Young Thai Women and the Western Men Who Love Them

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“I don’t understand the bars in Chiang Mai,” Xavier told me.  “Every time I walk by, the women try to get me to come in.  Why do you think it is like that?”

“Well, it could be three things,” I replied.  “First, prostitutes.  Second, ladyboys.  Third, it could be like that scandal in Budapest where a woman has a guy buy her a drink and it turns out the drink costs $2,000 and then some scary men make you pay the whole bill.”

Xavier and I had met on the bus from Bangkok and discovered one of those amazing friendships that you can only have while traveling — within three hours, we had poured our hearts out and told each other our life stories!  He was from Paris and spending a month in Thailand.  Like me, he was at a major point of transition in his life and came to Thailand to heal before making some big life changes.

And — because so many of you have already asked — no, it was not romantic whatsoever! We were just buds, and that was perfect.

Another French friend of ours, whom I’ll call T, invited us to Number One Bar that night.  This bar was in an area east of the old city, where young Thai women pair off with older Western men.  You see this throughout Thailand and quite a bit in Chiang Mai, and it can be difficult to take.

It’s tough because I consider myself a sex-positive person. If two (or more) parties are happy in their arrangement, an arrangement that is both consensual and legal, I’m all for it.

For those seeking long-term relationships, I can understand completely. These men obviously don’t want a Western wife or girlfriend.  They want someone young, pretty, and submissive.  The women want financial security and an easier life.  And few relationships don’t involve transactions of some kind, anyway.

But seeing it first-hand creeps me out nonetheless. Especially when the men talk to them like they’re children.

T was playing pool with a Thai girl, and Xavier and I joined in.  After watching the interactions throughout the bar, I think I learned quite a bit:

How to flirt with a Western man:

  1. Wear short shorts and high heels.
  2. Have a girly cocktail and keep ordering him big bottles of Singha.
  3. Pretend to be horrible at pool, then be secretly awesome at it.
  4. Giggle incessantly before and after every shot.
  5. Fling yourself into his arms whenever pleased or embarrassed.

T was a good-looking 24-year-old guy.  In fact, his girl was a few years older than him.  I don’t know why he ended up in one of these bars.  Maybe he just wanted an easy hookup.

At one point, another Thai girl joined us, I assume to put the moves on Xavier.  Which I found strange.   Although he and I weren’t a couple, most people assumed we were.  Then I realized that I was the only Western woman in the bar and probably had no idea how things worked here. Yikes.

“Is she trying to seduce you?” I whispered to Xavier.

“She needs to try more hard,” he replied.

After endless rounds of pool, we decided to move elsewhere.  We piled onto two motorbikes — Xavier and T on one, me and the girls on the other — and zoomed through the streets of Chiang Mai, our long hair whipping each other in the face, giggling like crazy.

We actually had a great night out, and the girls were a lot more fun than I originally thought.  That said, I could tell that the girls thought I was the fifth wheel, so I excused myself around 1 and headed back to my guesthouse.

Do I still find this older Western man/young Thai woman culture creepy?  Yes. But after seeing two twenty-something Thai girls go after two twenty-something French guys, much of it isn’t any different from what you’d see in your local bar on a Friday night.

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165 thoughts on “Young Thai Women and the Western Men Who Love Them”

  1. Age plays very little part of it. You’re into bar girls aka quasi prostitutes or not. Also most guys that get involved in these relationships long term end up broke. As a guy who talks to guys of all ages and lives in an apartment complex resembling an old folks home… Trust me.

    The girls don’t care much what a guy looks like I have concluded as well they are working. That whole area where you were if it was near Tae Pai Gate is sleaze city. Walk down the street late night and lots of street walkers as well.

    Want the “FULL experience” Go to Spicy after the bar one night. You’ll find it hilarious and disgusting.

    That said, been in Thailand off and on for over 4 months, every once and a while I still find it creepy too.

          1. Yesterday, I was at the AIS, phone centre, and a german male maybe, 60 with some very nice golden curly hair stood beside me. The 20 year old Thai girl immediately ignored me to give the farang, a big smile as she stared right at his face.
            The german spoke some Thai, therefore was probably retired in Thailand. Obviously he could easily have an 18 year old Thai girl for a girlfriend or wife, while a Canadian girl would go “valley girl, eeew” he’s a creepy old guy! Unless, the creepy old guy was wealthy then its ok.
            If I were a woman, I would marry this guy because he is obviously educated, and has some money, and they novelty of the young Thai stud wears off when the bills for children’s schools, cloths come in. Lets hear it for creepy old guys.

  2. Same same over here in Udon Thani. When I first came here, it was pretty creepy. Actually it is still. Not quite sure if I will ever get used to it. Don’t like the typical old ‘Farang`hanging out with young Thai girls. Even though my colleagues already make fun of me when we go out by saying ‘Sascha, wait 30 more years – then you’ll come back and do the same’ 😉

    1. that part is not the true thailand, but the Isan northeast part conquerred by the thais from loas and cambodia, and women there are thaitified not the real thai race.

  3. This sounds like a normal night at a bar in LA, just with less Asian girls.

    I’m taking bets on when you’ll succumb to the annoying, incessant giggling of Thai girls. I say two more weeks, and then you too will find yourself giggling for no apparent reason. Three weeks until you’re doing it in your sleep.

  4. The girl/men scene in Bangkok would be hard to take, I think. You say the men don’t want Western wives or girlfriends. However, I think the men probably have Western wives or girlfriends and want a side dish. 😉 I”ve never seen anything like this, at least not on the scale you describe. Maybe I’ll head to Thailand next to check it out – or not

    1. You know, Sabina, that could be possible — but how would they get away with a solo trip to Thailand or many solo trips to Thailand while married? Business, yes, but most people don’t get to go to Thailand for business!

      1. Kate,
        Your naivity is showing! Men can get away with loads of things – they can say they are traveling on business which makes them switch planes in Thailand or a myriad of excuses.
        My girlfriend’s husband was spending tons of time going to ‘China’ but really was in NY with his girlfriend – my friend never bothered to check his passport (which he kept at the office, ha ha) until it was too late.
        There have been tons of documented accounts of American men going to Thailand to be with young women and even getting arrested for trying to buy young girls and many are married. It’s so vile and way under-reported!
        Be careful out there girl!
        Have a great rest of your trip – there are so many positive places to see and things to do! Now you’ve seen the creepiest, go see the best!

        1. Sorry but generalizing never helps. It’s a dirty overused cliche.

          In the place I live, I see many many old expats with younger women. Should I assume they are all creepy people cheating on their wives?

          Luckily most of them are not very discrete and speak loudly so I can hear it: They are usually married to younger Thai ladies.
          They don’t have western women, they don’t cheat on anybody. They just wanted younger beautiful women to spend the rest of their lives with!
          It’s easier in Thailand to find a younger person than in the Western world where people would point fingers and label you as a creepy man.
          The Western world is not very open minded..

          1. My bad, the fact that some are cheating is irrelevent in the exploitation of women. The cheating aspect for some is just an added negative on already creepy behavior.
            We might be splitting hairs on the whole age difference – but what I dislike is when women feel that their only option to get out of bad times is to marry someone for money who is much older than they are then it’s creepy. Not on the part of the women with no choice, but on the part of the men who are either looking for a fountain of youth or are just plain unable to socialize appropriately with women who are in a range that would enable them to have a normal relationship.
            It’s kinda like porn, you can’t define it, but you know it when you see it.

          2. In the Western world there also seems to be a lot of promotion in the media of “cougars” – i.e. older women going after younger men, and ‘what a good thing it is’, etc.

            Funny, I don’t hear that called ‘creepy’.

            I thought that following your sexual inclinations was deemed “good” these days – gay, lesbian, with same age, older, younger partners etc etc – ‘follow your passion’ etc – very politically correct eh?

            Funny though that the only group ostracized for ‘following their passion’ are, you got it, older men with younger women.

            Sexism, discrimination, or what?

            Consistency in arguing moral positions is key, and calling old men with young women creepy while supporting “cougars” and anything else under the sun is in itself dishonest and ‘creepy’.

        2. I wouldn’t say Kate is naive at all – just not prone to generalizing and being overly judgmental. Of course there are ‘bad’ men, and ‘bad’ women and sometimes people are bastards. But there are lots of people with good intentions too. I would hate to wander around the world looking at it through a lens that assumes everyone is always doing something shady.

