7 Ways Some Expats and Tourists Give All Foreigners a bad reputation in Thailand

Submitted by the Pattaya Wolverine

The following is a reader submission and does not reflect the opinions or official viewpoints of Pattaya Unplugged. The submitter made it clear that the behaviours listed are not those of every ex-pat but only a minority that is very vocal and makes other ex-pats look poor as a result. Many of these items can also describe some tourists, to be fair.

When moving to Thailand it is pretty easy to notice a lack of peer pressure or social conformity you’ve likely abided by in your own country you’re entire life. With the ability to pay for things you can’t access at home, a constant supply of morons around to make your behaviour feel validated and being surrounded by sleazy and immoral desires, there are plenty of ex-pats who move to Pattaya and think their actions are par for the course here. But despite how liberal Pattaya is, there are still plenty of behaviours taking place here which most ex-pats would love to see disappear overnight.

Here are 7 of the most common ways some ex-pats and tourists make it difficult for all of us in Thailand:

Expats acting Like Every Thai Woman is part of the Nightlife Industry

  1. While we like to joke and laugh about how inexperienced numpties will conclude things like Thailand is a 3rd world country filled with only poor women, there are also plenty of visitors to the shores of Chon Buri who can’t seem to differentiate between fact and fantasy. It barely takes a day in Pattaya before you come across guys who think every girl in town is single and they have every right to treat her as such. Whether it’s waiting in line at a 7/11 while some completely wasted guy in front of you decides that he now has the balls to hit on a cashier, watching guys grab girls randomly walking by in the street or hearing guys say ‘how much?’ to women working in stores, it isn’t difficult to come across these types who have somehow deluded themselves into thinking the game has now become part and parcel with the real world.

While the girls who work in the nightlife industry do an incredibly good job at making the fantasy turn out like a role play, whether it’s picking up in clubs, holding hands after a bar fine or going for dinner and drinks together like a quasi-date, it’s pretty easy to see where the line ends and reality begins again. But for the guys who can’t differentiate between a willing participant and someone living their life, the negative effect this type of behaviour has on farangs in Thailand is huge. The juxtaposing system of a nationalist conservative country, with an internationally recognized nightlife scene, is one that baffles some foreigners. But to Thais, the line is blatantly obvious. She is working. Or she isn’t. And if she isn’t, don’t treat her like a bar girl.

Expats believing that only Foreigners are ripped off

  1. There are certain things in Pattaya that piss foreigners off. Unfortunately, there is a fair share of foreigners who seem to think that these problems are only issues foreigners face. Corrupt cops, street hawkers who won’t leave you alone and con men, but ask a Thai about any of these 3 groups and they’ll have their own negative stories as well. Now, foreigners can’t be cops or street hawkers. But we can certainly be con men. 

Despite what some people may think, con men rarely differentiate between their victims. So the idea that foreign con men have some type of moral issue with ripping off Thais or steer away from them is false as well. The con doesn’t have to be ripping off someone’s entire life savings to be valid. And there are plenty of con men in Pattaya who have no issue with stealing from girls, putting them in positions where they take the blame or leaving them high and dry to suffer consequences on their own. 

While the never-ending question of what came first, the messed farang or the angry bar girl will be debated for aeons, any ex-pat with a good head on their shoulders realizes that two wrongs don’t make a right… especially when one side of the group has very little rights in the first place.

Expats having public social media arguments and escalating minor and petty disagreements to threats of physical harm, libel laws, deportation, etc.

  1. I didn’t come to Thailand before the age of YouTube and social media, so I have no idea how ex-pat communities managed to complain and argue with each other before the advent of the video-sharing site. I have no doubt it occurred. And I’m sure it was just as juvenile, childish and pointless as it is now. Complaining and gossiping is part and parcel of any community worldwide. Even my Thai friends who moved to Thai Town in Sydney regularly talk about how snarky and rude the Thai ex-pats are with one another. And in our Thai ex-pat community, there are plenty of examples of guys who seem to think the entire country revolves around the goings-on within the community and treat the squabbles and hissy fits like it’s as important as the UN. 

It gets even worse when the fighting and bickering spills over to things like threats, abuse, deportation, violence and requires law enforcement intervention. Barely an incident that inflates to these levels ever starts from something with substance. Instead, it’s generally absolute tripe that snowballs until people are acting like 5-year-old kids saying their Dad is tougher than the others. Imagine being a police officer and having to deal with some of these situations that arise from ex-pats being absolute childish brats and wanting to abuse slander and libel laws just to one-up someone else? Meanwhile, the Thai community gives absolutely zero care about what is happening entirely, but the soap opera never ends as morons continue to fan the flames with their pig-headedness. 

