While most expats struggle to understand Thai people, these foreigners know a thing or two about how to win Thai hearts.
Sometimes, all it takes is the combination of a cute farang face and “adorable” accent when speaking Thai to make locals swoon. Other times, it’s the ultimate knowledge of English, aka the “universal language,” that Thais seek out foreigners for. Either way, these expats have successfully endeared themselves to locals, boasting hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Most of them even make money with their popularity by becoming spokespeople for Thai products.
Here is your crash course on the foreigners that Thais love on social media:
My Mate Nate
The foreigner who has the spotlight on him at the moment is My Mate Nate, an American missionary-turned-YouTuber.
Speaking fluent Thai, Nate Bartling conducts all kinds of social experiments and pranks on Thai people for his Thai-language YouTube channel, which seems to be a hit among Thai millennials. However, his latest video, called “Farang tests Thailand’s English language education,” backfired terribly, and he has been widely criticized for intentionally humiliating Thai people and even staging some scenes to prove his point.
Still, he’s got a lot of fans and deserves a mention on this list.
He’s an English teacher, actor, model, Buddhist and obsession for Thai tweens. You have to admit, Sunny Burns is versatile.
To put it simply, Sunny Burns is an English teacher with a six-pack (two qualities that usually don’t go together). He actively encourages Thai women to speak English and make foreign friends, while at the same time, he plays the role of older brother that defends Thai girls from bad farang playboys.
In his recent #SunnyTalk blog post, he teaches Thai women some phrases to deal with farang perverts. If you meet a Thai woman who barely speaks English but says things like, “I’m not that kind of girl,” or simply “Bye Felicia,” she’s probably a Sunny Burns fan girl.
Let Sunny burn you on Facebook.
Jack Brown (Jack Dek Farang)
Somehow, Jack Dek Farang is labeled a “farang with a Thai heart” in every Thai article written about him.
Brown is famous for his Thai-language rants. The British bloke goes off on everything from Phuket transport to plastic surgery, bad farang boyfriends, Thai habits and beautiful hotels. Sometimes, the rants appear sponsored.
To Thais, Brown is like their go-to foreigner. When they want to know what foreigners think about anything in Thailand, they go to Jack Dek Farang and ask him, and he’s at the top of his game.
Follow Jack Brown and read his product reviews on Facebook.
The American English teacher uses the slogan “Eat farang with Kellen James” to peddle his lessons. In his mind, sex and English language education are packaged together. No idea why.
His bio line on Facebook says that his social media channel is 51 percent nonsense, 25 percent jokes, and 24 percent English lessons. This key combination of nonsense talk and English teaching makes him a famous teacher in Bangkok. Yup.
Oh, and we first got to know him when he was photographed as a white security guard, something that amazed Thai people but turned out to be for a TV role, not his actual job.
Eat Kellen James up on Facebook.
Followers: 1.78 million
Sunny Burns and Kellen James, step away. Here comes the classic: Andrew Biggs.
Andrew Biggs was the first famous English teacher in Thailand and the first Thai-speaking foreigner that locals ever knew of. About 15 years ago, the Australian English teacher was all over television and his book, “How To Speak English Like A Farang” became an enormous success.
Andrew Biggs still owns a language school in Thailand. Although, in this decade, he’s more of a Twitter personality.
Enter the Andrew Biggs cult on Twitter.
Adam Bradshaw (Ajarn Adam)
Followers: 1.1 million
If there was a chart for the highest-paid English teacher in Thailand, we believed Ajarn Adam would easily be at the top. With his excellent Thai-language skills, Bradshaw is trendy and up-to-date with local slang. Therefore, his page is often the first place that young Thais go to ask questions when the dictionary fails to translate newly-invented Thai slang into English. Leave it to Bradshaw to explain what a gik is in English. Ajarn Adam actively responds to them on Facebook or on his successful YouTube channel.
As a person, Thais think he’s very likable, and his social media presence is well-handled. Although he can sometimes be controversial in his status updates, he keeps himself out of social media drama by agreeing with most Thais. Yay.
One thing that we gotta give Ajarn Adam some credit for is his Thai accent. It’s amazing. He sounds just like someone from Bangkok. So, if his Thai is that great, he must know a thing or two about learning or teaching language.
Learn English with Ajarn Adam on Facebook.
Some Thais, sadly, don’t think too highly of other Thais with Isaan accents. However, when a foreigner talks like that, they eat it up and think it’s so kawaii.
“Farang BaanNok,” translated to “upcountry farang,” is the latest addition to the expat internet idol club. No one knows what his real name is or where he is from, we just know him as, “that farang in Khon Kaen.”
Farang BaanNok made headlines recently when he ranted in his Isaan accent about how he got fined THB1,000 for his motorcycle’s loud exhaust pipe. Well, one traffic ticket and a 30-second-long video complaint later, he’s famous. It’s simple, really.
Check out his Isaan accent on Facebook.
The only woman to make the list is Irish model Jessie Vard. Boasting almost 700,000 followers, the proper way to describe Vard’s internet fame is that she comes across in a Thai-internet-idol sort of way. Underwear pics? Check. Sponsored boob job review video? Double check.
On a serious note, Vard became famous last year when she took to social media and bravely exposed a tale of the corruption of the Phuket police. She demanded justice for her family, who allegedly suffered from property fraud that lost them their homes. The scandal received much publicity after she launched the campaign #JusticeforJessie on social media.