          1. Sorry, Kate knows that I was teasing about her being naive! She is far from that – she’s a wordly Boston chick!
            I am not overly judgemental – but I do judge as all people do about what feels right and wrong. Every situation needs to be evaluated on it’s own merit for sure. I try to not take things too seriously such as the late Anna Nicole and her late 90 year old husband, but I also detest the exploitation of women and especially young women or girls with no perceived options. I judge those situations to be BAD – I do NOT always assume everyone is shady or those who disagree with me are judgemental – that would be judgemental.
            Keepin’ it light!

        3. Well i am amazed .. us men find a place where we are happy … and then certainly women find us to criticise our happiness.. no matter where we are away from you in western world . Simple .. we dont like the rules we live under .. from Governments who rule in your favour .. we dont like how you look … Obesity and unrealistic belief in your Beauty.. or body parts .. and then complain when we find happiness with a nice culture and woman… Real proof of why men come to Thailand… some for fun .. but some for real love and understanding from the opposite sex … so out of balance in Western Society .. it makes me sick … very true … when i Thailand .. All young /older white women are not even a thought … which surprise me…. 3 yrs ago .. not even think about a relationship with an Asian woman.. but its really Wonderful … never turn back now …. so let us be Happy in Peace.. finally 🙂

      2. P.S. Where in the world is the place where young men go after old ladies? I have three girlfriends whose husbands died pre-maturely and I am wondering where they will meet their 20 year junior?

        1. I hear you lady! Sorry if I came off overly bitchy or judgmental in my original response to you. It is a complicated issue – one I really struggle with not gagging a bit over too.

          Oh, and the place where young men go after old ladies – I believe it’s called Beverly Hills. 🙂

        2. Hi Priscilla,

          That will be Turkey. I lived by there for a year and a half close to a holiday resort. It is a favourite place for divorced women to go for a fling with some one younger.

          Like with many men in Thailand/Phillipines it often ends up with someone losing a lot of money. Though there are of course exceptions there are now many happily married couples in Turkey and Thailand. Don’t know what the divorce rate is but its pretty high in the UK/US anyway.

          1. Yes, Turkey is the place for women to find younger men. As in Thailand, it’s often (though certainly not always) about money. I frequently see German women aged 50-70 with Turkish men in their 20s, especially men who came from the East (where there are no jobs) to make their fortune in tourism. Some work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week as waiters; others move in with wealthy ladies instead. I’ll admit though, I had a fling with a much younger man (we are stll friends), and money had nothing to do with it. Sometimes these things just happen. 😉

        3. Let’s see . . . Yes, Turkey, of course. You could also go to Mexico. South America. Africa. Europe. Probably most the former USSR countries. Where else? Oh, the United States. I know many older American women who brag about being cougars. Apparently, now that older American women are playing that game, it’s primarily younger American women who make an issue of it.

        4. Priscilla,
          That place would be anywhere in the USA!! Many western men of all ages now, dread approaching western women, for various reasons. But just as in Thailand, it is the older person that can approach the younger, regardless of gender. I also think your ignorance of the situation in Thailand is glaring. You use your Western reference to pass judgement on the Thais and perhaps asians in general. Asians revere their elders. This use to be the case in the west, years ago-like 100 years or so. Do you speak out on Donald Trump bedding Marla Maples some 25 years or more his junior? How about Rush Limbaugh and all his bought p*ssy? Get informed before you spout non sense. It is women like you that make western men turn to asia.

      3. Alastair Perkins

        Fascinated by your blog. I can tell you how the married guys get away with it, they tell there wives they are going on a golfing holiday, as there are numerous courses in Thailand, then dump all the golf gear in a mates lock up.

        I am not one of these guys lol, a single Dad of two young children, yes I have a young Thai girlfriend yes I am over 50, when in the Uk we get the usual dirty looks from wives and winks from Husbands, our relationship nearly 5 years is a practical one, my Gf has never been a bar girl, she has a good family, had private education. sure I look after her, her parents trust me and she has her freedom which she needs before she was constantly watched, she helps with my children in the holidays takes care of me, when I am older and defunct I would rather have someone I know take care of me than be a prisoner in some dodgy care home, when I eventually pass on, she will get a monthly allowance from my estate and will be young enough to get herself a toy boy. We have a happy practical arrangement we are both happy with. So am I a creep or shrewd.





      1. … and many of these S.E. Asian women are lovely , caring people and not racist bitches with an unwarrented sense of superiority that many Indian women have.

  5. It’s sad that these men would want someone submissive and young. My mother always taught me that weak men go after weak women. A real man can be with a strong, independent woman with a brain. A weak man goes for someone he can feel superior too. Ugh, that kinda grosses me out and I really don’t care if I sound judgmental. There are just some things that are wrong, and your initial reaction was right on.

    1. I absolutely believe that, Colleen. Weak men go after weak women. A guy I dated a few years ago comes to mind. He was a waiter and insecure (but HOT — oh god, so hot, and I was crazy about him). He broke up with me by text message (!!) and he’s now married to a hostess at the same restaurant. I KNEW he couldn’t marry anyone with a better career than him!

        1. Ouch you beat me to the punch , I enjoy Kates writing though I wonder if she’s as judmental as she comes across in real life ?

    2. Eh, I highly doubt most men care so much about the whole “submissive” thing so much as they’re simply seeking good sex and a woman who cares enough to try and make him feel good. An old guy with little going on to discern him from all the other old single guys out there is NOT going to find a physically attractive woman who is willing to go down on him and make him feel good in the states. I’m only 36 myself and have for some time had quite a bit going for me, and the pickings are and have been pretty darn slim for me over here. Few attractive single women these days over here, lots of obesity and women already toting kids from some other man. I was on pof just earlier today and I swear at least 90% of the single women you find are either obese or have kids. That is not attractive. And the minority of single women you find whom that does not apply to over here are nearly impossible to get close to because they have so many potential male suiters that they are picky as all hell and you can’t even get the time of day from them. As a single man I find it heart breaking and a constant source of aggravation frustration and discouragement. In a place like Thailand the tables are totally turned to the man’s favor. I’ve never been, but its why I’m beginning to seriously consider a trip over there within the next few years, perhaps even a prolonged stay.

    3. You can be a strong woman without being a b!tch That is what many western woman don’t understand. You have that choice. You can be a b!tch and single or nice and with a man. 50% of western marriages endure, so not all western men seek weak Thai woman, but few western men want to be with a toatl BI.

      1. If western women are opting for Asian women, western women should try some Asian men, like Indian, Chinese, etc. Why are you women so stuck up?

    4. Nick John Mellor

      I have lived with three European women in my time. The last two were members of MENSA, and had very good jobs. I don’t remember the last time I had anything to do with a stupid woman ( I also don’t like having friendships with dull men).

      You assume young (I assume you are talking about Thais) women are submissive. Nothing could be further from the truth, but your willingness to view Thai/oriental women through your western lens leads to stereotyping, something many western women are guilty of.

      Yes, I prefer oriental women (but not too young), not least for the fact they tend to be more attractive, but also because they are so much easier to get on with. They don’t seem to have so many ‘issues’. Without doubt, the one woman I should have stayed with was a Japanese in Tokyo. She was intelligent, had a great job, was articulate in English and had a pleasing hedonistic streak. I lived in Tokyo in the early 90s, and I remember mouthy, strident young American women at work, whose viewpoints and logic were like yours.

      1. Too many Western women think that Thai/Asian women are “Submissive” they are not in my experience,just more Feminine and have not been so exposed to Feminazis……….compliant ? maybe,wanting to please their Partner ? Certainly……isn’t that what ALL partners should try to do …Male or female.? I think there can be a lot of jealousy involved with criticism of Thai women.I am with a much younger Thai Lady and neither of us think that I am “Creepy”……nor does her Family. The most important thing is that BOTH partners are happy,as my Wife said….”Age is not important it is the PERSON that is important. and if two people Love each other Age does not matter “………how many Western women including some Bloggers would have THAT attitude.?

  6. Craig and I went into one of these bars in Phuket on our honeymoon. We would sit at the bar together and play connect 4. Sometimes we would play against the bar ladies. We would laugh at the way they completely ignored me and flirted like crazy with Craig. It was so obvious that he was taken but they didn’t care. The pink neon bars really creep me out too, but you can have fun there and it is a cultural experience.

  7. There are always two sides to the coin. It might be shocking to see this scenario first hand, but it is a reality of life and in many cases it benefits both parties. In other cases it doesn’t. Great observations Kate and I’m glad I happened upon your blog via my dear friend Sabina whom I’m going to visit in Sharjah this weekend.

