Tag Archives: Thailand

Tips on Getting a Tattoo in Thailand

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Tips on Getting a Tattoo in Thailand

After spending 7 months living in Thailand the thought of getting a bamboo tattoo pops into your mind on several occasions. So I did it! I got the bamboo tattoo and a couple of years on I still don’t regret it here so here are my tips when thinking about getting a tattoo is Asia specifically.

 

  1. DON’T DO IT AT 3AM! However tempting it is to go after a few drinks! Those people will regret it! They allow tattoo parlours to stay open 24 hours to take advantage of the drunk people getting those silly tattoos that they are bound to regret.
  2. THINK ABOUT IT! There are many many “typical” tattoos that people get when in Asia and Thailand. Do you want to be “that” person
  3. DO YOUR RESEARCH! Lots and lots of tattoo parlours line the streets in islands in Thailand. There are allsorts of tattoo artists in these parlours. Google them, check out their previous work and ask to see them tattoo someone else. If you are getting foreign words tattooed on you make sure they say what you hope they say.
  4. CHECK THE NEEDLES! A bamboo tattoo is just that a needle sticky taped to a stick of bamboo. Watch them get a new needle out and go through the process of sticky tape.
  5. LOOK AFTER YOUR TATTOO! Bamboo tattoos heal very very fast in comparison to normal tattoos but does not mean you shouldn’t look after them for the time it takes to heal. Make sure you Vaseline the tattoo daily and follow the care instructions.
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The Pressures of Modern Culture

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As I sat tutoring my Vice Director’s 14 year old daughter, I started to think about the pressures of modern culture, the differences between Thailand and England and the effects these pressures have on the people in that culture.

In England at the age of 25 I felt the pressure to be in a relationship, get married and think about a career. I guess it is about growing up but why in a world in which we have fought for equality and equal rights do we still find ourselves dealing with the same pressures our ancestors felt? Why is it not ok to enjoy being by yourself and embrace it? All my friends in England are in relationships or desperate to be in one. Some to the point where I am not sure they really know who they are anymore. They have become broken, pathetic display pieces for womanhood and so far away from those women in the 60’s that burnt their bras for us. These women would be unrecognisable to modern society, if indeed we had advanced beyond this animalistic need for companionship and constant reaffirming of self-worth.

Miss J and I have discussed these pressures and have come to realise that now, in Thailand in a different culture there is no pressure to be in a relationship although you do appear to get the worried look from people when you tell them that you are travelling alone. In Thai culture it appears that a women would stay with her family – for some even share the bed with their parents – until the day that they get married and leave the home. So although the pressure is off to get married they have the support and constant assurance of their families they are never alone. Families I have met in Thailand want to take care of me, they want to invite me to be part of their family, be that live with them, eat with them or worship with them. This to me is strange, but in their culture it is strange that I have left my family and decided to travel alone. I don’t mind being accepted into a family at all, it is nice to feel welcomed into a new culture. I draw the line at being married off to sons but at the moment this has not happened although I have known it happen to many western women.

It was the pressure inflicted on society that made me leave behind the life I had and delve into this unknown society. Turns out from the outside at least that this culture is very similar – perhaps all cultures are – but at least I am content now with seeing the world and these different cultures, and although driven by a sexual urge sometimes I am not desperately seeking a mate to distract me from the life I want to lead.

Miss D

Culture shock?! No – Expat Culture Shock..

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One thing I expected when I left the UK a year ago, was that the people I would meet from then on would be similarly minded to myself.  Obviously, not in all aspects, but that would have a bit of motivation, a bit of a curious mind, and an element of the explorer to them.  Of course, because we would all be away from home, living within a different culture.

This presumption didn’t come from nowhere: I’ve worked in Spain, the USA and studied in China, and while I didn’t love all of the other foreigners I met, they all possessed these qualities – which I also recognize in myself.

To want to leave home and live within a different culture, you must have a desire to see new things and go new places, otherwise you’d never have left in the first place?  To move somewhere alone, you must want to meet new people, otherwise you would have stayed with your friends and family at home? To actually DO it and go – not just talk about it – you must possess some initiative and gumption…… SURELY.