Expats believing that all of Thailand revolves around Pattaya

  1. If you live in Pattaya it is easy to think that Thailand ends in 5 kilometres in any direction. The city contains everything an ex-pat needs and, unless necessary, there is no real reason for ex-pats to have to leave the beachside city. It doesn’t mean that ex-pats who live there don’t realize there is a completely vast, different and opposing culture living just outside your grasp. It just means you don’t need anything from it.

But there are also a number of ex-pats who seem to think the entire world revolves around what happens between Soi 6 and Jomtien, and the rest of the earth serves no purpose or meaning. Every single conversation, topic or discussion with them inevitably comes back to one thing – bars and women in Pattaya. They become living broadcast stations, constantly pumping out information on bars, gogos, clubs, girls, owners, managers non-stop. They can’t reach for their phone without showing you at least twenty photos of girls they know or saucy messages they received. They cannot be involved in a party or group. They cannot meet a new girl within a few days of her arriving. They have to know everyone’s business and the nearly always have absolutely no financial participation with anything they’re involved in. 

They’re like robots with one purpose, and that purpose was only made clear once they moved to Pattaya. To never shut up about Pattaya.

Expats constantly breaking the law or not following the set rules and complaining it is Thailand’s fault, the police’s fault, the government’s fault, etc.

  1. Anyone who has lived in Thailand realizes that things are pretty lax here which can make everything a little more interesting/dangerous in your daily life. But there are ex-pats who get given an inch, take a mile and then act like it’s everyone else’s fault when there is a clap back on it. 

Guys who never have the correct visa, but insist that it’s Thailand’s fault for the restrictions they couldn’t be bothered following. Guys who discover you can drink and drive here quite easily, and they think it gives them license to get majorly screwed up every night and put people’s lives at risk. Guys who run-through as many women as possible without protection, and then act like it was the fault of a woman for catching a disease. Not wearing a helmet? It’s the fault of the police or points out someone else is not wearing a helmet and refuse to take self-accountability for your actions. Life is a game of risk and reward, but these guys will continually push it until the end result is the worst-case scenario, constantly citing how everyone else does it as a feeble excuse for their own lack of self-control.

They also like to constantly complain that just because they broke the law, why are they being stopped or fined when that Thai person they know isn’t being stopped or they saw someone else do the same thing last night. There is little to no self-accountability and ownership amongst these types for their own actions.

Expats who believe they are self-proclaimed experts on Thai Culture and that all ex-pats must follow it at all times

  1. You don’t have to agree with Thai culture to understand that living here means you’ve unofficially agreed to maintain a certain standard of respect towards things that Thais take seriously. Those who shall not be named? Shall be kept unspoken of. The government decides another coup is in order. It’s your country and I’m just enjoying the view. Don’t have to agree with it. But you go with the flow and accept your place in the order of things. 

There is still plenty of faux pas we as ex-pats can just find unavoidable to accidentally participate in though. If money blows away, your instant reaction is to step on it. It’s to catch it any way possible. You may not remember not to touch people’s heads until your already in the act of doing it. And the soles of your feet haven’t been a problem in any other part of your life, so realizing halfway through a meal your feet have been upon a seat and slapping yourself in the head doesn’t make you a monster. 

But there are ex-pats who treat all of this as a definitive guide on how pure foreigners are and practically squeal with delight anytime they discover another ex-pat stepping over these social barriers. Did someone go outside without a shirt on? They should be hung and quartered at noon. Someone didn’t wai correctly? Deport him from the country quick and smart. Everything becomes a mountain out of a molehill for these self-righteous smug bastards who propagate the idea that they could write the book on ‘How to be Thai’ better than a Thai could.

Expats who defend every Thai action and situation to the death with almost fervent nationalism but barely knows anything about Thailand

  1. One step up and a little worse than the previous lot are the ex-pats who will excuse absolutely any negative behaviour in the country by locals and somehow figure out a way to make it a foreigners fault. These contrarian asshole’s arguments maintain all the finesse of a 12-year-old girl defending Justin Bieber when he acts like a jerk, with the same lack of awareness that the people they’re staunchly defending give absolutely zero cares about them. 

It’s not that foreigners are always right. It’s that everyone can be wrong. Yet somehow these ex-pats seem to think that defending every Thai action to the death puts them in line for a ‘loyal ex-pat of the year’ award everyone else is trying to win. The concept that people can love this country, be grateful to live here, yet be just as outraged at Thai corruption, greed, violence and crime as any other nationality seems completely beyond them. Their nationalism is more feverish, ignorant and dangerous than a Thai person’s because these people generally can’t even speak the language, usually don’t know any locals and would barely contribute anything positive to society out of their own pocket. 

But ask them to explain how a Thai stabbing a farang to death over 50 baht is completely justified and they’ll be able to write a 10,000-word essay overnight on how not only the farang was in the wrong but his body should have been left there as a warning for other evil farangs out there trying to mess with Thai people.

Comments are welcome below!


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