  8. I agree it’s creepy. But so is Hugh Hefner and all his girlfriends who are young enough to be his granddaughter. Is it really so different in this country? If a guy is rich enough, it doesn’t matter how old he is, what a jerk he is, or how unattractive he is, chances are good he will be able to find a hot young thing to agree to marry him, because she’s going to see it as her ticket to easy street.

    1. Nick John Mellor

      All very true. It happens in the west all the time. The only thing I’d add is that the ‘hot, young thing’ will tend to be a bit stupid.

  9. I love that there is an ad for for me on this page. Certainly makes me appreciate my strong, smart woman even more! Looks like you’re having some fun, Kate.

  10. Ahhh that TOTALLY creeped me out in Thailand. At 1st I tried to ignore it and then I just got angry (talking about the men here). PS Still don’t believe you were only just “friends!” Wink wink…

      1. Well said Adalbert!
        These kids are just jealous in some inside-out mixed-up way, they’re so used to being the centre of male attention wherever they go, and when they’re not, even in one place, for a brief while, they vent on ‘creepy’ old guys!
        The Thai girls and old men are happy with this arrangement, it’s in it’s own way, a cultural thing, they can’t accept that. No one is forcing these girls to do this, they could easily not date old guys and still get by in easygoing Thailand. It’s just down to childish bitchy envy, end of report.

  11. Great story! I like the fact that you wrote it specifically to “kill” the myth that every single Asian girl is after Western men to make money. Sometimes, they’re just human too. Plus, they’re from a very strict part of this world and sometimes do not know how to interact with easygoing people.

  12. I’ve seen a lot of this kind of interaction in Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, also Indonesia… Sometimes I find it funny. Sometimes I find it sad. Sometimes it’s both.

    A lot of these girls have very hard lives (many of them have young children they’ve left behind to pursue what is, effectively, quasi-prostitution). And many of the men are looking not just for a young, quick lay but for a type of submissive femininity that they find more easily in Asia than in the West…

    I guess the difference between what happens in this kind of bar and what happens in the average Western bar, and what still makes it feel a bit sad and weird for me, is the dynamic of power and money. That any man on a Western income can be a prince in a Thai bar, and buy women to seem interested in him.

    And that for a lot of bright, beautiful girls in Asia, in countries where MacDonalds (for example) hires only college graduates to work behind the counter, the best way to make a living is this kind of transactional deal. Which, as a woman, I find rather sad.

    1. This is a really thoughtful comment Theodora. Thank you for articulating this so well. I’m uncomfortable with the situation too but was having trouble articulating it. You did it beautifully.

      1. I agree with most of what you have experienced in thailand about the girls.but i have 2 yr old søn to a 22 yr old girl .i am in england working sending 3000 bht e.w while the ex is working 12hrs a day getting

    2. Theodora, thanks for an excellent comment.

      I agree with you about the dynamics of power and money. While they are exchanged in just about every relationship that there is, there’s something so odd about any Western man immediately having unlimited power here.

      But still, I’d rather be in one of those bars with guys looking for companions than hanging out with sex tourists. Pretty sure I sat next to one on the flight from Seoul. Creeped me out.

      1. This is where you get to the crux of the matter.

        What freaks you out is seeing a powerful western man, after growing up seeing only emasculated, submissive men in your home country.

        Living in a country where the average western man couldn’t care less about your feelings must be very scary to the average western woman.

        1. Of all the comments on this post, this is the one that cracks me up the most. I’m picturing you hiding in the bushes and jumping out and yelling, “Boo Western Woman!”

          1. I need a little level setting. I have been to Thailand 4 times. I did the bar girl quasi prostitute thing the first 2 times and kind of got uninterested in the whole thing. Every night the same thing. Drink smoke and try to play cutisie with all the girls. But after not getting the right response back (because you fall in love) it became a matter mor of finding someone sincere and that has not been involved in this scene. Well I did meet someone on TLL and saw her for a week and we hit it off. I’ve since then gone back to see her another time. She is younger by 20 years but is sincere and lives at home. When I was there she was my guide and lover and friend exclusively. She is so wonderful. We email everyday and she makes me so happy I want to move there to be with her. We went to soi cowboy to hear music at the Country Road bar and I could just tell she wasn’t outgoing like all the rest. Just was into me. Bottomline is that you can find a sincere honest beautiful (but poor) girl if you look hard enough. But perhaps she is just looking for money as well. Any advice? Thanks and this is a great blog!

      2. Nick John Mellor

        And you’d only be able to work out the guy on the Seoul flight was by stereotyping, Kate, which you are unbelievably good at.

  13. I’m a relatively young guy (25) who has been living in Thailand with my girlfriend (27) for a little over 2 years. I agree that there is something very creepy about seeing an old, hairy white man with an 18-year-old girl on his arm but at the same time, if they’re happy together with whatever symbiosis they have going on, who the hell am I to judge them? Live and let live. It’s surely an interesting phenomenon but I can think of much worse things occurring around the world right now.

    Try as you might to shape a society – you will never change human nature. Men crave young, beautiful women and poor people invariably crave wealth. If that is disgusting to you then I suggest you go live on Mars.

    Thailand are a nation who have access to Western technology and advancements but as a society, they are stuck 50 years in the past (comparatively). Your parents and/or grandparents were probably much more open to the idea of the man in a relationship being the “provider” and the woman taking care of the family. Biology and a couple of million years of evolution is pretty open to that idea too.

    Don’t be so fast to trample on old values in your attempts to appear modern and liberated. I know it looks odd from a typical western viewpoint but from a Thai viewpoint it’s actually reasonably normal (yes – even among civilised people).

    Most western women would class and old, fat, balding guy as “out of their league” and think the idea of making money a first consideration for choosing a mate to be tainted and “immoral”. However try working in the blistering sun for 12 hours a day for 200 Baht and I think your view might change pretty rapidly.

    Western women no longer have to worry about finding a provider (what with childcare, washing machines, dishwashers, a comfortable salary etc.) and as such, their criteria for selecting a partner have become akin to selecting fashion accessories.

    Find me a single, old western guy who doesn’t dream to have a young, beautiful wife and that man is the oddity, not the sexpats in Thailand (as creepy as they appear).

    1. Excellent reply Ryan.

      I have an Asian girlfriend in the US who is older than I am, and smarter than I am (with a Masters Degree), but she looks 10 years younger than me.

      We sometimes have to deal with the stereotyping & generalizations that I hear from some of these comments, and it’s pretty annoying.

      There are plenty of bars in Miami where older women and younger men hook up. It’s not weird, its human nature.

      There will always be a percentage of older, wealthy individuals that lust for (and spend money on) youth. It has nothing to do with gender. Haven’t any of you women been to a male strip club? I’ll bet you’ll go a lot more when you’re older. 😉

      1. This is an interesting discussion and I’ve learned a lot from both sides here.

        My concern with the the young SE Asian girl, old Western guy thing is that it doesn’t seem to happen occasionally – as in, some older women go to strip clubs, or some men have girl friends who look younger than them but aren’t – but seems very much systematically ingrained here.

        I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Laos (where this kind of activity is illegal, but happens all the time anyway) and it’s actually the behavior of the older men that bugs me more than the young women. I can understand why a Lao girl might see an opportunity in a Western man – I get her motivation and don’t think less of her for it. I can also understand why an older Western guy might want a young, more compliant girlfriend. But over and over again I’ve also experienced these Western guys treating the girls here like chattel. Get me this, do that – one Western pub owner with a Lao wife talking about how you need three Lao people to equal the brain power of one person from the West – IN FRONT OF HER (and yes, she understands English and no she didn’t laugh). This is stuff you see and hear first hand, all the time here – it’s not rare, or infrequent.

        Yes these are anecdotal examples and there are probably lots of men who treat their girlfriends and wives with respect (and plenty of people in the West who treat their Western partners badly) – but the difference is that here this behavior is ingrained into the system. It happens a lot and everyone has accepted it to be normal and okay. At least in the West men men have to answer for this kind of behavior and women often have support networks they can go to if things get out of hand. In Lao, there are no structures in place to protect these girls and women or anything in place to keep the behavior of these guys in check. I can’t speak for what goes on in Thailand, things might be completely different over there. I don’t know.

        This isn’t an argument of percentages. It’s an argument about socially ingrained power hierarchies – even with a Western man at their side, these women are still very often marginalized and treated with little respect by people who should really know better.

        1. What you are talking about stems from the strict social hierarchy they have in Laos and most other South-East Asian countries. The subservient wives you are talking about believe in this system and respect it for what it is.

