5 signs you’ve stayed in Bangkok way too long

  • Posted onApril 18th, 2014

Welcome to ladyboysEvery time I head back to the West I find myself taking little habits back with me which often get friends giving me strange looks and telling me ‘man, you’ve been in Bangkok waaaaay too long.” On a recent trip to Europe friends started looking at me strangely when I waied (bowed) to a receptionist. Moments later I found myself standing at the corner of the street clapping at a motorbike, hoping he was a taxi rider. Maybe they had a point..

From strange phrases to bizarre body expressions, there are some clear signs which tell you that someone has stayed in Bangkok for a long time:

Bike Taxi BangkokTaking taxis a very short distance

Despite being super fit and skinny, Thais don’t like to walk, even over a short distance. I once told a friend I was walking from Chidlom to MBK and they looked at me like I’d gone mad, when it’s only a 30 minute stroll. However, after being in Bangkok for several years now I often find myself clapping for a motor bike taxi just to get to the end of the street.

It makes sense. During the day the humidity can be tough, and in many areas pavements are  scattered with cracks, holes, and other unwelcome surprises, not to mention that fact a percentage of Bangkok walkways seem permanently blocked by street stalls and poorly places police boxes. Despite all that, to a Bangkok newbie it will still seem odd to jump in a taxi rather than walk 200 metres.

Bum HoseCleaning yourself using only a bum hose

When I first moved to Thailand I had a difficult relationship with bum hoses, no matter how much I tried to incorporate them into my life I just didn’t feel comfortable using one. If I walked into a toilet stall with no paper, only a bum hose, I’d walk out, even if it meant having to run to the other side of the mall in a state of discomfort.

A year in, me and the bum hoses just clicked. I’d start using them regularly, only using paper towels to remove the dampness on my cheeks. However, a year or two later and the bum hose was all I needed and it even felt a little strange when I entered a bathroom with no bum hose, even if there is plenty of toilet paper.

I’m sure man other expats in Thailand have developed a similar relationship with the bum hose while those who are still new to Thailand will probably find this all to be very strange.

Cola BagDrinking soda from a plastic bag

Another sight which would seem totally logical to any long-time Bangkok resident but completely bizarre to a newcomer in town, is people drinking cola from a plastic bag. And I don’t mean a bottle or can within a bag, I mean pouring the contents of your bottle into a small plastic bag and drinking it with a straw.

You’ll see this being done everywhere, especially around the large markets, and I certainly find myself carrying a little  bag of soda around with me. While it may seem odd in Thailand it actually makes good sense, as street vendors can keep their prices low by returning or recycling the plastic and glass bottles they keep. However, doing this back in the west will get you a few funny looks.

LadyboyKnowing that the stunning girl serving you at the bar is actually a ladyboy

When I first arrived in Thailand I was shocked at how many tall, slim, stunning girls there were in Bangkok. And while many of those are girls I was shocked again to later realize a percentage of the most beautiful ones were actually born male! (Rest assured the BangkokEscort girls are GIRLS!).

A few years as a Bangkok resident and I you develop a ‘ladyboydar’ and the ability to tell whether that stunning woman smiling at me on the train is a lady or laydee. While young backpackers and travelers approach the tall stunner at the bar with their best James Bond impression, the guy who has been in Bangkok way too long just sits back with his cold drink and enjoys the show..

For those without a ladyboydar, here’s our guide on how to spot a ladyboy

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