Chiang Mai Thai

Ever wanted to learn Thai, in Chiang Mai? I did just that from November 2010, returning home in October 2011. If you don't want a headache, start HERE, it will explain the preceding posts. I'm Snap, Stray's other half. COOEE is our (other) travel blog.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When neighbours behave badly

This post has really nothing to do with learning Thai, or Thai people, or Thai customs. However I am living in an a Thailand!

A couple of weeks ago new neighbours moved in next door. One morning at around 2 AM I found myself awake, listening to the sound of ridiculously loud talking and banging about. I leant my ear up against the wall to see if I could understand what they were saying, but they weren’t speaking English or pigeon Thai, so I was none the wiser. Japanese or Korean I thought. I waited a long while before tapping three times on the wall, hoping they would realise they'd woken me up and feel bad...they tapped back three times and continued to make an incredible din.

Most nights they start their ruckus around 11.00 PM, usually later and then continue into the wee hours of the morning, slamming room and cupboard doors, ranting, throwing (and I mean THROWING) beer bottles into the hallway rubbish bins while they call to each other up and down the stair well...they have a friend or friends, on the floor above it seems. As they wait for the elevator outside our door (which is slower than walking down the few flights of stairs) at ungodly hours of the morning, they rave at the top of their voices and make animated golfing motions...yes, I’m peering through the spy hole.

I'm not begrudging anyone having a few drinks and or a good time. But there is a limit! This is a pretty quiet hotel and even mediocre noises echo in the corridors, so the slamming of a door is like a sonic boom! And they're in and out of their room, like blue arsed flies.

Just before Stray left for Australia, he mentioned the situation to the hotel owner, but said he’d wait to see how it all pans out and wouldn't make a formal complaint, yet!...and then flew off into the blue yonder...leaving me here. Our new neighbours are two young Korean guys. OK, the Korean part is probably neither here nor there, but they are Korean and they’re long stayers and they’re driving me up the wall.

I’m here alone, so I don’t think it's wise to confront a few drunk guys, who can’t understand me, in the middle of the night. Waiting for the inevitable every evening has become an obsession. I’ve even started a diary which is starting to read like ground hog day.

11th January - arrived 11.45 pm. thumping doors, talking loudly/yelling in the corridor and room until...

I have contingency plans: Earplugs, which I don’t like to use (I have a gammy ear) and/or a very thin mattress I can sort of sleep on, in the other room. But I’m thinking...WHY SHOULD I?

...12.48 am. friend arrives and yells from the hall way, all leave together, slammed door, talking very loudly in hall way, threw glass bottles into rubbish bin...etc. etc.

So pathetic has my fixation become that last night I tried unsuccessfully to record their shenanigans by pressing my mobile phone, then video camera, to the wall.

12th January - 11.35 pm. banging doors shut, yelling to each other via the stairwell, throwing bottles into the rubbish bin....left hotel around 12.00 am....

Tonight I thought maybe my laptop and microphone might do a better job of collecting evidence? Evidence that’ll never be used for anything, but for some reason, gathering it seems to be therapeutical. Am I weird or what?

...12.37 am. They return, more of the same, slamming doors, yelling to each, throwing bottles into the rubbish bin. Continue to talk loudly in their room and bang cupboard doors...

During every lull (lull = they've gone out to restock the beer) I lie in wait...plotting! Should I learn to write 'shut the F up please' in Korean and slip a note under their door, during the day? What if they're home at the time? could make a bad situation even worse.

...1.15 am. One of them leaves carrying a laundry basket, yelling and hurling the door closed as he goes. Who does their laundry at this hour?...oh,'s full of booze bottles.

Do I crank up Linkin Park's 'One step closer to the edge' at 5 AM in the morning? But, why make the rest of the residents suffer and they probably wouldn't wake up from their drunken stupor anyway.

....1.45 am I move to the other room and lie down on the wafer thin spare mattress on the floor...

Do I make a formal complaint to management? Do I become the whinging farang?

Today sleep deprivation kicked in and after a particularly hard Thai language class and spilling coffee all over myself at lunch, I decided to talk to the hotel manageress. I gave her the run down of how long and what had been going on, apologising profusely as I went, for complaining.

...2.05 am...they're back. Moving to the other room doesn't solve the problem of the racket in the hallway, only the hullabaloo emanating from inside their room.

She nods knowingly? or perhaps sympathetically? as I explained the situation and says "I will speak to my staff, I think the apartment above you is you want to move?"


