The Truth About Isaan Girls

Last updated: December 11th, 2018 | in Isaan | Thai Girls

Isaan Girl

Can you imagine Thailand without its Isaan people? Or let me put it another way: Do you even want to imagine this country without Isaan? Probably not.

Why am I asking this? Well, it’s because you meet people from northeastern Thailand everywhere you go: The hotel receptionist in Koh Pha Ngan, the housekeeper at your apartment in Hua Hin, the taxi driver in Bangkok, the bar girl in Pattaya.

Out of the four regions of Thailand, none of them has nearly as many people leaving their homes to work in other parts of the country, especially in the big tourist centers. I’m not only talking about prostitutes here, but I will come back to this category in a moment.

And besides that the northeastern region, that’s more commonly referred to as Isaan, is the biggest of all regions in Thailand, consists of 20 provinces and is a true paradise for off the beaten track traveling (and mongering).

But let’s be honest: When you hear someone saying “Isaan” you probably don’t think of taxi drivers in Bangkok or Wat Nong Wang in Khon Kaen. What you rather think about are Isaan girls or women and the experiences you have made with them. And the opinions you have about them. Or maybe the prejudices you have about them?

Because this is the point: There is no other topic that’s so controversially discussed in the foreign men community in Thailand as whether Isaan girls are good or bad, what characteristics they have, what you can expect when meeting one of them in the bars, when dating one of them, when marrying one of them and so on. Everyone likes to think that he is the expert on this topic, but what is really the truth about Isaan girls?

The Most Common Prejudices About Isaan Girls

If you stay in Thailand for a while, you will sooner or later talk with expats or long term tourists who will come with their “I have seen it all” attitude and tell you like the prophet of the new world: “Stay away from Isaan girls. They are selfish and only want your money. They say they are single but they have a boyfriend or even husband they don’t want you to know about. They are lying a lot. And if you meet her somewhere out of Isaan then they probably also have a baby that’s back in their province with the grandma.”

The family. If you mention this word in combination with Isaan girls to many expats in Thailand they will tell you all sorts of different stories about how her family would always be more important in her life than you could ever be. And that at the same time you should prepare for being the sole financial caretaker not only her but also for her mother and father and probably also for her brothers, grandparents, dogs and chicken in their home’s backyard up in good old Isaan.

Sounds horrible? It is. And that’s not because any of these arguments, or prejudices I should say, about Isaan girls were true about the majority of these girls. What I mean is that most of the Farangs who tell you such things have no idea what they are talking about. And the reason for that is because most of them only get to know one type of Isaan girls: The hookers.

Of course hookers are all about money. That’s their job. And of course you shouldn’t take everything serious about what they are telling you about their marital status, how old they are, when they had sex for the first time, how long they have worked in the bar and so on. Would you trust and fall in love with prostitutes in your home country? Probably not. A lot of Farangs here think that prostitutes in Thailand are different than prostitutes in their home countries. Think again.

I know I’m writing a lot about hookers and the red light scene on Thailand Redcat. But I’m also regularly trying to show you the bigger picture – and if you look at the bigger picture you will see only a small fraction of bar girls among the millions of girls from northeastern Thailand and if you look at the “normal” girls then you will discover completely different characteristics compared to the ones described above.

What Isaan Girls Are Really Like

If you ever had an Isaan girl as your girlfriend who was not working in the bar then you will know from your own experience what I’m about to talk about. You will probably be like me and don’t even listen to the desperate Farangs in the bars anymore who tell you about all their terrible experiences. I have written more than 800 words in this article and think it’s now time for the most important of all statements I make here:

Most Isaan women take care of their men in the best way possible.
pûu-yǐng ii-sǎan sùan-mâak duu-lɛɛ pûu-chaai dii tîi-sùt.

You can call yourself lucky if you have an Isaan girl as your girlfriend or wife. You probably know the saying “once you go Asian, you never go Caucasian“. I would even go a step further and say: Once you go Isaan, you never go another type of Asian again.

If you have come in contact with girls from other regions of Thailand you will know that southern Thai girls are more rough and less sensitive, and that central Thai girls (especially from Bangkok) are a lot more career-oriented and “emancipated” than Isan girls. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there is nothing compared to Isaan girls in the way they make you feel like a man and do things for you that you would never have expected possible after dating girls in your home country.