          It may look outrageous to you and you may be of the opinion that Laos is desperately in need of a Women’s Rights movement but it works for them just fine. Much the same as it worked for human beings everywhere in the world up until 100 or so years ago.

          If it makes you feel any better, much of Thailand has already shunned these old values and Laos probably isn’t too far behind.

          I don’t think the Western guys you see are exploiting the financial status of these women – they are just integrating with a system that has been in place long before they ever jumped off the plane. The only reason the Western guys stand out to you is that you probably don’t speak Laos (or Laotian if you prefer). Also Laos guys probably have enough class to beat their wives in private (joke – don’t lynch me).

          Personally I would be shot if I tried to treat my girlfriend like this and most people in urban centers in Thailand are much the same. However most rural communities still have a real need for a hierarchy and unfortunately women usually rank lower than men — although you can blame Biology for that, not society.

          1. Ryan, I find it interesting that you feel like you’re in a position to speak for the subservient wives (“The subservient wives you are talking about believe in this system and respect it for what it is.”). In the 50s people liked to think that Western women as a whole enjoyed their traditional home maker roles but actually, many women did not. I suspect you’d find similar sentiments if you were to dig beneath the surface of how SE Asian women really feel about some of the traditional roles imposed on them, especially in the face of all the Western culture that has been imported here by us travelers. They dress Western, many speak English, they listen to Western music and watch Western television, but when it comes to their rights as human beings, we expect them to act traditional? Lets also not forget that this entire paradigm of Western guys with money coming to SE Asia is not a traditional cultural phenomenon and the power structures that develop as a result are anything but ingrained by hundreds of years of practice. It’s a very modern phenomenon.

            I do speak a bit of Laotian and have spent some time with a few of the girls here. I’ve found the Laos girls and women (even the prostitutes) really lovely and friendly – maybe they don’t see me as competition :). In my experience they mostly have the same hopes and dreams as people everywhere – they want to be loved, treated nicely, be able to fulfill their dreams (some of them want to be doctors and scientists – some want to open up their own businesses and yes, some dream of getting married to a nice man and having kids) and not have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. The Western guys aren’t acting like jerks out of deference to traditional cultural values, they are acting this way because they can get away with it. Again, I recognize that some Western guys are great and treat women from all backgrounds well – but that doesn’t reduce the fact that it’s common and socially acceptable here for them to do the opposite mainly because they have the money and with it, the power.

            Horrible things happen to women around the world in the name of tradition and culture – I’m sorry if I’m too modern or ‘women’s rights-y’ but I don’t think something is acceptable because it’s always been done. Forced female circumcision, government led denial of education for women, the literal selling off of young female children to older men by their fathers, the refusal to let women drive or work in some parts of the Middle East … all done in the name of traditional cultural values. It’s just not good enough.

  14. If you spent your time in Vientiane or Louang Prabang etc. you might be inclined to believe that life in Laos is reasonably modern and westernized. However, that is far from true in the other 95% of Laos.

    Hopes and dreams are irrelevant when you have to quit school after a total 4 years in education (as opposed to maybe 6) so that you can help your family work the rice fields. That’s a reality for the vast majority of Laos people.

    Any “modern” and “westernised” girls you have seen have almost certainly been made that way by their western partners and they afford that modern image with the money they are given by them.

    This is not an assumption made from a few casual conversations with Laos people – it’s knowledge imparted from Laos people I have lived with for many months.

    I know it’s easy to pretend to understand something, having just glanced at the surface but women’s rights are the least of Laos’ problems.

    1. “Like all travelers, Twain and his companion think they understand everything but usually find out (too late) that they actually understand nothing at all.”

      1. Wow! I appreciate that you took time out to dig up a Twain quote though apart from the blog title, it doesn’t really say much about what I do or do not understand about Lao or Lao culture. Maybe I lived in rural Laos for six months in my last year of university as part of a cultural exchange program many years ago. Would that give my opinion greater weight to you? Do I really need to list my credentials here for you to show any respect for an opinion that differs from yours? We could go on with the pissing contest – I could even try to find a clever quote to try and insult you – but I doubt we’d come to any kind of agreement. It’s really convenient for you to try to read something into who I am because unlike you, I’ve not posted here anonymously.

        For the record, I don’t pretend to understand everything – perhaps you need to take a step back and admit the same. I also don’t think that addressing the complex land mine of women’s rights issues will solve all of the problems in this country – but it’s a start. With your attitude we would never begin anywhere. You try to enact positive changes in your way, and I’ll do the same in mine. If you’re trying to improve the lot of other people, I can’t imagine a situation in which I’d tell you it’s a waste of time.

        I understand that there are cultural differences between rural and urban parts of any country – my own included. Of course urban areas are more Westernized – that’s not much of a revelation. And for the record, I wasn’t only referring to women and girls being influenced by Western culture – the men are as well. My point, which you seem to have missed, is that we tend to import our culture where it is convenient for us, but when it comes to women’s rights (and probably a lot of other things) we’re still relatively quick to throw up our hands and say – ah, well that’s the traditional male/female dynamic in this country.

        And dude, hopes and dreams are never irrelevant – no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Poor, rural people have aspirations too – you don’t need to have more than a four year education to imagine what you hope will come out of your life. And finally, if you conduct your conversations with these people you claim to know so well with the same assumption-based lack of respect you’ve just shown to me, I highly doubt you heard anything about them that wasn’t immediate obvious to you with your innate knowledge and cleverness.

  15. Perhaps I’m jaded by the large number of travellers I’ve met, who seem to become overnight experts of every country they have ever passed through. The only thing that led me to believe this of you was the fact that rural Laos has barely even been touched by westernisation and is in very stark contrast to places like Vientiane.

    Yes I know what they say about assumptions.

    Anyway my point wasn’t that Laos people don’t deserve hopes and dreams, it was that until these dreams have much chance of being realised, the hierarchy they have in place still has a very real purpose. I’m sure the bone-breaking manual labour most Laos people endure every day is much worse than a few harsh words from their husbands. That’s not to say it’s ok or acceptable in the grand scheme, just pretty low on their list of priorities.

    Of course, many more fortunate (and creepy) western men will take advantage of this to a point but it’s not entirely because they are “jerks”.

  16. I had to revisit this thread to make my first comment.

    I’m pretty shocked that there are so many that take such a blase attitude towards the exploitation of poor SE asian women. I first read this thread a month ago and saw Michaels comment from November 8th.

    Since then, I’ve watched 4 documentaries on youtube regarding poor Thai women who hook up with western men and I have to say that these videos are some of the most depressing things I’ve ever encountered.

    I’ll be going to Thailand myself in the spring and I guarantee that as a middle-aged white male, not only will I NOT hook up with any thai women, I’ll instead tell them about the “western” culture that they are so enthralled with. I’ll be sure to let them know that most of what they see it fake and that our western culture is a fake debt ridden cesspool and that they’d be better off back on the farm with a Thai husband their age regardless of the dynamics in the relationship.

    I guess that’s just how I feel having a shitload of empathy combined with a degree in economics.

    Just my 2c.

  17. Reading all these comments regarding older men and younger women. Interesting stuff.

    I am forty three and spent last summer in Chiang Mai. When I was twenty three I could not afford to be a brattish expat and spend one week in Chiang Mai on a ‘hippy trail’ travelling Asia because mummy and daddy had given me money to ‘see the world.’

    My holiday was Glastonbury. It lasted three days.

    I totally got sick of the expat brats travelling in and around Chiang Mai. ‘You don’t want to go there mate! You want to go to Vang Vieng!’ – nice intellectual stuff.

    I suppose being in the middle age bracket I got a view on both life styles. But I do know younger people bitch more and feel more self-righteous.

    Do any of those posting know the local wages of the bar girls? I don’t even mean the girls who work serving drinks. They don’t have any safety net.

    Yes when the age difference is extreme is severe it does look bad. My hero happens to be Edward James Olmos – Blade Runner – he seems happy with a much younger woman.

    The author of this website should try and live in Pattaya.


  18. Many people assume that these Thai girls are the ones being exploited… I think they fail to take into account that many of these young women are extremely shrewd and know exactly what they are doing and what they want. I think many understand male psychology better then western women do. True, their options may be limited due to lack of education and a background of poverty, but they make the most of what they have. Being supported by an older man beats working all day in the hot sun for a couple of dollars. Of course, there are many western men who are jerks who take advantage of this but from some stories I’ve heard, they often get their just desserts eventually, one way or another. In other cases, these relationships end in marriages and sometimes business partnerships. Of course there are some guys who are just whoremongers, but why is it worse if they are older men? Tons of young western guys are out there doing the same thing.

