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Marriage in Thailand

1. Generality

2. Thai woman

3. Thai/Farang relationships

4. Property rights and marriage

5. Marriage : required documents

6. Also think about it...

7. Divorce

8. Prostitution in Thailand


Generality     (back to list of content)

Thailand is a matrimonial society with male overtones in urban high society, but not in the country. A woman in the country marries a man to help her support her family. Thus the green light for whom the daughter is to marry, and who not, is given by the mother and the grandmother after consideration of monetary advantages. After paying the dowry, the husband moves into the house of his wife’s parents, works on their farm, or in the factory, delivers the pay check to his wife who gives him back whatever he needs for tobacco, drink and gasoline for the moped.

In the city of Bangkok among Bangkok people, the marriage partners are treating each other more equals, romance being a basis for getting married. Dowries may not always be paid.

The females we have come to know in Thailand organize their marriage and family life from a position of defiance towards the husband, rarely subordination, and if subordination then through fear. A women’s number one ally is usually her mother, and if mother is weak, then her grandmother, a aunt, but rarely her husband.

Those who are long-term residents of Thailand and astute observers of Thai culture claim that mothers run the homes.


While girls become women, men remain helpless mama boys, needing wives to replace their mothers for cooking and cleaning while having affairs with young girls, but when they wake up to the fact that they married their mothers, seek comfort in drinking, fail at work, and finally take off.

Friendships between women in Thailand are strong. Friendships, being based on character, among Thai men are not deep and lasting. Mothers and daughters are close friends, but rarely fathers and sons.

By way of observation, many western men who marry Thai seem to prefer ladies with darker rather than lighter complexion. They may be small, big, skinny or chubby, there doesn’t seem to be a pattern. As to the preferred age, it cannot be said that the young ladies or the more mature women are preferred by mature male. While for many Thai men a lady in her late twenties may be past her prime, for western she can be a perfect fit.

Thai-Farang marriage statistics have it that more westerners are wed to ladies from Isan than the other province. The outward attraction may be their pronounced cheekbones and somewhat darker skin, but we believe it is their inner quality, their high character that draws Farangs to them.


In Thailand, the age is not a barrier for a Farang to find and marry his orchid girl, or for a Farang lady to find a young lover for companionship, sex or marriage. Older Farang means financial stability, emotional maturity and reliability, and a moderate demand on sexual performances.

It is a known fact that Thai television, in advertising and in Thai magazines the Ladies of Bangkok, including those of mixed Thai-Farang blood, the so called Lukung, are most definitely the preferred type. Nevertheless, the Westerner may be fooled into thinking that the beautiful natural, tender and seductive petit Thai woman with her fine chiseled face and disarming smile is welcoming only to please him.

Thai woman     (back to list of content)

The ideal Farang husband of a Thai wife from upcountry have to be quiet, smiley, agreeable (a strong assertive character would challenge the Thai wife’s position of superiority), not over 75 if possible (but there is no prescribed limit) and a wealth not under $US 25,000 (about 1 million baht) if manages smartly, but ideally around US$ 100,000, enough to make a new house in the country for mother to guard and live in, buy a new motorcycle, pickup truck, and have some cash left over for grandmother, aunts and uncles, and cousins if and when the need arise.
The question asked of a wife about her husband is not “Do you love him” or “Does he love you”, but rather “Is he kind to you”.

The smile of a pretty Thai lady is capable of melting an inexperienced western man’s heart in an instance. It is a smile trained to perfection from early, very early age. It is as much a defensive weapon to reduce threatening tension, as it may be an offensive instrument of seduction and charm to disarm and conquer.
Because of its lethal affect on the unwary newcomer to the Country of Smiles (Sayam Yim), the question of whether the smile is genuinely transmitting feelings of happiness, love and affection, or mere courtesy, is really beside the point. The point is, the perfect Thai smile is an invitation to leave the doors open for you, the Farang, to enter into or not to enter. A woman who does not or cannot smile is seen as uncultured, people don’t want to make business with her.
There are many types of smiles. But I have never seen Royalty and persons in position of power smile. To do so would diminish their rank. Is smiling, therefore, seen as an expression displaying weakness? Perhaps.

In Thailand lying can be a convenience rather than a sin. If discovered, one simply says: “I had to say something” or “I had a reason to lie or you would’ve got angry at me”, or simply “I changed my mind”. Thais know that lying (poot gohock) is common-place, so normally don’t make an issue when discovered.