Well, that’s what you’d think. Or what I thought.

However, when I moved abroad, I discovered this was not the case at all.  I’m not saying the people I met were boring, wait..  Yes, I am.  A lot of them. I met a significant number of girls and guys, somewhere in their twenties, who had all done exactly the same as me: that is, move to Asia to teach English.   Some wanted to save money and pay off their student debt, but most claimed that they wanted to travel and get out of the mundane lifestyle they’d somehow fallen into at home.

Did they really believe that themselves?  We didn’t get much time off in the country I was in, but when it came to the few bank holidays we did have, none of these people made any plans.  I was suggesting weekend trips to Tokyo or Fukuoka here, there and everywhere, but the weekend in question was never a good time.  In the middle of winter, I wanted to go skiing every weekend, but next week would always be better.  Despite countless Christmas crawls, nobody wanted to go to one, yet insisted that Christmas be a big occasion because it wasn’t a national holiday over there and we were all away from home.

Generally, most of the people I met were content with sitting in a bar in the local vicinity (this bar was mostly full with..interesting characters that appeared to have left their home country for one reason only: they didn’t fit in) every Friday and Saturday night, drinking the local beer, or going to overpriced Western restaurants, followed by another few hours of the same conversations in chain coffee shops like Starbucks – something I was not content with.  What part of that is different to what we could be doing at home?  When it was the same every week, nothing changed, meaning there was nothing new to talk about.  Complain about Korea, complain about our jobs, complain about our money situation and how bored we were.  Well, we would be because we didn’t DO anything!

Where was the desire to try the local food?  Where was the desire to see the country’s historical architecture?  Where was the desire to visit the city’s quirky amusements, or the countryside’s beautiful scenery?

You are probably thinking that I could have done things myself.  This is true, and in the end I did, but the biggest thing that prevented me were last minute cancellations.  You see, often people would plan to do something, or go somewhere – sometimes everyone would seem so keen – and then, the night before, everyone would cancel.  This would leave it too late for me to find other people to go with, arrange to go on a tour, and often to sort out alternate transport or accommodation.  I couldn’t very well go skiing by myself – well, I could but it wouldn’t have been as much fun, and the three-hour journey each way would have been lonely. If we’d arranged a trip to the countryside, I could go alone, but how could I afford the pension (house) without five other people to split the cost with (hostels aren’t common in SK)?

So, the point of this post, is people who cancel.  I’m very lucky that I’ve found Miss J and Miss D in Thailand, because I know that if we have plans, which we do most weekends, they will happen.  This weekend was one of the few that we didn’t, recovering from Koh Phi Phi and preparing for next week’s adventures.  But there are three other girls in my town that I know well and work with.  They are very nice people and although we don’t click fantastically, spending time with them is not a chore.  One of them was visiting her boyfriend, but the rest of us decided to spend the weekend together.

However, on Saturday, I get a few messages in the morning.  I know this is not good news, and force my eyes open to read the following: ‘I’m too tired, just going to stay in. Meet you for dinner at seven’.  I was half-expecting that.  Fine, I’ll explore alone.  At least they still want to go out tonight, I think.  So, I meet them for dinner, and the conversation turns into something like this, ‘I can’t be bothered to go for some drinks now….‘ No amount of convincing will work.  I am visibly irritated, but they insist that it’s good because it means we’ll all be fresh and up early for the trip we’d planned the next day.  Ok, I relent..

Next morning – Can you guess what happens?!  Yes, you’ve got it: everyone cancels! Too tired!  Well, I cannot do this trip alone because it involves a few tuk tuk rides which are fixed price and, although feasible when split three ways, not practical on an individual budget.  THANKS GUYS. They left me with no time to arrange to meet a friend in a different part of Thailand or to research somewhere else I could go.  Which is how I ended up at a controversial tiger zoo… (more coming on that soon)

I made some great friends in Korea regardless, and I do like the girls I live with over here.  And I understand that people have different desires and live at different paces, and that some people are content with doing something big every so often and chilling out the rest of the time. The trouble is, that I get bored of chilling out. And that I want to do and see everything now. And I think that I expected that everyone I would meet after leaving England would have the same attitude. Maybe my expectations were too high, and that’s what disappoints me, but..

