(Update: If you are going to comment on this article, please fully read it first. All vulgar responses will be deleted as spam. There is a lot of sarcasm in this post intentionally. It might also be helpful if you read my other posts about Thailand before jumping to conclusions)
Thailand is a dream destination for many people around the world. Although it has many dreamy qualities, it has an ugly side too. Here are just a few of my experiences in Thailand which have caused me to develop a love/hate relationship with this country. However, to be fair, I have way more love for Thailand than hatred (So, before reading this post, you might want to check out my 8 post series: 8 Reasons Why I Love Thailand )
1) On the 1st day, we almost got sucked into the seedy side of Bangkok in a similar fashion as The Hangover 2, but it could have turned out much worse because we are females & didn’t have trusty problem solver Bradley Cooper on our side. All of which occurred while we were simply trying to be friendly with the locals.
2) On the 1st day, we did get sucked into the full-moon “trains are full scam” & were charged 3 times the going rate for the bus. ($40+ USD per person for 1 way to Koh Samui is likely unprecedented and they most assuredly had a banquet in our honor later the same evening)
3) On my 3rd day, we discovered several fellow passengers were “separated” from their belongings on that same bus through an inside job.
4) The sheep herder mentality of the tourism industry in Thailand is one of the worst I’ve experienced. (Although, to be fair, I have experienced worse) Once on a Thai bus or van, you seemingly become their “property.” Several times, I felt like a victim in a human smuggling ring. Although the drivers all spoke English well enough, they neither explain nor comfort you whatsoever along the journey. On one occasion, we were dropped off at a house in the middle of nowhere for our “connection” and simply told to wait indefinitely. In Phuket, a group of us were abandoned at a remote police station to fend for ourselves in finding a taxi in the middle of the night. (Thankfully the police were awake and made some phone calls arranging taxis for us)
5) When asking for a specific bank’s closest ATM machine, I was told it was a few blocks away and would cost 100 Baht on a motorbike (=3.3 USD). First, a dollar a block is outrageous in a taxi, let alone a tuk tuk. Thus, 100 Baht is a rip-off for a ride on the back of a motorbike. So, I smiled & told the guy “I’m not stupid.” A half block of walking later, I see the ATM for the bank I asked for at the end of the same block on which we were standing. (mind you, I showed them an old ATM receipt with the bank logo – one of the most common banks in Thailand. Thus, no confusion could be had on their part)
6) I have spent a lot of time at BKK airport in the past few months (like 60 hrs 2 minutes & 35 seconds give or take a few hours/minutes/seconds). Last time, I was approached by 4 men who seemed friendly enough. Within minutes, they were trying to persuade me to ditch my plans of volunteering in Cambodia to join them in Pattaya as if I were a prostitute. And, a very nice Thai lady wanted to take me home with her so I wouldn’t have to wait at the airport until 10am. (could have been innocent enough on her part, but still an awkwardly random experience for me)
7) Phuket deserves special mention:
a) At Patong beach, we almost got sucked into the Absolute Hotel scratch card scam, but thank goodness for Google on that one.
b) You literally cannot walk down Bangla Road in Patong without being accosted by the guys showing nudie cards of ping-pong shows & various other sexual performances available. We tried to avoid running into them several times, but to no avail. (Khao San Rd in Bangkok can’t even compete with Bangla Rd in this regard)
c) Per capita, I truly believe Patong is more overtly sexualized than bangkok. At least there are some tourist activities in Bangkok, such as the royal palace or floating markets.
d) Lastly, to Patong’s detriment, there appear to be more visible elderly male expats who’ve set up business for the wrong reasons if you know what I mean. Or, more elderly white men hanging around solo for “no particular reason.”
(So, literally I say fuck Patong beach on Phuket. I’ll sail from your ports, but will not support your economic growth (unless the ferries are harbored due to the weather of course))
e) This list doesn’t even take into account a random shooting incident we witnessed on Nai Thon beach which drove us away and down to Patong to begin with. (an entire post will likely be devoted to that someday since Linda’s not-so-ninja-like evasion moves still cause us to bust a gut)
8) So, on to my beloved Phi Phi & why I hate thee too at times:
a) They collect 20 baht at the pier to keep Phi Phi “Sparkling Clean,” but there are no public garbage receptacles to be found anywhere on the island, let alone on it’s idyllic beaches. I’d gladly give double or more if I knew it was being put to such actual use. (when local businesses host clean-up events with their own time, energy & money, obviously the coin is missing the wishing well somewhere)
b) Buckets – The club culture/tourism on Phi Phi is destroying not only the ecosystem, but also the vibe.
c) Sadly, Phi Phi is overbuilt, overpopulated & overtaxed environmentally. Even more sad is the fact it appears many local residents are more concerned with the instant gratification the island is currently receiving in tourist dollars. They do not seem concerned about sustaining the environmental balance of a world renowned and geographically astounding tourist destination, let alone their children’s future.
d) The sheer number of men (and probably women) literally pissing in the ocean each night at the beach clubs is definitely cause for concern. At any given time, one might see 10-15 guys peeing at once into the “waters” on Loh Dalum bay, with no respect for tides, sanitation or the unrecovered tsunami victims they may be pissing on.
(Disclaimer: I have spent about 70 days in Thailand at the time of publishing this post, and 3 months total. However, sometimes when I hate something so much I have to go back & try again (which also explains some of my failed relationships) ‘Tis the nature of a perfectionist to leave no stone unturned. Regardless, I do love Thailand for many reasons as well and have started an 8 post series: 8 Reasons Why I Love Thailand. My current love/hate relationship)