My Experiences Being Married to a Girl from Southern Thailand

Since most ‘farangs’ meet girls from northeastern Thailand, a region known as Isaan, I thought it would be fun to share my experiences being married to a woman from the south. Now, every woman is different, so don’t take my words literally. Also, age plays a role, and the younger generation is more westernized, like my 30-year-old wife who speaks decent English and has a more liberal attitude.

Girl from Southern Thailand.Happy wife on vacation a couple of years ago.

I’m sure you have heard stories about Thai women being with foreigners just for the money. You may have heard or read swindler stories such as the ‘sick buffalo,’ or the girl with multiple boyfriends sending her money. While this might be true in some cases, it’s nothing I personally recognize. My stories are, fortunately, more of the sweet kind. One I can give you real quick is when my mother-in-law put a 500 baht bill in my pocket when no one was watching as she probably felt I paid to much when we went out eating. While I perhaps shouldn’t accept the money, I did, because it felt good for me after hearing all those stories.

My wife is coming from a family living in a countryside village in the province of Krabi where pretty much every family makes a living of rubber tapping and palm oil. These farmers, including my wife’s family, are living a decent or good life with better conditions than the people from the northern parts of the country. Both my wife and her younger brother studied at the university in Phuket living a similar life as many other youths in southern Thailand. Many of them have a car (read Honda), and if they don’t have a car, they for sure have a 100-125cc scooter. A vehicle is a must because public transport in Thailand is not as good as back home (except Bangkok having Skytrain and Metro).

A drone shot of my parents-in-laws’ house surrounded by oil palms in Lam Thap, Krabi.

My wife is very calm and the exact opposite of a party girl, meaning she is perfect for me as she can hold me back when needed. She would never in the world put a tattoo on her body — not because she doesn’t want to (she does), but because her mom, being quite traditional and conservative would freak out. My wife also grew up hearing that ‘good girls’ don’t smoke. I don’t think I’ve seen one single girl in my wife’s hometown smoking — or drinking. However, when we go out with my wife’s friends In Phuket, Krabi Town or Bangkok, they do like to drink, so I guess it’s a countryside thing being conservative.

Southern people are proud and sometimes described as direct and rough when talking, while women from northern regions are more soft and sweet tongue — but not always genuine. I find my wife to be honest, warm and kind. And she is fantastic taking care of me. But if I don’t help out at home, well, she will make me help out.

My wife is a Buddhist (a third of the population in southern Thailand are Malay Muslims), and have a lot of respect for her religion, but she does not practice Buddhism more than visiting temples on special occasions. And seeing her friends doing the same, I would not call young Buddhist women from the south very religious. My wife’s mom, born 1970, however, feel much more into her religion.

My wife lighting temple candles in Phuket.

Men married to a woman from Isaan know they love their sticky rice and papaya salad. Coming from the south, my wife loves her jasmine rice with out-of-this-world spicy curries. Some curries are eatable, or even pretty good, while some I’m not even touching. It’s not just spicy, it has, for me, a strange taste and smell. But fortunately, there are other delicious foods, and southern Thai people also love to eat Isaan food and ‘classic’ Thai food found at your local Thai restaurant. And I absolutely love the parties when they barbeque salt-crusted fish stuffed with garlic and lemongrass, enjoyed with a cold Leo beer between the breaks in the karaoke singing.

It’s often party in my wife’s village, and it always looks the same with men sitting in one corner drinking, eating, and smoking while the women sit in another corner chatting, cooking, and serving food to the men. This feels quite old-fashioned, but the women look very happy, and it seems to me like they enjoy seeing their husbands having a good time. One thing that is the same as back home though: the men take care of the barbeque.

When it comes to the cooking at our home in Norway, my wife cooks 9 out of 10 times simply because she does not like western food as much as I like Thai food. When I cook, she likes to eat different pasta dishes, Norwegian salmon and seafood, Swedish Falu sausage such in Korv Stroganoff (she loves cream) and pan-fried (with a half liter of ketchup). But by the end of the day, she just needs that spicy burn. It’s like nicotine to a smoker.

While I can’t keep up with my wife on the spiciness, she can’t keep up with me on the sourness. In Scandinavia, we love our less-sweet berries and apples, our sour candy, and we like to squeeze lots of lemon on the fish. In Thailand, the fruits are sweeter, and when my wife’s eating a sour Scandinavian apple, her face expression reminds me of when one takes a bite into a lemon wedge. Hilarious! (As it is for my wife when I’m gasping for air after eating her curries).

One of our pre-wedding shots in Krabi.

When marrying a Thai girl, it’s a tradition to pay a Sin Sod (a dowry), and the price depends on several things such as the age, education, children, status of the family, etc. My wife’s family recently paid 700,000 baht to the family of the girl my brother-in-law is marrying in a few months. Now, that’s just crazy, and I told my wife I couldn’t pay these ridiculous amounts of money, and thankfully, they accepted my 200,000 baht offer (50,000 kronor). However, all the money was spent on the wedding party, so It didn’t matter — I would have to pay the same amount arranging a wedding back home.