I ask, would you fly half way around the world to sit in your room all day, every day?

Would you fly to a boiling country not to see the sun?

Would you fly to Thailand never to eat Thai street food?

Would you go to a country and see nothing except the street you live on (and barely that)?

This is what I don’t understand. I would respond with a definite no to all of these questions, and I cannot comprehend a different answer.  But for others, it seems they really do go far away to do these things.  It makes no sense to me, and it irritates the hell out of me.

Arghhhh.

Miss L

Curiosity and a Ping Pong Show

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Curiosity and a Ping Pong Show

I have always been the type of person that thinks, ‘Oh, I wonder how this works?’.  This of course has its pros and cons.  As the famous or infamous saying goes (depending on which way you look at it), ‘Curiosity killed the cat’.  Or did it?  I always find that yes, I end up arse over tit, falling down a flight of steps as I’m far too busy wondering what an earth is unfolding beneath my eyes to notice I’m about to face plant the sodding floor.  I think we’re all a bit curious, but some more than others I guess.  This for me is something that goes hand in hand with culture and places.  What better arena to discover the utterly unimaginable?

Sometimes your experiences can be magical, yet other times you walk away wiser, realising that you pretended that it was the most normal thing in the world and are kind of glad you did it.  But by gosh are you not doing it again.  One of those experiences was being in a shower with a nice Welsh gentleman: oblivious I suddenly feel a warm sensation on my leg.  Yes, he was peeing on me.  Deliberately, almost like a naughty child. Without encouragement or any type of discussion that this was about to occur.  Ummm.. yes, strange.

Any way I somewhat digress.  The curious amongst us have definitely heard of the Seven Wonders of the World and are aware of what makes China China and France France.  So when we visit these places, we would quite like a taste of what their cuisine has to offer, whether it be unusual food or different customs and traditions.  This can be as diverse as the magic of the Inca trails right down to gawking at stunning prostitutes in a glass container on the red light district.  Let’s face it, curiosity doesn’t abide by ‘this is a beautiful, respectful activity‘ rules.  It delves much further beyond that as what makes us curious is often that which we wouldn’t want our parents knowing we did.

So, Thailand.  There is much mention of this beautiful yet contradictory country.  If you haven’t guessed already, this, at the moment is our chosen arena.  A country where there is lots to do and see and much culture to soak up, take in and enjoy.  Stray away from tourist central and you will meet a land which resembles nothing of your western culture.  The flip side of this is the sex industry.  There are many views and strong opinions regarding this both from visitors, travellers, expats, locals and those that just fancy having an opinion on it.  We won’t indulge too much in those as this blog would very quickly become a thesis.  Plus, I’m sure you can all guess what those opinions, good and bad are.  The sex industry in Thailand offers prostitution, lady boys and ping-pong shows if we’re talking basics.  As a woman prostitution does not intrigue me and I have no desire to explore that chapter of Thailand. Lady boys fascinate me and I love their cabaret type personalities . They tend to be confident and usually quite artistic.

Now we move on to the ping-pong show.  Yes, I was curious.  But I also wasn’t alone.  Take me back to the beginning of teaching right before I had even been to the Thai orientation seminar: I met with a group of awaiting teachers on Khao San road.  I left a bunch of travellers I had spent all day with to meet up with these guys.  Amongst these teachers, were Miss L and Miss D.  I noticed them straight away and felt instantly put at ease.  I was going to like these girls.  We all shared a cab the next day to meet our buses to Pattaya – an interesting destination to have a teachers initiation course.  Warming up in the cab, we each one by one let our ‘I’ve just met you and I’m not sure if its ok to say this‘ guard down.  More like a burst of thank fuck you’re like me too!

