7 Things I STILL Don’t Understand About Thailand

After 12 years, I’ve pretty well got this place dialed. But I still have some problems that I just cannot get over. Here are some of them.


  1. Tailgaters. It is probably never going to change, but I keep hoping. I really don’t like driving the car, the motorbike is so much easier in many respects.
  2. Waitresses that don’t listen. If you go tot he same restaurant over and over, and get the same thing most of the time, the waitress will see you and know what you want before you open your mouth. She won’t listen to your order, she’ll just give you what you’ve always ordered before.
  3. Buses Keep Flipping Over. Overnight buses, white vans, and taxis all drive too fast to be safe for conditions. Some make no adjustment when it’s raining. So, we have buses crashing all the time – flipping. Burning. You couldn’t pay me to take an overnight bus in this country.
  4. Wildlife Exploitation. Thais just don’t seem concerned about this on any level. It takes foreigners moving here to accomplish anything. Edwin Wiek is really doing an incredible job for elephants, slow loris, bears, gibbons, tigers, and many other species who have gone neglected for decades.
  5. Bad Coffee. Come on man… Starbucks should be Starbucks and taste exactly the same wherever I order a Grande Latte with two extra shots. Starbucks is the only coffee I can stand, so when it’s bad, it is a very bad day indeed.
  6. Random Restaurant – Store Hours. Small restaurants, which is what we eat at most often, are closed on a whim. It can be a Monday one week, and Thursday the next. Friday? Yep. Any day I want to eat at a particular restaurant, it can be closed. I used to try to remember which restaurants closed on which day. The days change all the time! Stores are the same, but for the most part the convenience stores owned by a family, are open all the time because they must not be making much money at all.
  7. Why Is the Beer So Bad? I have yet to find a beer I like in the country. Beerlao is damn good if you can get it within a month or two of bottling, and without having sat in the blazing sun on an airconditionless truck.
  8. Enter Yours Here – add to comments.

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From Alex Sanders –  Alex Sanders

Thanks for the article.
Well, here are my major gripes:
#1 Dual pricing (i know, falangs must pay more, but, come on, still a bitter aftertaste, i’m not feeling that at all);
#2 Still don’t know what’s better: saving your/other ppl’s face or telling the truth (i always speak my mind, but the face dilemma kills me all the time);
#3 Safety standards suck big time (everywhere in the country; for instance, elec. cables + running water.. etc… yeah, the buses, bikes… you name it…);
#4 Driving in Thailand, yes, unbelievable (red lights shouldn’t be confined to the red light districts only, better see more working red traffic lights and drivers playing by the rules rather than those sleazy areas;
#5 Sewers jammed with trash and garbage hence flooding in towns (get it fixed already);
#6 Lots of yaba/cocaine/marijuana dealers in the evening time and onward asking you if you need ‘one’;
#7 Good old scams for any taste and budget (this one i do understand, though… but, come on, do something already)…

Provided that i have more time to think about it, i could go a bit deeper and come up with more of what I’m just not feeling, if you want me to :)

Granted, there’s way more of what i do like about Thailand, so hopefully that ‘good part’ outweighs the bad one.

Thailand House Problems… (Is your house falling apart too?)

Thailand house problems

Thailand House Problems…

If you own a house here you must be having a helluva time. I’m renting and I seem to be more concerned than the husband and wife that own this house.

We rent a decent 2-story house here in Surat Thani, Thailand. It’s got stained wooden floors in the living room and the entire upstairs – in all bedrooms. In the dining room and TV room we have large 2’x2′ light colored marble tiles. We have a full kitchen with stone counter and nice wooden cabinetry. We have a great burner and a lot of space. In the back of the house we have a restroom and a large sink area for cooking outside I guess.

Upstairs are 3 bedrooms – all have separate new air conditioning units.

Our master bedroom has a very large cabinet for clothes and we have a sun window type thing with a place to sit on at the window. We have two showers in the master bath. One is outside – open air – but covered pretty well. We have granite counters in the bathrooms (all 3). We have 4 showers. 4 Toilets. 5 sinks. We have bars on every window nad behind every door. We have a driveway large enough for 4 cars or so. We have a small yard. We border a rubber tree plantation.

We’re paying just 7000 baht per month plus 140 for water and another 450 for electric.

We have a wooden staircase, new couches and bed and tables from INDEX. The small couch had a price tag still on it – 15,000 baht. The other one must have been 20,000+.

We are very careful not to damage anything here. Sure the house is worth only 3.5 million baht – which is under 100,000 usd and less than 1/2 of what my townhouse sold for before I left the USA – but still. Here it’s a lot of money.

We have told the owners no less than 3 times about the termites that are eating holes in their walls and under the wooden floor in the living room! They have not even cared to come by and LOOK! They just ask us if it’s bothering us – or can we use everything ok… we say, yeah, no worries – but your house is being EATEN BY TERMITES – did you hear what we said 3 times over the past 2 months?

Yep, they heard.

There’s just no interest in taking care of it.

Sure they have another house… but in America do you know how we’d be flipping out about this? I’d be doing backflips on someone’s head to get out to my house immediately and destroy EVERYTHING that had legs so the place was still standing – and especially so I could sell it and move.

There is a similar attitude here about everything that is wrong with this house. Oh, the ceiling leaks. Dammmm, it’s nighttime now but I’ll take some pics anyway and see if I get a good one… the ceiling is leaking in the: KITCHEN, LIVING ROOM, DINING ROOM, and HALLWAY halfway up the steps.

Did they come to look?


How many times did we tell them?

Every time it rained over rainy season since we’ve been here.

Have they done anything?


I don’t expect them to I guess. Mai pen rai krup… business as usual…

In Ubon I had a friend that had just BUILT a new house up there. He went through the usual hellish experience. Pipes that didn’t work. Electricity that didn’t work. Steps that fell apart. Water pump problems.

The house looks good until you look at things in detail. They might use non-waterproof grouting in the tilework on the floor of the restroom – or even, would you believe, IN THE SHOWER?

The last house we rented in Ubon had a light switch just kind of hanging from the wire where it wasn’t attached to the wall yet – also a new house. I grabbed the switch with my hand and naturally my fingers wrapped around the back and my thumb was on the switch to push it on. My fingers touched the LIVE WIRES in the back because our landlord didn’t put on the COVER on the back of the switch! That was a wake up call! The electricity here is 220, not 110 like America. You’ve got a chance in America – here – I am very lucky not have died on the floor in my bedroom 2 years ago.

Living in Thailand has made me VERY cautious… I don’t take much for granted. I don’t touch many things with wires here…

I’m sure you readers have horror stories – let me know if you feel inspired to tell us all… What happened to YOUR HOUSE?