Thai Women and the Question of Money

In a typical discussion about Thai-farang romance, sooner or later someone is bound to raise the question of money – someone being a foreign man who’s either contemplating getting into or already in a relationship with a Thai woman. What should he expect to give her in terms of financial support, how much, should he or should he not do it, is he being duped, etc., etc.

I’m sure you’ve heard and read as I have more times than I could count how Thai women are said to be “moneygrubbers” and “gold diggers” (besides “cheaters” and “liars” and some other unflattering names). If you haven’t, a half-hour visit to the Thaivisa forum or Stickman’s website (and many other sites where current and aspiring foreign expats with Thai partners congregate), will bring you quickly up to date. I used to be upset about these types of comments but I have long since grown accustomed to seeing them like an old fixture that is a sight for sore eyes and  realized that they are more reflective of the source of comments than about Thai women.

Not that, being a Thai woman myself, I think Thai women are all saintly. Moneygrubbers, gold diggers, cheaters, liars, swindlers, we have them all among us, but I believe more of us are decent, hardworking and upstanding members of society.

The Question

A reader, bifftastic, has left a question several weeks ago about this and I only now have a chance to answer it. (Thanks, bifftastic and sorry for the delay.) Bifftastic wants to understand more about the “sponsorship phenomenon” in the Thai female-farang male relationship, although this is not a problem for him personally. He asked:

I wanted to ask you about the issue of financial support.
There is much discussion about sending money (mainly amongst foreign men sending to Thai women). Some say they would never do it and seem happy that they have a relationship with someone who doesn’t ask for it or need it.

Others who are happy to help out where they can and still more who seem to send thousands and thousands of Baht every month and then complain that their partners are ‘moneygrabbers’

I know my girlfriends family all send their mum (she had 12 children in all) a little every month when they can, I send some to help supplement her income, sometimes adding a little for mum too.

She tells me of friends who have foreign partners that send anything up to 70,000 baht every month! How has this come about? Is it really a traditional thing for a man to give his wife or girlfriend money every month? Or are we all being tricked into a ‘rent-a-wife’ scheme?

I have to say it’s not really a problem for me, circumstances have led us to our present arrangement and everybody is much better off because of it. I just wondered if you could give your views on the whole ’sponsorship’ phenomenon.

My Answer

First of all, let me state the obvious which somehow does not seem obvious to many: not all Thai women are alike. There are all kinds of Thai women whose expectations in a relationship, financial or otherwise, can be different. Also, an average Thai woman isn’t so different from women elsewhere when it comes to basic expectations in a relationship: affection, love, security, status, etc., and different women have different focuses: many are materialistic while others care more about the emotional side, and those who dare, want all.

Second, it’s probably fair to say that many (but not all) Thai women who gravitate towards foreign men may have a financial expectation in mind. This is likely the case, if they are poor, work in a bar, are in a low-paying job, and have a family to support. Some Thai women who are low- to mid-level white-collar workers and not poor by Thai standards may also expect financial support, if they seek a better lifestyle or have a financial (and/or moral) obligation to the family (many often do, especially if they are the only child or have few siblings). Professional and better off Thai women who are financially independent are much less likely to look for financial support from their partner, but they may have a lifestyle or other requirements that could be expensive that may become the partner’s shared burden in a committed relationship. These are likely patterns, not a sure thing. Some individual women may not conform to these general patterns due to personal values and worldview.

Third, if a woman expects financial support, how much is reasonable and how much is obscene? What’s the right amount, I think, should depend on the couple concerned to agree on really. A few thousand baht or tens of thousands of baht a month, or even hundreds of thousands of baht, gold, jewelries, a fancy condo and a car for her, a house and a pick-up for her family, etc. There is a very wide range of “support,” from meager to obscenely spoiling, and if a man hasn’t got his brains thoroughly laundered he should be able to figure out how much is reasonable and how much is unseemly. I appreciate that when a man hasn’t got a good cultural reference point, it can be a tough call.

A reasonable amount of support is not easy to determine and really not for the outsiders to say because outsiders can’t really know the relationship set-up and needs and expectations involved. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula because different relationships have different circumstances and expectations. Expectations in a love relationship, relationship of convenience and a mercantile companionship are different. In the case of many Thai-farang relationships, the man tends to be much older, often of retirement age, and the Thai wife/girlfriend a generation or two younger. There can be real love and affection in this type of relationship certainly, but the likelihood of it being a love match is probably not great. Often, I think, frustrations and resentments stem from mismatched expectations. Say, if a man of 65 years (who can’t pass himself off in the dark as 75-year-old Sean Connery) expects a woman of 25 to be with him just for his virility and sheer good looks, he’s bound to be disappointed, as is she. Or, if his 25 year-old Thai woman thinks she’s hit a two-legged jackpot and bottomless bank account who will set her and her family for life, then there’s bound to be a problem too, if he isn’t such a jackpot or is not willing to be one. But if both know and accept what the deal is, end of story at least as far as money is concerned. Usually in a love/affectionate relationship, the couple generally has sort of built-in consideration and understanding for one another. But in a more mercantile exchange or relationship of convenience, negotiation may be required to determine how much support each thinks is fair. Of course, not all Thai-farang relationships fit the winter-spring pattern (increasingly many don’t). In such cases, perhaps it’s helpful to look at the next point.

Fourth, is it normal or a traditional thing for a man to give his wife or girlfriend money every month? This is a good question. In Thai culture, among Thai-Thai couples some husbands do give part or all of their income to their wives to manage, and the wives give the husbands a stipend. This is an old set up when the wives were full-time homemakers. Nowadays, with both husband and wife commonly working full-time they likely put their respective income in the family account and draw from that for whatever expenses they agree on. Of course, different couples may have different financial arrangements. The husband may give the wife money for household expenses or spends most of it if he’s not responsible, or they keep separate accounts and decide on how to share the family expenses.

