Spirit of Thailand

Spirit of Thailand

Culture, Relationships,
Thai Massage, Traveling

Relationships in Thailand part 8

How do you find a girlfriend or wife in Thailand?

Let’s be honest, millions of westerners have come to Thailand for that very reason. There are lots of websites promoting such relationships, and there are many dating sites where Thai women are actively searching for western men.

There are stories about Thai parents literally selling their daughter into prostitution or arranged marriages. Although such cases do exist, and not only in Thailand, they are a tiny percentage compared to the voluntary relationships which are the norm and which are the subject of this article.

It is not my intention to focus on some cases of abuse in Thailand or to launch a moral campain against prostitution or judge age differences between men and women in relationships.

Are Thai women being exploited by westerners?

I have often heard westerners, and mostly female ones, comment about how disgusted they are when they see older western men with young Thai women on their arm. The insinuation is that the men exploit the poor women. Let’s set this record straight.

The vast majority of all relationships between Thai women and western men are perfectly voluntary relationships. If there is any exploitation going on, it is more likely done by the Thai woman since this is an established industry in the tourist centers of Thailand.

What happened to the man’s brain and common sense?

Many western men come to Thailand all starry eyed, and it seems like they sometimes leave their brains in their home country when they get involved with Thai women.

They only see the attractive bodies, the great smiles and the sweet behavior, but they don’t understand their cultural background, their different way of thinking, their strong family ties, and their motivation.

Where do they find the women? That is the easy part. In the tourist areas the Thai women will approach the men. Just go near any bar and you run head-on into the rent-a-girlfriend scence.

You don’t have to find them, they will find you – that’s their business. Also in many massage shops the therapists are always on the look-out for potential partners. And in general it is very easy to strike up a conversation with Thai women.

Best and worst ways to find partners 

Bars

So finding a woman happens pretty much on autopilot, but the question is what kind of woman will it be? Bar girls are probably the easiest and the worst way to get into a real relationship. Talking about exploitation, the Thai bar girls are past masters of it.

One of the more creative tricks of Thai women, mostly from the bar scene, is to keep several western boyfriends and juggle their visits to Thailand while she receives regular money transfers from all of them. She might even have a Thai husband lurking in the background. If you are looking  for a serious relationship, stay away from bars.

Massage shops

In many massage shops the boundaries between professionalism, prostitution and legitimate relationships are often blurred. But I do know many cases of good relationships that began in a massage shop.

Let’s say it is a big step up from the bar scene, but you will most likely end up with a woman from a lower socio-economic background and with little education. Chances are she will see you more as a provider than a true partner.

Dating sites

With dating sites the challenge is that it is often very difficult to separate truth from fiction since misrepresentation is part of the game here. If you go that route, try to find a site that is set up very professionally, has lots of search options and ideally targets a more educated clientele.

Educational background and travel experience

The more educated the woman is, the better the chance that she speaks good English, has an understanding of other cultures, can communicate effectively, has a decent job or career and is not just interested in finding a walking ATM machine. Another thing to look for is a woman who has traveled outside of Thailand.

Events and programs

Other good ways to establish contact with Thai women is through cultural programs, university events, or volunteer programs. Don’t neglect a very simple approach: just ask people.

If you know a Thai woman, it is perfectly acceptable to ask her if she knows anyone who is looking for a relationship. Often they do know someone, and they will be quite happy to make the connection.

There is a way to happiness in relationships

Thailand is a beautiful country with friendly and welcoming people. Hundreds of thousands of cross-cultural relationships have been established here, and many have resulted in marriage, family life and happiness.

It is my intention to help deepen the understanding of cross-cultural relationships in Thailand and hopefully help some people to find satisfaction and joy in life. At the same time I hope I can prevent some heartache by pointing out some of the pitfalls in the Thai relationship scene.