  19. Hello
    I’m  a former security officer from las vegas looking at retiring  to Thailand . first i would like to visit-for a month in mid-January and wondering where is the best place to locate? 
    It has been recommend that Chiangmai is less expressive and beautiful.   

    I had looked at living in Koh Samui (Bophut) for the whole time but on closer inspection it seems that apartments in Bangkok, with a higher standard of finish, are much cheaper. If Bangkok fit the bill (with the exception of the beach), I could base myself there in a cheap apt and travel every few weeks to get the beach…

    Any recommendations on where to live would be great – first time to Thailand so feel free to be as specific as you wish!
    My aim for the  first month is  to visit and simply to work out in the gym, of course visit the sites and essentially live the easy life! However, I would like to be close to some sort of night life at the same time. So, in short, I would like to have the following within easy commute (preferably at my doorstep!)
    Also go to process to attain visa to live in Thailand  

    1) full weight and cardioGym
    3) City/Town with a good level of nightlife
    4) public transportation 
    5) learn thai

    A studio apartment would be sufficient but should have WIFI, a/c and cable TV and small kitchen
    My budget for accommodations would be in the region of 6,000-10,000 baht per month.
    BTW I’m in my early 40’s and not creepy old westerner lol but I do like woman and dating. If you lived in las Vegas over many years I’m sure it makes Thailand look tame.
    Thank you

    [email protected]

  20. I think you’ve missed a couple of fundamental points in your assessment. The girls were working……for money…..there are no spring chickens in this bar. Lots of Thai women look much younger than their true age. Also the mail clientele in this particular bar are older and dare I say it a bit haggard looking. I’d stick to sunsets, food and buckets of booze rather than snap socio economic homespun anthropology.

    1. Thanks doing more research and yes understand the haggled old man can be well gross. Looking forward to my visit there. Read your comment Chris and being fit attracts but most important is to be fit and healthy for your self something for what I seen western woman have forgotten! I went to six countries in Eastern Europe and counted a total of five overweight women! I live in Las Vegas and I see 76% of overweight women shame why do you think that is ? The same reason men go to Chiang Mai for women?

  21. A lot of relationships over here are “creepy.” Go to any high school and see all the cute, sexy, dick-teasing popular guys who are all over the jocks simply for the fact that they are jocks. No matter what their character is, or if they’re players/scumbags, or even if they are any good as students in the classroom and have any kind of a legitimate future. Nope, so long as they’re tall with broad shoulders and popular, that’s pretty much all that is needed these days. That’s pretty “creepy” to me, yet its a norm in this hypocritically f-d up society of ours these days. An poor desperate old man with money willing to get his most basic needs met by an equally poor desperate legitimately impoverished and deprived young woman overseas who is willing to get her most basic needs met by him is not nearly as creepy to me as some of the norms of our supposedly “modern” society.

  22. Interesting thread, but it is just older western men behaving this way that creeps you out? This is so common with Thai men that I am surprised you did not mention it. It is considered normal for an older Thai man to have at least one girl friend if not more in a addition to his wife. Mia nois are all too common in Thai society.This is a culture that made plural marriage illegal in 1938 I believe. But it is still widely practiced. The main difference is western guys are falling all over their young girlfriends, giving them everything, and Thai men are incredibly discreet about this. They would never dream of walking hand in hand with a prostitute in public and they don’t want to embarrass their family about a girlfriend either. Most of my Thai friends have had problems with this in their families. Yes, the motivation is money for most, the average bar girl makes far more than a teacher or nurse and sends most of the money home to support her family and probably the child she has had with a Thai guy who left her after the kid arrived. Some families even encourage their daughters to go into this work, especially if they have no money for an education. But many educated young women are looking for older husbands because they believe they will be treated better by them. I personally have found it a bit odd when I have seen older men with wives 40 years younger and they have children too, I just hope they have made provision for taking care of the kids after they are gone. I have seen allot more of this in Issan. Frequently these guys have almost nothing in common with their wives, but who I am to judge? If it works for both parties, then , as any Thai would tell you, let them do! lol I have no experience in Vietnamese or Lao culture, but I do speak Thai, have many Thai friends both here in the USA and Thailand and visit frequently. I think you would see allot more of this in Pattaya or Phuket compared to CM. I have met many judgmental western women in Thailand, so quick to draw conclusions. One time in particular as a friend and I were trying to get away from two very aggressive bar girls in a bar and not be rude, a British woman in the bar walked up to me and said in a loud voice “Have fun with your tart” and left. I laughed and said “I will”, little did she realize she gave me the out to exit the bar, sans bar girl. Lots more I could say, but this subject gets too much attention already in a country that is filled with incredible sights, sounds, smells and tastes

  23. This ”older/richer guy hooking up with younger/sexier girl” thing is not at all exclusive to S.E. Asia. It happens everywhere, and is as old as the hills.

    Kate is correct when she says that all relationships are transactional on some level, and countless numbers of western girls behave in very similar ways to the Thai bar girls, even without the drivers of abject poverty and absence of opportunity.

    In S.E. Asia much of this stuff is concentrated in the capitals and major cities, such as Bangkok, obviously, but it’s present almost everywhere. It is exactly the same here in the UK and USA too.

    Consider London or Manchester (or any city, in fact): every night you’ll find young girls, dressed in their ‘sexiest’ and most alluring outfits, flooding into exclusive nightclubs and bars, intent on flattering and fawning over the current crop of older, richer celebrities, sportsmen and VIP’s. Those men are at the club precisely because they wish to be flattered and fawned over (and then get laid). The girls are offering sex in return for reward, and the men are happy to oblige. This is the exact same mechanism at work as that seen in Bangkok, and I’m not sure there’s any reason to feel queasy and uncomfortable about it in Asia, but not here at home.

    An interesting point is that in Thailand, many (most?) of the girls are forced into this situation because of severe poverty, but that’s not the case for the Western girls, for them it is essentially a lifestyle choice. Pretty much all of them have access to a decent education and careers where they could make a comfortable (if not necessarily affluent) living, provided they were willing to invest some time and hard work. However, it appears that vast numbers of western women are quite happy to use sex as a way of bagging a man who can offer them an easier and richer lifestyle than they might otherwise be able to achieve.

    This is now a mainstream, aspirational choice here in the UK, and our media is heaving with glamorous photo-articles about WAG culture (WAG being ‘Wives And Girlfriends’ of rich sportsmen and similar). It’s quite clear that young women pretty enough to claim the limited supply of rich older men are completely comfortable offering sex in return for money and security.

    The Bangkok bargirl scene is alive and thriving here in the west, in every city you care to visit – the only difference is some minor cultural window dressing.

    P.S. I’m leaving the UK for Chiang Mai in the new year. I’ve always wanted to visit S.E. Asia and Chaing Mai sounds a perfect base – roll on April!

    1. I think it’s the poverty which is exactly what makes these kind of relationships queasy in Asia and less so at home.

      I couldn’t give a toss what footballers and gold digging British girls do. Everyone knows the score and everyone is there 100% consensually. I think it’s sad on both sides, but if they decide that’s what they want to do then fair play to them. But that’s just not the case in Asia, and I think it says something very disturbing about older men in Thailand who are willing to engage in these relationships knowing that their “girlfriend” is there to stop her family starving.

      1. Now the old man’s a hero. He showed the Thai girl attention, gave her money and saved her family from starvation.

        The Brit traded sex for Prada shoes. Sad.

  24. After my dad left my mom for a Taiwanese girl who was younger than me, yeah. Creeps me out. At least he finally came around and learned that “love” should not require expensive jewelry and body waxing and cashing out your 401K. But yeah. He learned the hard way.

  25. I know a Belgian who went to Thailand for a holiday and got picked up by a seemingly decent girl named Parl. They had a good time together, but stupid guy that he was, he didn’t use protection, relying on the girl who said she took pills. A few months after he went back to Belgium, the Thai girl emailed him and told him she was pregnant with his baby.

    So, he sent money every month for 2 years, then thinking that he would like to bring his “family” to Belgium, he had her file a visa. The Belgian embassy required a paternity test of the child, and you can already guess the result: the child wasn’t his! Parl the Thai woman still insisted that the test was wrong, so they had the test done 3 more times, with the same result.

