Seven’s 10 Top 10: Bringing the Family

Hey there, how’s your lead-in to the weekend going? It’s your man Seven again, with another Friday frowback. This was first published by…I think it was BKKNites, in early 2018. It’s part of my series of top 10 tips for tourists and expats. This one’s what I’d call a no-brainer, presented as-was from the original post:

“Here’s another in a series I’m calling “10 Top 10” which is ten lists of top 10 tips focusing different topics related to Thailand. This one’s for anyone thinking of bringing their family here on holiday, or if you’re already here and panic has set in.

  1. Don’t bring your kids.  It’s not clear why so many parents insist on bringing their infants and young children with them to Thailand. Or if you do, take them to Samet or Chiang Mai, not Patpong.  And if you do bring them to Bangkok or Pattaya, be aware that the streets, shops, and buses are not stroller-friendly.  Also, be aware that bringing them is a waste of time. The young ones won’t remember the trip, and the older ones will be psychologically scarred by what they witness (if you take them through the red light districts, which is something I see far too often).  My advice is, if you want to bring the kids, go to Koh Khood or Koh Lanta. Do not take them to tour the gogo bars.
  2. If you must bring your offspring, keep them in check.  Compared to Thai children, your squealing spawn are barbarians.  Keep them quiet and still while in public.  Tell them to be respectful to all Thai adults (the hierarchy of age is a big part of Thai tradition and culture).  Definitely keep them away from the bar soi’s and naughty massage parlors (it would be a good idea to case out the neighborhood alone before taking the family out, so you can determine which streets not to turn down), and if you’re in a town with a big nightlife (Bangkok, Pattaya, Patong, Samui) by all means have them off the street and in the hotel by 10:00.  That way you can avoid having to explain terms like prostitution, trans-genders, and ping pong shows to them.
  3. Husbands, don’t bring your wives.  You won’t be able to stop yourself gawking at the nubile half-naked women gyrating at you from every direction, and your wife won’t stop hating you for it.  Every time I’m in Patong or Pattaya, without fail, I see at least one couple arguing on the street, the woman crying, pushing the man away while he pleads his case as the relationship comes to a terrible end 8,000 miles from home.
  4. Wives, don’t bring your husbands.  At best, he will spend more time ogling the sexy women than talking to you.  At worst he’ll sneak off for a “special” massage, or discover he has a penchant for ladyboys.
  5. If you must come as a couple, avoid the “hot” spots.  There are some amazing places to go snorkeling, diving, climbing, kayaking, beach lounging, or elephant trekking where there are almost no sexy Thai women. They are Phi Phi, Koh Tao, Tonsai, Bor Tor, Koh Kood, and Koh Chang, respectively.
  6. Don’t get kinky.  Some couples who want to “spice up” their sex lives come to Thailand thinking they can talk a pretty young thing into having a threesome.  They assume that because Thailand is more permissive than most places, it will be easy to find a girl to play this part.  The fact is, that’s not at all true.  The percentage of women open to doing that here is more or less the same as in the West.  That’s not to say you won’t find a willing partner.  But it’s going to be harder than you think. And inevitably, it will ruin your marriage.
  7. Don’t venture off.  Thailand isn’t the place to rent a motorbike and take off together.  That kind of stuff only works in the movies.  The roads in Thailand are insanely dangerous.  Death by motorbike is the number one killer in the country.  Between towns, the jungle can get dense, with no place to stop for gas, food, or directions.  Flash storms—complete with lightning and torrential rain—are common, even in the non-rainy season.  And the roads are poorly marked and in terrible condition.  What looks like an easy jaunt on a map is actually a harrowing journey that you will most-likely not survive.
  8. Safety is your responsibility.  In addition to the treacherous roads, a lot of Thailand is not “child safe,” or adult safe, for that matter.  In the West, some government committee or other has gone around deciding what’s safe and what’s hazardous, and posted warning signs accordingly (for example, the “no lifeguard on duty” signs at hotel pools).  This is not the case in Thailand, however.  So keep a close eye on your kids, especially at beaches and waterfalls, etc., where surfaces are slippery and there’s a chance of drowning.  That rope swing over the waterfall might look inviting, but chances are good that nobody’s actually checked to make sure the water’s deep enough.
  9. Here are some places in the popular cities where you should NOT go for a walk with the stroller/pram:  Phuket—Bangla Road; Samui—Chaweng Soi Mango; Bangkok—Sois Patpong, Cowboy and Nana; Pattaya—Sois 6, 7, 8, and Walking Street; Ao Nang—Disappointment Street.  Your kids will be psychologically damaged for life if you take them to any of these places.
  10. Again—DON’T BRING YOUR KIDS.  Farang children do NOT belong in Thailand. In addition to the adult-themed carnival you’ll introduce them to, you risk exposing them to cobras, scorpions, tarantulas, dengue mosquitoes, centipedes, jellyfish, salmonella, sunburn, heat stroke, packs of feral dogs, and diseased cats.

The main point to take from this is, much of Thailand isn’t ideal for a family holiday.  There are family friendly locales, but some of the most famous tourist attractions are the opposite of that. Thailand can be dangerous compared to other destinations, and it’s geared for adults, not children.  If you and your partner decided to have kids, be responsible and stay home with them until they’re grown.  Don’t drag them with you on your midlife-crisis vacation.”

I have to say, in the time since its first posting, my mind has changes somewhat. I found Hua Hin to be very fam-friendly, and regular touristy things like temples and malls are pretty tame. But that doesn’t account for the darkness in a husband’s soul. In observing those dudes who do bring their wife and kids here, I can only conclude that in their drive to satiate the appetite for the red-light, they throw caution to the wind and let the chips or divorce papers fall where they may. When I invited one of my married friends to visit, his wife insisted on coming along. I guess when your ball and chain leaves you no choice, you simply comply. I don’t know what it’s like to be beholden to the whims, desires, and ideas of another person. That just sounds crazy to me. But if you can do it, more power to you. Cheers to the guys who come to the greatest adult playground in the world and don’t cheat on their wives.  See you back here on Sunday for the weekly. Peace out!