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Thread: Guide to Thailand - DRAFT!

  1. #41
    Senior Member Stillearly's Avatar
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    Taxis & Tuk-tuks : Licensed metered taxis are plentiful and cheap in the main tourist areas, some may agree a price up front, they are supposed to use the meter especially if you say so, if they don’t want to then just get out. Tuk-tuks vary from city to city and they can range from 3 wheeled open air vehicles in Bangkok to small converted pickups in Phuket, the drivers can be in your face and do try tricks to bring you places to buy things where they’ll get a commission. They may tell you your hotel is full or closed or bring you to a gem shop on the way to where you really want to go but they are mostly fine, simply agree the price up front, tell them no stops and know where you’re going(even if you don’t act confident).

    Probably best rest to mention Pattaya as well , the opposite applies , if you engage in a conversation with the driver it will cost a lot more than just getting on and paying your 10 baht when you arrive
    'If it floats, flies or fcuks , it's cheaper to rent"

  2. #42
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waharoa View Post
    I try never to talk money up front with a lady if LT. Always give them what I think they deserve in the morning/afternoon next day. Never seems an issue. Then again I generally go for BGs, so maybe easier.
    Same here especially if I already know the BG or know the bar, but until people get to grips with things I'd say it's easier just to ask up front, especially for those 6am medium timers.

  3. #43
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stillearly View Post
    Probably best rest to mention Pattaya as well , the opposite applies , if you engage in a conversation with the driver it will cost a lot more than just getting on and paying your 10 baht when you arrive
    Yep good point.

  4. #44
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Phones & Internet

    Dial code for Thailand is +66, mobile phones are widely available as are Thai sims in most convenience stores, There are prepay options but if you’re a regular visitor it may be worth signing up to a plan. We need to add the best options here!

    Useful numbers
    Police 191
    Tourist Police 1155
    Fire 199
    Check your embassy’s number too!

    Wifi is widely available in bars and cafes, be aware your hotel may charge for internet access.
    Thai money

    The currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht which at time of writing is floating about 45Baht to the Euro, the weakest it has been for a few years, the best exchange rates are offered in Thailand at the numerous exchange booths found scattered around the place, they are legit and open long hours, all rates are clearly posted and can change daily. Changing money when you arrive at the airport will get you a low rate and all booths in the airport offer the same rate. No commission is charged they make money on the rates.

    Coins – keep 5 baht coins handy for the public toilets, keep 10 baht coins handy for the baht buses, there are 1 and 2 baht coins but don’t bother with them or give them to beggars.

    Notes – There are 5 denominations of notes, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 with 20’s 100’s and 1000’s being the most numerous. If you are due 50 baht change you will usually get 2 20’s and 10 baht coin to encourage you to leave a little tip, saving up the 20’s for sitting at the stage in a gogo is good advice although the staff will usually break a couple of hundreds for you. Hotels will usually break notes for you too.

    Thailand is a cash society, you will be charged 3% extra for using your credit card. There is about 150 baht charge for withdrawing cash at an atm on your credit card, don’t forget at a Thai ATM you are given the cash first then your card, many tourists have been caught out with this particularly after a few beers.
    It’s also advisable to inform your home bank that you will be travelling to Thailand in case they disable your card when they see Thai transactions appearing, not a good thing to happen if you’re short on cash.

    It is always convenient to have local currency on arrival, but not necessary. You are going to arrive at an airport and you can be certain that money changers or ATM machines are going to be open at any hour. They are fast and efficient and don’t charge commission but check you have been given the right amount. Do bring some cash from your home country (or a major currency). On the streets the rates can vary and change almost daily so shop around.

    Travellers’ cheques are also accepted but these will typically need to be changed at banks. Remember to bring your passport.

  5. #45
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Nightlife

    Thailand has an (in)famous nightlife, no amount of research will prepare you for the atmosphere in the nightlife hotspots of Bangkok, Bangla & Pattaya but we can give you some pointers to have a basic understanding of the scene.

