Hi, I have used this web many times for advise and wanted to share this with you. I am lone female backpacker, I have been to Thailand a few times, I love Phi Phi for its crazy vibe and endless partying and still think every backpacker should go there but my favorite place is on the other side of Thailand, Koh Chang ( Trat airport is very close by ; 4 hrs away from Bangkok by minibus and close to Camodian boarder). I have stayed at Nature resort (http://www.asiarooms.com/en/thailand/koh_chang/215105-nature_beach_resort.html) tree weeks ago, very relaxed place , many young travelers from all over the world... we have had some unforgettable nights with guitar, buckets, by the fire into early hours... I have met other girls there and we went travelling together for a few days...Ahhh, back home now and so want to go back to Thailand. What is your story, I want to find something new.
#1 backpacker has been a member since 14/6/2011. Posts: 3
Well, since you asked, my story was to move to a place with very few westerners, not far from my wife's home town. I have a very hard time understanding why people travel all the way here to be with... other people they could hang out with in the local pup at home. I would want to hang out with local people, not westerners. My son lives here now, and he almost never socialized with westerners. I don't quite get this phenomenon. Can you explain it to me? Why wouldn't you want to hang out with Thais while in Thailand?
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
MADMAC, when I first came to Thailand I though I would meet many locals and was very exited about it but...many Thais do not speak very good English which makes it hard to get to know them while on a short holiday... My Thai is very limited (ou eek ka and a few more essentials hahaha ). I did not meet many Thais who were travelling either. I have met many Thai people who worked at the places I have stayed and keep in touch with a few, like the crazy lot in Koh Chang or Koh Tao. I think I personally connect with people through sense of humor regardless of where they came from (and drinking of course) I totally agree, if I lived in Thailand I would want to learn the language and get to know local people , what makes them lough and for sure would try to fit in.
I am Ukrainian but I have moved to London when I was 17, so I totally understand where you are coming from on this one!
PS Is it really possible for a westerner to speak Thai fluently (oh my God, and write!).
#3 backpacker has been a member since 14/6/2011. Posts: 3
Yes, it's possible. I have a friend here who not only learned to read and write, but eventually became a Thai citizen and is now a judge in the thai court system. Of course, she's been here a long time. I have learned to read and write, but I do it like I'm in the second grade - very slowly.
It is true when you leave the tourist areas most Thais have poor command of English, but there are exceptions, especially if you go to a university quarter of a city. There you will find plenty of nightlife, drinking and Thai students anxious to get to talk to you.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
The thing that usually prompts me to socialise with Westerners is conversation-withdrawal, and also the mild sense of camaraderie we share.
Even in a busy place like Chiang Mai, Thai who speak near-fluent English are few and far between. Not speaking anything beyond basic Thai is my short-coming, and I may get to work on it if I end up 'living' here on a longer term basis. Travelling to an entirely new city where you know absolutely nobody can be very socially isolating if you don't engage in the odd bit of chin-waggery with fellow ex-pats.
I just wander around by myself and pick up stragglers. People want to chit chat so we chit chat. Sometimes it leads to cool buddies to hang out with or a cutie to help me around. Not that often a local guy unless he is a little more educated than the average Thai but that is how it goes!
i've had good luck meeting other westerners during bus and boat trips more than anything else. it just seems like sharing that particular experience creates a good atmosphere for striking up a conversation. i like hanging out with other westerners when i travel because, as cranky notes, it is that sense of shared experience.
meeting thais or other locals is more difficult, largely because of the language differences. but i noticed that as my thai improved, hanging out with thais became much easier and more fun. plus, as thailand developed economically over the past few decades, there were more thais travelling around and hanging out at the clubs and beaches and places like that i visit while on holiday.
either way, having something to share, like a snack or a pitcher of beer is always a great ice breaker and a way to get a conversation going. i once shared a large jug of wine with some kiwis i met at the mut mee guesthouse in nong khai and they are now my best friends in the world. cheers.
i once shared a large jug of wine with some kiwis ..... and they are now my best friends in the world.
Now why doesn't that surpise me?! We Kiwi's like our wine!
I agree with the sentiments of others above. I love mixing with the locals as well, but language can be a definite barrier to having any real connection with anyone outside the tourism industry. I try to learn a bit of the lingo before heading away, but it's difficult trying to learn 'on line' from a 'intro to thai' type website, or whatever.
Some of my best traveling experiences were in Indonesia (where I CAN speak the lingo a bit) and have awesome memories of sitting on a porch with a family in Moni (Flores), chewing sugar cane, and generally being the butt of their wind up jokes. I loved it. I find it hard to get the same quality of experience in Thailand and elsewhere. Not through lack of trying - but because it's harder to communicate on the same level.
And regardless of where you are, sometimes you just want to kick back with people who have a similar perspective as you, to share those experiences.
Also Mac, don't forget that many travellers on this website are a generation (or two!) younger than us. It's the first time they are travelling, and they don't have the same level of confidence in dealing with what is unknown to them. Hence, they will seek out others for that reassurance, etc. Just a thought....
Beyond counting and your basic "Sawasdee Khap - Sabai dee mai?/Hello - how are you?," my Thai is pretty much limited to "Hong nam ti nai?"/"Where's the toilet?", "Ni tao lie?"/"How much is that?" and "Peng mak mak/That's too expensive"
Hard to have a meaningful conversation with that stuff alone.