Love is a ticket to ride for Thai women seeking life outside Thailand
More and more younger Thai girls are interested in world travel as well as finding a foreign husband or life partner.
Arne Hoyland married Nong from Kalasin province in Thailand over seven years ago and their marriage has been relatively
successful. Now they both live in Narvik, a northern town in Norway.
One of the first things he learned about his new Thai wife was her desire to travel. 'I know that Thai women want to leave
Thailand to seek a better life, better job, more money but it I think it is more than that,' he says. 'Nong told me that her dream was to
travel around the world, she even told me that we did not have to live in Norway and she was not afraid if I didn't have a job, it was
here dream. It's so important to her that she would prefer to tour the world when we retire rather than retire to Thailand.'
Many foreign men who have married Thai women report the same thing. There are many anecdotal reports of Thai women in
poor villages who view the stories of Thai women marrying foreign men as a sort of Cinderella story. 'I think it is hard for many
westerners to understand the nature of life in a poor village in Northern Thailand,' says Waraporn a researcher in Khon Khaen. 'First
it was the media, magazines and TV that informed them about life abroad and the early migration of Thai women to America and
Germany but since the internet became available in Thailand, it is becoming more common for Thai girls to consider the possibility of
marrying a foreign man'.
Thai woman marries Guinness heir - becomes a European princess
Last year most Thai women living in Thailand were riveted to national TV to see the wife of Loel Guinness, heir to the Guinness
fortune, regale the chat show audience while sitting among them about his life in Normandy in France where he lives in a Chateau
with is beautiful Thai wife. His Thai wife was being interviewed by the chat show host while in the TV audience, Mr. Guinness, a lover
of Thailand, charmed his host and millions of Thai girls who dream of meeting a handsome, rich westerner. As a result of the TV show
sales of romantic magazines with stories of Thai women and foreign relationships soared.
This coincides with a growing interest among Thai girls even at the highest levels of Thai society in finding western relationships
partners or to live and study abroad. 'I think this is a good thing for Thailand, the country is opening up,' says a university lecturer
from Ubon Rachatani. Magazines in Thailand have featured stories aimed at Thai women about Mrs Guinness and her luxurious
lifestyle in Normandy and Paris. In one publication, she tells how her husband while decide on the spur of the moment to travel to
Paris for a romantic stay in a top hotel and intimate dinner while leaving the Chateau and attentive staff behind for a few days. It is the
tale of a former police sub lieutenant from Utai Thani who has now become a virtual member of European royalty as wife to the heir of
the Guinness fortune while living a jet set European lifestyle.
Thai TV also puts spotlight on Thai wife abuses
It must be pointed out that there have also been horror stories or tales of tragedy about Thai women marrying westerners on
Thai T.V. where Thai wives who have lived in luxury abroad have returned home penniless having been ill treated or lost out when
wills were read. It is also true to say that the trusting nature of more traditional and decent Thai women has led to many tales of Thai
women being taken advantage financially and these stories have also made their way to the magazine stands in Thailand.
The internet also poses a danger to Thai women interested in meeting foreign men on Thai dating sites. Police in Thailand now
regularly warn Thai girls to be more circumspect about revealing their identities and information on internet dating sites. It seems that
many internet scammers have now found Thai women a softer target and indeed more profitable than foreign men who have become
more aware of such activities. Many well to do or affluent Thai women are anxious to live the western dream and travel around the
Thai Travel dream spells heart break for American man
An American man has lost what he thought was the love of his life with a Thai girl from northern Thailand because she didn't want
to wait for her dream to come true. George met Pimlapa in Udon Thani, a town in Isaan which has become the Mecca for western
men seeking Thai wives or girlfriends.
In June 2010 after meeting online for a few months, George came to Udon Thani to meet the beautiful Thai girl he had gotten to
know online. 'She was just so natural and honest, even when I came to Thailand; she was not like all the other girls looking for
money or gold. I still think of her like that today,' George says.
His romance with Pimlapa lasted eighteen months during which Pimlapa was even able to manage a visa to visit George in the
United States. 'I was amazed that she got the visa and she visited me here in the States for three weeks. We even went to Las Vegas
and saw the Grand Canyon, she was so happy,' says George.
American loses Thai Love to Norwegian man
Pimlapa had a sister living in Norway and two months after returning from the USA, Pimlapa's sister invited her to visit her in her
home in Lillehammer, a city in Norway.
'I heard about this and I have to say I was a bit apprehensive, Pimlapa was a good looking girl but I felt I had to trust her, I even
sent her some money for the trip.' But what surprised George was that just three weeks after returning to Thailand, Pimlapa told him
that she was planning to visit her sister again in two months time. 'First of all I was surprised at how easy it was for her to get visas but
I figured that's because she's a good person but like any man, I began to have suspicions. There are a lot of Norwegian guys that
would fancy a girl like Pim.' And so it was.
Two months later after bringing forward his trip to Thailand, George discovered that the Thai girl of his dreams wanted to go and
live full time in Norway and wasn't interested in waiting for him to get her a visa to the United States. 'I asked her if there was another
guy and she told me that there was a guy in Norway who was interested in her, that was that, what more could I say,' George says.