    Before all that the local beers are Chang, Singha and Leo which are cheaper than the western imports, best to drink bottled beers, draft is usually quite lame and cheap. Thai whiskey is also popular even though technically it’s rum, Sangsom is the market leader here. Happy hours can run for many hours during the day and early evening.
    Most bars will have a Mamasan, an older Thai lady who’s worked the bar business and knows the game, she’s there to make sure the girls do what they’re told, organise the dance shifts and they usually speak decent English so you can discuss any problems with them or if you like a particular type of girl buy the mamasan a drink and she can recommend. In addition there will be a manager, some bars and gogo’s have foreign managers who can deal with any grievances.

    Firstly all bars aren’t brothels, all women(and men) that work in bars aren’t prostitutes. This is a popular misconception. Prostitution is in fact illegal in Thailand but they’ve come up with a Thai solution to a Thai problem – The bar fine.

    There are 5 types of bars/clubs in Thailand – The first is regular bars like what you have at home with food, drink, live music and sport on the TV. Definitely family friendly, uniformed staff, no dancers and the menu won’t have a “ladydrink” on it!

    The second is the beer bar, these are usually open air bars in complexes that have ladies(called bargirls)available but they are more relaxed and not as in your face as some gogo bars. There’ll be no problem with couples here, the bargirls love chatting to foreign women. There’ll usually be lots of girls crammed into the bar, maybe a dance pole but no nudity.

    You pull up a seat, order a drink, a bargirl will usually come up and engage you in small talk after putting a little bin with a paper slip in front of you. This is your bill. You are under no obligation to run up a tab and can pay for your drink there and then, but in Thailand it’s customary to pay when you leave. It’s no harm to check your bin regularly just to make sure you’re only paying for what you’ve agreed and there’s no bill padding going on.
    There’s about 5 standard questions the bargirl will ask to break the ice:

    1) What your name?
    2) Where do you come from?
    3) How long you stay in Thailand?
    4) Where you stay in Thailand?(your hotel)
    5) How many times have you been in Thailand?

    By the end of your trip you’ll be answering these in your sleep! The bargirl may ask if you want to play a game like connect 4, jenga or a dice game called jackpot. After a while if you’re getting on she may ask you to buy her a ladydrink. If you do another slip will go into your bin and you’ll notice that her drink is a little more expensive than yours. This is because the bargirl gets a little commission(about 40 baht) on the drink you’ve just bought her. Officially the bargirls act as hostesses and you pay for their company by buying them a ladydrink.

    Keep an eye on how quickly she drinks, it’s usually a good indicator of how long she’s worked the bar(as his how good her English is) and whether she’s trying to squeeze you for every baht.

    So you’ve had a few drinks and you’re getting on great but maybe feel like moving on and getting to know your new friend a little better but she has to work. Well you can pay the bar to let her leave work early – This is called a barfine and it can vary how much but in beer bars it’s typically around 3-500 baht. The logic behind this is that the income the bar would have generated had the bargirl stayed working needs to be made up, hence the barfine, a unique solution. What you and your new friend get up to when she leaves the bar is between two consenting adults. But…..

    If you decide you’d like to barfine a bargirl then you need to discuss some things with her beforehand. Mainly if you would like her to go with you for a “Short time”(typically a couple of hours) or “Long time(overnight). Be aware some bargirls will leave at dawn, some will stay till well after noon. If you’re heading back to your hotel make sure she has her ID with her. She’ll need to leave it at reception in most reputable hotels. When she leaves the next day reception should ring you to ask if everything is ok and your guest can leave. You’ll hear all sorts of claims about how much short time and long time cost but it’s between you and your bargirl and if you’re happy with it then fine. Bargirls who work beer bars will probably look for 1000-1500 short time and 2000 upwards for long time. If you really like your new friend and want her to stay for a few days the barfine will have to paid her bar every day she doesn’t work. Thai ladies love to sleep, shop and the cinema, when you take a bargirl for a few days like this it’s called a GFE or girlfriend experience.

