Tan Skin vs. White Skin Thai Girls

Last updated: July 3rd, 2016 | in Thai Girls


I was just talking to her for about ten minutes or so and suddenly she took my arm and pulled it right next to her own. She made a sad face. “White”, she said while pointing on mine and then “Black”, while pointing on her own arm. Right, it immediately reminded me of “Tarzan” and “Jane”, like a definite statement that is a clear fact. I said to her “Your skin isn’t black, it’s rather brown, just some nice tan and it looks very beautiful!”. She goes:

“Why Farang always like dark skin?”

It’s the kind of conversation not just me has held a hundred times here, similar to other popular topics like why are Farang so big and Thai people so small where I usually reply that Thai people and especially children don’t drink as much milk as westerners (which is kind of changing these days with those small 200ml milk bottles with different flavors selling quite well at 7-eleven at 12 Baht and even pretties promoting them in schools and offices). Similar popular is the question “why is it always so hot in Thailand”, when they see the snow or how people dress in Farangland in movies or in the news.

But let’s focus on today’s topic. It’s obvious if you look at the foreigner-oriented beer bars all over the country – the majority of girls have a tan and there’s two reasons for this.

First reason: Most westerners are attracted to tanned girls because of the shortage of tanned girls back home. At home, most girls have white skin (cooler climate) unless they run to the solarium several times a week and humans naturally find things more attractive that are special and not so common in their natural environment. Therefore, dark skinned Thai women seem more attractive to us because the majority of women in our home country do not have tan skin.

Second reason: In Thai society, light skin is a sign of prosperity since if you have enough money, you can stay inside all day and don’t have to work out in the heat while being exposed to the sun. As opposed to people upcountry working on the farms naturally have darker skin. Hence, it’s mainly those tanned girls from the poor families of the countryside who are working in the entertainment industry.

Very important side note: We are talking about the farang-oriented sex industry here. If you compare it with the girls who are working in the massage parlors or gentlemen clubs and cater to Thai and Asian clientele – these girls are white skinned as that’s what the locals find attractive, again they feel more attracted to them because white skinned girls are less common and thus more special than dark skinned girls. But then their price tag is also significantly higher than the one of girls in the beer bars!

Now what I found for myself, the longer I was living in Bangkok, the more I felt attracted to the light skin girls and I’m sure my preference slowly changed for the same reason: Light skin girls are less common here than tanned girls and thus more desirable and special. But at the same time I also learned that it’s more fun and more convenient to hang out with dark skin Thai girls. Let me explain this to you with my own personal experiences.

My light skinned girlfriend

Early last year I have had enough of meeting girls in the bars and nightclubs for one night stands and even the dating sites didn’t do it for me anymore. I’ve met about 10-15 girls within the first two months of the year mainly using Thai Friendly, not sure maybe I was picking too sexy girls, it usually turned out they had no interest in meeting me for the second time. No joke, I think they were just looking to fuck around but definitely not keen on having any kind of relationship.

What I was looking for was a girlfriend that I spent most of the nights of the week with since I was tired of hooking up with a new girl every week.

Then one day in late February I went to Central Lad Phrao with a good friend of mine back then, a widowed Bangkok girl with a 8-year old daughter in her early 30ies who works as a branch manager for several locations of True Coffee in Bangkok. So we went to their branch in Central Lad Phrao where she had to do some supervising or something like that.

Immediately when we walked into the cafe my eyes fell on her: She had relatively big and charming brown eyes, bleached shoulder long hair, fairly tall (1.73m as I learned later), white skin and thin but not skinny. She completely ignored my appearance. Well there were four other employees as well so what did I expect. She was beautiful, Thai style beautiful and the type that usually doesn’t look or smile at Farangs.

My friend immediately noticed that I was more or less starring at her, smiled and said: “sǔai mǎi (สวยไหม – beautiful?) Her name is Fern, she is from Khon Kaen and works here for two weeks as a trainee to learn everything and take a test.” Before I could say anything she quickly went over and asked her to introduce herself to me. So we did some small talk, I asked her about her name, where she was from, about her job etc. It turned out she was 26 and had been working as a model for the past ten years and done a Bachelor degree in communication at the Khon Kaen University.