At the same time you should be aware of one thing: Of course you will be expected to be the main financial caretaker in a relationship with an Isaan woman. But that’s just the same with any type of Thai women or Asian women in general. And what you get back from Isaan women for providing for them is usually much more than from any other type of women I know.

I have been to all neighbor countries of Thailand and also in the Philippines and Indonesia, and nowhere I have experienced anything comparable to the empathy and kind heartedness of Isaan women. Sure, if you know a bit about how women are like in those countries and be a nice and gentle guy it won’t be hard to meet and sleep with girls anywhere, but what I’m talking about is a relationship with girls and that’s where I cannot see anyone compete.

I currently have an Isaan girlfriend (she is actually half Lao and half Isaan Thai, from Udon) and she is doing everything you can imagine for our relationship, from doing housework and cooking to all the small little things like sending me messages every day when she is at work or in college about how my work is going today, if I have eaten yet etc. She couldn’t be more caring about my happiness and well-being. She has never asked for money but at the same time I want to take her to nice restaurants, buy her new shoes or a backpack and take her on a trip from time to time.

Ask anyone who has been in a relationship with an Isaan girl for more than two years who is not a bar girl about how they feel about Isaan girls and they will highly probably tell you that they are the best kind of women for relationships in the world.

Taking Care Of Her Family

This is one of the issues that causes the biggest misunderstandings and problems in Thai-Farang relationships. A lot of farangs just don’t understand that in Thai society the young people take care of their parents when they get older. It’s actually the same principle in western countries: You pay money into the retirement fund that is being distributed among the retired people. The only difference is that in Thailand people do it by themselves.

As I’m sitting here and writing these lines I have just confirmed with my girlfriend how it usually works among the Thais: Assuming the Thai guy earns 20,000 Baht a month then he would usually pay his Isaan girlfriend a salary (ngǝn-dʉan, เงินเดือน) of about 3,000-6,000 Baht a month. She would then transfer most of that money to her family to support them. They call that “to help a little bit” (chûai bâang, ช่วยบ้าง).

Yes, this practice is more common if you have a girlfriend from Isaan and less common if you have a girlfriend from southern Thailand. The main reason for that is because the Isarn is the poorest region of Thailand due to the dryness and few natural resources. Their main source of income is rice production. They don’t get much from tourism like other regions of Thailand that also have more natural resources like water, fruit, vegetables etc.

And no, this practice of supporting the girlfriend’s or wive’s family isn’t exclusively expected from Farangs. Because that’s what a lot of people falsely assume. They think only they need to pay because they are regarded as the “rich foreigner”. The truth is that if the family asks for support then that would also be the case if the girl had a Thai boyfriend instead of a Farang.

That said, it’s not always the case that you are expected to pay money if you have an Isaan girlfriend. Like in my case, I was never asked for it thus far. And I know more than enough people to confirm that not everyone pays. And even if you pay them 4,000 Baht a month – what’s the point? It shouldn’t be your main concern to pay this kind of money but rather to be ambitious and make a lot of money so you can support for a great life for you, your girlfriend and your future family.

What do Foreigners like about Isaan Girls?

I could have also written “what do men like about them” because it’s not just us foreigners who adore Isaan girls – many Thai guys feel the same way. I remember when I visited Roi Et earlier this year and met a Thai couple in the White Elephant restaurant. It turned out that the guy was from Bangkok and was visiting his girlfriend in Roi Et.

When she went to the bathroom we took a short break from playing pool and I asked him how he felt about Isaan girls. He just confirmed what I told you earlier by saying that they are kind-hearted and take care of the men extremely well (jai-dii, ใจดี and duu-lɛɛ dii, ดูแลดี). They are extremely grateful for everything you do for them, great mothers, open minded and loyal. If you have doubts about this, again ask yourself where you have met the girl.

Apart from these great characteristics it gets even better if you consider how attractive and beautiful most Isaan women are. It feels like the further north you go in Thailand, the smoother the skin of the girls gets. Sure, you can meet nice and attractive girls anywhere in Thailand, but girls from the northeast just seem to be a category of their own with their beautiful curves, black hair, dark eyes and skin like silk in combination with their unique charisma, charm and smile.