The situation is quite different in boyfriend-girlfriend relationships. Thai boyfriends and girlfriends may help each other financially but the boyfriends aren’t likely to be expected to pay a monthly stipend to the girlfriends,  except in special circumstances and  unless it’s a sugar daddy or a kept woman situation. Or mia noi or kik situation. I don’t need to elaborate about the mia noi tradition in Thailand, except that there are many Thai women willingly or unwillingly finding themselves in a relationship with a polygamous Thai man. They may be in it for love or have been duped into it, and that’s a difficult situation. It should be noted that Thai minor wives aren’t always financially supported by their polygamous husbands, especially those who have successfully philandered despite lack of funds (but apparently having enough charms to work on at least a few women). But for many (young) mia nois or mistresses of wealthy men who have entered into the arrangement willingly, or who make a career of such an arrangement, they surely expect to be kept in a certain style: monthly salary, a condo, a car, gifts, special perks, etc. (Different mia nois may manage different returns depending on their charms, pedigree and business acumen, how smitten the sugar daddy is and how much he’s willing to pay in each case.)

So then, why many foreign partners find themselves being asked to support their Thai girlfriend or wife, and even her family? Are farang men disproportionately being asked to do so, or might some have unwittingly become sugar-daddies? I’m not really sure why and I can’t give a definite answer to the latter question. But there might be something to that. I think there are some Thai cultural and Thai-farang cross-cultural dimensions to these questions.

(a)   Thai cultural dimension 1 – I’ve talked about Thai women’s expectations of material/financial support from the man in the relationship with a couple of Thai girlfriends sometime ago and it seems that regardless of financial status, most Thai women still apparently expect to be “taken care of” by their partner (financially and otherwise). This is a cultural expectation that may not reflect reality, given the high percentage of Thai women who are income earners or even breadwinners of the family (and how often do Thai women complain that their husbands aren’t reliable, financially and otherwise). Simply put, Thai women have been raised to “expect” a man to take care of them. Whether or not this is realized is another matter but that expectation, that wish, is there.

(b)  Thai cultural dimension 2 – Many traditional Thai women still hold this old idea that  a life of leisure is a symbol of success. Though I can’t really give any percentage estimate since there hasn’t been any poll done that I know of, I guess this attitude is probably more prevalent among less educated women from a rural background who likely espouse traditional ideas and women who have had to toil their labor for little money, for whom marrying a rich man who can afford them a life of leisure would be a great success. This certainly is not a modern notion of life partnership that exists in the West and among many modern Thais, in which each in the partnership is implicitly expected to pull his/her own weight. For those women who may espouse this old notion, their not working and being reliant on the man is hence (I’m conjecturing here) not anything to be ashamed of (if not to boast about) because to them a woman is supposed to be taken care of by her man, and a “good husband/boyfriend” should take care of her family too. But then there are some women even with a university degree who are simply not into carrying their own weight as it were, who espouse not any ideas traditional or otherwise, except the idea of living a high life without having to work for it outside of the bedroom.

(c)   Thai-farang dimension 1 – A Thai woman might be into carrying her own weight if she’s in a relationship with a Thai man, but the same Thai woman might suddenly espouse the old idea mentioned above when she’s in a relationship with a farang. Is this a possible scenario? I believe so. If so, why then? I’m not sure but I don’t think it should be ruled out too quickly that such a woman might be in the relationship with a farang man just for the money and lifestyle. Though that may be the case, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t care for him at all. I suspect this might have something to do with “adjusted expectations”, you know, like the two-tiered pricing – a farang partner is “richer,” so he can be expected to lift not only his own weight but her weight and her family’s too, while the poor Thai man, well, he’s poor and you can’t expect much from a Thai man anyway. I have no evidence of this, but as someone accused me once, I was probably trying to get inside of the poorer women’s heads. I could be totally wrong. If you think so, just tell me or even flame me.

Bifftastic also opined:

From a cultural point of view I can see why some western people would regard this kind of arrangement as …hmmm not sure quite how to phrase this…maybe a little sordid?

Realistically it’s no different to what goes on in many relationships, splitting the bills, arranging the finances, is all pretty normal but it seems to be a lot more emotive when it’s a Thai-Farang relationship for some reason.

I think you made a very good observation, bifftastic. It is an emotive issue indeed. In fact I’ve found it is especially emotive if an educated Thai woman has anything to say about the Thai-farang relationship or about the poorer Thai women. Some farang men seem jealously protective of poor Thai women (a sentiment I actually understand and appreciate since I also feel the same way towards the disadvantaged and downtrodden). But what puzzles me sometimes is the level of contempt for non-poor, educated Thai women among certain group of farang men.

Off topic a bit. Back to the “sordid” comment. I think, sordid or not, one should also remember that not very long ago  western gentlemen were expected to find a bride with a good-sized dowry. It’s not so very different here for many Thai women who buy into the old notion of marriage for material gain. It may appear sordid because it’s out of time, like the old idea of keeping women barefoot in the kitchen sounds sordid today. So it is in a way not just an East vs. West cultural clash but also a time clash between people (Thai or foreign) living in different times.

From the point of view of a working Thai woman who carries her own weight, this sponsorship thing sometimes feels a bit sordid too, especially if it involves a woman who is a disloyal spendthrift. I cannot imagine myself living leisurely expecting my husband to pick up all the tabs – that would be distasteful to me as I feel it’s unfair to my husband. But then I don’t share the old notion and prefer equal partnership. But equal partnership is not everyone’s cup of tea. I drink and enjoy my own tea, but others may want coffee or ice cream.

It all comes down to expectations and willingness, I believe. A man has a prerogative to be with the woman of his choice. If a farang man finds this sort of financial support “sordid,” then don’t get into such a relationship, and find a woman who won’t expect anything sordid. But if he knowingly gets into such a relationship, then, either negotiate the support to an acceptable level or if he can’t for whatever reason and decides to live with it then don’t whine about it. Everybody has a choice. We don’t always get what we want and who says life’s fair?

(d) Thai-farang dimension 2 – A look at recent history of Thai-farang relationship may also shed some light. I wrote about the evolution of Thai-farang relationship in three phases: “rental wife”, “farang son-in-law” and “post-rental wife” phases, here.

I have also made “A Rough Guide for Finding the Right Thai Woman for Western Men” in which Thai women are divided into 5 major groups. I’ve put them in a matrix with expectations and considerations for each group that foreign men, especially those with limited exposure to Thai culture and society, maybe even the old hands, might find useful. I attach the matrix here, but for more detailed explanation about it, go to the original article.

