Pattaya, but backwards: Sex Tourism in the Gambia


When visiting Pattaya I was both shocked and overwhelmed by the sheer ‘sleeziness’ of the place. The main motive for most people visiting is for sex tourism. Streets are floodlit with advertisements of sex shows, stripper bars and erotic dancing. Men, typically middle aged and of the less attractive variety, prowl the streets in search of their woman, whether it be for the night, or to take back to his home country as a wife, or commonly known as his ‘Thai bride’.

I happened to visit Pattaya as a result of circumstance and nothing more, it was not a destination of choice in which to spend my leisure time, although it was very insightful. However the reality of the destination was not a complete surprise. I had done my research on Pattaya, and I had already seen such establishments and antics in other parts of Thailand, and after all- Thailand is known for the prominence of its sex tourism.



The Gambia however, is another story. I was completely unaware of the sex tourism industry here. When consulting my Lonely Planet book it informed me that The Gambia is a popular place for women to go to find an African man! I was rather shocked at this information, I had heard of men going abroad in search of women in many places, Thailand included, but I had never heard of women travelling in search of men in this way!

When I reached Gambia my Lonely Planet’s validity was confirmed- there were mixed relationships race relationships everywhere! Similarly to men in search of sex tourism in Pattaya, the women are also largely middle aged, overweight and generally not the most beautiful of the human species. They can be seen flirting with the Gambian men, often resulting in the apparent formation of relationships.

Here the women are well and truly on the prowl, although perhaps a little less obvious than men in Thailand. I spotted one women practically offering herself to a Gambian man on the flight over, and have seen many more ‘all over’ the African men since. Today I saw a woman take her new African lover away from the poolside and into her room! In fact, I have seen more white women with African men than same race relationships! The women clearly come over here with a motive, and it seems that more often than not their motives are fulfilled.

Generally in Western society it is half accepted that men may act in such a way, however it is rare to see women behave like this. It is like the well-known Pattaya situation, but a lesser known version involving women rather than men! The Gambia does not have a sex tourism set up like Pattaya does, however it probably see’s just as many relationships form!



Many women come here on holiday with their mixed race children, I assume to visit the Gambian family/fathers. The women seem very happy over here with their men.

I would be interested to know how many of the relationships actually materialise, and how many of the men are taken back to the UK, and then how many of them actually last.

It is really odd, and surprising, to see the women acting in such a way, practically throwing themselves at the Gambian men. I have had several men say to me things such as ‘would you like to come out with me?’ or even ‘would you have my babies?’ and when I politely decline I am often greeted with the response ‘but many English women come here to meet Gambian men’.

Well clearly I am not one of those women.

This was very insightful indeed, and it just goes to show- there is so much to learn about the way the world works, and not everything is advertised in the holiday brochure….

Image from: rickykuzee.wordpress.com

Image from: rickykuzee.wordpress.com