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BANGKOK 25 April 2019 03:04

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Tippaporn

What Was Thailand Like Years Ago

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Being a relative newcomer to Thailand (2001) I was curious as to what life was like here back in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and how it has changed. I'm sure there are aspects which have improved and others which haven't.

What was the redlight district on Sukhumvit like? Have processes such as visas, WPs and starting a business improved? Has the Thai attitude towards farang changed at all? How was it different before computers and mobile phones? Was it easier or more difficult to find work or stay in country? What was it like in the sticks? Were there as many farang here? What were prices for Chang, massage, general living? Did western money still stretch as far?

Were the women more beautiful?

Since quite a few TV members stretch back a few years, or eons, I thought there would be some very interesting stories to be told and heard.

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If you want to get a visual of what BKK was like, say, 50 years or so ago, go visit Vientiane in Laos and that might give you a pretty good idea.

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Went there on a border run in 2004 and, yes, I had heard that Vientaine was a throwback. And, yes again, it most certainly was. :o

My wifey and I had taken up in a hotel for 4 days and 3 nights across the street from the principal airport in Laos (a true joke by any standards). We actually spent only two full days, arriving very late evening our first day and leaving late morning on our last day after picking up my new visa at the Thai embassy. We shopped at a few local markets, which were identical to the markets in Thailand but cheaper. The wifey bought some nice ornate traditional wrap skirts at bargain prices (even by her standards). I bought some clothes as the wifey likes to travel light, meaning that she packs the bare minimum on trips, if that.

Not knowing where else to go we took a tuk tuk ride. It was another georgous day in SE Asia until about 15 minutes into our ride. A storm rolled in out of nowhere (as they usually do) heralded by some awesome looking Jesus clouds and we got caught in an absolute torrential downpour. I was taking pictures up until the rain become so heavy that it was blowing in on us. The tuk tuk driver was great - very accommodating. He stopped in the midst of the deluge to roll down some plastic in an attempt to give us some added protection. Brave soul! But it was to little avail; nothing would keep out that torrent of rain. The wifey and I were pretty well drenched. But we had an absolute riot throughout the experience and laughed our asses off along with the driver.

We finally decided to seek some shelter in a restaurant. Knowing how little income the driver makes and considering his heroic efforts to keep us dry I invited him to eat and drink with us. We ate a good Laotian home style meal (which is the wifey's favorite cuisine) and sopped up a good quantity of Beerlao. Since we had heard that the nightlife was dead I paid the driver a generous 1,000 Baht to call it a day and take us out to a local nightclub later in the evening.

After dark the wifey and I went to a beautiful restaurant for dinner to the tune of 98,000 Laotian kip. The exchange rate was 11,000 kip to the dollar making Laotian currency seem like play money. We consumed maybe three-quarters of an enormous and very tasty feast of a variety of fish and rice and meats and rice and soup and rice and some more rice. The wifey's favorite pastime is eating and she likes to order more than twice what we could ever hope to eat. But hey, at roughly 360 baht, which included beer, I let her pig out to her heart's content.

Later that night our dedicated driver came to escort us to his favorite disco haunt. It was a hole in the wall by any standards but the wifey and I are humble enough. The sound system was atrociously loud and distorted. I didn't need too many drinks to collect enough courage before I was up dancing on the stage with a few of the local girls. You could imagine the stares I got as I'm sure this was maybe the first ever that a "farang" stepped foot into their little run down establishment.

We left before we got too polluted and headed back to the hotel in the wee hours. The wifey wasn't quite ready to call it a night just yet once she noticed that the hotel had an adjoining club. The place had a lounge atmosphere with comfortable couch seating replete with coffee tables and a live band. They had eats, too, and the wifey couldn't resist stuffing her face once more (invariably, we could eat a six course meal, gourging ourselves to the gills, and two hours later she will be nibbling on something or other again). The band was actually quite good, featuring a female vocalist with an astounding voice. To this day I still remember her singing and I swore at the time that if she had the proper connections she could have been an instant recording star.