    Moral of the story? You can’t trust Thai women who pick you up in Thailand, yeah, but also, don’t be freaking stupid when you travel! LOL

  26. Interesting to read these blogs. Started doing so to learn a bit about the possibility of moving to Thailand to enjoy a beautiful country and culture on the fruits of my retirement after working very hard for so many years. Thought I might teach English as a second language , and maybe a little guitar etc. Possibly even put together a little Blues band to play locally. Then I started reading some of these comments and started feeling guilty for being a vibrant 60 year old healthy heterosexual American male. Creepy!? I thought Asian cultures respected the older generation, which is the opposite of our western culture. It seems to me that many of these blogs are younger western women trying to impose their culture on the East. I’m not a supporter of prostitution as a business. But it;s abundantly evident that western women of all ages prostitute themselves for position, power, and money. So, why is it that a man in my age bracket has to take so much heat for living life to the fullest extent he can. And be dubbed as being creepy. I would love to go to Thailand, at least for a few years, especially in the northern regions. But Gee whiz, at the expense of being ridiculed for being a man with some life experience enjoying life the same way he did at 20? I don’t know. Where can one go and enjoy life without being ridiculed by people like a bunch of teenage girls taunting the “unpopular”

  27. Unlike in some Asian countries, Thai women are *not* submissive. They are quite dominating in relationships – with both Western and Thai men.

  28. I can give some real insight into this. I was just in Thailand for a month and was perplexed by the whole thing myself. The really old guys withe the barely 18 girls really creeped me out.

  29. If I had a husband/boyfriend who goes to Thailand on solo trip, without me, as soon as he comes back to the US, he’s gone. I do not trust any man who goes to Thailand alone without ever picking a prostitute.

  30. It’s always amusing to listen to young Western women come to SE Asia and become outraged and incensed with culture shock at seeing so many older western men with much younger and attractive Asian women. I think one could sum up their enlightened, liberated and morally superior attitudes basically as sexist, racist and ageist. Sexist because somehow the man is always the “creepy” one taking advantage of the poor little Thai girl and never the other way around, which seems to happen just as often, if not more. And racist because its always “a white western guy” and never a Thai man who is condemned for being with a much younger girl. (There are far more older Thai men doing this than foreigners and always have been. This is a tradition in Thailand that THAIS created and has existed long before “creepy” old men from the West showed up). And ageist because somehow a man who is still vitally healthy and alive and still attracted to young beautiful women at 60 is now somehow a creepy old pervert simply because he still prefers the company of a beautiful young woman to the old (or young) demanding bitchy high maintenance western women he left back home (if he can even find one).

    At 57 I am a single healthy white western male and I think its just as strange and also a little “creepy” to see single young western white girls wondering around Thailand. I don’t know why they are there. Certainly they are not looking for love or companionship. They’ll be hard pressed to find anyone, young or old, interested in them in Thailand. Thai men are certainly not interested in them. And they are completely outclassed by the shear volume of beautiful young, sweet, submissive and available Thai women, which brings me to my main point. I believe the main cause of their indignation at seeing so many relationships between older western men and young Thai women is because it threatens their own sense of value and power as western women. Surrounded by so many beautiful and available Thai women, white western girls become practically invisible to the eye of the western man in Thailand. The tables in Thailand are completely reversed from what they are used to in the West and even “creepy” older western men (I guess that would be me, I’m 57.) are not interested in them in Thailand. Subconsciously this is hard for their egos and psyche to take. They just can’t get their heads around the fact that they’re not in Kansas or London anymore, culturally speaking. That’s why they judge so harshly and make up demeaning labels like “creepy” for men who take up with younger and more attractive Asian women.

    The fact is that ANY western guy, regardless of age, can pick and choose a beautiful young girlfriend or wife from among literally thousands of attractive young Thai girls very quickly with little effort or expense in Thailand. When a western man enters Thailand his desirability among young women skyrockets and the older he is the better. He is suddenly like a rock star, figuratively speaking. Not so for a western woman. If anything her desirability plunges and few are interested in her, if any. A man quickly realizes that he is treated far better in Thailand by Thai girls regardless of his age than he could ever hope to be in the West. This seems to threaten western women considerably and rightfully so. They really cannot complete.

    The power play between money and sex are ALWAYS factors in any male/female relationship to some degree anywhere you find men and women in the world, and that is everywhere. Male/female relationships are always mutually beneficial in some way to men and women or they wouldn’t be together. That’s the way evolution designed it and how families are created. The difference in bar girl behavior and the behavior of most women in the West is not all that different, its just more subtle in the West. If the economic scales are tipped a little more toward western men in Thailand and Thai girls are more attracted to older western men because they perceive the possibility of a more comfortable lifestyle with them then that’s the way it is. Evolution doesn’t have a problem with it. Why should anyone else?

    To a large degree western culture and its attitudes are arrogant, phobic and insane. No wonder women in the West consume more anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications than anyone anywhere in the world. If western women in Thailand are so disgusted in seeing men behaving as men (regardless of age) and younger women preferring to be with them (regardless of the reasons) then they should go back to where ever they came from so they no longer feel threatened or have the need to hatefully label and judge. They are certainly not going to change thousands of years of normal male/female evolutionary behavior with their modern western racist, sexist and ageist opinions and labels. Let’s hope they’ll just get tired and go back home.

    1. That’s 100% correct.

      For once we don’t have to put up with the western women and their bad attitudes. If you don’t like it “GO HOME” and leave us in peace. We came here to get away from the rules and ways of the west. I’ll take a 20 something year old Thai girl any day over an over weight ugly western mole.

    2. Ermm….. I really beg to differ. I am from a SE Asian country and most of us always wonder about this: old white men with young thai girls. Also, there are many beautiful Thai girls but we always see the white men with the ugly ones. And this is not the opinion of the women only, even my husband asked me that when we went to Bangkok, Samui n Phuket and saw so many couples like that. he asked and i quote, “can’t they get better ones?” So your argument that you pick Asian girls over the “ugly” western women doesn’t really hold water here. At least, not in our eyes. What you consider exotic is actually ugly to us. But then, I guess beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. On another note, please don’t flatter yourself that they are doing it for love. It is actually the fastest way out of poverty for them. I am not looking down on them because I know how tough life is for them. A white man irrespective of age is a meal ticket for them. What we don’t get is why the western men know they are being taken for a ride and yet still feel like they r rock stars or kings. I can only conclude that money can buy happiness.

  31. livedinchiangmai

    I lived in Chiang mai for several months with my Thai girlfriend. She was 21, fresh out of university, with a degree in japanese, I was 42. No money exchanged, though I did pay for everything since she was a broke college girl. You know, expensive stuff like $2 lunches, gas in our motorbike, entrance to the gym to play badminton with her uni friends…

    She really didn’t want a future with me, we were just two people enjoying a spell in life.

    Why exactly does the age difference bother you kate? Now, the kicker, I moved back to the US, and guess what? my girlfriend here is even younger, difference wise. I am now 49, and she is 25. Been together for five years, and I get the same looks from women everywhere here, that kate implies in her article. Dirty old man… My gf here is studying for her Phd, I’d say she is probably smart enough to make her own choices…Is it possible that some young women might find a mature educated successful man attractive on their merits? or if you aren’t dating the guy with tats and a nose ring, who will always be the biggest problem in your life, is that necessarily indiciate of some kind of emotional problem?

    . I’m still in the same fanstastic shape. 6′ 180lbs low enough body fat you can see my abs, but the hair is getting grayer… So, if it is “he’s too old for you…” well, too old for what? do you really think you could out hike me, out bike me, out swim me, or out dance me? good luck 🙂

    So, am I a creepy old man here, or is that just reserved to thailand?

    The last few years have been good to me, I’ve made a couple million dollars, but nobody would know it by my lifestyle: drive a honda, etc; I think often about moving back to thailand, especially Chiang mai. The hiking and mountain biking were fantastic there, the food excellent; cost of living very very low. I could go there, spend six months learning thai, and then branch out, explore the rest of the country that isn’t so easy on expats.

    anyways, I’m really curious, if it is just in Thailand that I’m creepy in, or does it count back home?

  32. Very interesting discussion. I”m a 42 year old British woman living in Thailand for the past 18 months. Actually I didn’t choose Thailand – i’ve had health problems and I came to Bangkok to do some training in a complementary health method and then I’ve ended up staying because I haven’t got better. I’m single and have been so for over 10 years.

    So I see this sex tourist thing in Bangkok and of course I have my reactions to it. It’s kinda complicated and that’s why I like reading these blog posts to get everybody’s perspective… and try to understand my own mixed feelings.

