Dating Abroad, Travel Destinations »

Dating & Romance

Many, many tourists come to Thailand specifically to find a mate, especially foreign men. Thailand is quite liberal compared to other countries in the region, and socioeconomic issues are generally less of an issue than in many neighboring countries. Social norms are changing rapidly as the country develops, and casual dating is quite common among young and even middle-aged Thais, particularly in the cities. The language barrier is probably the most serious problem a foreigner will face, but then again, love has no language…

Thai Women

Thai women are beautiful, with jet black hair and slim, curvy bodies. Obesity is very rare among Thai women, and their soft, feminine features are extremely attractive to most of the foreign men who visit. It’s no wonder so many male expatriates wouldn’t even consider dating a Western woman anymore. There are millions of highly available and very attractive Thai women around, and with even decent looks and a minimum of charm a foreign man has a very good chance of getting laid or finding a girlfriend.

Many travelers come to Thailand with the goal of having a bargirl for a girlfriend. Though this is obviously very easy, it will not end up well 99% of the time. Bargirls are almost always “working” girls, and if they have sex with you that will be “work” for them, i.e. it’s not fun. Don’t expect passion, equality or trust, and you certainly run the risk of getting drugged and robbed or coming down with an STD, not to mention that you will pay for it, one way or another…

Thai ladies are also quite educated and worldly, and less conservative than others in the region. It is certainly not impossible to find a woman who has advanced degrees and quite a bit more money and better prospects than the average backpacker. Don’t expect her to buy you drinks, though, unless you’re very lucky. In Thailand, as in most Asian countries, men are usually expected to foot the bill.

Smelly backpackers need to clean up, shave (or at least trim the 6 months’ growth of beard), and put on some decent clothes to attract Thai women. Thais have a high standard of cleanliness and things like body odor or long fingernails will be immediate turn offs. This is less true in the countryside or smaller towns, where just being a foreigner provides the traveler with a certain degree of higher status. However, most women in the countryside won’t speak a word of English.

Older and divorced Thai women can be a great group of people for the foreigner to meet a confident, knowledgeable and more financially stable woman for a long term relationship. As is common in most of Asia, divorced women are looked down on and considered highly undesirable by the local culture. The best chance that a Thai woman in such a situation may have is to find a foreign man. Thai women tend to age extremely well, and it can be difficult for a foreigner (especially a newly arrived traveler) to tell if a woman is 20 years old or 40 years old.

The notion of finding a “submissive” woman who will cook and clean is overblown for the most part, though it is more likely in the countryside, where economic development has fallen far behind Bangkok. Most Thai women will be quite opinionated and can be very passionate.

Lesbian and bisexual female travelers will find some open-minded women in Thailand, particularly Bangkok. Thai culture is quite sexually permissive, but there is a lot of competition…

Thai Men

It is relatively rare to see foreign women with Thai men. The reasons for this are many, including, certainly, the great disparity in physical size between Thais and Westerners. In general, Thais will view the most attractive woman as being slim, light skinned, and having blonde hair and blue eyes. Women who fit this model will undoubtedly receive plenty of attention, but heavier women may not.

There are obviously some foreign women who will end up with a Thai man, but they are a small minority. Thai men have a reputation for being sexually promiscuous, and many Thai men regularly visit prostitutes. Indeed, prostitution is deeply engrained in Thai culture, and a large minority (if not a majority) of Thai men will lose their virginity to a prostitute.

Lady-boys are ubiquitous in Thailand, and many look exactly like women. They are completely accepted in their new gender role by society, and the traveler will have to take a second look as he assesses a “woman” in the street or in a bar. An Adam’s apple is a guaranteed sign…

M.J. Lloyd

James Tramplefoot has been, and will continue to be on the road indefinitely, for years and probably decades.