" thank you" I replied, "perhaps you could just speak to them? Ask them to be quiet at night?"


"Yes" she says, "I will do that." and smiles.

"Thank you so much and please don't tell them it was me that complained BECAUSE THEY WILL MAKE MY LIFE HELL...and again, I am so sorry for complaining."

So that's that! ...Right?


See what else we're up to at Cooee!


  1. Snap, oh how I feel for you. I recently had a couple from England move in next door. They never go out and they bang on the walls at all hours of the night. Lately they have calmed down some but if they start up again I'll hire the local motorcy mafia to take care of them!

  2. Talen if they were expats, I might be more willing to deal with it myself...or not! Can you email me the number for motorcy they have a Chiang Mai chapter?

    PS. All is quiet at the moment...only because they're not home yet.

  3. Unfortunately we all have this kind of story to tell. My friend had a particularly bad situation and ended up confronting the guy. But that only temporarily solved the problem. He also complained to the staff. I think they even moved the rude guy but in the end, my friend moved.

    I didn't like earplugs either and it took me some getting used to. Honestly, you might consider moving. It's not about it being your fault, it's about getting some sleep. Ug. I don't envy you.

  4. Lani, it's turning into a mind game...but I'm the only one playing. Number 1 has been home for while and haven't heard a peep out of him.

    Number 2 just arrived. I didn't want to look out through the spy hole in case he could see my scuffs through the crack under the door...paranoid or what?

    Even though I can't understand Korean, he was saying 'So! We make too much noise hey? I know who you are and you'll pay for this' as he walked around the corridor, by himself.

  5. Apologies for coming in late Snap, house-spiffing has been going on and I had to be there.

    I know you've been going through hades and back and I feel for you.

    Before I moved to Thailand I read that there is a good reason not to buy a condo here. Because if you do get bad neighbours, there is only one recourse - move. Your Thai landlord does not want to make anyone unhappy by doing something, so they will do nothing. Mai bpen rai...

    It happened to me in a condo. Models partying until after 4am with that loud stomach thumping music. Yes, complaints were made. Doors were banged on. Many times. But in the end the condo manager gave me the phone number of a policeman she knew and said to call him when they did it again. She was not going to do it, but I could.

  6. Well, I for one think that you should protest [to the hotel management] firmly & [if necessary] frequently. If you have acquaintances on your floor who are likewise bothered, you should encourage them to protest also.

    This type of boorish, inconsiderate public behavior is not acceptable in Korean culture--at least, it's not something I've experienced, though it's been 20 years since I've spent time in Korea.

  7. I've been there before and it is a tough situation. I think the fact that it isn't Thais making the noise should mean that the accommodation owners will be more likely to do something. I'm not sure what to suggest, because confrontation can make things worse. I once complained about some kids that were kicking a ball against the side of my house - terrible mistake, and the problems got ten worse because of it.

  8. Harold I'm happy to report a quiet night and have caught up on some much needed sleep. My complaining seems to have worked...for now. How long the peace lasts, remains to be seen. I don't have any acquaintances on this floor, they're very private, considerate and QUIET. I can't believe that I/we could be the only tenants to have had something to say about the situation. Thais must be VERY tolerant of bad behaviour?

  9. Catherine I'm hoping last night's quiet is not just a coincidence. These people MUST have been disturbing our whole floor and the one above us.

    The hotel manager's suggestion that WE move, really took me by surprise...I don't think I hid my flabbergasted look, very well.

    The way your condo manager handled the problem: It doesn't seem to be good business practise (or FAIR) to upset the majority (you couldn't have been the only tenants suffering) to keep the minority happy.

  10. Paul, I'd never approach these guys directly, because they know where I live. The actual 'owners' of the hotel seem to be farang friendly and have helped us with another Thai situation (stolen wallet and phone). They even altered the hours of construction of their new hotel, next door, to later in the day because at least one person complained...not us!

    My Thai friend has a similar scenario. Her neighbour's son wakes her up regularly. She won't complain though, because she's literally scared of him. To put it politely, he's not the most wholesome fellow. The neighbour apologises for his bad behaviour but says she is helpless to do anything.

  11. Oh wow, this is terrible. I winced the whole way through because this is totally my nightmare! Some people are just so rude and don't think about others. I can't figure it out. I hope you get it resolved, one way or the other. Bastards.

  12. Megan, the bastards have been away for the last two days. Bliss! I'm wondering if this the calm before the storm.


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