My friend intervened and asked if she had a boyfriend yet and she said not yet and so my friend was like oh so you guys can exchange numbers. We all laughed but that’s what we did and I was grateful for my Thai friend to help me in this situation as I felt it would have been nearly impossible to approach her on my own. She didn’t speak much English by the way, so all our conversations were in Thai, including writing messages on the phone.

A couple of hours after I left the cafe I wrote to her if she had plans for tonight and invited her to watch a movie at Central Rama 9 (we were both staying in that area, me in an apartment and she together with a friend in a hotel). She said “dâai” (ได้ – can) and there I had my first date with a real beautiful white skinned Thai girl I was always dreaming of from the day I started to learn Thai. And even better, I was her first Farang to date.

The movie was okay, even though I couldn’t concentrate on watching the story too much as I was thinking about what would happen after. Not that much actually, I brought her to the hotel and that was it. I held her hand as we walked which was a good start. I didn’t even try and invite her to my room that night. A few days later we went to the cat cafe in Thong Lor which she loved, took lots of pics and uploaded and tagged us on facebook. This time I asked her if she wanted to hang out at my place for a while but she said no, that would be too quick. I understood and was even happy that I found a girl who seemed to have a good character.

On our third date we went to a local restaurant in Huai Kwang with a friend of hers who picked us up with the car and this was the first time I wasn’t 100% happy – they were using the impolite pronouns “guu” and “mueng” amongst others when talking to each other. That’s usually not a big deal among very good friends but I still didn’t like that rude way of talking. And then it also turned out they were both good drinkers (dʉ̀ʉm lâo gèng – ดื่มเหล้าเก่ง – good at drinking alcohol), we ordered a few beers for the dinner and it wasn’t me who drunk the most.

I didn’t care much at that point and invited her again to come to my apartment that night. This time she said okay and so her friend dropped us there while repeatedly telling me to take care of her. We watched some Thai TV and she spent the whole night with me – but she didn’t take off her clothes even while sleeping. She was very strict and I didn’t urge her to do anything since all I wanted at that time was a relationship with a beautiful Thai girl. And I was on the right track.

For our next date we met after work (we both finished at 6pm), had some dinner at the Tops food court at Central Rama 9 and then decided to buy Sang Som, soda and ice, take it to my place, drink and watch a movie. And I don’t know what made it for her – the alcohol or the fact that this was our fourth date already – she finally allowed me to touch more than her hands and face and for the first time we made love.

I really liked Fern. She was damn beautiful and all my friends told me I did such a great job with her when they saw our romantic pics on facebook that she always uploaded, decorated and wrote small parts of poetry around it. It was really lovely how she showed our moments to all her and my friends on the internet. However, what wasn’t that lovely was that she was kind of addicted to her phone and even when we were sitting at the table eating, most of the time she was checking her facebook and line and so we never really didn’t talk that much with each other.

Still I was happy to have such a beautiful girlfriend and when she left for Khon Kaen the following week to work at the True Coffee in Central Plaza over there, I booked a flight to come visit her a couple of weeks later. When I arrived, she didn’t come to pick me up at the airport, she said there’d only be one motorcycle in her family and her younger sister would be using it.

I went to see her in the cafe and during her lunch break we went around town. To the temple, to the lake and in the evening I came again to pick her up. She was going to some cosmetics store and picked up creams, at the counter she stood still for about 2 seconds before taking out her wallet to pay for it. She didn’t ask, but I think she kind of expected that I payed for it. And wherever we were going I was the one to pay the bills. Not just in the restaurants, but also for smaller things like taxi rides or even in Khon Kaen on the songthaew the 8 baht each, she just wouldn’t pull out her wallet and pay the smallest things. She never asked for any money, but whenever we were together, she expected me as her boyfriend to pay.