    Yes on the one hand there is envy and fear – men get more chances at finding a partner than do women I believe. In that a man can be considered attractive for more than his body – so as he ages I think he has a good 10-15 years more leeway than a woman. For a woman beauty is very much linked to looking child like. So yes – I think I’m considered over the hill. .. which is strange because it’s actually self-judgement to a great extent… perfectionism. I do get looks from men time to time – Thai men as it happens…. mmm.

    So yes – seeing the guys go for girls who are super hot – and the guys are nothing special – it’s a bit depressing for me here!

    Other aspects… where I live in Lumphini area of Bangkok the whole road and many people living in my condo are western guys with Thai women or looking for bar girls / male prostitutes. There’s a whole variety of guys I guess. Some seem like really nice guys – so how can I begrudge them some fun? If you’re bored or unhappy at home, why not try something different. Come to Thailand.

    It’s just at other times I see this disgusting behaviour. Some guy in his 60s/70s I guess with very stooped posture, looking quite ill he got in the pool and then gave me a weird lascivious stare… I felt quite uncomfortable. And then he he started swimming and then honking his lungs up very badly.. maybe he has emphysema and then he spat the phlegm into the drain of the pool – he didn’t get up and go to the toilet to spit it out.

    This is just one example of a sick old guy who is quite anti social / unpleasant in my book. I saw him recently in the pool a couple of times with a cute chubby Thai girl early 20s maybe – shee seemed sweet – she spoke great English… maybe she’s a college student… maybe he’s a teacher. Who knows. And he was being his most charming with her.

    I don’t know sometimes there’s pathos there – also at the condo pool I see another balding fat guy in his 50s maybe, with a very graceful way of walking like a ballet dancer. Anyway a few time I’ve seen this guy have a swim while the young Thai guy waits for him… I assume it’s pre-coital. And the young guy looks bored but is sort of hiding it Thai style… humouiring the customer.

    Oh I don’t know – if you can get something genuine going – a genuine connection then go for it. Who am I to judge? I say good luck to you. I’ve just come from staying with some people I know who run a guest house – the guy is in his late 60s and his thai wife looks bloody great I suppose she’s mid 30s. And she’s a firebrand but he can handle her – he’s a strong guy. He’s clever and has built up a business, and his Thai has been fluent for years – because he’s got kids here by a previous wife. Their connection is genuine. Probably transactions involved at some point – cos she’s no pushover. But a lot of affection and no self-delusion. There is honesty and reality in it too. I say good luck to them.

    However I often see guys who are sick in some way – maybe they are physically sick, maybe they are alcoholics. Youv’e got the alcies coming here to drink themselves to death and marrying in haste… to the wrong woman.. or maybe any woman would be the wrong woman.

    I hear gay sex tourists in the cafe asking each other for support on “ooh but does he like me? Oh does he think I’m stuck up”… and they’re like 60 and I”m thinking – “come on guys – one thing you get with the wrinkles is a bit of perspective on life. Why are you caring so much what a 20 year old thinks of you? They only ave a 20 year old’s mind and perspective” It’s like the guys aren’t learning wisdom.

    You know you can come to Thailand and do meditation retreats, learn about Buddhism – there is so much here. There is a lot of natural health stuff. And I see guys who I feel are spiritually / emotionally / physically ill coming to Thailand to get cured – through sex / drink / cheap street food. Often they go down the tube. Perhaps because noone is there to “judge” them – to monitor them – they can degenerate much faster…

    arrgh… there’s an alcie guy who’s often sat at an open bar / cafe while I’m passing on my street. He often wants to engage me in conversation. But I can’t be bothered – sorry to be selfish. But it would be one way traffic – me humouring someone who’s feeling lonesome because he doesn’t have a female of his own culture and native language to talk to. Why should I provide this service – when there’s nothing back for me? As you see there’s a big contingent of such guys in Thailand who have a “Go home, white woman” attitde as though Thailand is a lamp post they’ve pissed on and noone else is allowed near.

    Also there’s a guy in my building who is a player who specailises in Western Women. He’s an educated black guy in his early 50s who looks good and has a neat line in superficial charm. I suppose he likes the conversation of Western Women- his Thai isn’t so good though he’s been here 11 years. He was suggesting he booty call me at 2am to watch a French Film. … meanwhile he’s criticised Thai people, Thai women, Thai food / businesses to me to the point where I felt quite depressed. Needless to say we won’t be having another coffee. Much as he can be stimulating company – he has an original slant on the Twin Towers disaster I found interesting.

    My point… after all that… is I often find it a bit depressing here in Thailand – seeing the Western guys with the Thai women. It seems to be often a predator-prey relationship – sometimes the man is the predator. Sometimes he’s the prey.

    I wonder that men see this place as the easy place – it’s the easy life. You get an upgrade with everything – and why not. I rather enjoy my money going further, cheap cap rides etc too. But I really find it a foolishness to assume that relationships will go easy because she’s a cute little Thai girl. You’re doing a cross cultural thing and if you want any depth of connection then you’re going to have to work at it, learn the language, learn the culture, get a network of Thai friends around you to support you and be really alert to what she’s really saying and tolerant of all the crossed-llines that are bound to happen along the way.

    Perhaps I’m a foolish idealist – I’m inspired by seeing relationships that are a bit softer where there is genuine attachment. Otherwise it look so empty. what is the point? He wants sex. She wants money. Is that really all there is to it? If so, I’m so glad I”m not even playing the game.

    1. Am posted as Noodles above
      Kath b – wonderful writing – kept me enthralled with your tale about Thailand. Need to say, not a but (!!), Thailand is also full of wonderful westerners (some happen to be male) – keep the spirit alive. Am in Chiang Mai – come up here, spin out on a bike and see such amazing countryside. Peace out.

  33. I’m 64 with a 23 yr. old g.f. here. I can’t stand fat women and most western women today are fat. To be fair, I wouldn’t even look at a fat asian girl. Now about my age, I’m sorry if you don’t believe it but I have a great body and I’m handsome. Most people assume I’m in my 40s only because of my grey hair, they can’t quite figure it out why I have grey hair and the physique of a collegiate swimmer. There are exceptions, deal with it.

    Now about the girls, of course they want money but here is something to chew on…many of these girls LOVE sex. I’m very conscious of the theory they only do sex for money and/or don’t enjoy it, but that is absolutely wrong. Sure, they don’t want a loser, but if the male has a good body and can fuk, many of these girls cum and cum. Some is fake, a lot is the real deal.

    My opinion is while most of the western guys here ARE losers, there are winners here – perhaps 20% of the younger guys and 2% of the (much) older guys. Sounds low? Not really, most men AND women are losers. While we do have a lot of losers here (probably no more than in the West), we also have a percentage of winners who have done what it takes to be here at whatever age in impressive physical (and mental) shape. Some very interesting people here but you probably won’t meet them on a 2 week vacation.

    I guess to be fair, getting old is not losing per se; it is the human condition. But for most people, they age waay too quickly. And even young people often have sick fat wrecked bodies and old/inflexible minds. That certainly includes the Thais themselves.

    There U go, have fun with that.

    1. I would very much like to address the older 63 year old man with the 23 year old, mainly due to his assessment that hes doing such the service in thailand sinve he is so handsome and.can fornicate so well, lol, dogs can do it as well, no you possess over anyone my friend, but the vulgar manner in which you speak speaks volumes. I am half asian half european, and my mama is the european, rather unique it tis these days. I way through my mba doing modeling and later returned to thailand to rediscover my roots, and was rather shocked!! I returned to thailand after working my field, you i am utterly fit, thanks to modeling and i look aboit 23, though im 30, and handsome as far as models.go, as everyone looks good at this level, but unlike you, im younger ,have thai heritage, am.very financially successful and not in the least am attracted to about 90% of thai girls, there are pretty girls everywhere in the world, Milano, paris, tokyo, ny, bangkok, but the ones seen in tbe bars and such.are not the ones in which one looks for. I saw so many old guys in bars and everywhere chasing young girls, and it is rather sad to see. My friends and i have all that society looks for(albeit quite shallow that society looks atvthis nonsense), well off, handsome, articulate, educated minimum masters level, and yet we do not need to go to bangkok to find a girl, it is due to these men having either lack of funds to survive in say zurich, amalfi,bali, they are not wanted by women in their own country, they are of the aleazy veteran military crop, and know that a country where many manypoor and uneducated, with low value for in thailand so they can.abuse the young, which is what it amounts to. Its not a fair playing field at all. Even if one is 18 yrs of age, her mental state quite often, as being from the countryside they are mentally quite a few years back. And being poor, some listen to bad advice, get trafficked, were abused, many stories we hear so much of while doing charity work for abused women, its truly sad. Yet.these old saggy grandpas, say the girls like sex etc., well think about it, the 23 year old can have a choicenof a 23 year old k pop looking singer boy who is successdul or 63 yr old grandpa same age as her fatbers father, sure, she would choose that?? Never. The old guys have every justification for what they are doing. They ask you what is your moral compass , why do you judge, and they are helping the poor girl. My god, if you really want to help, donate to charity, sponsor a child to university, give money wiyh no strings attached, that would be a first. What we have in s east asia is much disater caused by passed colonialism and.wars, and thus many unfortunate poor circumstances dor many and thus exploited easily. Yes, its not normal for you being 40 years older, bloody hell, at your age your only thinking sex?? You should preparing yourself to do some good and get ready for the afterlife not sitting in thailand and.thinking you know our country and how we should be thankful for you yankee dollars and the sleazy bar culture you grandpas live to keep going in thailand or philipines, our culture would be better served without you lot, you are not thai nor shall ever be no matter how long you live here, and you should try and do something helpful rather than harmful. But i already know what you would say, you guys are a dime a doEn with all the same arguments to justify your sex addiction., rather pathetic, really!

