less impressed with certain aspects of Thai life.
Here are a few things to be aware of before you commit any time to the beautiful country of Thailand.
Thailand is praised for its street food, and for good reason. It’s entirely possible to find delicious meals for low prices. However, you are much more likely to find gristle and food poisoning when you buy mystery meat from the side of the road.
Seriously, you think 7/11 sushi is bad? Try eating a bowl of tom yum soup where most of the ingredients are inedible chunks of ginger and lemongrass. Also, it has to be said, have these street food chefs ever heard of gloves? If I wanted my food to be fondled by strangers, I’d pay bar girls to do it and I’d film it for my private collection. Good street food is fine but most of it is soup kitchen level disgusting.
Thai people are some of the friendliest acting people in the world. I specify “acting” because Thais also work hard to alienate foreigners whenever possible, even going so far as to charge foreigners more for virtually everything.
Thai pricing is institutionalized racism at its finest. Small and large businesses are expected to take advantage of foreigners. Even public parks, museums, and temples will advertise their dual pricing. There have even been occasions where Thai nationals have been incorrectly charged “farang price” just because their skin looks too white.
Thailand has a pretty uninspired girly bar scene for a country that is so often referred to as a sex-pat paradise. Sure you can see cute girls in bikinis, but you can do that at a beach. Thai gentleman’s clubs lack the style, skill, and pageantry of the West.
An evening in Bangkok’s red light district is as exciting as a dinner date with a pornstar. Pretty girls queue up to stand on a catwalk and pluck their bra straps to upbeat dance mixes. No one enjoys the music, and no one would know how to dance if they did. It becomes apparent that the only reason any girl wants to talk to you is because you’re filling her quota for the night. Their lack of English means that they cannot simulate attraction without rattling off a memorized menu of services.
Thai beds will give you sleeping problems. No matter how firm you like your mattress, the cotton wrapped slabs of concrete that pass for beds in this country are an insult to sleep itself. There are no mattress toppers thick enough to cushion your ribs, no body pillows supportive enough to protect your spine, and no amateur Thai massage therapists experienced enough to sort out the long term damage to your back that you’ll experience after months of sleeping on a Thai mattress.
If you’ve only ever stayed in hotels, you might not have noticed this phenomenon. Most hotels seem to understand the importance of a soft bed, unlike landlords and condo developers. The bed problem wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t so difficult to move the things out of your condo.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about Thailand is dealing with customer service. It may have something to do with communicating in a foreign language, or maybe staff just isn’t trained well enough to help customers. Either way, anyone expecting first world service is going to be sorely disappointed.
Customer service in Thailand is the opposite of helpful. The “sabai sabai” ethos means that no one you talk to will take responsibility for the issues you face. This means it’s nearly impossible to scam restaurants out of free meals or take advantage of ambiguous return policies at supermarkets. Note to any white tablecloth restaurants reading this: I’m still waiting for the waiter to put a napkin in my girl’s lap.
Thais Can’t Speak English
Drop any amateur backpacker in a major foreign city and they’ll be able to get around. The average Japanese, Swedish, or Chinese local will speak enough English to direct you to a bathroom, shopping mall, or massage parlor.
In Thailand, if you can’t find an experienced expat, you have to resort to annoying Bangkok based Facebook groups with questions about how to find taxis and where to buy elephant pants. Even when speaking to the information desk at a mall, you should know to dumb down your vocabulary and slow your speech so that the staff can decipher your strange pronunciation of IKEA.
Thais are impolite in passive ways, and this is most obvious when you’re on the BTS during rush hour. Locals are pretty good about following posted rules regarding food and drinks, but all unwritten rules that require common sense are ignored.
The worst offense happens when you are stuck in the back of a busy BTS car and need to exit. Common sense would dictate that people in the front should step out of the train to let other commuters out. The best you’ll get in Thailand is a slight shuffle to the side as you shove your way through a wall of warm bodies.
Thailand hates good beer. The government has made unlicensed production and sale of alcohol illegal, and licenses are difficult to get. As a result, any companies profitable enough to penetrate the local market with new brews have to focus on mass appeal instead of good taste. The most exciting beer you will find for sale at a convenience store is an artificially flavored wheat ale.
The eternal debate between Chang, Leo, and Singha is a sad joke to any beer connoisseur. No one should take pride in the unregulated, watery piss beer that’s common in this country. Beer Laos is a decent Southeast Asian beer, however it’s too malty and filling to be binged on.
Even Thai people don’t listen to Thai music. Never mind the fact that there is a rich history of various genres that spans decades. Disregard the fact that there are tons of artists that sound like Thai versions of Santana, Willie Nelson, and Nirvana. Asking a Thai person if they listen to Thai music is like asking a Millennial if they listen to country music.
This topic has already been covered, but it’s worth pointing out that Thai women are some of the most jealous, irrational, heartless creatures in Southeast Asia. Ask anyone with a Thai girlfriend, they’ll tell you. They’ve inspired countless balcony leaps, stollen millions of dollars in pensions, and fraudulently acquired untold numbers of green cards and visas through loveless marriages. Needless to say, if your Thai woman is the only reason you’re still in the country, you should reconsider.