Thailand Forums

 

Over the past few years the expat community in Thailand has kept up with day-to-day affairs by using the internet. In the good old days it was the thai usergroups that were on bulletin boards. Along came decent website forums and expats in thailand were soon switching to them.

From about 2000-1 onwards there are several thai forum websites that began to stand-out from the crowd. Each has it's own advantages and disadvantages. Some more than others. Included are the big hitters like Thai Visa, Teak Door and Hua Hin After Dark.

The Rough Guide to Bangkok

Rough Guide to Bangkok

An adult-minded and free-flowing forum. Mostly about the Thailand Nightlife concentrated in Bangkok. However, it also features about the culture and activities around Thailand. It's gained ground and become more popular in recent years despite having kept true to it's roots (unlike other forums).

GT Rider

GT Rider Forum

The original biking forum that is where it all began. Focusing on road trips around Chiang Mai and, to a lesser extent, cross-border excursions. It's more road-biking and lacks the down-to-earth appeal of the more 'suggestive' thai forums. It is a brilliant resource for maps and neutral advice on road trips around the north of Thailand.

Hua Hin After Dark

Hua Hin After Dark

Hua Hins number one web forum is as old as Thai Visa and offers a unique expat-orientated forum. The forum is fairly high-concept with all manner of aspects about Hua Hin Covered. Maps and nightlife along with accommodation are here in guide format. The expats on HHAD are friendly, easy-going and there's a relaxed atmosphere to things.

Phuket Info

Phuket Info Forum

Formerly a nightlife-only web forum that focused on Patong Beach in Phuket.
It now is reaching into other areas of Thailand and maturing just enough without losing its roots.

Teak Door

Teak Door Forum

The original renegade forum of the thai expat community.

Started by group of banned members from Thai Visa this forum started off small, angry and shouted itself off quite loudly. Yet with the growing shift of Thai Visa to a puritan mentality with gestapo-esque moderation it meant Teak Door found itself with an exodus of expats to join it's forum and expand the ranks.

This balanced the ways and has meant Teak Door has gone from being pariah forum to something of a dark, rising star.

Originally there was an anarchist-driven moderation of despotic proportions. While the forum was by no means a tyrants paradise it was like wild bedlam party rockin' around the clock. Recently, though, it's had a paradigm shift of it's own. With the inceased traffic it has taken on-board a few easy-going moderators to see that the extremes are kept at bay and the flow of information is more even-handed.

Teak Door has a varied and wide range of topics all about Thailand that are quite busy overall. The vibe from some of the 'old guard' members can be rough and tumble with a thick skin required. Having said that this forum is closest to what Thai Visa was, before it chased the big money and commercialised itself. DD, the owner and operator of Teakdoor has no plans to follow in Georges footsteps.

Of all the Thai Forums in Thailand this one is the greatest rivals and critics of Thai Visa and has the capability to scalp Thai Visa of it's crown...

Thai Forum.com A quiet and peaceful forum. Not much goes on here, it's so silent you can almost hear a pin drop.
Thai Visa

Thai Visa Forum

What started off as a forum for obtaining thai visa's for the curious visitors to Thailand soon grew from a few bangkok expats exchanging messages to a flawed power-house of a forum. It's reputed to be the busiest forum in Thailand. An elusive expat called George runs the forum.

In 2001 the forum kicked off officially having previously being a newsnet style-topic.
The vibe was fresh the nightscene booming and the moderators very laissez-faire. And that's how it was for about four of five years. Then, coinciding with TRTs morality campaign things began to get very strict and commercialised indeed.

From about late 2006 any talk referencing the naughty night-life scene was banned, along with bar girls, massage girls, pretty much anything to do with casual sex in Thailand. Well, correct me if I'm wrong George, but Thailands nightlife scene is what brought 80% of expats out here.

As if this wasn't bad enough it was made a Thai Visa policy that moderators actions and policy was, under no circumstances, to be questioned or discussed on Thai Visa.

Now I'm a pretty right-wing kinda guy but this just reeked of facism to me and many others. The forums terms and conditions read like the Khmer Rouge riot-act, the subjects went from lively and interesting topics to boring and mundane.
Valued and characterful members were cut down and either banned or deserted the forum in disgust. The exodus went from a trickle to a flood.

Some have speculated that Georges motives for this bizarre and backstabbing move was to push out the single, free and vocal expats and bring in families and the samsonite brigade who would be more likely to fall-in with Georges next step...

In came an aggressive commercialisation program which had previously been the usual google ads. All of a sudden, everywhere you looked were banner ads. Thai Visa Insurance, Thai Visa Health Insurance, Thai Visa Toolbars and so on. All of the services being expensive (as TV operates as the middle man). This tactic undoubtably increased Georges Thai Visa revenue but many would say at the cost the forum what was left of it's heart and soul.
Some would attribute the rise of other thai expat forums to this unfortunate 'paradigm' shift.

For all the negative there are some very handy things on Thai Visa, the commercialisation and paradigm-shift hasn't been all bad if you look at it from an information reference angle.
The currency converter is a nice and handy tool as is the video section and the thai language section.

There has been some talk of toning down some of the naughty night scene. Unfortunately the moderators on Thai Visa are in their hundreds and each has his/her own agenda. What can be said on one section is not necessarily welome on another.

Thai 360

Thai 360 Forum

A niche forum that covers all areas of Thailand loosely with a small but faithful member-group.
It operates a two-tier membership program made up of (yearly) paid-up subscribers and non-payers. The paid-up subscribers get to message other members and post images and so-on. The moderation is easy-going and (almost) anything goes. The forus tends to be on the nightlife and P4P scene.
Compared to other thai forums, Thai 360 is quieter than most.

 
 

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