One of the conversations we had was about our desire to see a ping-pong show.  We were all curious.  But Pattaya came and passed and we still had not been.  Phuket is where it happened, actually.  On route to Phi Phi, we docked for the night.  Phuket, an odd place I feel. With tuk tuk drivers cleaning automatic guns in your face whilst you try to eat a breakfast that consists of tea with no milk; and hundreds – I hate to say it but I’m going to tell you – of fat, old, odd men with stunning Thai women.  It was there that off the cuff and with a series of cocktails to our name, we decided to go to a show.

We went to a place that’s door was a large heavy curtain.  Inside was your typical lap dancing joint.  Tables round the outside and a platform for performance in the middle.  I’ve been before – I’m not bi curious at all just too curious for my own damn good and wanted to know what really went on during a lap dance, sick of hearing elaborate stories from male friends.  Anyway, the girls, barely dressed, were dancing round poles kind of how I would when I’d drunk too much and couldn’t be arsed with the night anymore.  I actually felt a bit sorry for them.  Next thing you know, we endure a ten minute show that involves a lady pulling various objects out of her vagina. A bird, a turtle, a string of flowers and balls that she plops into a cup.  She even smokes a cigarette from her lady bits.  Cringing in my seat I don’t know whether I should continue looking.  Am I pervert?  Is this wrong?  To top it all off, a Thai lady is whipping us with a foam truncheon and demanding money for her services.

Luckily, I was not alone in this.  We all felt uncomfortable.  We paid left and can safely say have no desire to venture back at all.  But this is exactly the point for us, not everything in this world is a breath-taking wonder.  Not everything makes you want to pinch yourself in absolute euphoria.  Some things are disgusting, uncomfortable and slightly shameful.  But this, for us, is what real curiosity is.  How do you know if you’ve discovered the unknown if you always like it?

Miss J

Sexual Encounters & Partying on Phi Phi

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Sexual Encounters & Partying on Phi Phi

Travelling alone comes with some amazing experiences, most of these I am sure you have all heard before on those not so honest blogs. I am not here to tell you about the beautiful places you will see and how you will find yourself…not unless you’re talking about finding yourself with a vibrator.  I am talking about the desire for sex.  Any hot-blooded women who tells you she doesn’t need sex is lying to you and probably has a very powerful rabbit at home!  So how do you get around this problem when travelling – especially if, like me, you are not really into your local men and don’t like to stick to the tourist traps either . First things first: get yourself a vibrator, it only needs to be small and discrete, waterproof is probably best for those of us that generally stay in dorms (then you can just take it into the shower with you). Secondly, you need to take advantage of the times that you are in those tourist trapped areas.

Which brings me to my recent trip to Koh Phi Phi.  Before going any further, I want you to consider that although what I am about to tell you may sound very seedy indeed, I did partake in some touristy activities – although Phi Phi is not the place to go to dive into the deepest authentic Thailand.  For those of you that havent been, the island is beautiful – out of this world stunning – but a Thai man did describe it to me as Bangkok on the beach, and that, it pretty much is!  The partying is amazing although on the expensive side.  The bars sell buckets for 300 baht, when you translate that to English pounds it is only £6 but when you are earning baht everything seems expensive.  There are fire shows on the beach outside every bar, no one wears shoes because they will get lost and hell you’re on a beach.   Plus the island is so incredibly clean that you don’t get chance to stand on anything before someone steals the rubbish from under you and takes it to somewhere no tourist will ever find for fear of spoiling the illusion of the island.  Because that is what it is at the end of the day: an illusion for tourists.  You have to remember when visiting Phi Phi that it was only in 2004 that the island was ripped apart by the tsunami.  The tourist side was rebuilt the quickest as they needed to make money, but if you look hard enough you can still find evidence of the aftermath in tsunami village.  If you can’t picture the island then think Leonardo de Caprico in The Beach and that is pretty much what you would be facing.