That night in the hotel she came out of the bathroom after taking a shower and lay down on the bed. She told me she had her period so we couldn’t have sex. I was only there for 2 nights so what a nice surprise! She didn’t even jerk me off or anything. Don’t ask me why, for some reason I didn’t even dare to ask her to do so.

I flew back to Bangkok and just like before, we wrote messages on line but she never called me. Not even on my birthday in April. She uploaded a really sweet picture of us on my birthday with sweet decoration and text to show all her friends how happy we were but in real life I just didn’t find it sweet at all that she never had the desire to hear my voice.

Then Songkran came. I asked her if she wanted to come to Bangkok for the holidays but she said she really wanted to be around her family which of course I respected. Since the flight tickets were either sold out at that time or totally overpriced I decided to take a night bus on Friday the 11th after work. With just two hours delay I arrived in Khon Kaen early Saturday morning. Guess what, again she didn’t come to pick me up from the bus terminal. Again an issue with the motorcycle and she had to work at 10am and I would surely be tired from the trip so I should better take a rest in the hotel for a few hours.

Anyway this second trip to Khon Kaen was more or less a disaster. We had our first fight after I confronted her why she didn’t talk with me much but rather with her friends and usually about me and not so much with me. At some point I was bringing up the money thing and why she couldn’t pay even for the little things. She said that it’s just the culture in Isaan that the men take care of the women, at least when they are going out together. And then we were sitting at some outdoor bar drinking beer and her younger sister handed her a cigarette. I told her that I don’t want her to smoke. She made an annoyed face and said okay fine.

Then after “playing water” all day we went to U-Bar, the most popular night club in Khon Kaen, and she ordered a bottle of Red Label for all of us (we were about eight, but there were people coming and going all the time). After a couple of hours around 1am I felt tired from being out all day and also the music was terribly loud and I just wanted to take a shower and change my clothes. But she was not cool with that, maybe because she got a good table, maybe because she was a well known person in that club. We had an argument outside and finally she agreed and we went home. We didn’t speak any more that night but the following day all was good again.

I went back to Bangkok and after a few days I asked her when she would have time to come visit me here. She said it would be difficult as she didn’t get many holidays at the cafe and she also didn’t want to move and work here because then no one would take care of her mom. Her mom was divorced and there was still Fern’s younger sister but it’s traditionally the duty in Isaan of the oldest child to look after both the parents and the younger siblings. I understood and respected that.

But what I didn’t understood is why she didn’t take any much effort to make our relationship work and worthwhile other than uploading our pics on facebook to show everyone how happy we were even though that wasn’t true, if at all only in a few moments we were going on a trip or lying in bed. I confronted her with all those things, why she never called me, why she wasn’t much interested in what I’m doing, why she didn’t come to pick me up from the airport and bus station, why she had to smoke and drink so much, why she actually doesn’t care about me much at all, that I wouldn’t be stupid not to feel that. It wasn’t the first time we had an argument but this time I literally wrote that full list to her and all she answered was “lɛ́ɛo ngai” (แล้วไง) – so how? I said “lʉ́k gan dii gwàa” (เลิกกันดีกว่า) – better to break up and she wrote “ʉʉm” (อืม) – very informal way of agreeing to what has been said or suggested.

I felt really bad for quite a few days as I knew it would be hard to find such a beautiful Thai girl as my girlfriend again, but I also knew that it was the right decision. And how I like to say today: You better rent beautiful and white skinned Thai girls for a couple of hours but don’t get into a relationship with them. They’re not just expensive but also not much fun being with except in bed. Beautiful Thai girls are high maintenance and need to be taken around and entertained all the time.

In Thai, there is a saying that applies to beautiful and desirable women which explains why they often don’t take much effort with their boyfriends:

  • lʉ̂ak dâai (เลือกได้) = can choose – if you don’t like her behavior she can quickly find some other man who takes care of her better

I was quite happy to be single again for a few months and at that time I was also working a lot, both at my full time job at the legal office and on my Thailand Redcat blog which got more and more people reading it every month which made me quite motivated but for some reason it took me one year to write about my Khon Kaen model girlfriend. The experience was interesting but I just wanted her to get out of my head. So about half a year ago I found a new girlfriend and that’s what made me decided today to eventually write it all down and compare my experiences.