Click Here to read the next article in the relationship series

You can find the previous articles in the relationship series here:
Relationships in Thailand Part 1
Relationships in Thailand Part 2
Relationships in Thailand Part 3
Relationships in Thailand Part 4
Relationships in Thailand Part 5
Relationships in Thailand Part 6
Relationships in Thailand Part 7

image of the the author, Shama KernThe author, Shama Kern, has been living in Thailand for well over a decade. His wife is Thai and they have created a successful cross cultural relationship. You can reach Shama at [email protected]

9 thoughts on “Relationships in Thailand part 8

  1. Sawat dee Kha Shama.

    Situation in Lao is changing quite rapidly and Thai women will soon have quite serious competition…Actually Thailand is also importing few things that wold be better to keep at home. But this is to say the situaiton on prostitution, pseudo-spa & massage parlours is being mushrooming.

    What was unseen up until years ago is now becoming an urban matter. Two genders plus ‘katois” third gender appearing very publicly in Nam Phu square, the main Vientiane square which is now quickly turning into the main tourist area.

    I cold go on and on… I just wanted to express my deep joy at finding the place still very genuine but also at raising the fact that we want Lao to remain nice and pleasant and out of the beaten tracks in terms of selling off what is nice not to sell…

    But it is also said to be the oldest profession in the world so…what can we do.

  2. Hi Isabella, when I was in Laos last time (quite a few years ago), I remember that it was illegal to have a relationship with a Lao woman, i.e. live with her in the same place. Is that still the case or did they ease up on that?

  3. Hi Shama,

    I married a Thai woman and she is a gem. They exist. Right, you cannot find them in a bar. Well, not that you can’t, but, you are going to have a lot of failures before coming up with a success. Why start there?

    I found my wife teaching at a school in Ubon. She has a degree. She spoke English rather well from the start. She has still (at 30 yrs) never seen the inside of a bar. She never will. Her family is full of teachers and administrators (government workers). These girls exist! I’m happier than I’ve ever been, even though after 8 years I still don’t “get” Thai culture fully. I have accepted that I likely never will. It’s a nice existence, coming from the states and living a peaceful and meaningful life in Thailand. I see you’ve been here some years too Shama!

    Ok, best of life to you and I hope to read more from you on other Thailand subjects.

    Cheers,

    Mike Fook

    • Hi Mike,
      I am happy for you that you found a good wife in Thailand. It seems you went about it the right way. An educated Thai woman who has a respectable job and speaks good English improves your chances many times. I am also fortunate to be in a good relationship with my Thai wife since 10 years already. Good relationships certainly do exist.

      Yes, it is not possible for most of us expats to really ‘get’ Thai culture completely, but the upside to that is that both you and I can write about it from a different perspective that makes it refreshing and interesting for people who have limited exposure to it. Often it is better to be an ‘outsider’ to some degree to really see things that ‘insiders’ don’t notice and take for granted.

  4. There are plenty of good sites out there, but many men check their brains in at the airport and fall for Thai bar girls.

    As a western woman, it’s hard to find a good match, but the Internet dating sites definitely help!

  5. I am open to living in Thailand. I have visited and really like Thai people. Now retired and single I am not lonely but welcome a friendship with a woman possibly leading to marriage. Excellent health and financially stable at age 59 looking for a friend about my same age who is financially independent and likes sports IE golf, bicycling, hiking, swimming, tai chi, kissing and cooking.

    • Hi John, your bio would work great for one of the many dating sites which exist for Thailand. However this blog is hardly ever read by Thai women but mostly by expats. Try opening a profile in ThaiLoveLinks or similar sites.

  6. I am considering to migrate to Thailand in about two
    months. I have visited Bangkok, Chiangmai , Huahin
    Pattaya during my last two visits. I liked Chiangmai the
    most. I am 69 and in good health. I want to live with
    a Thai woman who is between forty five to fifty
    age group. Please suggest the best way to find
    a companion.

    • Kasper, that’s what the whole article is about. Since you are not in Thailand yet, the best way would be a dating site. There are quite a few of those, like thailovelinks.com. Just google ‘dating sites for Thai women’ or something like that and you will find quite a selection. I know several people who found good companions and established good relationships via such dating sites.

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