The Thai wife taking revenge on her unfaithful husband who is drinking and sleeping around instead of coming home with the pay check, depriving her and the children of support, is generally seen as acting with reasonable cause. “Why did he sleep around?” would be the public’s response.
The Farang acting like a disloyal Thai husband runs the risk of being quickly locked out of the house that he built and paid for, a banishment enforced by the family, friends and the entire neighborhood. If he shows remorse, words would not be enough. A gold bracelet weighing five baht at the cost of fifty thousand baht might undo the wife’s embarrassment and restore her honor. In most instances, the wife doesn’t care about the husband’s infidelity so long as she doesn’t know, isn’t told, and her security is not endangered. The western notion of “love” will rarely (but sometimes….) become a part of the marital relationship. Love and devotion are two notions may be one in the west, but are separate and apart in Thailand. Romantic love was first introduced by Hollywood movies when Royalty returned from college in the United States in the early sixties and encouraged their viewing. Some experienced long-term residents in Thailand claim that “Thai girls are not romantic at all” has certainly a sense of reality.

Thais have a keen appreciation for appearance, good looks and beauty. To garner a Farang raises the rural wife’s prestige, but only if he is well dressed and groomed rather a slob running around in dirty shorts and T-shirts.

Thai/Farang relationships     (back to list of content)

Since 2002, the April 18th is our wedding anniversary. The longer we have been together, the closer we have become. If anything, she gets more affectionate as time goes by. This flies in the face of the perception many Farang have of Thai girls. In many cases, those perceptions may be correct. However, it is my feeling that many of the problems Thai/Farang relationships suffer are as much as the result of mistreatment of Thai girl by the Farang, as it is through unrealistic expectations from either party or the fact the Farang just plain picked the wrong girl in the first place.

The first problem is the Farang selection process. If the only stipulations are that she has to be beautiful, sexy and great behind closed door, that criterion is not the makings of a successful long term relationship. I don’t mean to stereotype, but let’s face it : if she has her nose pierced, is loaded with tattoos, drinks like a lush, and is constantly getting calls on her mobile phone from English speaking callers, she probably is not a good prospect.

Does this mean you have to stay away from working girls? Not hardly. It is not so much where you find the girl, it is the selection process. If you would be embarrassed to take her home to meet mom, she’s probably not good prospect.

Also, understand that you have a big hurdle to overcome. Many men come in Thailand on a holyday, fall into true love, profess that love to their new found girlfriend, but when they get back home reality sets in. They have to go back to work with no chance to returning to their sweetheart for six months or a year. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. After awhile the romance dies a slow death. Even if you can keep her in your heart, you are living in a romantic wasteland back home. The girl of your dreams is living in an area where she may be hit on daily. Reverse the situation and how long would you last?

Also, put yourself in the girl’s place. After four or five guys pledge their true love to her, but she never sees them again, what are they going to believe? Over time these girls assume we lie about love, so they lie back.

Because of this problem, it is my belief that the only way to obtain a true, lasting relationship is for the Farang to move here. You can’t nurture a relationship from 10,000 miles away. That why I moved here.

Since couples generally socialize with couples, my wife and I have had many occasions to meet with and talk to other Farang men and their Thai wives. It quickly brought to mind another reason why Thai/Farang relationships fail. I was astounded at some of the things I discovered, all due to the mistrust and lack of confidence of the Farang men.

One Farang would only let his wife eat what he ate, hotdogs. She was required to stay home when he went out, and he locked her in the house. She was never given any money and had to ask for everything she wanted.

Another man will not allow his wife to cook or eat Thai food when he is home because he doesn’t like the smell or taste. However, his wife has to cook Japanese food for him and eat what he eats. He leaves her whenever he chooses, being gone for a day or two at a time, and rents a hotel room while he fraternizes with other women. She has to stay home and never leave the house until he gets back. He checks up on her to make sure she doesn’t sneak out. Recently a close family member passed away, and she was not allowed to go to her village for funeral.

Another guy, who is quite well off, married a girl and took her to his homeland. She was expected to sit at home all day while he was at work. When he came home, he expected a Farang dinner on the table plus the amorous attention of his indebted wife. After all, he gave her a gift of living in his country in a beautiful home. She had no Thai friends (or any friends for that matter), no Thai TV, and little, if any, Thai food. She was miserable. Luckily for her, after two years in his glorified prison there was a death in the family. He let her go home for a visit. Once in Thailand, she tossed the return ticket and he never saw her again. As he tells it, she was ungrateful and left him, “and look at the money I lost”. Truth be known, I am sure the time he had with her was better than being with a western woman and overall a lot less costly too.