My dark skinned girlfriend

I met May (name changed) on her first day working at Chester’s Coffee in Fortune Town, the office building where I was (and still am) working. She was 21, had short hair and a short body of 1.49m, tan skin but not that dark, a little chunky and so more or less the opposite of Fern but by no means fat and big nice breasts (which my ex hadn’t). She was half Lao and her skin was even more soft like silk than that of the average Thai girl.

At first she seemed a bit shy but still nice and talkative. She was cute but it wasn’t that “wow” effect you have all the time here and so I didn’t immediately think I wanted to date her. Then a week later I had lunch at the food court and that was the first time I met her outside work as she came there with her friend. As she saw me she smiled and so we started talking and eating together.

Turned out she didn’t speak much English either so we talked all in Thai. She was curious about all sorts of things, why I came to work in Thailand (the standard question), what my job is about, how long I have been living here, how I learned to speak Thai so well etc. During that meal she asked me more questions in 20 minutes than Fern did during our first 3 dates.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad sign at all if Thai girls are a bit shy and not that talkative in the beginning, but for Fern that just wouldn’t change much and she’d never showed much interest about my life in general even after weeks and months. May was just the opposite and that’s what I experience here all the time: The more beautiful and white skinned the girl, the less effort she makes in building a good relationship. More average and darker skin girls like May are the opposite and try to make you feel comfortable and happy by just being together.

On our first date after work we went for dinner at Esplanade before strolling around in the bookstore – which was more fun than it sounds like and an activity I could not have imagined doing with Fern. Anything fun thing we did together usually involved spending money. Of course I invited May back to my room for a movie, more or less to test her, but she said not today. Just like with my ex model girlfriend it was the fourth date until we had sex.

May was great fun whenever we were together and that was almost every single night of the week. Some days I would say I needed a break and even then she would write me asking what I’m doing and then call me before going to bed. In Thai this is called “bpen hùang” (เป็นห่วง), more or less worrying and caring about someone – a characteristic my former model girlfriend clearly didn’t have or show.

May earns about 10,000 baht a month at Chester’s Coffee and even with this low budget she regularly paid for different things – food, drinks, 7-eleven, laundry, taxi etc. Needless to say that she also did all the work in the apartment means cleaning, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, ironing my clothes. She was always up to do anything I suggested including going to the gym (turned out she was quite fit and used to ride the bicycle a lot) and when she didn’t feel like exercising she still came with me and waited on a bench while reading a book or playing on her phone.

  • lɛ́ɛo dtɛ̀ɛ (แล้วแต่) = up to you – you decide whatever you want to do and I’m happy with it

You may wonder why this story of my tan skinned girlfriend May is much shorter than the first one. Well, that’s probably because there isn’t much to complain about. Or maybe because we are still together now, six months after we started dating and exactly one year after I broke up with Fern. The longest relationship I had with a Thai girl was 15 months. Bim, a student from Kanchanaburi at that time and quite similar to May, not actually beautiful but a cutie with nice curves, fun to be with and I think the only reason I broke up is because I was just 23, kind of got bored of her and just didn’t want to commit to someone yet.

Let’s see what happens next. For now I’m really happy to have an average looking, but cute and nice Thai girlfriend with a great character and then “renting” some light skinned girl for a couple of hours every once in a while really works for me since:

Dark skinned Thai girls are more fun than white skinned Thai girls.

About Redcat


Redcat lives his dream by living and traveling in Thailand. On Thailand Redcat he shares his experiences and advice to all aspects of (night)life in Thailand. Redcat is also fluent in Thai both spoken and written and is author of the books Thai Beginner’s Course and Thai Love Course.