    The third type of bar is a gogo bar, easily recognisable as they usually have the word agogo after their own name, there are 100’s of gogo bars in Thailand but they’re usually squashed into small areas like Nana entertainment plaza in Bangkok, Bangla road in Phuket and Walking street and LK Metro in Pattaya. Loud music behind closed doors, lots of dancers and shows, all with varying degrees of skin showing. Gogo bars are more intense and some of the more extreme ones are pretty much anything goes with audience participation. There’s no cover charge but they’re more expensive for drinks and barfines. Outside will be what are called “hello girls”, they’ll have signs with happy hours and drink prices etc and will try and entice you to their gogo. Competition is fierce so they’ll follow you right in to the bar to make sure you get to their bar. Some touts may claim commission for bringing you to a gogo so keep an eye for someone following you in, you will be charged extra for this.

    Although usually a male stronghold it’s not unusual to see Russian couples sitting in a gogo. If you’re sitting at the stage you will get asked for tips so keep those 20baht notes handy, if you’ve no change there’ll be a small army of service staff there to assist you some of whom will be barfine-able. Gogo bars aren’t for everyone but they do vary a lot in what they do so it’s worthwhile checking out a few different ones to find one that suits your tastes in music, atmosphere and ladies. The same bill bin system and barfine system applies here just for a higher price.

    The fourth type of bar is the disco bars, similar to discos and nightclubs in your own country this is where you can do the dancing and also where you’re likely to encounter the freelancer(FL). Discos will be full of Thai ladies who won’t be shy about showing their affection for you, you’ll be thinking I’ve pulled a freebie but odds are she’s a working girl working for herself, there’ll be no barfine but there’s a little more risk as if anything goes wrong she’ll be hard to find the next night and the management at the disco won’t take any responsibility for freelancers. That said, lots of guys rave about FL’s so each to his own.

    The fifth type of bar is the Thai nightclub which is where regular Thai men and women go to let their hair down, no pay for play goes on here but it can be an interesting experience, they’ll be naturally curious about the falang and it may help to speak a little Thai but no good Thai lady is going to stay the night just after meeting her, you may get a number or two and maybe a date but the most you can expect is a new friend.

    Ladyboys
    Thailand is famous for its third gender – The ladyboy or Katoey, there’s no real concrete reason as to why this phenomenon started but surgeons in Thailand have developed an expertise in gender reassignment procedures so people from all over the world go there to get surgery much cheaper than at home. There are bars which consist entirely of Ladyboys, they’re pretty easy to spot – tell- tale signs are an Adam’s Apple, deeper voice, usually taller, bulges in the wrong places, no curves in the right places. Do your research and know where the ladyboy bars are. There are countless stories of guys getting drunk and going back to the room only to find out they’ve made a mistake. You could always ask but if she isn’t a ladybody you’ve just made a big mistake! If in doubt don’t barfine unless you’re curious 555. Some bars may have one or two working there, get friendly with the other girls and they’ll tell you.

    Most ladyboys are pre-op which means they still have male genitals which they tape down so they fit their clothes better. They can be more prone to mood swings which comes from taking female hormones whilst still having naturally producing male hormones, not a good combination. Ladyboys tend to hunt in packs too so it’s not for the weak of heart. As usual buying a few drinks and being polite will go a long way. If you’re not interested a simple “mai ow kap”(no thanks in Thai) and smile will suffice

  6. #46
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    Hmm, 20 baht bills for the gogo's. You really should try to get back to Thailand sometime, a lot has happened since the 90's, 5555

  7. #47
    Senior Member Stillearly's Avatar
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    If you want a girl why do you need to buy the Mamasan a drink ? I try and have as little to do with them as possible , as you say they should be watching / organising the girls , but not sitting with customers
    'If it floats, flies or fcuks , it's cheaper to rent"

  8. #48
    Senior Member kris-one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatdane View Post
    Hmm, 20 baht bills for the gogo's. You really should try to get back to Thailand sometime, a lot has happened since the 90's, 5555
    They seem to go down a treat in Pattaya still.




