How Much Do You Drink In Thailand?

I regularly talk to my best friends in England and they’ll often ask me what crazy and wacky shit I have got up to in Thailand that week.

Over the last year or so my reply to their questions has been something along the lines of this:

“Mostly reading books, playing badminton and jerking off to Japanese porn using a VPN.”

To which they laugh and mock me by calling me a future pedophile and loser (like any best friends would mind you).

My ‘crew’ have all visited Thailand for 2-3 week holidays where they went full retard, partied most nights, sucked off ladyboys and gave zero fucks.

Now they expect my life to be like this too but they fail to understand that living here as an expat is very different.

One cannot sustain this type of lifestyle for ever without feeling the consequences later in life physically and financially.

Drinking kills productivity and health 

When I got here 4 years ago I drank often (3-4 times per week) and had a blast.

I’d often be spending $100~ each night, eating Burger King and the next day to cure my hangover and buying over the counter meds for my herpes outbreaks.

Today I seldom drink and pretty much quit binge drinking.

Just last week a friend said:

“Harvie is a boring bastard, he never goes out or has any fun any more”

And my transgender friend is right.

The way I see it is: if I drink once per week (warning, I’m about to talk about math) that’s 52 days of the year I’m not being productive, and the day after is a wasted too because I’m hungover AF (as fuck).

Which now makes 104 days (30%) of the year spent on drinking and recovering.

drinking in thailandNow if we combine this with the normal holidays I take, I typically go on holiday once per month for 4 days, that’s another 48 days. Now we’ve got it to 42% of the entire year I am not being productive.

For someone who has no pension and lives in a foreign country, if I don’t want to end in a 9-5 job I need to make sensible moves.

If we added costs for drinking once per week, recovery and loss of earnings it would be something like $10,000+ per year.

You may be thinking how can you spend $100 on a night out? Well I’ll often go out in a group and we’ll get anywhere between 2-6 bottles over the night including mixes which really adds up. Craft beers can cost as much as 400b+ per bottle too!

If I added ‘take home entertainment’ once a month to the calculation above, that number would increase dramatically.

So many people have the misconception (or my audience at least) that being in Thailand is all about having a blast giving zero fucks.

That’s all well and good if you only want to stay here for a short while and return home. But as a long-term plan it’s not that great or wise… unless you want to be one of them expats in a Singha vest at Nana Plaza 2pm on a Monday afternoon.

I’m an easy going guy but so many people get into fights or run over by cars when drunk in Thailand. I know a handful of people personally who have been hit by cars while intoxicated which is kind of crazy as I know zero in England.

Bangkok expat drinking culture

If I went out 2-3x a week in England binge drinking for a year, my friends and family would sit me down and tell me that I’m being a degenerate and that I need to sort my life out.

They would be right too, drinking that often is not wise, productive and extremely harmful to my internal organs.

In Thailand I don’t have anyone telling me:

“Harvie, maybe you ought to stop drinking, you only have one liver brah”

Instead, they say:

You’re a fucking phaggot brah, what you mean you aren’t drinking?”

I’ll say the same too, if I’m drinking and one of my friends isn’t, I will call his mother every name under the sun and more until he gets as wasted as me.

As I’ve mentioned in other articles on my website, making great relationships in Thailand is hard, and a percentage of friends we all have here are merely drinking buddies and people we would never associate with back home.

If one of my best friends was binge drinking 3+ times a week in England I would without a doubt intervene, here if a friend does it I egg him on and call him a sick kunt for staying out until closing time.

Because our family and best friends aren’t here to put us in check, many people (including myself for the first few years) go wild which doesn’t set us up the future in Thailand or Asia.

You have to self-regulate your actions in Thailand to make sure you don’t go over the edge and be broke begging on the streets, or become the next ‘rooftop suicide’.

Any day of the week you can go out anywhere in Bangkok and there’s several clubs and bars packed every single night. Not to mention there will be girls throwing themselves at you, making it a playground for idle hands.

Back in my home town there’s nothing to do until the weekend, and even then it’s only busy at the end of the month when everyone gets paid.

I don’t miss drinking, but I do miss the banter

As with most things in life, we learn from our mistakes.

While I’ve not gone out as much as I’d like over the last year, I’ve been way more productive and reached several of my goals for the year already (go me!).

Having said that, I do feel that saying no to every invite on a night out is not the answer, as for me male bonding is a huge factor to my happiness.

I enjoy meeting my friends and shooting the shit over a couple beers or going out on wild nights from time to time.

I think in the coming months I’ll be going out a lot more but will replace the whiskey shots with Singha bottled water. And instead of leaving Swing at 9am, I’ll head home around 3am with a fine Thai dime piece on my arm.

The older I get the more I value my sleep. I won’t let anything stop me getting at least 7 hours of sleep per day. The only time that doesn’t have is when I drink excessively or have to catch a long-haul flight.

Not to mention there’s nothing more I hate than having a huge hangover and not being able to leave my bed.