I know it’s not usually a good idea to make general statements about certain groups of people. However, I just felt this post was necessary since you hear so many foreigners complain about Isaan girls when they really only know bar girls or simply don’t respect the rule of giving and taking in relationships with girls in this country.

What’s wrong about paying your girlfriend a monthly salary of 5,000 Baht? I know foreigners who have happy relationships and marriages with Isaan women and don’t even want them to work and pay them significantly more than that. It works just fine because in turn they get an amazing partner who isn’t only sweet and attractive but who takes care of them and the whole family in the best possible way.

I have mentioned it a few times on this website: This idea of relationships was exactly the same back in the western world not too long ago. The men earned the money, the women took care of the rest (yes, very simplified). Now that women have changed and become “emancipated” many men are fed up with this attitude and look for a Thai or Isaan girl. This is fine, but you should not forget to do your own part to make the relationship work. It’s not only about taking but also about giving.

21 Responses

  • Gideon Arava says:

    You full of it . You write of the issane girls in a positive way but I have been here for seven years and tell you this : Issan girls all hate men and hate sex they are all acting like they love
    You but it’s just money they interested in .
    On second date with them they were ugly clothes and put no makeup and look like mountain girls . After getting you to fall in love with them they do everything to avoid having sex with them and always claim they tired .
    My biggest concern is they don’t speak English . They know few words and now you have agirlfriend whom you can run any discussion in English . They are good to marry if you old and sick and need an aid with everything but if you young they are very good for sex but fuck them and leave them the next morning.

  • Saamee Farang says:

    Guys…. Yes… All said hereabout Issan Girls is SO True….

    10 Years married to the same Issan ( Korat ) girl ( now longer than any marriage I have ever endured to a Western girl! )

    If you carefully pick the “Right One” she will look after you especially well.

    She has to Respect you, you have to be the boss ( none of this we are equal western nonsense ) you have to be ready and able to look after her and her Mum and Dad to some degree ( 4,000 baht a month here )

    The 1st 9 years we were in OZZY but now we live in Korat full time.

    They are the most loyal, sweetest, cutest and caring girls in Thailand in my humble opinion only…….

  • Rio says:

    I’m also an Asian guy but from other country, you are definitely right…it’s been 1 year I’m in relationship with isaan girl…I feel really good, she take care me well, understand me, makes me feel special and she never ask money from me.

  • john says:

    Leave the Isaan girl in Issan. Once you bring them to the west, they will westernize very quick. Then she is worse than the native western.

  • Areeya says:

    Hey there, I must agree you’ve discribed Isaan girls with 100% accuracy. I’m a Issan girl and I want to say Thankyou so much for writing something positive about my people. If you have any questions about Issan people, I’d be happy answer to the best of my ability 😊

    • Johan says:

      I have a woman from Isan
      The problem is not to help her family
      The problem is in not rich and pay rent and bills.i have not finacial problem because i have har loan a lot.
      And she want to send about 20000 Bath every month
      I Will help and i love her.
      But if i say i dont have money then she say …you dont care about us.she have a son 12 year

  • Jimbo says:

    Hi all, like your experiences, I am with a Pattaya ex bar girl, been 1 year now. We had THE discussion the first time I met her and set out the frame work for a relationship before I would go any further. I e who will I be paying for, how much and for how long???
    Do not, do not come back later for another bite of me was my stead fast approach.

    Deal done, just like negotiating to buy a new car with extras. 5000- mum per month, 5000 daughter until she finishes Uni ( 1 year)

    Now my daily battles with her are, – getting her to clean the Condo two times a day instead of the usual 3 times.

    – I can clean my own shoes and my motor bike helmet and everything else I own, you do not have to do it, or feed me, spoil me rotten. ( it is nice however, but I feel like she is a slave when actually she is doing the Issan wife thing)

    My advise to you, do your homework, learn about Issan women, what makes them tick. Make a deal, stick to it. Do not, Do not ever put anything in any other persons name but you own, think with your head, talk to Farang who appear to be on the level and not those who just think with their ——-.

    If you get it right, you will have a women who is DEDICATED to you. She will strive to please you in every way.

    Yes, she was a bar girl who worked for her only child and her mum ( dad died when she was 7.) I don’t blame her for selling her body, just annoys me that these girls have to do such a thing. If you spend time in the village and with the family, the turmoil that must have gone on in their heads at the time would have been incredible. From loving family to Bar girl and bar fines. Tough ask for any girl, any country.