Well, I'm not sure what time we finally hit the sack and the rest of the night is a story that is best left to my private memories, ha, ha!

I know this isn't quite related to the OP but just wanted to get the ball rolling . . . :D

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10 years ago getting decent bread was a serious issue, there weren't many places where you could get a french baguette or anything other than horrible tasteless toast bread.

Also, in my opinion, traffic was worse, I was stuck on Asoke or close to the Victory Monument for 2 hours on several separate occasions...that hasn't happened in recent years.

Everyone had those crappy PCT phones :o (and unfortunately some still do)

There were MANY more tuk-tuks in traffic, recent years has pretty much seen their extinction in most areas of the city.

There were multiplexes, but also many shitty movie theaters (like the one in Pantip Plaza...saw rats scurrying around inside one time :D ), which have been closed down in the last 5 years or so.

I was here when shit struck in '97, but to their credit, I don't recall any kind of very sharp increase in prices which the devaluation of the baht would have brought on...maybe it's just fuzzy memory, but a can of Coke has always been 13 baht, even though a dollar could buy you 50 instead of 25 baht at the time. Their currency has generally been pretty good, in the 80s it was 20 baht to the dollar, so not much inflation until '97.

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My first trip to LOS was part of a package tour that also took in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines.

That was 1978 and it was my first trip outside of Australia.

In Australia I had lived through the free sex days of the seventies where an average looking guy only needed to snap his fingers to have a one night stand with the girl of his choice. In those days my fingers snapped quite a lot.

Bangkok was the second leg for our tour group and we were booked into the Indra Regent Hotel for four nights.

An older Australian acquaintance on mine was a part owner of the Kings Group of go-go bars on Patpong and he took me under his wing and showed me around.

There was no need to snap any fingers, swarms of girls were all over me. I thought that all of my Christmases had come at once. I was a kid in a candy shop.

Over the years, Patpong hasn't changed much, except for prices, but I do feel that most of the women there are now much harder than they were in the late 70's.

The development of Bangkok over the years is nothing short of amazing. The transport system, shopping centres, high rise hotels, business etc. has more than kept up with the times, in many respects it has exceeded it.

The following year I returned to Thailand but went to Pattaya and Phuket for the first time.

For me Pattaya was so much more relaxing as it had developed from a small fishing village and was being built around the beach scene.

Short pants, singlets and thongs were the dress of the day, as they are today.

Open beer bars took my fancy as I could actually have a quiet conversation with the girls rather than having to shout to be heard in the Bangkok go-go bars.

Bar fines were 100 baht and a girl for the night cost between 300 and 500 baht.

The AIDS scare did not exist in those days but other STD's were floating around.

Girls are girls, they are just as pretty today as they were twenty years ago. (More tattoos today though)

I often wonder where some of the girls from earlier years went to. Every now and then I see some of them walking around Pattaya with their kids in tow.

Pattaya's night scene centred around Walking Street (as it is now known) with mostly beer bars, the Marine Bar being the main beer bar. Marine disco was number one and a few go-go bars were operating. Outer areas were still developing and the bar scene was expanding. (and it seems still is)

Etty had just opened The Buffalo Bar on Third Road but it was considered too far away from the main action.

Take a look at Third Road today and the Buffalo Bar is right in the middle of that action.

The former Royal Garden Hotel was probably the main Pattaya Hotel but other high rise hotels were starting to spring up everywhere. Now the Royal Garden Shopping Arcade occupies the site.

Over the years, accommodation has improved in quality but room prices generally are still relatively cheap.

Most of the Indian tailors have now moved out of Walking Street (probably because or rising rents) and the number of beer bars has increased.

The big improvement is food outlets. So many restaurants now from which to have a meal.

When I first visited Phuket, there was only one high rise hotel with others in the process of being built. We stayed in beach bungalows. I virtually had the whole of Patong Beach to myself.

A small scattering of beer bars were available to quench the thirst (sexual thirst too) but I had to walk through the jungle to get to the next beer bar.

Today it, in my opinion, has been spoilt be over development.