As with all things in life there’s a balance, before I went out too much and but wasn’t being productive, then I was being ‘too’ productive and watched life pass by.

Hopefully in the coming months I’ll find a middle ground where I can get the best of both worlds. Go out and have a sickening time with friends but get home without a huge hangover and manage to get a great night’s sleep.

What about you?

If you’ve lived in Thailand for any prolonged amount of time, how much of you year is spent drinking and nursing hangovers?

Do you disagree with anything I say? If so leave a comment below.

  • PS: I’ve amassed quite a lot of emails over the last few months and my email service is blasting me up the ass with monthly payments. I was thinking about setting up a Patron account where my readers can donate $1-2 per month to get me emailing you when a post is up and perhaps even buy equipment to do a weekly podcast. If you would donate let me know in the comments so I can get an idea of what I can do in the coming months. Thanks!

17 thoughts on “How Much Do You Drink In Thailand?

  1. Nico
    16 April, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Harvie,

    Back to your best material mate I hope you’re having a blast.

    1. 16 April, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks Nico, glad this type of content is more to your liking :D.

  2. Pat
    17 April, 2016 at 4:28 am

    My months trip last month, which included a week on Ko Bulone, was totally booze free, as I think my body/brain has gone as far as it can go on the piss. I’m not being some choirboy, just that I actually couldn’t be bothered.

    It meant enjoying full days and mornings with a clear head…rather than the bleary eyed mess that used to emerge from my pit at 2pm in my drinking days

    Strange thing I first found being more sober was having a lot of spare cash.

    1. 17 April, 2016 at 5:00 am

      Yes Patt. I enjoy days more with a clear head than a banging headache and hangover.

  3. lost
    19 April, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    you have failed if you can’t get wasted when you want. what is the root cause of your failure herb?

    1. 19 April, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      I don’t want to get wasted at all. Maybe I’m getting old?

  4. SG
    23 April, 2016 at 1:18 am

    I spent 3.5 months in Bangkok last summer and partied about 3 nights a week. Cost me some serious dough and probably liver-life but hey I was swimming in pussy. Would have been a different story if I wasn’t leaving though, I wanted to make the most of my limited time.

    The trend you’re describing is happening to me back in Canada. Might just be a product of age. How old are you if you don’t mind me asking? Out of curiosity.

    Btw those 104 days are misleading because you aren’t spending the entire first day drinking are you?? Lol.

    1. 23 April, 2016 at 4:08 am

      I’m in my late 20s, the number may be misleading but sometimes I’ll feel like crap for two days after drinking so decided to work it out as I did.

      1. SG
        23 April, 2016 at 4:49 am

        Damn that’s a huge cost to one night of drinking. I definitely noticed hangovers hit me harder in Thailand but couldn’t pin down the cause. Probably a combination of humidity, sun, my pasty ass, and a generally more sickly environment.

        1. 23 April, 2016 at 5:05 am

          I have friends who feel fine the day after, it takes me a good 4-5 hours to get hydrated and even afterwords I feel sluggish and cannot concentrate to even read words off a book.

          There’s also stories that not all the clubs give you the alcohol that they say. For example, you get a bottle of Smirnoff but it’s really something else.

  5. Pat
    24 April, 2016 at 2:10 am

    I heard that some of those cheap buckets, mostly favoured by cheapskate unwashed bearded wankers (and that’s just the females) get a dash of pure alcohol chucked in for good measure, and I mean just maybe a large shot per bucket. A Khao San Rd barman told me that in 2009. He said its fairly common, as is filling empty premium bottles with the cheap shit.

    If it means that some dumb farang trashpacker dies of alcohol poisoning as a result, who cares? Line ’em up, dude…

  6. Brando
    25 April, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    This is unrelated to your post but your websites got some great content. Great ebook on freelancing too exactly what I was looking for. Little fluff and concise. Extremely motivating to hear from someone that isn’t failing.

    I was wondering though did you have experience in what jobs you do now beforehand or did you just learn as you went along?

    1. 25 April, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Brando, I learned as I went along, in the online game it’s all about experience and the best way to do that is to get stuck in.

  7. Jay
    15 August, 2016 at 6:58 am

    I currently live in Las Vegas but I do 2 things that you speak about in this article. 1. I get 7 hours of sleep. 2. I have cut back my drinking and when I go out, I drink water, I feel better and I have lost some weight.

    I don’t even really miss drinking at all.

    1. 15 August, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Me too, I seldom drink now and when I do I make sure to stop drinking 3-4 hours before I go to sleep.

  8. herpess
    29 October, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    playing online poker and drinking beer, oh yeah brah!!!!

  9. BKK
    28 December, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I’m cutting back too. The problem is expat society in Bangkok revolves heavily around bars and drinking. Plus as you said no one cares if you are a heavy drinker, expats going out drinking alone isn’t that uncommon here. Thailand really is paradise if you like drinking.

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