Tell Me Why

So what did come first the chicken or the egg. Who turned on the first red light, the punter or the prostitute. Confused, I’m a little bit like that about many things in life and Thailand is without doubt one of them.

I first landed in Thailand in January 1999 and one of my Thai Tales, The Beginning Part Two recalls that memorable day. Over ten years and thirty trips later you would think I would know most things about Thailand, you couldn’t be more wrong.

In total adding together all my Land of Smiles vacations I have spent nearly three years of my life in Thailand and there is so much that I have yet to learn. Listed below are a few of the many things that I want to know the answers to and I’m hoping you can help me, I need somebody to tell me why.

  • If it costs 1800 baht in a taxi from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Pattaya, why does it only cost 1200 baht to get back?

You land and if you’re heading for Pattaya then you want to get there as quickly as you can. Going home most tourist’s leave for the airport as late as possible, so why the much cheaper fare?

  • Why don’t Thai men have moustaches or beards?

It’s rare that Thai men grow a moustache or beard but why not, other Asian men sport the look with style.

  • What is the national dish of Thailand?

In the UK fish and chips is a big favourite but I would say the traditional Beef Sunday roast would rate as the UK’s traditional dish, but what is Thailand’s?

  • At what age does a ladyboy become a man?

I have seen hundreds of ladyboys in their twenties and early thirties but I can’t remember seeing a sixty year old ladyboy. Where do all the ladyboys go, do they at some age decide they’re a man again, can you provide the answer because this one’s a mystery to me.

  • When I pay for a meal in a Thai restaurant, why does the waiter or waitress nearly always offer my change to my girlfriend?

This has happened so many times that it’s difficult recollecting the last time my change was offered to me.

  • They say ” You can take the girl out of the bar, but you can’t take the bar out of the girl .”    True or false.

The famous Pattaya saying and one I am in two minds about, what’s your answer and why.

  • Why do Thai people smile so much?

The less well off Thai folk have very little money and very little hope of a better and more secure future. So why do they smile so much? Is it religion, does money bring worry and unhappiness or are they just a happy nation.

  • If a farang’s (westerner) Thai wife meets his daughter for the first time and the daughter is older than her father’s wife, who wai’s (greets) who first?

This one has got me beat and it’s one for the married men to answer.

If you’ve got an answer to one of the above questions then please drop it into the comments box. Thanks.


Photogaph    Thai Lady boys by © cndance

Photograph Bangkok taxi by © storman111


I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

9 Responses

  1. Great blog, my 2p

    Airport run – ? A complete mystery

    Moustaches – Hard to grow them, the ones that can look OK. Thai women dont generally like them also.

    Ladyboys – Good question! Maybe they don’t last that long…..

    Change – Didnt notice that one…..

    Take the bar out of the girl – No idea

    Smiles – Because they are genuinely nice inside!

    Wife and daughter – No idea. I reckon it would be the daughter out of respect for the father.

    LOL Sorry not much help. Looking forward to the other answers though

    The Thai Pirate’s last blog post..Thai landscaping complete at holiday home in Nakhon Pathom Province

  2. Mike says:

    HD good post. Here ae a couple of suggestions.

    Taxi’s are cheaper going back because the drivers don’t pay “taxi mafia” tax.

    Pad(Pat) Thai for traditional food.

    I too experience the money thing-perhaps Thai women traditionally control purse strings-or maybe the waitress thinks its honey money!

    Thai people smile a lot-something to do with history and smiling at your enemy (never been invaded)?

    Mike’s last blog post..Alltop

  3. Talen says:

    Great questions but I have very few answers.

    Why, if it costs 1800 baht to get a taxi from the airport to Pattaya, does it cost 1500 baht to get from downtown Bankok to Pattaya?

    As for the hair thing…why do Thai girls use tweezers to pluck their underarms? Better yet how good must their eye sight be because I can never see the hairs they are plucking.

    Had the change given to the girlfriend twice yesterday…she kept it too!

    National dish of Thailand has to be Som Tam or maybe not…

    I think you can take the girl out of the bar abd the bar out of the girl but you can’t take the girl out of Thailand or Thailand out of the girl.

    I don’t know why they smile so much but it is indeed infectious and I found myself giggling this morning because of it.

    Now here’s a few more:

    Why is it when my Thai girl is at home in mukdahan she is up at the crack of dawn every day and asleep by 8pm….but now that we are in Bangkok she goes to sleep by midnight and sleeps till noon?

    Why do Thais cover their mouth when using a toothpick but will openly pick their nose anywhere and any time?