I could relate many more stories, but I think you get the point. The relationships I just described are not marriages; these guys have women of convenience. What is interesting is, when their marriages fail, they blame it on the ungrateful wife.

It is my feeling that a good relationship is based more on trust and respect than love. If you cannot trust or respect your spouse, what are you doing with her? If you have to lock her in your house, or enslave her by never giving her any money, what does that tell you about your relationship?

There are plenty of very good women in Thailand, and even in the nightlife. But if your head is not screwed on right, the partner you pick probably won’t have hers screwed on right either. So, when it all falls apart, before you go pointing fingers, go look in the mirror. If she was good, you didn’t treat her right. If she was bad, you picked the wrong one in the first place. Either way, you blew it.

Property rights and marriage     (back to list of content)

Many Farang properties other than condominiums are quite often registered in their wife’s name, the property usually passes to the wife, without too many questions being asked. Between Thai couples, things can be a little different, because if they register their own assets at the time of their marriage, then they generally retain them later.

For alien citizen married to a Thai national, the short answer to avoid many future problems is to form a Thai Company (see Property laws), so that upon your death the property remains within that business organization to be then administrated or sold, according to your will and/or instructions. This is a reasonably complex process and requires the advice of independent advisor (professional people in the field of law and accountancy, experts, etc…or experienced people).

The advisory process should start before you do absolutely anything in Thailand, especially if you are newcomers to the kingdom. In a recent news story an elderly European man proposed marriage to a quite young Thai lady, and was informed that the proposal was accepted on the condition that he paid a dowry of 1 million baht. He apologetically came up with a sum of 970,000 baht, which was accepted. After no seeing his beloved “wife to be” for a few days, he inquired at the hotel where she had been residing, only to be told that she had departed with her husband earlier, and that the couple both seemed to be happy.

This illustrates the pitfalls that await the unwary, and only asking your friends for advice is not the answer, as they may be too embarrassed to speak their mind on such a delicate issue. Independent advisors can perceive a hidden danger or potential problem in the future. The biggest and most costly mistake that you can make is in thinking that you understand the local conditions and trying to go alone.

There are of course many very successful marriages, but the problems do not end there, as there are plenty of other unscrupulous people who will “rip you off”, as this following tragic story illustrates. A Farang was very happily married to his Thai wife and decided to place his house and assets within a Thai company structure, just to be sure upon his death, his wife would be the beneficiary of his assets. In due course he passed away, and his wife examined all the documentation relevant to his “last will and testament”. Imagine her great horror to find out that the lawyer who drew up the Thai company structure now owned all of her late husband’s assets, and that the widow owned absolutely nothing.


So you need to be very careful in whom you place your trust.

Marriage: required documents     (back to list of content)


1. Ask for a permission document about your family condition from embassy and have two persons who can be contacted.

2. When you receive the permission document from embassy, translation into Thai and stamp by Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Ayudhya Road, Bangkok 10400, Thailand, Tel : +66 (2) 643 5000).

3. Passport

4. Divorce certificate (if you were married before)



1. House book (Tabien Baan)

2. ID card

3. Divorce certificate (if she was married before)


Fees: 1.000 baht

Also think about it...     (back to list of content)

A Farang over fifty may stay in Thailand on a retirement visa. All he needs is to show 800,000 baht in a Thai bank (US$ 20,000) and a medical certificate that can be had for 100 baht following a five minute check up.

Divorce     (back to list of content)

Required Documents:



1. Thai Marriage certificate.

2. Passport



1. Thai Marriage certificate.

2. House book (Tabien Baan)

3. ID card (with the name of the husband)


Fees: 130 baht

Prostitution in Thailand     (back to list of content)

1. Never judge people when you don't know about them...


We are always surprised when we read articles in occidental newspapers or books on how are lambasting western men for prostitution in Thailand ; this is a common accusation by western females, and echoes a similar assault by eminent feminists groups.

Yes there is prostitution in Thailand… Yes,but… maybe there are certainly so many prostitutes per head of population in most western countries, than there are in Thailand.

In occidental countries you can get sex in any form you want, hetero, homo, sadism, bondage, young boys, young girls, phone sex, lap dances, bucks parties, anything, almost anywhere and any times.

Every local paper, including the little towns, has between a half and full page of advertisements by prostitutes every day. Brothels are legal and, in fact, if a developer wants to open a brothel next door to your house, as long as the legal requirements are satisfied, you have no recourse.

The world’s largest organized sex tour is in Australia ; it is called the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras. It exists also the "Gay Pride" festival that is officially celebrated in Europe (including USA and Canada), and that is extensively promoted by governments.