    Good luck guys,

    • Bjarne Eriksen says:

      I shall just tell this, you are maybe correct, because, I did not even read your article, complete.
      I just say to your writing, there is 11 000 farang, staying happy in Udon, take away some few. WHY DO THEY DO IT, MAYBE THEY ARE HAPPY, AND THE uDON GIRL, HAPPPY, TOO???

  • A G says:

    You have describe girls from Isan well, the only comment I would add is 99% of Bar Girls would prefer to do other things to earn an income but they don’t have many options as far as work goes back home earning about 150 to 300 baht a day (if they can find work at all) and that doesn’t go very far when there other family member in the background wanting to eat a bowl of rice. They do what has to be “DONE” and if the best they can do is sell the only asset they possess they will do it to give to others. Not every family has land, in fact most are share cropping or only own a small parcel of land enough to grow their yearly rice consumption but that is another story of exploitation to be left for another time. I’ve been with my Isan ex bar girl for six years and couldn’t be happier with her ethos and how she conducts herself. She has only asked me once for money for a friend who ended up in hospital so how is that bad, nothing in Thailand is for free even for Thai’s. Maybe she’s figured me out as I can see all around her the poverty she grew up in and how her family struggle to survive. I do get rather annoyed when I hear of Farangs complain about giving a little back, western women take a heck of lot to keep them happy but most Isan girls only want enough to look after family, so again how is that bad? Not to mention the sort of money we are talking about to keep them happy wouldn’t amount to most Farangs smoking budget back home!

  • Linda says:

    I know a professor who married a nurse from Isaan. He spent 2 months in Thailand getting to know her before marrying. Prior to this, he had been scammed by another Thai nurse whom he had fallen in love with but found out she was seeing 2 other foreigners at the same time. All of these women were age appropriate and not too young compared to the professor, who is not in the least bit undesirable and can easily get women in the USA. What he wanted was a family for his young son, whose mother he was divorced from. Everything this article says about Issan women applies to this Thai nurse he married. She is completely devoted to the man, cooks, cleans impeccably, and apparently, is great in bed. However, after 7 years together, the professor tells me he has never actually trusted his wife and his feelings for her are greatly dimished due to her inability to get along with his son, whom she apparently considers a “threat”. Also, he complains about her jealousy. To be fair, the professor can be a bit of a cad. The future is uncertain for these 2.

  • Trevor says:

    Well, I have been dating an Isan girl now for about 3 years and have known her for about 10 years. met he in my country as she brought herself here and worked hard to get where she did get to. Have had a few relationship issues of course. Won’t get into that. She can be stubborn and she does love money. I do find she can be cold sometimes but that could be her character. The family, I met in Thailand’s Kantharalak has asked me for loans and I have invested in land for her. We are scheduled to get married and the famous “sinsod
    came up. Originally it was if I helped buy the land that would be enough but afterwards I was hit with 200 thousand Baht as an acceptable sinsod, which goes to the parents and no, this isn’t coming back. It is okay though as this isn’t so much given it helps the parents but they do have their own land as they are farmers.

    Opinions ?

  • Ian says:

    I am married to a beautiful Isan woman. Have been for 8 years. She is the best thing that has happened to me. Met on the internet and she is now an Aussie. Has never asked for money but she sends some of her hard earnef to support her family. She is extremely kind hearted, looks after my every need, has a great sense of humor, looks after my aging mother like she was her mother, is attentive to my grand kids, etc.
    I have only one regret I have never been let loose in Thailand by myself.

  • Chris C. says:

    This is without a doubt incredible. I’m seeing a girl from Sakon Nakhon and you guys nailed it about Isaan woman. It’s been a pleasure reading your posts. Enjoy Thailand! I certainly am!!

    • Pete says:

      Bizarre. Most people have no idea where Sakon Nakhon is.
      I also have a lady friend in SK and have spent time with her family and friends and They are all really good people.
      Hope it continues to go well for you.

  • Dave says:

    Sweet voices, soft black hair and gentle natures. Avoid the bar girls and massage girls like you would back home, and be patient, soft-spoken and as generous as possible and you’ll discover paradise in Esan.