UPDATE (11 May 2010):  Somebody (desi – Thanks) started a discussion thread based on this article on Thaivisa forum, and discussion is going on there as well.

Click to see larger image

46 responses to “Thai Women and the Question of Money

  1. Thanks Kaewmala for a great post!

    I completely agree with you when you say that many people, either Thai or not, would feel uncomfortable with their partner paying for everything whilst they sit at home or, more likely for some, go shopping! Then, of course, there will be others who dream of nothing else!
    This is the same in London and, I’m sure, everywhere else!

    It is a fact that most western men with an interest in Thailand are likely to be better off financially, than the Thai women they are going to meet (and often many people in their own country too), unless they mix in the ‘higher’ echelons of society.

    The first reason would be that anyone in a position to travel half-way across the world say, three or four times a year has a certain amount of disposable income.

    The second would be the economic differences between the countries involved, although, when you factor in the cost of living in real terms this is often over-emphasised. For example, a one bedroom apartment in a not so fashionable part of London can quite easily cost 50,000 baht a month in rent! Food bills for a month, well you can regularly see families in supermarkets spending 10,000 baht on food, twice a month, and think nothing of it.

    What is most important in any relationship is happiness. For me and my girlfriend, she is independent thinking and hard working like me, it so happens that most of her work is unpaid, she takes care of her children, her sisters children during the daytime, does everyone’s washing (her grown up nephews laughed for quite some time when I suggested they do their own!) going to the market every day and cooking for five adults and four children. In the midst of all this she also takes in work from a local textile factory (it’s a small shop-sized concern about 10km away) to earn some cash.

    I work long shifts, weekends, early mornings and late nights and get quite well paid for it.

    So, given that I love her very much and know exactly how hard she works every day, it would be callous for me to earn what I earn and not help out. This would be the same if we were permanently living together (apart from the fact that the nephews washing would be piling up!)

    This rather detailed description of our arrangements is, often, summarized into ‘how much do you ‘sponsor’ your girlfriend every month?’ It is under this cultural blanket description of farang ‘sponsorship’ that many people organise the day to day details of their relationships.

    It is, obviously, true that there are stereotypes and equally true that many will rush to confirm them. After all, they’re stereotypes for a reason!

    The goal, in all of this, surely, should be happiness. Cultural differences are there to be enjoyed and it’s important that we, as farang (some have a problem with that term, but that’s a whole different and much discussed topic!) understand them but also focus on the individual.

    Anyone you get involved with is a person first and a Thai person second. Equally they should be able to see through your ‘farangness’ to the individual that you are.

    Semi-related to this whole sponsorship issue is the ‘Thai family’ syndrome, where are you in the ‘pecking order’?

    Well, I’m number four.

    It goes like this;
    Sometimes I can slip behind the latest homeless baby cat/dog but only temporarily! Honest!
    Oh, thinking about it, maybe I’m number five, I was forgetting about Thai soaps on TV!

    • You nailed it the first paragraph, it is not a “Thai” thing it is a subject situation where every woman is different (from Thai to Japanese, to European to American and all points in between)
      Does the lady feel she wants to be part of the household where she contributes financially, does she feel better about who she is if she puts in a full days work like the rest of us or is she educated enough to have a career not just a job and or better yet can she run her own business to create her own financial freedom. If you are lucky enough to find a woman with a big heart, a caring soul and some form of work ethic you found a keeper. If you make enough money where you want your lady to stay home and take care of the household cool too. Part of dating and falling in love is understanding the women who you are with. If you to agree on things great, if you feel she is a lazy lady that will steal you blind drop her like a ton of bricks. Get to know the woman you say you love don’t assume anything. If she will not answer certain questions then she is a schemer trying to play you. Relationships take time to form an ever lasting loving bond, if she want money after your first date well that up to you dude.

  2. This is an age old problem and a continuing one, but you answer it in great detail Kaewmala. Thai people are relationships oriented and the family is of massive importance, where as farangs are far more self-oriented and it is easy to see how misunderstandings can arise. As for relationship failiures I see fault at different times on both sides and horror stories on both sides also. As a farang I wanted to learn everything possible about Thai culture first, but that was because I loved the country as a whole, not just for a relationship with a Thai lady. Not only Thai culture as a generalisation, but you have different cultures within the country and I love this and find it fascinating. The North different from the North-east and different from the South, central and so on. I fell in love with the country first and the good feeling I had every time I was there. The worst thing is the two – three week romances that straight away end in marriage and then end, it’s your life what’s the rush. Of course there are some cultural issues and language barriers, (but making an effort with the Thai language will benefit you greatly and you will begin the process of understanding at least the basics of Thai culture),but after that you are back down to (like any relationship) are you matched, is there love, do you know each others faults as well as good points and do you want to spend your lives together. Being an Englishman I actually know of some very successful Thai – English marriages, infact some are made in heaven.I also note that the Thai woman is never afraid of hard work and is very industrious and contributes greatly to the money going home. Then the lady is happy as the family is supported and the gentleman is happy as it’s not that draining on the immediate family’s resources a win-win situation or at least it is possible to be, but like anything it takes time, communication, commitment and a bit of give and take from both sides.
    Just like most relationships really.

  3. Thanks, bifftastic and Trevor for your very thoughtful comments.

    Love and understanding would solve a lot of difficulties in a relationship. Problems arise when there isn’t enough of it. I’ve said a lot already in the article and you both have added more examples.

    As for the regional cultural differences Trevor mentioned, yes, surely there are. I’ve written quite a bit on the regional cultural/historical background in the Thai traditional courtship and matrimony in Chapter 6 in the book, sex talk, and about modern courtship and dating in Chapter 7. If you haven’t read the book, you can go to the main site, and check out excerpts from the two chapters and other chapters there.


