The Single Western Woman's Guide To Thailand
I've been in Thailand for five years and, for most of that time, I've been single. This actually isn't as unusual as it sounds as most of the Western women I meet here are single. Also, at least 30% of the Thai women my age are single too. Thai men have a reputation of having three or four girlfriends, even when they're married, so many Thai women are sick of it. Now many Thai women are making their own money, so they don't need men. Hence the lower than normal marriage rate and the higher than normal divorce rate. Being a single Western Woman in Bangkok is becoming part of the norm.
Being a single Western Woman in Bangkok is wonderful though. Bangkok is one of the world's safest cities, and Thai men are actually quite shy. So you're not likely to be shouted at or have catcalls directed at you like you would in most Western cities. Even if Thai men find you attractive, it takes them a long time to come up to talk to you. So harassment is never an issue here.
Western women (or 'Farang Women, as they're called here) are treated much better than Western men too. Thailand, unfortunately, gets more than its fair share of Western men who are pedophiles, sexpats, running from the law or just plain losers. A lot of Thais in Bangkok have had so many problems with Western men that they avoid them. Western women, on the other hand, rarely seem to cause problems, so we're treated well here. We also often get paid more if we teach here as, again, the Thai schools have had so many problems with Western male teachers, they jump at the chance to hire a Western Woman. (Of course, occasionally there will be problems with a Western woman teacher - we had one at my school who ended up in a Thai mental institution from doing illegal drugs - but overall most problems are with Western men and not Western women).
But what does a single Western woman do in Bangkok? Believe me, there isn't enough time in the day for everything available here.
1. Shopping. Thailand has some of the best shopping in the world. Clothing, shoes, DVDs, CDs, silks, household items, books, jewelry, photograph frames, Thai handmade products, electronics, perfumes, make-up - everything is here and in abundance. Most things are also around 25% of the cost of the US or Europe, so my daily shopping list is much longer than when I'm back in America. For a single Western woman, Bangkok is a shopper's paradise.
2. Lunch. Meeting friends for lunch is a very popular event here. Eating out is very cheap (as little as $1 a meal) the food is amazing and the service impeccable, so eating lunch with friends is a really fun, inexpensive way to have a social life. Bangkok also has the more expensive restaurants and, of course, the very high-end restaurants and with food choices ranging from Japanese to Chinese, Indian to Greek, Nepalese to American, British to Thai, there is something here for everyone. All my single Western women friends eat out at least one meal a day, and sometimes all three.
3. Nightlife. The nightlife in Bangkok is phenomenal. For a single American woman, it's also great because it's safe. The nightlife ranges from British pubs to cocktail bars, jazz clubs, Thai folk music bars, clubs, discos, and even concerts. Bangkok is on the tour schedule of most of the great American and European singers and bands, as well as some of the world's best international DJs. You can enjoy a fun evening in a Thai bar for as little as $5, or go to an international nightclub and spend $200. Up to you.
4. Bangkok Women's Writing Club. There's a women's writing club that meets every other week in Bangkok. Most of the members are Western women but there are also some Thai members. The women get together, have dinner and a couple of drinks, share their writing and generally have fun. They've even just had a book published called "Bangkok Blondes", which is doing very well in the Bangkok book scene.
5. Bangkok Book Club. I've recently been attending the Bangkok Book Club. It meets once a month at a large caf in a shopping mall near the sky train. A group of eight to twenty Western women get together, depending on the month, and share books. You bring your own books that you've read and exchange them for books other women bring. Not only is it a great way to get free English books, but it's also lively conversation, good food and a nice atmosphere. This book club is open to everyone, but weirdly only Western women have shown up so far.
6. Travel. Travel in Thailand is incredibly cheap and very safe. You can go to the beach on the bus for as little as $2 and, when you get there, you can stay in a nice, clean hotel for less than $20 a night. Thailand often comes up high on the list of safe places for single women to travel alone. I've traveled all over Thailand alone and never once had a problem. In fact, if you are alone, Thais are even more likely to help you, be friendly and make sure you are safe. As a single Western woman in Thailand, you'll have a fabulous time traveling alone.
7. Thai Men. You can pretty much rule out most of the Western men here, as they're here for the Thai women. But Thai men are cute and fun, sweet and kind. They're shy at first, but they do know how to treat women. They carry your bags, they say sweet things to you, and they're always happy and smiling. The only downside is, many of them have several other girlfriends (or a wife!) too. There are 'good Thai men', I have friends who are married to them. Just be choosy when you meet a Thai man, and make sure you check up on his private life. You don't want to be surprised, when his wife arrives from 'upcountry' (outside Bangkok).
For a single Western woman, Bangkok is an amazing place to live. It's a cosmopolitan city with anything you could ever want. It's also safe, easy to get around, inexpensive and fun. As a single Western woman in Bangkok, you will be treated amazingly well. People will smile, be incredibly friendly and helpful, and you will never feel threatened. Taking taxis alone is safe. Eating alone is safe. Traveling alone is safe. So the next time you're thinking of taking a trip abroad and you happen to be traveling alone, think about Thailand. Thailand is a safe haven for a single Western woman and an amazing country to see. The Thai tourism board's present campaign isn't called 'Amazing Thailand' for nothing!
By Cassandra James - I m a British-American writer currently living in Bangkok, Thailand. I ve been writing for Associated Content since 2007 and was named one of AC s Top 100 Writers for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. I primarily w...
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