Pattaya will always be my choice of ideal holiday destination. It still retains much of its primitive feel, but modern development will eventually overtake it.

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Being a relative newcomer to Thailand (2001) I was curious as to what life was like here back in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and how it has changed.

I think that's an odd question.

You're talking about 50 years of diffenrece........that's about 2 1/2 generations :D

WHAT changed in your own country? I'm sure a lot has changed there as well........ :o

I suggest to 'Google' a bit and look for history-books about Thailand in the years you are mentioning. I'm sure you find a lot of books HOW the life was in those years, including photos.

LaoPo

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Being a relative newcomer to Thailand (2001) I was curious as to what life was like here back in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and how it has changed.

I think that's an odd question.

You're talking about 50 years of diffenrece........that's about 2 1/2 generations :D

WHAT changed in your own country? I'm sure a lot has changed there as well........ :o

I suggest to 'Google' a bit and look for history-books about Thailand in the years you are mentioning. I'm sure you find a lot of books HOW the life was in those years, including photos.

LaoPo

If you google everything, how are you going to build up your posts and make friends on the forum?

It's not as much fun to google.

PKG

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Being a relative newcomer to Thailand (2001) I was curious as to what life was like here back in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and how it has changed.

I think that's an odd question.

You're talking about 50 years of diffenrece........that's about 2 1/2 generations :D

WHAT changed in your own country? I'm sure a lot has changed there as well........ :o

I suggest to 'Google' a bit and look for history-books about Thailand in the years you are mentioning. I'm sure you find a lot of books HOW the life was in those years, including photos.

LaoPo

In theory you could do a web search to answer most questions here. Fortunately we have a forum full of people who are willing to ask and answer questions. So now if you were to do a web search on the same thing you'd likely be pointed to Thaivisa much of the time. If it bothers you that people do this, just ignore it, but if people were not having these conversations, and sharing info there would be much less content for you to "google".

Tippaporn I really enjoyed that post about Laos :D

cv

Btw.... There's Yahoo, MSN, Altavista, Webcrawler, Hotbot, etc, etc...... why do people always give a free plug to Google?

Broaden your options. :D

cv

(sorry for going OT)

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Being a relative newcomer to Thailand (2001) I was curious as to what life was like here back in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and how it has changed.

I think that's an odd question.

You're talking about 50 years of diffenrece........that's about 2 1/2 generations :D

WHAT changed in your own country? I'm sure a lot has changed there as well........ :o

I suggest to 'Google' a bit and look for history-books about Thailand in the years you are mentioning. I'm sure you find a lot of books HOW the life was in those years, including photos.

LaoPo

I can see what you're getting at, LaoPo, but my aim in this thread is to get personal accountings. I mean, geez, read Florin's and Mighty Mouse's accounts - now there's tremendous flavour that you're not apt to get Googling. That's priceless!

BTW, guys, great accounts so far. And it's fascinating reading, which I believe will be just as fascinating for others and should certainly revive some dear memories from many other members, making it enjoyable for them, too. Much appreciated to hear, guys and mates.

I'm no spring chicken myself anymore, Laopo, so going back even as far as the sixties would be something I could easily relate to. An acquaintance of mine has been in Thailand pretty much steady on since the mid-sixties and I always enjoyed hearing his stories.

Padkapow Guy, excellent suggestion about posting some bygone era photos. :D Would be great for all to see.

Looking forward to some more! :D

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Wow, sorry if I stepped on some long toes here about the OP's questions. I know it's nice to talk about the old days 'back in Thailand'; I have quite a few stories myself to tell and share, but I'm not always in the mood you know...

Anyway, Tippaporn, YES, I do have some 'era-photos' but have to dig em up, scan, and than post them, but it will take some time.

OK, to share some experiences with you:

1. Over the years, Patpong hasn't changed much (1978: and quote of Mighty Mouse) I disagree, since it was more quiet, more atmosphere, more REAL FUN and there was no market as there is now; I think it's horrible now

2. Phuket/Patong Beach: I agree here with Mighty Mouse since there was indeed 1 'high-rise Hotel: The Patong Beach Hotel, (almost empty in February...) and YES, it WAS paradise back than; my friend and myself stayed 1 night there and moved to the Patong Beach Bungalows, RIGHT on the beach; we both had 1 bungalow; 1 palmtree in front and the motorbike parked to it.....now, that was real paradise!