21 Responses

  • ron goddard says:

    i married a white thai girl over two years ago. met her on ‘asian dating‘ ..from udon thani area..’da’. about 5’5″ and most attractive lady. we have had arguments and etc. but i cannot live without her. she worked in sugar cane cutting most of her life..but is bright as. and smooth silky skin, figure like coke bottle. beats all those western models hands down. and very basic in her demands. i am boss in finance and men things and she is the ‘carer’ for me. nice. we have been together for over 4 years now. i have never been to a beer bar or met any ladyboys. I must be lucky man i guess. cheers.

  • mondo says:

    I am dating a thai ladyboy. Beautiful. No surgeries yet, only some hormones. She always messages me to tell me how much she loves me and send cute little emoji on the Line app. We get along great and she seems to have a good heart. I met her at a beer/massage shop. If we go out before her quitting time I pay the bar fine but she never asks for more money. We are intimate. Only thing is when sometimes when we are together, my gut picks up something not right. Can’t explain it. Body language that makes me feel I am being played. So I told her I wanted to cool things off for a while, immediate tears in the eyes, but not sobbing. I was wondering if heard of this happening from a person that has learned the game and is just being a good actor. It seemed legit to me. Thanks for all your experience.

  • siam says:

    the original thai/tai/dai are light skinned, not dark skinned. The black people are mon people native of southeast asia who had been colonized by white thai/tai/dai who sacked down Khmer Empire, Mon Empire 700 years ago. Durng colonization by light skinned thais/tai/dai, the original thai/tai/dai also intermarried with native black mon people, producing a certain small group of white/black mixes whose skin was lighter than their black ancestry. since then. Even though as the migrant coloniizer, the original thai/tai/das were in fact fewer in nunber than the native black mon people and had been finally absorbed by the black mon majority’s blood until the original appearance of original thais/tai/dais have disappeared. A certain amount of light skinned people in thailand are in fact have the white thai/tai/dai ancestry, not only the recent chinese ancestry. Many of my friends have light skin but their ancestry is not chinese, and they are just a minority.

  • Lib Penn says:

    I don’t share the fact that we tend to love what is scarce. I think it is a personal taste although that can also be affected by whatever is around us (ads, tv, …). I love darker skin. Is that not what white girls do here? Burn their skin to make it darker and attractive? Pale, ashy skin is NOT attractive at all

  • Tantawan says:

    I disagree and agree on some points.

    Yes it is true in Thailand, the fairer you are, the more attractive and appealing you become towards others. It has always been this way in society. Girls no matter what, always try to achieve fairer/white skin.

    The “whiter” you are the more popular you become. Naturally, they’ll take great lengths to whiten their skin, including whitening jabs, pills, cream etc. Cover up from head to toe or slab on thick amount of sunscreen when they’re out and about.

    It mainly comes down to history where in Bangkok, Thai-Chinese, makes up most of the upper class. Thai girls with fairer skin are mainly perceived to be much more high maintenance due to their upkeep. It cost a lot to maintain their white skin. Though, not all of them.

    I should know because I come from Nan. My family is in a village high up in the mountains, tanned brown skins because we’re farmers. I was naturally born fair, too fair (due to my father’s Chinese heritage) and it wasn’t exactly a good thing. No one approached me, it’s like I’m the outcast.

    I could understand now why farangs goes for tan/darker skin Thai ladies. :) Though, white skin or dark skin, there are bound to be women who’ll use a farang for money. It’s considered an achievement (brag worthy) to be with a farang whether they’re short/tall, handsome or ugly.

    To them, a farang is like a golden ticket out from a life of poverty and hard work into a life of relaxing luxury.

    • Bob Smith says:

      You sound pretty switched on Tantawan. What is the best way for a mature faring man to meet nice mature Thai ladies?

      • John says:

        MMM interesting comments and Ive met a girl from in Bangkok who came from Buriram.province shes no model kind of short dark and imperfect teeth..so why did I fall in love with this woman? …ok she loves me and to bits so she says but I look at her sometimes and think OMG you are so Beautiful that I cant explain totally why except something from within her and her expression and demeanour…dammit its love!