In the area where my wife’s from, it’s rare to see a ‘farang,’ and when we hit the town or visit a market, people look curiously at me like I were a celebrity. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard I look like Paul Walker. I don’t, but since he was a pretty handsome fella, I’m not complaining. The reason so many Thai people know about Paul Walker is that the Fast & Furious movies are hugely popular (my wife have seen them all) and one of the hottest Thai stars, ‘Tony Jaa,’ made his English-language movie debut with Fast & Furious 7.

My wife with an umbrella to protect herself from the strong sun in Ayutthaya.My wife with an umbrella to protect herself from the strong sun in Ayutthaya.

A common claim is that southern girls have darker skin, and even though it’s true about my wife and very young girls, it’s definitely not always the case — most of my wife’s friends have pale skin as they use skin-whitening products and avoids the sun at all cost. Because just like anywhere else in Thailand, it’s considered non-attractive being dark because dark skin represents farmers being in the sun all days while successful people can work in an air-conditioned office. Status is very important in Thailand. Sadly so.

Although my wife did work in an air-conditioned office (Siam Commercial Bank) and avoided the sun, she has a dark skin tone, and because of this, she had pretty lousy self-esteem when she first met me thinking her friends were more beautiful. Silly, right? I keep telling her she is beautiful, and now, she is much better at enjoying the sun and liking her skin tone.

My parents-in-law with a stunning backdrop of a southern Thai beach.

The family is extremely important in Thai culture, and it was out of the question that my wife would be moving to Norway at the beginning of our relationship. Her mom wouldn’t even let her study in Bangkok as it was too far, which is why she studied in Phuket so her family could visit her on the weekends or vice versa. But here we are, my wife now lives in Norway and speaks with her mom on the phone several times per day.

When we are in Thailand, and it’s time to say goodbye at the airport, her mom always cries, and it breaks my heart. My wife, however, manages to stay controlled because that’s who she is — a calm southern Thai girl.


13 thoughts on “My Experiences Being Married to a Girl from Southern Thailand

  1. Serb January 12, 2019 / 5:18 pm

    My wife is from Kamphaeng Phet which is technically in North but really more central plains. I feel our story is quite similar to your experience. My wife is sweet but also very honest. She says to me you aren’t fat just a bit chubby after i say I’ve gained weight and need to diet. My wife went to University in Bangkok and before moving to USA was in Phuket managing a company for a few years. She tends to like Isaan and typical popular Thai food the most which i like also. Northern food we aren’t so big into. I like southern food but the spice level on southern and isaan food can be too high for me. The access to delicious seafood is my favorite in Thailand. Is it hard to find thai ingredients in Norway? In California i can find most key ingredients at small Thai Markets.

    • Anders January 12, 2019 / 10:13 pm

      Hey Serb, thanks for your story! No it’s not hard finding what we need for cooking as we have lots of asian stores in Scandinavia. Many Scandinavian men are married to a Thai woman.

      • Serb January 12, 2019 / 10:27 pm

        Ok i thought it was easy. Many of my Norwegian friends have married or are dating Thai or Filipino women. Hell even my wife dated a Norwegian before me so that makes sense.

        • Anders January 12, 2019 / 11:35 pm

          Hehe. Are you from Serbia? Living in the US?

          • Serb January 12, 2019 / 11:53 pm

            No my last name is Serb. My family on my dads side did immigrate to USA from that part of the world but 101 years ago.

  2. J M January 13, 2019 / 3:50 am

    My wife is also Thai and she has insight into people. When we got married her entire family showed up in traditional dress. They all were vary accepting of me. She works as hard or harder than I do. It is a relationship, meaning it has days were we are close and days where she looks at me like I am crazy. Visiting Thailand may favorite holidays. They normally travel with us and we are all close. We chat daily via massage apps. It’s hard to see her so far from her family. I am a lucky man. I have heard stories of people less luckier than I am.

    • Anders January 13, 2019 / 11:18 am

      Hey J M!

      I love when you share your stories with me, so people can see that there are many good Thai women. Thanks!

  3. Ben Mathes January 13, 2019 / 11:57 am

    My wife is from the Issan, and we have a home there- we live in the US most of the time. Her family has mainly all moved to the US for school- legally- and have adapted beautifully!

    My wonderful wife is the kindest, sweetest, most loving person I have ever known. There is peace in our home!

    Your delightful article just reminded me of how blessed I am! Thanks so much!!!

    • Anders January 13, 2019 / 12:18 pm

      Wonderful, Ben! Thanks!

  4. Bernardo P January 13, 2019 / 3:39 pm

    Interesting stories! Thx for sharing

    • Anders January 13, 2019 / 3:48 pm

      You’re welcome, Bernardo.

  5. David September 4, 2019 / 4:02 am

    Interesting read and I recognize a lot from your story in my relationship with my Yala girlfriend. Skin color – and hers is pretty dark – was and remains of no concern to her at all though.
    One major difference is that we both live in Thailand. She could never move far away from her family and her career as a government officer is not easily replaceable abroad. I teach here and we live about 6 km apart, so we spend most of our free time together. We’ve been together since December 2017 and so far it’s worked out perfectly like this for us.

  6. Anders September 4, 2019 / 9:30 am

    Thanks for your comment, David.

    Wow, Yala is very south! I have never traveled further south than Hat Yai.

    Cheers!

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