And while George was disappointed and angry, he could understand.
Dream of travel for Thai women is deep seated
'When I met Pim first she asked to come with me to the airport when I was going back to the US, she was so excited just to see the
airport in Bangkok and the planes, she told me that her father had also told her he wanted her to travel and she said that it was her
dream, to be one of those planes,' he said.
Pon Scheulke, a US Thai woman living in America, who was born in Thailand, told her local newspaper in Enid, Oklahoma a
similar story in 2005 when he became a United States citizen. She said that when she was young, her father put in charge of the
buffalo on her farm and she would see the trains and the airplanes. It was her dearest wish to one day be a passenger on them.
Thai girls want to meet western men and 'live foreign'
A recent survey of young women in Isaan province in Thailand shows that 53% of all Thai girls or women would be interested in
living aboard with a foreigner. 'It's something about Thai culture in the last thirty or forty years, there is a great respect for the outside
world particularly the western world and many Thai w omen want to be part of that, it's not just soap operas or the rich farang
syndrome, I think it's a product of the Thai education system and the thirst for broader horizons among those living at rural areas in
Thailand,' says a university researcher in Khon Khaen. Many Thai girls on Thailand's No.1 Dating site, ThaiLoveLines explain their
dream is to 'live foreign' on their internet dating profiles.
True love or ticket to ride out of Thailand?
Some debate the motives of Thai women finding foreign men to change their environment or lifestyle but George defends this; 'I
felt a bit bitter when this happened but it's no different to a foreigner coming here and finding a Thai wife. It's part of the human psyche,
a will or wish to move from country to country and meet a relationship partner, it's natural, I was just unlucky in love.'
Buddhist prophecy for Thai women
One key aspect of this phenomenon is Buddhism and the growing popularity of the religion in western countries. Some western
men report that Thai women appear to receive encouragement from monks at Buddhist temples when they bring their new foreign
husbands to visit or for the Buddhist marriage ceremony. 'I remember speaking to a Buddhist monk in Nong Khai and he told me
about the growing wave of Thai women moving to foreign countries, he seem to view it almost as a prophecy, he was certainly very
enthusiastic about,' says Jeff Werner, a from Toronto native who has recently settled in Thailand's Isaan region having lived with his
Thai wife in Canada for thirteen years.
In foreign countries where Thai women have emigrated, there is a growing network of Buddhist temples being opened. These
form the nucleus of the Thai communities that have begun to develop. This is the case in Norway where the Thai temple in
Trondheim dedicated to King Chulalongkorn is becoming increasingly popular. There is also growing evidence of these Thai
communities beginning to influence more Thai women to follow in their footsteps. In recent years also in Scandinavian countries, it is
increasingly common for Thai men to follow in the footsteps of Thai women although these numbers are still quite small. Similarly,
although the success rate of marriages between Thai women and Scandinavian men in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark is
quite high, there are some relationships breakdowns and some (not all) Thai women have made the choice to stay on and work in
their adopted countries.
Myth that Thai women do not settle in foreign countries
One of the common pieces of advice given to western men seeking Thai women is that they get home sick very easily and that
they cannot settle well in foreign countries. While it is true that many Thai women aim ultimately to return to Thailand and never lose
their connection with the country, they are remarkably able to adapt and survive even in hostile conditions.
In fact many Thai women find a colder climate a refreshing change. 'My wife does not like the sun very much at all and this is so true
for all Thai women,' say Arne the Norwegian who lives with his Thai wife Nong in Narvik, a town in northern Norway. 'We get a lot of
snow in Norway, first we lived in Bergen but we moved to Narvik where there is even more snow, but she really likes it,' he says.
However Nong still has to wear layers of clothing to cope with the Norwegian climate. 'She loves telling her family in Thailand about
the snow, after all these years, it is all still very new to her.'
Thai women networking in Norway
Arne, who has been happily married to his Thai wife for over seven years, says that after three or four years in spite of her love
of living abroad, he found his wife becoming a little home sick and one of the solutions to this was she helped find marriage partners
for two of his friends. 'At first I would take her to the Thai restaurant, when we went in Oslo once, we went out and visited the Thai
temple in Trondheim. Then we didn't live far from there. When we moved to Narvik, one of my friends wanted to find a Thai wife also,
so Nong introduced him to her friend in Thailand.'
It took nearly two years for Arne's friend to marry and bring Nong's friend to Narvik but now both couples live in Norway and
Nong has found many Thai girlfriends. 'There are now so many Thai women living in our area now that Nong has been able to find
out, so now she has her own Thai network where we live, Thai people love to have friends, they have their quarrels but It has
really helped Nong to be herself in Norway, she is stronger.
Arne points out that it is reported that many Norwegians and their Thai women opt to be alone. 'I have read this and I have met
some Norwegians in Thailand when on holidays who prefer to be alone, it's just for me, now I see my wife is so much stronger. It
depends on the nature of the Thai woman.'
The message is clear for foreign and western men meeting Thai women on the internet. Don't wait around too long, many Thai
women are determined and resourceful in the pursuit of their dreams and it doesn't do to keep them waiting.