  4. Yet another dimension might be the financial and social status of the family of your partner or of a particular member of her family. Not every Thai lady who is asking her farang boyfriend or husband for monetary support beyond the capability of the man’s income is the driving force behind the demand. In a family of poorer background most of the older family members are completely dependent on support provided by their children, nieces and nephews. The cultural understanding of the young lady in love towards relationships in the western world is already not the most advanced, her family does often not have the slightest clue what life, love and marriage means in our western world.
    The common saying among foreigners that “you marry her – you marry her family” is only partly true. Families with a very low income sometimes hold those unrealistic expectations of becoming rich through their daughter’s relationship to a farang. That can be (and is) frustrating for the lady as well and many Thai women go through the process of lengthy arguments with their relatives who want her to ask the farang for just a little more financial help and a couple of goodies for the house, such as a new fridge, LCD TV, motorcycle or even a car so that they can make business…
    Many women know very well that their boyfriends/husbands cannot afford the expenses but the family’s pressure is sustainingly high. Some other ladies, of course, take the chance and turn the rudder around, making their partner believe that all the money they receive is in support of her family, which is not always true.
    For foreign men it is difficult to comprehend all the various reasons why their girlfriend just keeps asking for ever more money.
    Middle class families will rarely demand help from their daughters once they stumble into a relationship with a farang. It is often the girl, who willingly gives away some money for her parents to compensate for their long efforts of bringing her up and giving her the chance for good education.
    If she receives money from her farang partner, she will likely use part of it for that purpose. If she does so, she will (and should) let you know about it and it is perfectly ok to do so.
    The weirdest perception I have come across, though, is the following: Some Thai ladies truely believe that a farang is less likely to leave them if he “invests” a lot of money into the relationship. Sure, you buy an expensive toy, you don’t want to dump it… (this does not represent my own opinion)

  5. “I drink and enjoy my own tea, but others may want coffee or ice cream.”

    Great writing! Much enjoyed.

  6. Khun Kaewmala,

    I was very plesantly surprised to have enjoyed your article as my partner and I completely fall off your Rough Guide!

    We are similar ages, wrong side of 40 (!), I have lived in Thailand for 5 years now, together with my partner for 4 of those and we have a toddler at kindergarten. She is from a large, southern, originally rubber tree farming family who have now developed into 3rd generation mostly university graduates.

    I am a former children’s home inhabitee and UK Serviceman with reasonable (attained in later life) education and my partner finished high school; unfortunatey university was not on the cards for all the siblings. I’m twice married and she once, our child is her first (only).

    I currently work overseas but will be living full time at home soon. I have worked before in Thailand, from home, and she has worked at various jobs since 16 years of age until the end of her second trimester.

    The salary goes into her account, pensions go into mine and she decides what to spend on what (and to this day texts me to say the wages are in and when she wants to spend more than 2k on anything!). The two pensions are of reasonable value (combined equalling above the married income minimum level) and I intend to take up voluntary teaching by the end of the year.

    I have never been asked for anything from any member of the family, indeed two have helped us and since been repaid. I am allowed to give away old electrical and furniture items to family members when we upgrade/move the family home but I have to insist on helping with other family members domestic commitments when I become aware of difficulties – but she always keeps a ledger and shows me repayments (I do my best to make sure that these are “in kind” – fixing things, sewing clothes, babysitting, cafe meals at interesting places etc).

    The nature (electronic goods sales) of work she wishes to return to does not concern me but it will undoubtedly mean long (10-12) hours, probably 6 days per week at minimum wage – sometimes finishing late at night. However, she would love it; the responsibility, the camaraderie and the (as you mention) the sense of contributing financially to the family “purse”.

    The article certainly corrected a few assumptions I had started projecting toward my partner over her growing insistence that she return to work in the not too distant future.

    Her reasoning, and I cannot fault it despite my disappointment at not being able to make myself understood to her, is that as a housewife she is not contributing financially to the household. Her added foil is that I will have more time with our young daughter, able to take her to kindergarten/school etc – something I often complain of missing out with my older children and throughout this current overseas contract!

    Please be assured, the apparent switching of traditional roles is not my issue. Her happiness is core to our relationship; if she isn’t happy then I haven’t fulfilled my part of the bargain. But if she is completely drained and unable to enjoy the day time experiences of our child then what does that do the family dynamic I have to ask myself?

    I suppose that what I am asking is twofold: how can I explain (not convince, just explain) to her that I believe that she will be missing out on more than she gains and can I have a copy of your article in Thai please?

    Note: if this goes well I may pose our sinsod question next!!

  7. I live here and have a thai woman. I look at it like a cheap whore and maid living with me. I give her very little 5000 baht a month, and take care of her needs. She is an issan woman that has had a norway farang before. I don’t care. I get sex and she is a good cook. She is getting old 44 I 58. Still a good body and good looking though. It is the guys that come looking for the young women here. They want a young woman for sex and show. It just doesn’t work that great.
    I was with many girls here before this one and probibly many to come. I just do not care. If they want more or stop taking care of me i tell them to hit the door. Or i move and do not come back. You won’t beleive the things i have been asked… If is really comical. Will you buy me a house and a car? Or you take care of my family? What a joke. Just say yes and screw them a few time and disapear. You will be amazed at the pretty good women here. But I tell you if they are considering a farang it is for money. Just pay what you are willing and if happy have fun. Don’t buy a house or condo. If you live here full time buy a car and motorcycle in your name and have friging fun. Screw all the bullshit from the women. It is my money and i spend it for myself now. I can’t tell you how many men i see here with young wifes. The wifes hate them a they can’t be happy…
    What a mess.

    • Right on brother! I hate the fact that they can only think of money. Just throw it in them and lie. They lie to us all the time about loving us. But they just want the money and then cheat. Whores, that’s all. So we should just say we’ll give you money for your family if you get on all fours! The good thing about this is we’re only lying the one time. They are lying to us for our whole lives about loving us. So what I do to them in one night is the exact same thing as they do to us in our whole lifetime. They want to play with us then we’ll do it right back. Screw them and leave em. I know what I’m doing and I know it’s wrong but guess what? So do they. I never had a thai wife/gf but I learned some basic thai language and when I hear them talk about money that’s when I turn my head and turn the game around and tell them what they want to hear. Sound familiar?

  8. Painted Dragon, thanks for sharing. Unfortunately I don’t fancy being a couple counselor even if I were qualified (which I am not). These are delicate issues. And no, I don’t have a Thai version of the article (and it’ll take too much time for me to translate, sorry). But for what’s worth: love, respect and understanding for each other. Taking time to listen and have empathy for the other’s situation is the way to solve most problems in relationship. Wish you all the best.