As claims that prostitutes are disadvantaged girls, forced into prostitution by poverty, read the ever increasing stream of autobiographies written by western prostitutes. Most of them were not impoverished, they entered the business to make more money than they ever could at regular job. Most bar girls in Thailand are there by choice. Try to talk them out of the bar, you are wasting your time. Their job is fun, they have a lot of friends, they are doing something that they like and are being paid for it, they work in a workplace which is dedicated to fun and entertainment, they feel powerful, they feel glamorous and sexy when they are dancing on stage, admired by lots of men. It would be very interesting to know what the western females think about their job, and whether they enjoy it as much.

In contrary of the common ideas, the western men absolutely didn't bring prostitution in Asia (and in Thailand). It has existed long time before the arrival of the first travelers as refers to the narrations of the first visitors as Marco Polo, and even was totally include in local customs.

Our discuss is absolutely not to make the apology of prostitution in any form, but for judging people it is necessary to know well the subject in inquiring it with the concerned people in the historic and social context.

Think also that in Thailand many women, with children, separated or divorced from Thai men and rejected by them, can have a good and comprehensive husband in European community and so can change their life for a better one. 


2. Some explanations


As we said above, Thai culture has a long history of prostitution and prostitution has been a way of life in Thailand from time immemorial, and has not been considered an evil by Thai society. In Thai society, visiting prostitutes is considered common behavior for men; many women believe that the existence of prostitution reduces the incidence of rape, and view prostitution as the lesser evil compared to husbands taking mistresses or "lesser wives" ("mia noi"). These working class prostitutes and their customers are far more likely to refer to themselves as "rented-wives" or "lady-bar" than the European or Thai equivalents of the pejorative "prostitute". A study in 1990-1991 found that over 90% of (male) military conscripts (aged 20 to 22) reported having visited a prostitute in the past.

Estimates of the number of prostitutes in Thailand vary widely and are subject to controversy. One such estimate, by Dr Nitet Tinnakul from Chulalongkorn University and reported in The Nation in January 2004, gives a total of 2.8 million sex workers in Thailand, including two million women, 200,000 adult males and 800,000 minors under the age of 18. One estimate published in 2003 placed the trade at US$4.3 billion per year, about three percent of the Thai economy.

But child prostitution is a serious social problem in Thailand. This prostitution is a form of enslavement that makes for a profit that exceeds that of the drug trade or weapons sales or lotteries or sports gambling. Prostituting children, the exploitation of children, and their enslavement for financial gain represent a sad story of human degradation. Girls as young as 10-12 years old are offered to men in the sex industry and many of them typically have sex with ten to fifteen men every day and sometimes as many as 20 to 30.

As in many countries, there are several major reasons about prostitution in Thailand, including child prostitution.

In Thailand the position of women is a traditional one, remaining from the traditional position they have been assigned in Thai Buddhism. This is found in the traditional cultural attitudes of Thai men, and in the consequences of military presence, and its resulting culture of recreational sex. The social turmoil in Thailand provoked by World War II and The Vietnam War, and the resultant R&R activities. This period was followed by an aggressive tourism campaign, which encouraged tourists to come in great numbers. Most of these tourists were single men and many sex tours were created since that time. Sex tours degrade a country’s reputation, are immoral and spread disease. Sex tours treat girls and women like things, not persons.

In Thailand there has been both migration within the country - from farm to city - and immigration from outside the country. Farming cannot provide a living anymore. Many farmers even go to work in other countries to keep their families from starving. There are no opportunities in rural areas.
Many young women from other countries came to Thailand because they want to improve their standard of living, and to support their families. Many of these young women are attracted by the promise of work, only to find themselves locked up in a brothel where they have to earn their release. Most of these young women come from countries in the region where employment is most difficult to secure.

It is also a racism issue. The women are recruited from the more than 40 indigenous groups in the country because they have a low status in Thai society and are generally poor. The country puts down our indigenous people - they live in the mountains, and no one wants to know their problems. The way to stop this prostitution is to give indigenous people more opportunities - economic and educational - because this is a poverty issue.

In Thailand, there are laws against prostitution, but they are not enforced. Some mafia institution forces are corrupt and often join with the pimps in making money.

A second important problem is HIV/AIDS. There is little health protection for prostitutes in Thailand, and HIV/AIDS has greatly proliferated. In August 2006 a senior Thai health official said that AIDS had become the main cause of death in the country. According to recent UNAIDS statistics, out of a total population of 62 million people in Thailand, 755,000 are living with HIV/AIDS.



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