    Why is it when I want nothing to do with tuk tuk drivers they come out of the woodwork and pester me all day ” take you one hour 40 baht show you Bangkok” but when I can’t walk any further the little bastards won’t drive me 8 blocks to the pier for any price?

    why do people buy luggage in Thailand? God knows it will fall apart before you can pack it.

    Why didn’t I find Thailand earlier?

    Talen’s last blog post..A Beautiful Day In Bangkok

  4. Talen – The nose picking thing is a weird one, reminds me of the constant throat honking of Thai blokes as well, pretty darn revolting to be honest LOL 🙂

    Thai’s have a strange relationship to their teeth in my experience. Misses hates her teeth. There is nothing wrong with them….? Plus how many teeth clinics are there in Bangkok?

    And the Tweezers!!!! Just plain, plain weird. I’ve put it down to being a masochistic thing passed down from Thai mother to daughter….

  5. mr.yes says:

    I’m Thai myself, and I like to share my opinion on what you ‘ve asked,

    Suvannabhumi taxi :
    I have no idea, never pay for taxi ride from the airport to pattaya myself, but I dont like the idea of ‘mafia’, so instead i would say ‘airport fee’, possible?

    Moustaches or beards :
    Thais are like any other asians (except indians and mid-east),
    a man with moustaches are not our taste, and, from Thai’s popular culture, most villain in our movies grow beards, this created perception among Thais that ‘a guy with a beards or moustaches = badass’.

    What might be possibly, other reason is that, from our perception, moustaches or beards are sign of aging (means you’re being old) and most Thai don’t want to be call ‘oldboy’ or even looks like he’s getting old.

    Ladyboys :
    I simply have no idea.

    Why they always return your change to your lady:
    the Idea of couples in thai society is that,
    your lady is your pride, and yes, wife always control purse and money and family’s expenses, I believe that those waiters and waitresses, they tends to think the same towards western couples thats why they return changes to your wife.

    Bar girl:
    again, I simply have no idea about the place and its peoples.

    Thai smiling faces:
    simply put, its our culture, our habit, and our way of living.
    please note that, Thai smile have lots of meaning, and its not always has to be ‘nice’. When they’re happy, when they’re sad, when they’re angry, when they’re getting embarrassed by something, or when they’re deciding to rip you, the Thais always smile.

    there might be factors from religion too, since most of us (Thais) are Buddhists, we holds some beliefs about Karma, (simply ’causes and effects’ ideology), we do to others what we want others to do to us.

  6. mr.yes says:

    I forgot the last question – confusion about “Wai” :

    a Wife is younger than her husband Daughter from his previous marriage then she (the Wife) is considered younger and has to ‘Wai’ the daughter, this sound absurd you might think, but we considered step – mother is not like birth-mother, and by doing ‘Wai’ to that who supposed to be our daughter is much more absurd.

    It’s no surprise to know that you’re so confused of this since even most of us, Thais, are also confused sometimes when we meet with senior who are in high position than us but they’re younger by age, for instances, our boss, or our relatives from different marriage of our parents. in my opinion, I would say that generally, Age is always important when you’re considering about who you have to ‘Wai’ or not.


  7. Hoo Don says:

    Thank you to all the above comments, the response is really appreciated.

    Ben – That’s a large 2p worth. I didn’t know the women didn’t like them so thanks for that one and I’ll keep packing the razor.

    Mike – Glad to see I’m not alone when it comes to the restaurant “tip”. The smile, history, enemy point is a good one and needs looking into, I will see what turns up.

    Talen – I hope you’re enjoying yourself in the LOS. Some great questions of your own. Wilai is the same, she can stay up to midnight on holiday but back in the village and she is asleep on the sofa by nine thirty. The nose picking thing turns my stomach a little bit. The luggage? I have been done a few times myself with that one, they look good quality and so cheap. Have fun in the sun.

    Mr Yes – Thank you for your interesting comments. The moustaches and beards explanation makes a lot of sense. The restaurant change reasoning is a fair offering as well, although they should realize that by giving me the change they’d get a bigger tip. The wai comment is of a great help to everyone I’m sure. Once more thank you for adding your comments.

  8. Martin In Bulgaria says:

    Some real posers there Martyn. having never been there I can only guess at some, but I might know why they have no moustaches. Gettgin to work in the morning using the roads there, everyone has a close shave! lol

    Martin In Bulgaria’s last blog post..Bean Day On The Farm

  9. Hoo Don says:

    Martin that will definitely win the “wit of the week” award.

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