    Gary, thanks for your sharing too. I think the rules for smart whoring are probably the same the world over, and I suppose you know best what to do in this regard. However, from what you described I wonder if all the women you’ve hired to be with you (at a rather stingy rate, if I may opine) deserve to be lumped together in the whoredom. I don’t know if this applies to you, but there are men who spend so much time with real whores that they can no longer distinguish between whores and women (it doesn’t help that both words start with letter ‘w’).

  9. Having been in and out of Thailand since 1984 I have created some wonderful relationships with Thai people in the repect of deep meaningful friendships. I have always been impressed with the way that Thai people express a sense of fun in life even in the face of adversity and the kindness they show towards other people. It made the recent politically motivated events in Bangkok even more hard to take knowing that this is not the usual nature of the generally cool headed Thai people (or I mean a small minority of them), that I have known and yes I have known a lot. My concern now turns to business owners and hoping like mad that tourists return to Thailand as soon as possible and these people can survive in the family-based restaurants, guesthouses and other traditional Thai places that foreign people love Thailand for. I apologise for digressing from the main title of the post, but building relationships is surely a meaningful thing to do in life whether for business, friendships, romantic or otherwise.
    I was on a flight to Thailand on one occasion and unfortunately got stuck next to some idiot who decided to tell me all about his sexual conquests in Thailand (and no I didn’t ask to hear about them) he really thought he was a lady killer.
    Unfortunately they all involved the use of his wallet, that fine pulling technique. For me it is all about how you treat someone in a relationship…. whatever the relationship.
    Thai women are no different to any other women they have dreams and aspirations of a better life… of course they do and don’t we all, but they want and deserve respect. Forget the Thai and farang formula, people have to treat people like human beings first and with kindness.Have you ever had Thai ladies as just friends? With such sense of fun and easy going manner they are a joy to be with and not one has ever ventured in to the subject of money, they are very industrious and self-sufficient ladies. As a great favourite personal development consultant Jim Rohn use to say ” You reap what you sew”. Now that is so true.

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  11. I had a farang boyfriend once who supported me through thick and thin even when I worked. But he left me for a another asian from a different country. I was called a cheat & a liar which I must admit is true but I have repented. I was once a Thai lady who couldn’t care less about the people around me as long as I have a farang on my arm to support me and to look good.

  12. Hi,
    I’ve been dating a wonderful thai woman for a year now and we plan to marry in november. I have read many horror stories/blogs/posts regarding the Thai lady and their calculating scamming scheming ways. The multitude of negative discussions regarding sinsot, dowries, monthly costs…money money money. I was nearly becoming brainwashed filling my grey matter with horrible thoughts. As our own discussions were turning towards money (yes sinsot). I told her quite simply and plainly, I’ve worked hard for what I have received and prefer not to share it because of cultural acceptance. That, if our relationship is dependent on money and money is our problem….then darling, money is not our problem. The “nay sayers” and negative thinkers will always be the majority pertaining to thai culture and in particular the ladies. People enjoy reading (or watching thai soaps 😉 others misfortunes and loss, misery loves company!!

    I just wanted to say that it really was a pleasure finding this site and reading a well thought out and nicely expressed point of view that you provide to us “farangs”.

    Thank you

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  14. IMO, the best solution to the money problem is to stay within ones own socio-economic level. If the woman has the comparable finances as the man than it is better.

    I have a great deal of sympathy towards those living in poverty in our world, but I do not want to be the one supporting someones family, often non working, low motivation, unable to become self sufficient relatives. Efforts to alleviate poverty should be at the international and national level, better education, social programs, debt relief.

    Unless the foreign male is networked with upper level society it is less likely he will be able to find a woman of means, although there are oceans of women of diminished means seeking farang males.
    Even uni grad bank employees may earn 15000 baht/month = need farang LOL

    Typically the financial burden in male farang-thai female relationships is one sided. Many couples are happy with this, or less unhappy than the western female-relationship.

  15. I just stumbled across this site for the first time and trying to digest what I have read so far. Kaewmala, you are quite generous and balanced in your responses… not afraid to call it like you see it, but careful not to talk in extremes or absolutes. I appreciate that and I sense that even where I may find that I disagree with you, it will not be strongly as you find a way to make strong points without being aggressive. I am sure that I will have more to say with time, but that’s enough for now.

  16. i m sitting on the other side of the fence; being a malaysian chinese girl in a relationship with an isaan boyfriend. he has been working on a meagre salary; and i chip in to help on the extras. I am not rich by farang standard but i am a working professional with considerable stable income. i have been called names and everyone thinks i am being dumb and stupid to “support” him. in my opinion, as long as he’s still working and getting paid and contributing to his family; I don’t consider myself as “supporting him financially”. I am not capable of supporting anyone as well with my income as I have my own commitments as well. i empathize with his situation as he’s the sole breadwinner for his family. Since fate brought us together, if still within my means, try to help if i can.

    of course being asians, it is very difficult for people to accept what i am doing…what can i do. Asian girls usually expect the guys to take care of them, not the other way around. Guys who earn less are basically treated as good-for-nothing.

    But I adore my boyfriend although he’s poor, he’s always happy, and being with him, can make me forget about my stress in life as well. Working in the city has only given us endless chase to the material wants, he makes me realise life can be very simple. the maslow hierarchy of needs.

  17. Thank you, Louis and Winnie for sharing your thoughts.

    Dear Winnie, it is unfortunately true that in most societies – even the Western ones – a woman financially supporting her male partner is still frown upon. It shouldn’t be that way. As far as I’m concerned the less we make moral judgement on others the better for everyone. If or how you or a Western man sees fit to support your Thai partner, it’s your prerogative and people should respect your decision to do with your money as you wish. Money means different things to different people, and I believe it’s up to each individual to attach whatever value to it.

    I wish you all the best in your relationship with the nice man who obviously brings you happiness and I commend you for your courage to go against the grains of society. 🙂 🙂

    • James, I’m sorry to hear you hold such a view. Most country Thai women I personally know aren’t lazy or gold digging. But then certain people tend to gravitate towards or draw certain characters, for various reasons.

