There’s Always That One Person…
There’s always, “That guy/girl…” who at times are painfully unaware of their actions.
Sometimes as ‘travelers’ we tend to misconstrue that term with ‘customers’ since a majority of what we’ll be doing costs money. Hotels, taxis, bus/train/ferry tickets, clubbing, food and souvenirs come to mind.
Yes, it can get expensive fast.
When I’m spending money I consider myself a customer. I expect to get exactly what I paid for and get it in a timely manner. Check those two boxes and we’re cool. I will add I don’t mind waiting if it’s unavailable.
And I say all this to say this…
Often times people come to Thailand and think just because the country isn’t as developed as their own they approach certain aspects with a cavalier attitude. It’s important to read up on the culture and customs before visiting a country because you don’t want to find out when it’s too late.
Before I get started remember one thing. Once you cross that line there is no reconciliation or rectification without money being involved.
Don’t Touch People’s Heads
Where I’m from rubbing someones head can be seen as a term of endearment. In Thailand, it’s very disrespectful and probably enough to warrant someone to beat the shit out of you. The head is the most sacred part of the body and not for your touching.
Matter of fact, forget even touching peoples heads. If you are standing over someone and kind of doing something over their head they could get pissed quick.
True Story: During my first year in Thailand after about 2 weeks of getting used to work. Some teachers invited me out to a local pub/bar. I was starting to get use to the way of things and was ready to indulge into the local bar experience.
When we got there it was packed! I mean you had to wiggle your way through to get to a seat, bathroom or even outside. Not one foreigner in site, except for our crew of 5. We were standing by a table with some guys drinking whiskey.
It was pretty difficult to find seating so we started scoping out the place and eventually I saw a decent spot and started pointing over to the other side of the establishment. While pointing with my arm extended my hand was slightly hovering over someones head…
Believe me it was actually no where near his head and I think he was already buzzed up, but he got angry, stood up and started yelling, “Hey!”.
I quickly calmed the situation and told him sorry, wai’d him and moved on. This should serve as an example that even if your hand near someones head it could be seen as offensive.
I’ll be honest if I don’t know you and your hand was near my head in an oblivious manner I may get annoyed as well.
Fighting With Thais (Especially In Public)
Big no no here readers. It will only end up with you in a pool of your own blood. We’ve seen it time and time again through videos posted on youtube and Facebook. Cocky foreigner decides to take on a few little guys and a few little guys turns into a lot of little guys and a lot of little guys turns into a crowd of little guys… You get my point. Before you know it it’s 20 vs. 1.
Thais are smart enough not to take you on alone. Yes you may be bigger than them, yes you may be stronger and faster as well, but you have no honest answer for their sheer ability to outnumber you.
True Story: Khao Saun Road is a must visit tourist destination if you visit here. It is always busy on weekend (even weekdays) and there is just so much going on. One can only expect to experience a sensory explosion like no other on their first stroll down this famous road.
Well, with the ever emerging hip-hop scene in Thailand. Some of the kids started to form b-boy groups where they would perform on streets and collect tips. These performances would form circles and stop passersbyers in their tracks to film and take photos.
So one day after finishing a drink and going to meet some friends in the club. I was passing by one of these b-boy demonstrations. You know, your usual one-handed hand stands and spinning on the head shows. The chubby guy was kicking a beat-box that all the performers where well in rhythm with.
All was going well until some random guy, who jokingly stepped in grabbed the kid while he was doing a hand stand during his performance. The crew were irate! The youngest (and smallest) in the group began to chase this guy trying to kick him.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know if that was the appropriate response, but maybe in a way they(the b-boys) felt he undermined their hard training, who knows?
Anyway, this guy is little b-boy soldier is way too small to be picking a fight with this foreigner so it get’s interesting here… In the span of a few seconds the foreigner turns around, cocks back his fist and fires off one of the most vicious full-fist punches I’ve ever seen directly in the face of this Thai kid. This kid’s head pops back like a bobble head and he’s done.
That battle was won but the war had just begun.
not a moment later I see the whole b-boy crew grabbing chairs, sticks and anything they can to throw and hit this guy with. That’s not all either. Random Thai people were jumping it to hit the foreigner. A barrage of sucker punches from every direction resembling something of how a pack of hyenas attack their pray. Every punch came from his blind spot and in all but about 3 minutes this guy was covered in blood.
His friend tried to step in and quell the situation but only was met with more punches. They were forced to leave khao saun and told never to come back. Which all started from a harmless but seen as offensive interruption to a street performance. Crazy right?
Public Shaming and Defamation
If you feel like you’ve been cheated then it’s probably too late to do anything about it. Another huge mistake that foreigners make is they try to publicly shame Thai people. The problem being here is that unlike the west, shaming someone is treated with the same regard as physical assault.
Yes, you can find yourself being sued for a shit load of money even if you’re 100% in the right!
There have been cases where people try to expose ones shady doings only to be sued by the wrong doer. In Thailand, perception of ones image is everything. They do well to protect their perceived fronts.
- Never do ANYTHING without agreeing to a price first. It always works out better in your favor if you can agree to a price first.
- Once you pay the deal is complete. There is no refund/exchanges. If you found out you spent twice as much later on just count your losses, learn and move on.
- If you really feel wronged find a Thai person to help you. Thai people will always level-up their humility when another Thai is involved.
Falling in love with “Working Girls”
I’ll try to keep this one short.
These type of Thai girls are in a way a representation of what we’re shown about Thai culture in the media. With that being said they don’t truly represent what Thailand is about and it shows by their actions.
At the end of the day this is work for them. Again, this is their job and you are their “work”. They’re going to tell you anything and everything for you to buy them a drink all the way until you try to take them home.
I’m not saying stay far away from the red-light districts but I am saying if you do decide to take a stroll through one be prepared.
This is the single most fastest way of turning a good time into a bad time. Unless you have cash to burn you’re inviting a financial burden that will only end in heartbreak. You’ll lose your money and probability a bit of your sanity.
I’ve seen guys taken to the cleaners time and time again. I’ve already shared stories of people I worked with spending a 1/3rd of their salary on the day of getting paid. All to impress a girl who doesn’t really care about them.
Don’t Lose Your Temper In Public
Nothing will get accomplished if you lose your temper in public. This is especially so when dealing with Thais.
The moment you lose control of your temper and start yelling and screaming you already loss. Thai people hate dealing with foreigners who can’t keep their cool and like previously discussed before aren’t too shy to let you have a smack-up if your causing a commotion and affecting their daily operation.
Stay calm. It can be very frustrating at times but remember that you’re in a foreign country that has logic and ideals seemingly backwards at times compared to what you’re use to. No matter how hard you try you won’t change it so find a way to deal with it.
Buying Or Selling Drugs
You got to be kidding me… If you’re out here doing drugs then everyday is Russian roulette. Southeast Asia has some of the harshest penalties for drug users.
I wouldn’t touch that with a 20 ft pole guys. If caught you may be facing a lengthy time in jail unless the cop isn’t too proud to except a bribe. Which I’ve heard is usually the first form of recourse to absolving the situation. What if you don’t have money? You’re screwed.
There’s a lot more that I could add to this list and maybe will in another post but here are some solid examples that I, myself have seen during my time here. Sometimes it goes without saying and other times you need to be informed.
As always good luck and if you have questions e-mail.