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Sunday, December 4, 2011 Feedback: From an Expat Living in Phuket


I GOT SOME EMAILS RECENTLY FROM AN EXPAT LIVING IN PHUKET, AND IT SEEMS FROM THE TONE OF HIS WRITING THAT NOT ALL RESIDENTS OF THE RESORT ARE APPRECIATIVE OF THE RECENT RUSSIAN INVASION. "Most of us retired here do not liked being swamped by Russian or for that matter any tourist group that comes here that sticks to together in groups and overwhelms beaches, hotels or specific tours," wrote the expat. "At times you might thing you are in Odessa at some Phuket beaches surrounded on all sides by boisterous and uncommunicative Russian, (their English or other language skills minimal?" I have heard that this year's floods in Thailand have put off many Russians from visiting the kingdom, but that is probably just a temporary glitch, and soon they will be back in greater numbers than ever. Those in the know say there are more Russian girls in Phuket than in Bangkok these days. There are Russians all over the place now, posses of chicks posing for group photos in nightclubs with dudes and iguanas, or reading Cyrillic typefaced novels on the beach in the middle of the day. I would go so far as to suggest that the Russian invasion of Phuket is merely one episode of a general Russian conquest of the world, especially the tourist hotspots. Once prohibited from travelling abroad, as the Guardian reported, Russians are staking their claim to the sun-loungers and bar stools of the world. Direct flights from Siberia to Phuket have helped make this part of Thailand a summer retreat for increasingly well-heeled Russians.

There are so many Russian women in Phuket the city has been recommended as one of the top five cities in the world outside eastern Europe for meeting them. Oldnemesis posted in January 2010: "A lot of Russians go there, and while there are less Russian girls than in Turkey (it is further and more expensive), there is also less (almost no) competition for them." That's because most of the guys, the Russian guys included, have their sights set on the local Thai girls. There a lot of single Russian women on the beach hoping to hook up, and have fun. If you are game (and on your game), this could be the place you get lucky. As long as there no suspicious beach chair concessionnaires there to screw things up!

r u s s i a n + t o u r i s t s

ONE OF MY FAVORITE PASTIMES INVOLVES SLOTHING AROUND SOUTH-EAST ASIAN RESORTS FOLLOWING THE SUN. Some day soon I am going to make a professional career out of it. Whether on the Andaman Sea or the blissful Gulf of Thailand or the choppier South China Sea (Vietnam), wherever you go on the beach basically, you will find Russian girls. And their boyfriends, mothers and/or brothers... or even their scary-looking minders, if you are unlucky enough. At resorts in Vietnam the brochures are printed in English, Vietnamese... and Russian. In Phuket, meanwhile, many of the public signs have mutated into Russian in recent years. Yes, the Russians are here as they are almost everywhere these days, and not everyone is so pleased. Some have called them the worst tourists on the planet. In 2007 two Russian women were shot dead in Pattaya after an argument with their beach chair concessionnaire. Talk about beach rage! About two years later, a young Russian man drowned on Karon Beach in Phuket. That was just an accident; the motives behind the murder of the two women at Pattaya are somewhat more sinister. It was hinted the Russian mafia may have been connected with it.

In Thailand as in many countries the Russian mafia have a presence, and Russian bars and nightclubs are springing up. There are already plenty of Russian restaurants, you can virtually eat borsch on the beach. Some ex-pats deride these establishments as fronts for money laundering or even worse, but I am not as cynical as they are. There is a real market for all things Russian, and plenty of honest Russians milling around buying stuff. Of course, most of the tourists and expats in Thailand are law-abiding citizens, as are most of the pretty girls, whatever the rumor mill may claim. All over the place, Russians are snatching up real estate. There is a beach in Pattaya called "Little Moscow", according to a poster on The Lost Boy. There is a Russian guesthouse in Phuket. Things have sure come a long way for the humble Russian tourist since the Soviet times, when workers would travel on holidays organised by their factories. They would often go without spouses. Their children would set off to leafy communist pioneer camps. For most, travel to the west was difficult or impossible. Ordinary Russians would instead spend bucolic summers in their dachas, or swim in lakes and rivers full of small carp. He won't be able to bask in the cheap publicity for long, though, because more serious events are beginning to unfold.

With the country facing a security crisis, the cops and the Interior Ministry can't seem to keep their eye on the ball. Perhaps they should concentrate on targeting the southern terrorists instead of pretty girls in Bangkok nightclubs."

THIS IS LIFTED FROM THE MANGO SAUCE WEBSITE, MARCH 20, 2004: "THAI COPS SHUT DOWN CM2 NIGHTCLUB FOR 30 DAYS":

m e e t i n g + g i r l s

IF YOU ARE NOT SCARED OF UPSETTING THE RUSSIAN MAFIA OR GETTING BUSTED WITH YOUR PANTS DOWN IN YOUR HOTEL ROOM BY A RAIDING PARTY OF THAI POLICE, YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN MEETING RUSSIAN WOMEN IN BANGKOK. Of course, this is a little bit like going to Italy to eat Mexican food (or eating kebabs in Tokyo). As one tourist has remarked: " There are said to be more than 500 bars in Patong, with names like Star Wars, Shark, Night Station, The Wave (popular with Russian girls), Club Lime on Patong Beach Rd don't go to DisneyLand, or to McDonald or to PitzzaHut, Those aren't French In Rome , I don't like chatting with Thai bar girls , or listening to Madonna songs, those arn't Italian." Another Thai lover, Bobby, claimed: "Although russian girls are really hot (there were plenty of russian barbie dolls hanging in discos in Istanbul), I never took one in Bangkok (only because I'm more in oriental women) and I don't think that Thailand is the place for it..."

But if you do really want to meet and greet Russian babes in Phuket, some of the places that have been recommended include:

Ambassador Beer Garden: Kloymaie on Russian Girls in BKK wrote: "I was last in Bangkok august and September this year. I meet a lot of wonderful Russian girls at the Ambassador Beer garden...
"But the beer garden is now closed due to constructions of a new hotel at the ground. It's a big shame as the Ambassador Beer garden was a very lovely place to sit down under the sky and enjoy the atmosphere from the street and enjoy a cold beer and a good meal in the heart of Bangkok.


"Lots of foreigner, Japanese, Taiwanese girls giggling snapping photos all the way in front of the DJ deck in their cute dresses.. a few even wore straw hat! Of course there will always be our friends from Middle East who contribute to Thailand's tourism, even Malaysia's too! So we welcome them with open arms.. Apart from being a dance club, Bed Supperclub also serves as a restaurant during the daytime until 10pm. And the restaurant is so unique, there are actually no menu.
CM2 disco: Novotel in the Silom area. See the story above about police crackdowns on Russian women inside the place.

Grace Coffee Shop: Grace Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 3.

Moulin Rouge: 39/2 Bangla Road (Soi Sea Dragon), Patong, Kathu, Phuket, 83150.
The club's website says: "Moulin Rouge Phuket is know as one of Thailand's top gentlemen's clubs featuring the most beautiful ladies from Russia. We have devoted our efforts to creating an upscale club unlike any other in Thailand." The upscale nature of this club is reflected in the price, with standard drinks starting at a hefty 250 Baht.

Phuket Cabana
I have seen a lot more Russians in Phuket recently too, usually big guys spending big in places like the Salsa Bar in the Phuket Cabana and it always makes me wonder.



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