      • Most Thai lady I know are gold diggers not only this I have been stalked by some of them for many years and had to call the police in on top of that you go to the website of stickman bangkok submission and you can read an other 6000 fucked up stories about Thai girls .On top of that in my cycle of friends I have heart an other 300 bad stories about Thai girls with their bak wan talk(sweet talk) Thai girls are champions in lying (gohok) .Gohok is an art form in Thailand .I have been living all over the globe but they way they do lie here is a real game changer.

  18. A very interesting and enlightening article. Thanks for posting and offering an intelligent viewpoint on the subject which many farang males have an opinion forged from the experiences of their peers. I am lucky enough to be married to a filipina, she earns more than I and has a more respected career. However, culturally I understand how important it is for us to support her family in a Country where there is no social support available.
    While I do offer financial support, it is never expected or asked for, but I also understand that I should be seen to be supportive, be it financially or emotionally. We had a frank discussion regarding the cultural expectations from both sides of the realtionship before we embarked upon it, and as such it ensured the foundation was more solid, thus arguments never ensued. I have spent time in Thailand and know many Thai people. Indeed some of my friends are also married to Thais, and many of the reasons for arguments or fall outs over money is purely due to the fact that they didn’t communicate and make their position known to the other regarding their responsibilities to each other.

    Ironically I’ve spent alot of time in Thailand over the years. I’ve also been in a relationship with a Thai woman, and it was during this that I learned (the hard way through losing a woman I very much loved) that when dealing with another culture, it is important for both parties to understand and identify where a problem might arise, Be it with money, manners, traditions or how one presents oneself.The relationship failed due entirely down to my own ignorance and failure to listen and appreciate what was expected from her by her family. I mistakenly thought that it was about me and us, not her and the relatives. Selfish? – Yes, my only mitigation being that I was young and naive.

    Many farang males who enter into relationships with Thai women do so very often with Bargirls or Ex Bargirls.It’s no secret Pattaya has the largest amount of single male travellers anywhere in Thailand, and when female company is negotiated through fiscal reward, is it any wonder that this consideration gets carried over into a long term relationship?. The myth that all thai women are gold diggers is largely perpetuated among the Web forums run by and for Western males who visit Thailand for the sex trade. This is now being carried over into western society where many white males in a relationship with an Asian female is deemed to have been either a Sex tourist, or got his bride mail order. Therefore the whole idea of not just Thai, but Asian women are in a relationship for some kind of future security is becoming engrained in modern western society as a whole. It is wrong, it is ignorant but unfortunately it is an opinion adopted by some people in society.

  19. kaeumala,
    Congratulations for putting together such a wonderful site. I have learnt more from reading your articles and comments than I have from the multitude of other sites and books that I have looked at.
    I wish you continuing success.

  20. Hi
    Thanks for having such a balanced forum such as this , after several trips to Thailand i am very keen on meeting my soulmate in Thailand , however i am looking at al the pros and cons so to speak ,,much of the documented thoughts here are very helpful 🙂

  21. A well written article but it misses the most important point. It appears to me that Bifftastic lives in the UK and his so called Thai girlfriend doesn’t. The problem with these long distance relationships is that the Thai girl is more than likely to have more than one farang on the go. She is receiving money from up to 3-4 different farang men. If Bifftastic is number 4 on the order of importance than he is definitely with the wrong Thai woman. She is in love with your wallet and not you as a person. I have seen so many guys blindly convince themselves that they are in a relationship with the greatest woman they have ever met. Sadly, and often too late, they find out what many of their friends have been ear bashing them about, they have been living in a dream world of their making. They have been kidding themselves. Because in most cases when the money runs out, so does the love.Your chart clearly sets out the difference between the different Thai women western men can meet and the likely success of the relationship. She5 on your chart is definitley the girl any western guy with common sense, take note Bifftastic, should be aiming for. As a professional linguist and having taught English as foreign language for more than 17 years, I clearly see the difference in attitude between different Asian women and different Thai women. Once again great article and even better Thai girl chart.

  22. in all countries there are a level of living … but in Thailand mostly for lady thai is low much … or the volume of poor lady thai is the highest … this will lead you all for 5 line … 1- richest thai lady from family born … 2- richest thai lady by husband family … 3- thai lady built here self by here own work the good one … 4- thai lady built here self by here own work the bad one XXX 5- the poor thai lady say yes for every thing ,,, not to forget where she was born in great family caring or not the father & mother was good or bad … did she finish the school or not … many of many questions give results of lady thai … some lady thai respect there self & family some not all return from where ,,, what happen ,,, what push here … I would like to mention a story in short words of lady thai /// she born in north of Thailand she lost here father & mother after 8 years … she was young … how she can support here self … she got 4 sisters went to Bangkok to work … she was the last sister the other was older than here … the 1st sister the oldest one work hard for many year ( not to mentioned what she work ) the 2nd & the 3rd … now the good taking care of all sisters is the oldest one as all sisters live in here own home but they have to pay monthly fees like ELECT- & others the last smaller sister some time she got work & other time no have in hand anything to share with other 3 sisters … she WAS good but to keep here self in this roof she start dating many men as she was working in salon the oldest sister don’t care about all other they live under one roof but every one got here own life some times they don’t see each other only if there is family matter … the 3 sisters got money to take care there life but as I mentioned they live each alone life but under one roof ,,, the smaller sister said one time … I wish to be same like my sisters but how I can earn money to support my self or do something to my self of I went older … she don’t want to do bad but she find it the easier & the faster way to earn money by dating … now she is only 32 years old … she got blood sugar & pressure blood WAW why this happen as in family there are no one in same like this case … because she think to much also she would like to get the chance to be great lady same other lady thai … but when she start dating she love one move to other until she became better fly ( feeling was dead ) …. what I want to say that maybe she is telling the truth maybe not … but what drive this lady to do so & what she got finally … nothing in hand … reputation not great … pressure & sugar in blood … I think if she got great family or sisters or she learn she will not be in this for sure
    thai lady mostly caring lady … she like family … she like to feel safe THAT IS IT … thanks …

  23. I am a realist …

    on my second visit here, I hooked upo with a Thai lady; all bullshit aside, much younger than me …. my best mate (of 43 years) suggested I exercise caution; some of the ex-pats said the same …