Getting dressed up for a night out in Thailand is almost like getting ready for a sexy night in with a beautiful new man.  You take ages to decide what to wear, trying to think about the perfect ensemble with the right subtle mix of sexy and casual.  Then you move on to the make up, nothing too much, you don’t want him thinking you tried too hard, just a sweep of mascara and slightly smoking come to bed eyes.  Finally your on to the hair, this is important, nothing that says effort but enough to know you have washed within the last 12 hours is probably ok.  When it comes to shoes, well your staying in right?  Do the toe nails in a pretty colour and your away.  Yep ready for a night out in Phi Phi.

Ok, being outgoing single ladies we pretty much talk to anyone.  First bar we come to is a group of about 7 men with two girls, we think odds our in our favour and we had chatted to them earlier in the day.  Although not the best looking bunch, a good laugh and turns out they may even be famous.  These gentlemen do come back in the story later but for now we will call them the fighters (that is their jobs).

Left on my own after Miss L and Miss J manage to find some male company I decide to walk up the beach and see what the talent is like in another bar, as I am looking out to sea taking everything in someone comes up behind me.  I turn to find stunningly gorgeous man and he comes out with the line, “do you want to fuck tonight?“.  What would you have said?  I took a hard look up and down his body and said “yes, ok” – the stunned look on his face said it all!  Apparently this chat up line has about a 90% chance of failing but it was his line for the night and was sticking to it.  I was a little bit in love, the type Miss L describes, just for the night and for no reason at all.  We didn’t fuck, not immediately anyway.  We spent a considerable amount of time walking up and down the beach looking for more people to try this line on, he got slapped twice and deciding chances were slightly reversed for a good-looking girl it was not wise to go up to an ugly man and attempt this line.  Needless to say at that moment in time I could not find anyone else I would rather have sex with than the man egging me on to try out this line.  One thing lead to another and the next thing you know I am stood butt naked in the sea as he is yelping, “shit, i have just been stung“.  I am the first to admit, at times I can be a little bit heartless, this was one of those times as I stood howling with laughter at the poor, beautiful, well endowed, ripped man whimpering in pain.  We retreated quickly and ended up in his non air-conditioned dorm room for some very hot sex in the shower cubicles.  Let’s not beat around the bush, there were no cuddles, no deep and meaningful words as we held each other.  This is the real world.  As we were walking back to join the party we talked about how you cannot be a prude whilst travelling alone, you have to take what comes and he said he respected me for these opinions.  But who am I kidding?  He just got his end away and would have said anything.  The nice thing was, we both knew exactly where we stood, no mind games.  I think that sometimes you can meet someone and it doesn’t seem to matter about the bullshit lies you can just say it how it is.

We did the polite thing, shared a drink and a slice of pizza, found our friends and parted ways.  Miss L and I moved onto a new bar looking to find our group – a.k.a moving on to the next encounter.  Just as Miss L and I had decided to go home we bumped into the fighters, or one of them at least.  Miss J it turns out had pulled one of them!  So we headed back to their hotel to find out if she would like rescuing now or was happy.  If you are not a single girl you will not understand this but we have to have a get out of jail free card option at least.  I can pretty much say that most single female friends will have a form of this.  As it turns out, she wasn’t there.  The next thing we know, Miss L and I are sat on a bed.  We look at each other smile and nod, yes this is about to happen.  The fighter walks back into the room and gets into bed with us.  I take part in starters but leave Miss L to her main course.

Some would say a strange thing to do between friends but to us it didn’t seem strange at the time and in the morning we just laughed about it.  I am glad that we have a friendship that is strong enough to look past all the outside stigmas and crap that comes with sex . Some people may not be shocked to hear that it was not the first time either of us had been in this situation and it probably won’t be the last but that is a whole other story.

All of this in one evening: if it is parties in paradise that you want Phi Phi is the place for you.  A phrase we heard a lot was, “Phi Phi has them now“.  It is definitely a place you could lose weeks, but I’m not sure I could handle it all the time.  After all, it is not real Thailand but is a damn good escape, an amazing party and lots of incredibly hot men all looking for the same thing.

Miss D