  • Robert says:

    I have being seen a girl from Isaan for over a year now.
    Yes we first met in a bar last year and it was my first ever visit to Thailand.
    I have had my doubts many times about her at first but since then i have been back over 2 times and travelled to many islands and also Vietnam.
    She has been honest to me about her old work and also her ex Thai husband. She has 3 daughters too.
    I have already met two of them and also her father on two occasions.
    I read many horror stories about them having many different Farang/Thai boyfriends but the amount of time we have spent on skype/messenger makes me think she is being truthfull to me.
    She is living back home now and working on her farm and also making clothes.
    She calls me many times everyday, sometimes we could spend hours talking.
    I have a copy of her house deeds and her Passport as i am thinking of trying to get her a visa.
    Unusually she is 9 months older than me.
    She moved back home to make me believe that she was not trying to bullshit me and i know that was a big move for her as if i waked away it would cause her many problems.
    She works hard at home and i have seen the injuries she gets while farming.
    Her family think well of me especially her daughters and she is not shy of posting pictures of me on Facebook or talking to my family.
    I am just looking for some opinions, would an honest girl leave her old work and nice apartment to put her trust in someone so far away and also work in the hot sun just to set some small money for food e.t.c
    I plan on going over early next year and visiting her home.
    She likes many things i do and speaks great english.
    Does this seem like a common story or has she made a choice in life to have a better one with me ?

    • I have no name says:

      Yes I thought so too, the amount of time we sent snaps and chatted, she was busy working like a beaver during the rice period and so on and so on.

      Found out because I am good at finding out stuff and she was insanely good at hiding this, not a trace anywhere on her facebook (the ones I knew i about) or anything else about another guy.. I want to trust people so I wasn’t really asking or snooping her phone but she would sometimes want mine so I just did the same.

      Then she told me 4-5 weeks before that she has to go back home she is going to help her family with the rice and she has to work like crazy and the internet is not good for video calls but we can send messages and pictures.

      I trusted her like I would normally people, because we have to trust or this is useless.

      Woops, she had been prepping a visa for months with her ex who came after me but before we took back together.. She told her son and everyone that she was going home but kept it a secret. I just thought she was helping her mom and dad up in her home because she was a good girl.

      She would normally use things like “I was soooo busy” when I sent a “Good morning sweety”, because well it was only about 1am and not 9am, and then at 4pm my time (Thailand) she would send me “Oh good morning bae, I was so busy working today”.. Then around 8pm she would send a message telling me that she is so tired, she is going to sleep. When in reality it was 1pm and by sending this she was effectively signing off and I mean I am not disturbing her sleep.

      She got away with this for about 6 weeks of the 8, until I figured this out. When I did she said she went there to BREAK UP with him face to face and was waiting to come home to tell me. , and oh by the way. She was no bar girl and she has no bar girl life experience, I know her entire history.

      She may not be a bar girl but she was non the less, doing what so many do, improving her odds, she messed up a bit when she had a picture of herself in a vague area in a forest could be Isaan, but held a mug that had, that countries writing on it.

      All of this came home together and when I figured it out, everything else that was peculiar fell right into place and everything unraveled down to details before she “left for home”.

      Mark my words, this is the 3rd time this happens to me, but this was the worst time, this one stung the worst as it had been a long one, and we’d known each other before dating for over a year.

      She even sent me a photo saying she loves how she can trust me, and only me, that she knows I am the kind of guy for her.

      Im not saying every Isaan girl is bad, but their reputation is far from “Just few farangs that don’t know any better”.

      My girls were not bar girls, one worked on a hotel, this one worked as a taxi driver.. So they are not just bargirls, massage girls, and the rest of Isaan is awesome.

      Please also note I was not the cheap type, I paid her hospital bills, I paid her songs school tuition, I paid for new everything under the car for us, I gave her salary of 15k baht to have for herself and her family.. She still wanted to get more, and take the chance of rolling the dize…

      So just be careful, If you start having any doubts, something is off, then do the digging, do get her phone (I wouldn’t to western girl but from here on out, no way I wouldn’t even ask her to hand her phone to me if she really loved me). Check messages, check suspicious things she may do that are a bit off.

      It’s true there are always bad apples everywhere but let’s just say it’s harder for you to find the good ones than the bad ones especially if you live in a touristi area.. Maybe if you run into her in Roi Et for example but, run into her in Krabi or Phuket or somewhere else, buyer beware.