    I don’t like being told what to do; I gave it some thought and came up with this … I met a woman, ‘fell in love’, got married, had three kids, got (seriously) sick, asked her to go back to work part time, she suggested I leave .. I did .. and that was a non-Thai woman …

    Men are hunter-gatherers, women tend the home and kids,; it is a supportive role … black, white or beautiful skined Thai, thats they way they are, get over it .. take a tea-spoon of cement and harden hard up

  24. I first visited Thailand to go surfing in Phuket in 2009. I had a Sri Lankan girlfriend at the time and fell in love with Thailand. I broke up with her before my second visit in mid 2010 as her family wouldn’t allow her to marry a non Sri Lankan, etc. we both were left devastated. I stayed on in 2010 and tried to forget things and just surfed every day and met and slept with a wide variety of Thai ladies and had some good and bad experiences. I took everything with a grain of salt and just tried to be understanding and go with the flow. I’ve since returned in 2012 and now again in 2013. All up I’ve spent over a year here. Thailand is like pealing an onion. There are many layers it is impossible to fully understand. It is easy to feel jaded and cynical about Thai wonen after a bad experience but so it is with women back home in Australia. I have some great friends here and some of the people have shown me the greatest generosity and kindness. I’ve gone through the extremes in emotions here but always fall back on my love of the place. I love India and Sri Lanka for similar reasons. I always feel alive here even when dealing with frustration and confusion in trying to get things done here. My advice is to never push up against Thailand. It will knock you down hard. I would never try to sugar coat this place. It has it’s problems just like any place. I still don’t understand a lot of behavior here and probably never will? There are exceptions to any rule and this applies to Thai women as well. Never lump them in all one basket as this is just plain unfair and dumb. There are probably more common patterns of behavior than not, but take a look at many of the tourists here too. Do they not appear to act all the same too sometimes? Many of the Thai ladies I’ve been with have not wanted my money. Some of my Thai friends suggest that they will want it in the long run?! Well that may be true in some cases, but I’ve remained friends with many of them long after us being together. You reap what you sow. I find if you’re playful, cheeky and kind to Thai people they respond as such. If you get ripped off, so what?! Generally speaking it is a little amount in a poor country unless you’re a dumbass. Ask yourself who dwelt the first card here? Betrayal is another thing, I’ve been betrayed by more western friends and some western women than I’ve ever been by Thai. One question remains here. Can Thai people trust you? All I’m saying is be kind, have a cool head and a well balanced viewpoint and good things will happen.

  25. Well. My personal take on this phenomenon is that there are horror stories everywhere. Another fact is that it seems like a lot of foreigners think we are rich here in the western world. I’m pretty well off financially, I live in Northern Europe and it may look like I’m rich on the surface.

    Yes we do make a lot more money compared to Thai standards, but It’s not right to compare the income level with thai income. What people also don’t think about is that here we have much higher living expenses, so our income matches our living expenses. After all the bills are paid half the paycheck is gone, then comes food, then comes clothes, then travel expenses ++++. This is not complaining, I agree we have a much better life situation than many other countries. But it seems like SOME foreigners (Thais and Eastern europeans specially) have this idea that a Farang from northern europe or USA is owning 2 villas, 4 mercedes benzes and is swimming in dollar notes like Scruge McDuck. This is far from the truth.

    If a farang goes to look for a Thai gf/wife he also must have realistic expectations. If he goes to a shady bar in a “red light district” he is quite likely to become a money transaction for her. If a farang is 65, goes to thailand and falls in love with a 20 year old bar girl he should expect that he will potentially be used as a financial opportunity. In most cases It’s not realistic that grandpa at 65 or 70 will find a 20-25 year old beautiful girl who genuinely fall in love with him.

    What kind of background does the girl have, what kind of family is she from, If she is holding a decent education and holds a good job and is self sufficient. these are really important factors to look for.

    There are gold diggers, exploiters and dishonest people in every country and nation. White girls planing to marry rich and divorce rich right after in the US/Europe is not one single bit better than anybody else.

  26. yes i agree that in thailand many girls only think about money & how they can get it from you they dn’t seem to feel that they wont to be wity you as a person as the money issue will always keep coming up & if i may add the word ( barrow ) means once they have if they neer give you back to them it means ( keep it ) as i see it i am here to help them when i can not keep them and when it cost more to live here than in the uk then there isa problem. ( i read somewhere on here that 5000bth per month is a little amount ) when many of the workers work for 5 to 7000bth per month stating work in a factory @ 7am till 4.34pm & yes this is a 6 day week ! if you hae £1000.00p per month coming in maybe your right or have a point but why can they not accept that when in Room do as they do 7 as i said when you are being asked for more than it cost to live in the Uk then you have a problem !

  27. Great conversation. I feel like a fish out of water sometime ( a lot of the time) I’ve been married 1 year snd we have a two month baby. Just about to move family to the UK. I have been asked to support my wife’s other child. Not from an early marriage. Just an old boyfriend. He has nothing to do with the child. But his dad ( her grandad) looks after her. I can support partly but I / we have family to support also. What is your views.

  28. I made my way to Thailand for the first time to earn my TEFL certification. The only reason I choose Thailand was because it was close to HK where my then gf lived. I met a thai lady when I was there, 2 kids, owns a farm, a market booth and a rental propriety (from a previous marriage) Her ex pays her 20,000 baht a month for child support, her rental makes 5000 a baht a month and she makes around 8000 baht a month from work. Fast forward a year and a half later, I thought she was a good honest lady, pays her lazy mom it sit around doing nothing and feeds the monks 3 or 5 times a week. Her and I have have texted, skyped or email everyday for the entire 1.5 years. Just a week ago we had a big fight because we were finishing up plans on my up coming trip to see her (2ed one to spend time with her and her family) and she asked me for money so she could spend time with me. The part that broke my heart was I just gave her 18,000 baht the week before. I cancelled the trip and asked for my original $600 back. She does not need my money but I was showing love to her (giving her twice the money she was going to lose by not going to work as we spent time together) I don’t hate her or the thai culture but she broke my heart because I thought I was more than just another way for her to get money. Of course this is a individual case by case thing, I guess I got lucky to find out this particular lady did not really love me, I hope she finds a man who can melt her heart and see beyond money. Thai culture other than statues of Buddha and ancient buildings maybe a little cold and fake for me, I mean smile if you mean it but don’t smile at me as you lie, steal and cheat.