However I realize since December 26, 2004, that we would never ever could have escaped a Tsunami on that particular spot on Patong Beach :D we were blessed it didn't happen back than.

2A. we took a longtail boattrip to the beach around the corner of Patong; that following night there was an incredible storm and the same longtailboat was completele washed ashore and destroyed (I have pics)

2B. I can even remember a few guys on Patong beach, building a SUBMARINE (!!!!) made of CONCRETE; this one was destroyed also (pics also!).

3. Pattaya.........well, what can I say; my first experience was at the (in)famous MARINE BAR; a big place with many, kind of square-build, bars with lots of girls; I was with another friend of mine who 'found' the most beautiful girl....he had to go to the toilet and told me: :o "DON'T you dare to 'take the girl away from me".....of course I didn't :D The day after we had to go to BKK for business; he called me the next mondaymorning that he had a problem with his little 'friend' :D

I found him a clinic at (I will NEVER forget): Ploenchit Road 'Ha-peh-peh (not sure if I write this properly) 588.....and he had to take a lot of medicines.... :D and NO alcohol anymore... :D

I'm tired now and go to bed; maybe I will write some more stories if you like..........

have fun with you topic!

LaoPo

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Wow, sorry if I stepped on some long toes here about the OP's questions. I know it's nice to talk about the old days 'back in Thailand'; I have quite a few stories myself to tell and share, but I'm not always in the mood you know...

Anyway, Tippaporn, YES, I do have some 'era-photos' but have to dig em up, scan, and than post them, but it will take some time.

OK, to share some experiences with you:

<snip> I can even remember a few guys on Patong beach, building a SUBMARINE (!!!!) made of CONCRETE; this one was destroyed also (pics also!). <snip>

have fun with you topic!

LaoPo

Much appreciated, too, Laopo. Great stories, BTW. A concrete submarine????? And it was destroyed?? :D Was it manned?? :o Yes, definitely dig out those pics (a part of me forgets that we didn't have digital cameras those days, oh well).

Don't worry about the the long toes. No offense taken here. Mai pen rai and jai yen yen.

Thanks, and I hope it's fun for you, too.

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Camerata posted some of these Patpong photos last year. I think they were from the early 80s.

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/index.php?au..._album&album=26

cv

Thanks, cv, . . . and Camerata. Proves the women were still beautiful!! :D A little throwback on the short hair style, or is it the graininess of the photo?

What's the story, Camerata?? Care to tell? :o

Edit: BTW, Vic, I could, and would like to post the pictures that go along with my Laos border run post. Problem is . . . don't know how. :D HELP!

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Wow, sorry if I stepped on some long toes here about the OP's questions. I know it's nice to talk about the old days 'back in Thailand'; I have quite a few stories myself to tell and share, but I'm not always in the mood you know...

Anyway, Tippaporn, YES, I do have some 'era-photos' but have to dig em up, scan, and than post them, but it will take some time.

OK, to share some experiences with you:

<snip> I can even remember a few guys on Patong beach, building a SUBMARINE (!!!!) made of CONCRETE; this one was destroyed also (pics also!). <snip>

have fun with you topic!

LaoPo

Much appreciated, too, Laopo. Great stories, BTW. A concrete submarine????? And it was destroyed?? :D Was it manned?? :o Yes, definitely dig out those pics (a part of me forgets that we didn't have digital cameras those days, oh well).

Don't worry about the the long toes. No offense taken here. Mai pen rai and jai yen yen.

Thanks, and I hope it's fun for you, too.

Yes, it was build in CONCRETE, but not finished yet but a lot of porthole-windows, so to speak; quite impressive though. I don't think it ever really dived. A year later it disappeared and nobody knew what happened.

Will try to find the pics in the next few days and post them, ok?

LaoPo

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