  • John Kavanagh says:

    Before recently visiting Thailand I read up on sites like this, which I found very helpful. As I intended to move to Thailand soon, I was looking for a long-term, affectionate relationship, not short term fun. This article influenced my thinking greatly, to the point of me going out of my way to meet Esan girls.

    The first two girls I met (through ThaiFriendly) were both Esan. The first date was with a nurse. I liked her a lot, and would have been prepared to get more serious, if she hadn’t taken money from my wallet while I was showering. Although I hadn’t planned this “test”, I took it as a price worth paying to know her character and, disappointed, moved on. Unfortunately the second Esan girl did the same thing.

    I’m sure as the previous contributors have pointed out, there are a lot of good, sincere Esan women, but I guess the fact they are not bar girls doesn’t mean they are angels.

  • Steve says:

    Hi Redcat, I am involved with an Issan girl from Udon right now so your article hits home with it’s truth and reality. The girl I am involved with comes from a farming family. She is not a bar girl and never been associated with that scene. Two things right off the top would have kept her away from that life anyway as she does not drink and hates cigarettes and smoke.

    She does have a gorgeous little girl (2 years old) from a Falang BF she met while working at Central Plaza Mall. Turns out this BF who got her pregnant, had another wife in Europe and a girl friend in Vietnam that he never told her about in fact lied about. When she was pregnant she suspected that he had another untold life and she asked him about this but he kept up his lie to her and being the trusting Issan girl she is she believed him. After the baby was born he told her about his other women and lives, dumped her and moved on. This girl suspected but none the less was crushed when I first met her 1 year after this happened to her. I have found her to be the most genuine inner and outside beautiful woman I have ever met. She is much younger than me (18 years) but she is very mature and you you can feel her passion and her true love (as most Issan women show) when you are with her or around her. She is genuine, never fake in her attitude or feelings. She is soft and femine like a woman but a little spirited too which I love. She is only 33 years old and as most women in Thailand feel when in their thirty’s they are “Old”. LOL I still can not get over that. She is a single mom who looks better and acts as good if not better than Ms Thailand. She is 5’2′ (157.5 CM) tall and weighs 110 lbs (50 KG) and feels she is fat. I tell her she is not fat but PHAT (Pretty Hot and Tempting) and she laughs. We get along great only one minor disagreement about her being jealous in the first year of our relationship (for no good reason on my part) but she is not like that anymore or at least openly showing it like before. I feel most Issan women are like this and it comes from their passion for their man and not wanting to lose them. Yes this passion transfers to the bedroom too and it is incredible but a true gentleman never gets into those details in public and I will not do that either. Their jealousy may be seen on our part (meaning men) as a annoying fault of theirs but to them it is an honest and sincere way of showing their love for you. Some Issan women I have seen and met are much more subtle about this with their man than others. That is my best way to explain the jealousy in Issan women and that took 2 years to see it that way with my eyes wide open.

    Our love has grown over the past 2 years and I am thinking of asking for her hand in marriage in early 2018. I know she would accept and take care of me as she takes care of everyone she loves. My Issan girl speaks very good english which has inspired me to learn Thai and with the internet and her help I now can converse in Thai but I can not write or read it. That might happen in the years to come but it is on me to want to do that not her. I have met her entire family (she only has Mom. Dad (both older than me) and 1 Brother (28) and 1 Sister (26) both married to Thai’s and both with 1 child each. Her childhood friends are great and I have not met a single bad person that she knows. I can say that everyone one that she knows and I have met is a genuine good person that shows an equal amount of love and respect back to me. I love Udon Thani and the people there and one day after we have spent 10 years or more in the U.S. we will buy property in Udon and build our house their to live out our remaining days in peace, happiness and harmony. It is dirt cheap there to live as compared to the U.S. (California) and the Thai medical system is probably the most advanced when compared to it’s surrounding neighbors (Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and little farther away Vietnam). Who would not want that kind of life? If your answer is “No” then there just in no pleasing you so move on. No in all serious meeting my Issan girl has changed my life in such a positive way that at this point in my life it feels unfair for me to be this happy. I wish everyone the same if not better than I have in life because if you achieve that level of happiness there is nothing that can make you really sad.