  29. “Not that, being a Thai woman myself, I think Thai women are all saintly. Moneygrubbers, gold diggers, cheaters, liars, swindlers, we have them all among us, but I believe more of us are decent, hardworking and upstanding members of society.”

    I met a thai woman in Japan, and married her, years later I came to Thailand and had a child with her, who is wonderful. I have spent 20 years in Thailand almost, and I have this to say about the above.

    Most all of the thai women I meet are very money focused, and in the statement you said “decent, hardworking and upstanding members of society” what you are basically talking about is Money being second from he pinnacle of society for a good woman in Thailand. However many put it first on the list.

    Then you talk about those with gold digger complaints “realized that they are more reflective of the source of comments than about Thai women.”

    Yes the source is the other countries they come from and have been to, it is their experienced life of being out and inside Thailand, many of them have been to over a dozen countries and dated women there as well.

    Why do I think Thai women are “money focused”, because they talk about it, a lot, the culture here is very money focused and they ask, and talk about money, something which most western cultures deem as rude.

    One theory I read on the gold diggers in Thailand has to do with another aspect of the culture. A thai application practice includes listing the age and a photo of the applicant, and most ads say things like 32 or under. This is illigal in many countries because it id what is called discrimination, based on age or physical appearance, however here it is just called “normal”. This leads to women approaching the 30s or so to panic a little bit, maybe go get a masters degree if they have money, and a good education already, or possibly latch on to the nearest passing interested man, who may just happen to be farrang, giving people again the appearance of a “Gold Digger.” Also the emphasis on marriage here and other such things, so the women have security when they get older.

  30. I am engaged to a beautiful smart Thai lady, she is middle class makes a fair living about 300 000 baht a year and has a wonderful young boy. Her family and friends are all sweet people, I make fair money too about 90 000 dollars a year and she also owns another buisness on the side. She does not expect any money from me although I do send her money for special events. All she wants is me and to get married, her friends are married to farang men and they all work so I dont think the stereo type of gold diggers holds water in alot of cases. Any man who treats woman like live in hookers and maids in going to get that exact type of woman. Treat people like they should be treated, human beings!

  31. I have been living and working in Bangkok for the last 1.5 years. The Thai women are phenominal and make wonderful partners, friends, lovers, and wives. I truly believe that most have been, or are occasional, prostitutes. The others are prostitutes. All want more money, even the ones that have real jobs. Nothing wrong with that, we all want more money, right? The difference is that they are very adept at using sex and their charm to make you think that they really care about you as a person. Chances are they don’t care and in fact have several guys that they are leading around buy their p_____’s.

    • Roger this is spot on you are correct .I have done research in to this Thai girls give easy sex because they want to have money or a house .I have been handing out free iPhone to Thai girls but the phones where full with spyware the results are chocking not one Thai girl was sincere .I lost my respect for Thai woman if you have been reading swell stickman Bangkok than you should know do not merry a Thai girl it is the road to disaster .Thai girls are the best for easy and cheap sex

  32. I feel it’s mainly low classed foreigners who come to Thailand looking for brides reason being brides in Thailand cost little, watch the comedy little Britain and if you read the comedy carefully it explains loads about the men who come here and the woman they pick up

  33. No Matter how along u stay here or be with some girl u r not part of them , u can c it .is so easy to understand , when your wife or girl friend trying to take the money from u And pay taxi fee or to the friend or parents or sister , u fill like she don’t give shit about the tomorrow , ,just wants to show Off however can finish your money ,,,sad but true

  34. An old post but still the most balanced i have seen on the internet.
    I have been in a ldr with my Thai girlfriend only 6 months,She is not wealthy (neither am i) but i give her money every month about 12000 so she can rent a room and cover expenses.She is currently attending university and is not able to earn enough to support herself without it being detrimental to her health and grades. The Money i give to her is unconditional, We have not had sex and i dont expect to for some time.Usually when i see her it also involves a chaperon or we go out in a group. Despite some initial confusion i believe that she is sincere and is not chasing money. she never asks me for it and if it is offered she will only take what she needs, She does have a mother and sister whom i have met and i dont believe the family is after my money but want her to be happy.and secure. The family is heavily buddhist and there is a huge gap between the western perspective on physical intimacy and Thai. To them sex is not necessarily part of a developing relationship. I think Once upon a time western culture also embraced this ideal? Aside from this, sadly i do not tell my friends and family that i am assisting her financially due to the stigma associated with Thai women.

  35. Pingback: Farang Beach Patrol | Camino Milagro·

  36. Very detailed and insightful discussion and very well written, thanks!
    The way my Thai wife explained it to me, was that I look after here now and she and her sons will take care of me when I get older… I don’t giver her a salary but I loaned her around 2 million to get her cosmetics business off the ground, which we made a legal agreement on repayments, though the first payment was due 4 months ago… I digress… My wife used to work insurance in Bangkok and a large number her friends had farang boyfriends, mostly from Europe. Many of these guys would come over maybe 2-3 times a year, but continue to pay out 20-40,000 or so a month to these gals, many of whom came right out and said if that man complains about paying her they would just go and find another man, several have, quite easily too, by the sounds of it… Otherwise none of them worked anymore, many had a flat that was bought for them, either by a previous boyfriend or the current one, plus nose and boob jobs, hi so clothes.. A couple had more than one boyfriend on the go at the same time, all giving them a salary. Some of this rubbed off on my wife who said her friends gossip her because I don’t give her a salary and she demanded 20,000 a month for a while, got very angry with me and locked me out if the bedroom for a week. Whatever, I said and packed a bag and was heading out the door when she cam e running out and all lovey again, just trying it on, I guess…
    We have a decent age difference, she 36 and I’m 64, though a very fit and active 64. She is quite lazy but is a good cook and handy to help me deal with insurance, banks and all the usual stuff, she does have a lot of maturity, smart, has a really nice family who have asked nothing of me, so, I guess in someways I’m doing okay… Now she’s on to me about buying a house, and paying half for the boys Govt university, and then paying 300,000 when the oldest goes to the monk in a few years, it never ends….

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