What is Thailand?

Thai Dances in Historic Park - Ayuttaya, Thailand Every person who visits or moves to Thailand seems to have a different take on what Thailand "is". For too many, Thailand is a hedonistic theme park. For the culturally sensitive, Thailand is an opportunity to experience, even indulge in, a culture entirely different from their own.

Too many expats have a pre-conceived notion about Thailand before they ever step onto the airplane. Wannabe expats get bad or distorted information from expat forums and websites that are trying to sell something -- often condos or houses in expat ghettos and touristy locations.

Don't get me wrong, discussions can yield a wealth of information -- can being the operative word. The genius is knowing what information is valid and that which is either patently incorrect, or "facts" that are merely spun.

Some of us try to imagine ourselves living attractive lifestyles. Cheap booze, attractive women that are readily available, leisurely days at the beach or on the golf course -- feel free to add your own personal fantasies.

But take a bit of advice from "Garfield", the cartoon fat cat that we all love or hate. "Don't strain your imagination."

Fleeting Expectations re: Thailand

Chances are that your lifestyle will not be drastically different in Thailand than your lifestyle back in the west. Sure, the weather may be nicer and accommodations may be cheaper. Food may be fresher and the women prettier. But ..

If you are prone to personality challenges, those flaws may well be magnified here rather than mitigated. Can a person find a better life in Thailand without their problems following them? Perhaps for a time. But ..

A few questions.

  • Do you actually believe that good and cheap -- and Phuket -- belong in the same sentence?
  • Will you suddenly get un-lazy?
  • If you have problems with alcohol or drugs, will they magically disappear in Thailand?
  • Have you somehow imagined that you can smoke a joint in public without fear of repercussions?
  • Will young pretty women that you meet casually be competing to move in with you -- simply because of your sparkling personality and sterling character?
  • Will your golf handicap suddenly drop 10 strokes?

"Don't strain your imagination." 

Actually, it is entirely possible to reinvent yourself in Thailand. Many expats have escaped the west, moved to Thailand, and changed their lives. It's just very difficult. Self discipline and motivation are important keys. Having no expectations may be the most important factor.