  • Doug says:

    Since 2000, my first trip to Thailand, I have always said that one day I will marry a Thai girl. Have been to Pattaya & BKK 7 times since & always enjoyed the company of a Thai girl but always Beer Bar girl. Then 4 years ago I came across a Thai woman here in Canada, got to know her a little. Then she asked me what I did for a living, I told her I have a small business & take care of my mother(this was the key). Later she told me that she had a cousin in Thailand that was interested in meeting me, a farm girl from Issan but not a model. I thought just how big is this woman(I only go with women that weigh less than me). Well I finally met her, 45kg, 5 ft tall long beautiful black hair, tanned silk smooth skin & cute. We have been happily married now for 3 yrs. I spend my winters in 30c rather than -30c, & looking to move to Thailand permanently. I will teach English in the village & live in paradise. Only draw back is some of the food I still cant handle but simple solution, we go to Udon once a month for Western food. Better than winning to lottery.

  • Skins says:

    I love all Asian girls from the short “black” Isaan girls to the tall milky white China dolls. Racism is very real in Asia and they judge each other quick. Just look at all the Thai drama shows on TV and the ads running on the BTS. WHITE WHITE WHITE!!!

    I think a lot of the darker girls do more to hold onto their man because they have lower self esteem. They know that a HISO Thai man looks at them like we look at a 300 pound white woman. They don’t want anything to do with them. Hey that works out for us farang! :)

  • Harvie says:

    Nice article, bit weird how on this side of the world everyone strives to be white while on the other side everyone is jumping into tanning beds.

    Long as they have a nice rack and are less than 15% bf, I don’t care what color they skin is.

    • Redcat says:

      Yeah, it is strange indeed. I think it’s because people just want to be different than everyone else, or like men to have someone different than everyone else.

      Back in the west, most people are white skinned so they want to be tan skinned (or have someone tan skinned).
      Here in Thailand, most people are tan skinned and want to be white skinned (or have someone white skinned).

    • Eve says:

      True. I am black and back in my country all the whites especially on the beach strive to get some tan before going back home but in Thailand it is quite the opposite. When we walk around with my white bf Thais look at him like he is blind or out of his mind…

  • Aline says:

    Pd: my english sucks lol

  • Aline says:

    Im tan now im offended! Haha a joke , i jump reading everything about thailand cuz i was planning to go soon for my holidays, and seems a nice place, even with your sad stories (sorry you had to pass for that) but thats life, learning from mistakes is the best.
    The latin dark skin girl lol

  • rick clausen says:

    Good stuff. I would like to expand a little though; beautiful women (especially models) in general across the globe are very self absorbed and do not feel the need to put forth much into a relationship because they are so used to being bombarded with niceties and entertainment for just breathing.

    As you pointed out, they make great arm candy and fuck toys, but that is about the extent for me.

    My favorite poster shows this incredibly hot chick and the caption reads,” Somewhere out there, is a guy who was tired of putting up with her shit.”

    My Thai wife is mocha dark, which I find very attractive, but looks is a bonus. At the end of the day, it is character and respect that leads the way.

    By the way, your Thai language book is awesome.

  • Dobberdude says:

    Great article…..My thai GF lives in KK and she always meets me at the airport she is very attractive 30 dark skin but with kids…..So maybe it is like in the states…the more options she has the worse GF she is going to be….always looking for a better deal. Your insights are most appreciated…Keep it up!

    • Redcat says:

      Cheers man, agreed. And the girls here are exclusively “valued” by their attractiveness and beauty rather than their character and education – and least from the local men.

  • Zero says:

    Wow had almost the same experience as yours except the skin tones were reversed.

    I think its more to do with whether they are hot or cute.

    Thank you for sharing the story it really is helping through my break up.

    • Redcat says:

      Sure, you could also add the more likes they get for their selfies on facebook the more self confidence they gain and that makes them change their behavior in relationships to some extent as well.

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