  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by kris-one View Post
    They seem to go down a treat in Pattaya still.
    Maybe because you are young and very haaandsom. I must admit that I have no personal experience but I remember threads on PI about girls not being very happy for 20 baht notes.

  10. #50
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Never had a TG turn down 20 baht yet, had some great times in Peppermint especially with them, maybe in Phuket where things tend to be more expensive, if you want be a 2 week millionaire you can always give them 40

  11. #51
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stillearly View Post
    If you want a girl why do you need to buy the Mamasan a drink ? I try and have as little to do with them as possible , as you say they should be watching / organising the girls , but not sitting with customers
    Again same here but we're more experienced and know the ropes so aren't shy about turning a tg that we're not into away and can get the attention of a tg we like. It can be a good way for a newbie to get more settled in and get that look after you feeling.
    kris-one likes this.

  12. #52
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Anyone any thoughts on the best phone plans for visitors, probably pay as u go with a decent data plan and sms would be ideal.

  13. #53
    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    I got a free prepaid AIS SIM which initially came with X call minutes and X minutes of 3G. Now when I go I just go to a 7-11 and get a top-up over the counter, very easy. The only thing you need to be careful of with that type of package is 3G being billed by the minute, so you have to turn data off when you don't need it or it will drain your funds.

    I've also didn't have any issues with it 'expiring' when out of the country and not in use for X months - although the most I was away initially was about 6 months, so not sure if any longer and it will deactivate. Even so, you can just get another free one next time you arrive.

  14. #54
    Senior Member MrDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjwx View Post
    I'm thinking along the lines of the excellent Thailand guide that MrDK published on the PI forum, maybe we need one for each country. I know a bit about the Phils, but Myanmar and Vietnam I have little idea about and I'd like to find out more about Myanmar (and Cambo as Cambo might be my next holiday destination).
    I would like to make a PHL section, but even after nearly ten visits I am not sure I have enough knowledge yet.
    I would be happy to have a partner or two and I will do all the formatting and coding.

    The current "The Ultimate Newbie Guide to Thailand" was a collaborative effort by three BM's and with most additional pages I have posted them for peer review on the boards that pinned the front page.
    Usually I will get 20-30 comments to a page and most translates into an edit before making it public.
    Typically I leave the peer review running for 1-2 weeks before publishing and certainly after that comments/corrections are welcome.

    For a PHL guide I would also ask for peer review, especially on PHL boards.

  15. #55
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dontpanic View Post
    Anyone any thoughts on the best phone plans for visitors, probably pay as u go with a decent data plan and sms would be ideal.
    AIS 12Call is the default suggestion.. I can look up the codes for Data etc..

  16. #56
    Senior Member MrDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    AIS 12Call is the default suggestion.. I can look up the codes for Data etc..
    AIS (1-2-Call) is the best for local coverage and rates
    True Mobile is the best for international calls (i.e. 1 baht per minute)
    DTAC is the best for Internet, in metropolitan areas (Phuket, Bangkok, Pattaya)
    I would post a link with many more details if allowed, try this Google search: Mobile Phones & SIM Cards in Thailand

  17. #57
    Senior Member kris-one's Avatar
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    Surprise surprise...
    davis121 and LivinLOS like this.




  18. #58
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrDK View Post
    I would like to make a PHL section, but even after nearly ten visits I am not sure I have enough knowledge yet.
    I would be happy to have a partner or two and I will do all the formatting and coding.

    The current "The Ultimate Newbie Guide to Thailand" was a collaborative effort by three BM's and with most additional pages I have posted them for peer review on the boards that pinned the front page.
    Usually I will get 20-30 comments to a page and most translates into an edit before making it public.
    Typically I leave the peer review running for 1-2 weeks before publishing and certainly after that comments/corrections are welcome.

    For a PHL guide I would also ask for peer review, especially on PHL boards.
    Thanks, .

  19. #59
    Senior Member MrDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dontpanic View Post
    Thanks, .
    Sarcasm noted

  20. #60
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Please move any discussion of PI guides to another thread.

    Lets leave this one for its intended purpose.

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