Thailand is a low cost holiday resort and retirement home. Many expats stay in Chiang Mai to enjoy the people (who make it the 'Land of Smiles'), fantastic weather, beautiful scenery and the best food in the world. Some come for medical tourism.
This free e-book will advise you on the best time to come, introduce you to a wide range of sites to visit, places to stay, places to eat, the sports and fitness opportunities as well as who to contact in emergencies (fire, police, hospitals, insurance, embassies and consulates).
After travelling and working in more than 40 countries, the author has spent the last seven years based in Chiang Mai because "he does not want to be in any other place."
I was asked recently how to impress Thais with more than the basics that everyone resident in the kingdom is supposed to know – more than just wai-ing reasonably correctly, more than knowing that it might be inappropriate to ruffle the hair of your girlfriend’s gran when greeting her, more even than using your hand rather than your foot when turning on the fan on the floor (many Thais probably do that anyway).
So here are my top thirty tips:
1. If you know nothing of the language do learn how to say “I am completely stupid and I know nothing” – it will act as a good icebreaker as you then revert to English. “Phom eng ngo mark na krap – phom mai ruu ruang arai leuy”, or something like that should suffice.
2. Don’t bore Thais with details – complaining about the inappropriateness of, say, Donald Trump is a waste of time. Just tell them who he is (they are unlikely to have the faintest) and ask their opinion about whether he is wearing a wig or not.
3. Smile a lot and shower regularly. If people do complain about your body odour tell them you will have a shower tomorrow as it is your birthday.
4. Never complain about bad service or a cockroach in your food in a restaurant. Just moan on and on about it in the car on the way home.
5. If you invite people out to dinner pay for everything. If they invite you pay for nothing. Never haggle over bills – just moan on and on about it in the car on the way home.
6. Don’t sit down next to a pretty girl on the Sky train – ogle her from a distance and nudge the Thai man next to you to “get a good look at that”.
7. Do not pick up important objects like trophies or Buddhist images by the top. Use the base. If it proves necessary to eject your mother-in-law from the premises use neither the base nor top. Give her 100 baht and tell her to buy a treat at 7/11 then change the locks.
8. If a really ugly bar girl sits down next to you ask her which province she is from and say it is beautiful there. Then go to the toilet. If she is still there when you come back tell her that your wife is due in a few minutes and she is a jealous sort who works in a knife factory.
9. Always praise Thailand for everything good and blame the government or the police for everything bad. Check first you are not talking to a politician or member of the constabulary.
10.If you must complain about anything stick to mosquitos, spicy food, traffic and people who are running online Ponzi schemes. If they have fallen victim to the latter – sympathise.
11.Always say that you can take more spice in your food than your Thai wife – even if your wife is not Thai. Everyone should have a least one Thai wife.
12.If a Thai man asks you about your wife always say” “Which one?” If an attractive Thai woman asks you about your Thai wife mention that you haven’t seen her for twenty years but you always send her money every month.
13.Never think it is clever to make “boing” or “tawaang” sounds when your wife is watching Thai soaps. Always feign interest in Thai soaps and learn the names of three current soap stars so that conversation is possible with her. If your wife does not like Thai soaps, check that she is actually Thai.
14.Find out the name of a famous and respected Thai person that resembles you. Say that someone in the street mistook you for them and asked for your autograph.
15.If you see a stunning and well know Thai movie actress when out in public with your Thai wife say that your nearest and dearest is prettier. No need to qualify it by saying that the actress has gone downhill in recent years. When your wife posts on Facebook about the incident, click ‘like’.