      1. Well said Enzo… Its not the age thing that gets to me, its too much of the sleaze around it. If you are engaged in the lifestyle. at least show some class and humility.

        1. I am 33 years old.. if i go to chiang mai my purpose would be to find a wife atleast 27 to 33 .. so i set my age limit to no younger than 5 years younger… i think 5 years is pushing it but ok…… usually told i look 26. .i am a loser but i look descent hahaha.i can get girls here in my home country really easy but i can’t afford my girlfriends who always want to eat out everynight and do travelling and live an expensive lifestyle..i always go for hot girls.. when i only make $10 per hour at my shitty job haaha im always going out of my league…… why i always go for these bitches idk..probably because they’re hot haha… i was thinking in thailand i could find a good woman to marry who is hot and not want to spend all my money… but after researching thailand and reading forums… it sounds like there are alot of bad women in thailand also.. some who have sponsors overseas while sleeping around with tourists … some girls live in chiang mai go to university and travel to bangkok on the weekends to make money in agogo’s …or else they hook up with foreigners on wechat and dating sights.. it seems like it might be difficult to find a good girl in chiang mai also… …. any honest man will say a hot 23 year old is hard to resist… i have been researching thailand and at first somethings sound enticing like going to bars and finding easy girls always sounds fun at first but on second thought.. get herpes and aids is scary thought and self esteem lower and people who see you think you are a shitty person haha.. if i see the girl of my dreams in a sex bar waving me in..could i resist???? i hope so… but i am only human… will i find happiness in chiang mai??? possibly… here in my country i make little money but a lot for thailand i could save money for thailand pretty quick if i get a second job.. I come from small town rural community and currently living in big city and i cant stand people.. i hate people now.. always up to something… cant trust a soul..hahah chiang mai sounds like a slow quiet town ..something like where i am from and to me a boring town sounds enticing… if i find hot wife in thailand and bring her to my country she might adapt and leave me for a rich man hahahaha… shit sounds fucked either way….will i go to chiang mai???? if i do i will reply to this post when i am there.

      2. Enzo,
        You say you have an MBA.
        Unfortunately, your writing doesn’t demonstrate it.
        There are sentences that run on and on.
        I especially like your line;

        ” You should preparing yourself to do some good and get ready for the afterlife.. ”

        Someday you will be “older” and want to live. I hope that you can live and that bigoted people don’t put you down for your life choices.

  34. One other thing, I’m into kindness not submissiveness. I think that whole submissive card is way over played although of course some men want it & that would include Asian guys as well.

  35. Stumbled upon this blog and finding the comments thread very interesting. As a woman from the West, I know that I am going to find this jarring when my husband and I visit in January. It’s one of those hairy facts of travel though I suppose. I have the same problem with Western women who go on Eat, Pray, Love adventures. Cultural slumming without any self awareness is always embarrassing.

    1. I suggest you NOT go to Pattaya! (etc). Depending on the man, it can cause a mental revolution of sorts.

      Some couples do go there of course and sometimes Western women really enjoy seeing sexy Thai girls and all the rest. Bu it can be a risky (to the relationship) undertaking. Just my .02.

  36. Wow I came across this old post after traveling to Thailand for two weeks. I noticed many older white men with younger Thai girls which definitely seemed eerie to me. I guess younger guys with younger Thai girls wouldn’t be weird to me, but seeing the older men is very interesting.

  37. Well, what I find creepy is when there is a beautiful Thai girl with an obese young western male or perhaps with an unattractive asian male.

    I’m 64 but in shape and many girls remark how sexy my body is. I’m skinny muscular and from what I’ve seen very few foreigners in Pattaya are in shape. Most drink, smoke, and are already in miserable condition by 35 or even younger. And it’s not just Western males. There are many asians looking for Thai girls and the majority are also rather pathetic physical specimens regardless of age.

    To be fair, not all Thai women are beautiful and sexy. The girls in Pattaya are hardly a random sample. And even with those girls who many find astoundingly sexy, if you take an objective look in the morning w/o their sexy attire and makeup, they come down a few notches. The truth is top end beauty male or female is not that common.

  38. Kate, I read on one of your other posts that it was your time in Chiang Mai that prompted you to write about the older Western guy/young Thai woman thing. I live in CM and don’t see it very often at all. But I’m sure that is because I rarely go to bars in town.

    What I do see all the time in my local supermarket is Western men with their Thai wives who are usually younger but not in their 20s. It’s hard to tell with Thai women but I’d say most are at least mid 30s, with the guys being in the 50s/60s. Of course it could be that the man met his wife when she was a young bar girl.

    I am friends with three Western/Thai couples. Two are very similar in ages, the other one the woman is ten years younger (48/38) so not a big deal. The two of the same age met in a ‘normal’ way, the other one met when she was working as a bar girl a few months ago and now live together in her house on her land in a remote part of Isaan.

    My point is there are different kinds of Western/Thai relationships out there even if most are of the older guy/young girl variety that I also don’t like to see because, let’s face it, if she was sufficiently affluent to look after herself and her family she most probably wouldn’t be with a guy decades older.

  39. hmm…well, let’s reverse this a little because I talk to 5 yr. old girls/boys like they are much older.. I might baby talk with with a baby…don’t know guess I wouldn’t say “hey, Joe how’s it going…what u doing today Joe?”







  41. Not all the women want money as their first priority. They want love, security, romance and sex as well. Those of us in the know laugh at the stereotype of western guys taking advantage of these women for perverse sex. There is a very wide spectrum of what reality is here. Some of these women are sex addicts themselves who actively target certain western men and not for money.

  42. Priscilla. So old men with young Thai women is exploitation, but a third world destination full of impoverished men for your baron spinster friends to ‘seduce’ would just be a fun girl’s trip? Give me a break.

  43. If people are in a consensual relationship, be it in Chiang Mai or anywhere else, it’s because they have consented and are hoping to get something out of it. Hopefully it can work for both. Live and let live. When we criticise we so often expose our prejudices.

  44. A few additional comments from my experience in SE Asia…many white guys do want women w/ IQs. But if the odds of meeting the woman who is a good physical match is 1 in 100, and the odds of a good education/IQ match is 1 in 1000, then it’s not very likely to find both in the same woman. This is why most guys just go for beauty/sex although some go the other route. If one does a search on some of the asian dating sites, there are quite a few attractive women, but very few with master’s or ph.D degrees. Even college degrees are rare.

    Now let me expand on sex, ha! I have a very young girlfriend and she prefers sex over money! Deal with the fact many SE women are not prostituting themselves to the white man just for money! In the Philippines many of the bar girls have sex videos on their mobile phones. They LIKE looking at porn. Some girls like big dicks because the asian guys often come up short! haha. But…many girls avoid really big dicks and prefer normal guys who give them security and a future. But News Flash! a lot of these girls have high sex drives. This never gets enough play in all the trafficking documentaries that depict how evil white men are for coming to Asia on what basically are sex trips. Well, many girls here are damn happy about that for money, for better sex, for fun, the whole gamut of reasons including sexual excitement. There are some wild women here, news flash! Yes, many don’t have other opportunities and are happy to make money to send home. It’s their choice vs. the forced into sex theme of many documentaries.

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