|Beginner's Guide to Bangkok
Randy Farang's Beginner's Guide to Bangkok
The commercial sex scene in Bangkok can be roughly grouped into three categories: (1) the bars, (2) the massage parlors, and (3) everything else. This report covers the bar scene.
For the beginner, we suggests the bars. If you start with a visit to a massage parlor on your first trip to the Magic Kingdom, there is a better than even chance that you'll end up going to the massage parlor where your friendly taxi driver gets a hefty commission. To cover that commission, you will get charged more. If you don't like the prices or the available girls, you will need to take a taxi to a new locale and that could be problematic since the massage parlors are generally some distance from each other (except perhaps for the two Chao Phaya parlors on Si Ayutthaya), and even when they are not, its easy to get lost if this is your first time in Bangkok.
On the other hand, when you don't like the prices or choices in a bar located in, say, Patpong, you simply pay for your drink and head over to the bar next door. And if you are coming from the U.S., you have probably seen massage parlors before - although we'll grant that its unlikely that you have seen anything like the massage parlors found in Bangkok. But you probably won't find anything like Patpong or Nana Plaza anywhere outside Bangok.
Bangkok has plenty of bars. And many of those bars have available girls (poo-ying.) But there are three main bar areas frequented by non-locals: (1) Patpong, (2) Nana Plaza, and (3) Soi Cowboy.
Taxi drivers will know how to get you to all of these areas, but when the taxi driver senses that you are new to Bangkok (and he will), he will try to steer you to a massage parlor or brothel where he is certain to get a commission. Politely, but firmly, insist that you want to go to Nana Plaza, Patpong, etc. And don't fall for the ruse we fell for the first time we came here about ten years ago: "Sorry mister, Patpong closed on Sunday. I take you better place." It wasn't.
The protocol for all bars is basically about the same, although prices vary. The girls will approach you and ask that you to buy them a drink ("cola"). "Lady drinks" run about B50 to B75 ($US2-3). You are under no obligation to buy, and if you do buy, you are under no obligation to stay with that girl all night. Consequently, if you are intrigued by a girl, but not yet certain if you want to make a larger investment, this is a low cost way to determine if you wish to proceed further. If you decide to proceed further, you must pay a "bar fine" to get the girl out the bar. This can run from about B150 to B350 ($US6-14.) On top of that, you must pay the girl for her services.
You can take the girl out for "short time" (an hour or so) or "long time" (all night.) Prices and willingness to do "longtime" vary from girl to girl and from bar to bar.
Opinions are mixed about Patpong these days. Its not as wild as it once was, and certainly not as wild as Nana Plaza. In Patpong you will see groups of tourists, including middle aged houswifes from Des Moines, here to see Bangkok's naughty nightlife (always a great story when they get back home) and shop for souvieniers at the nightmarket that fills the two main (heterosexual/non-Japanese) streets of Patpong. These two streets turn into a night market at dusk filled with vendors selling t-shirts, fake rolexs, etc.
On the other hand, it still has some great bars. Some of the most beautiful girls work here. The nightmarket adds a bit a frenetic quality to the scene. If you're slightly nervous first-timer, this may be the best place to start.
The downstair bars are generally safe. The upstairs bars have sex shows, but many are rip-offs. In the upstairs bars, you can end up getting charged $80 for a beer and threatened with bodily harm if you refuse to pay. It's useless to provide the names of the rip off bars since they change names so often. Don't believe the touts. If you really want to see a sex show, go to a bar operated by the King's Group or ask for a recommendation in one of the downstairs bar operated by the King's Group.
The King's Group is a chain of Patpong bars all controlled by one owners. They are generally reliable and safe. The word "King" or "Queen" will usually be in the name of the bar. The girls are supposedly tested periodically, and those with HIV are retired. The HIV rate is supposed to be less than 1% in the King's Group, but always use a condom.
Some of Randy's favorite bars include:
Kings I, II and III: Small bars, but beautiful girls on stage. The music tends toward techno-pop. Some of the better looking girls can be a bit stand-offish, unless you look Japanese or rich (two categories that seem to overlap in the minds of most bar girls.) Most of the girls here prefer shorttime over long time. These bars get packed and pretty wild starting at around 10:00 p.m. Not for the claustrophobic.
Safari: This bar seems to have younger *looking* girls, but they are all 18+. The girls wear patsies when dancing. They play less techno-pop; you are more likely to hear rock n' roll classics such as the Stones, ZZ Top, etc., here. It may be owned by an American or a Brit (just a guess.) The atmosphere here is very friendly; it seems less sophisticated than, and has a funkiness that you cannot find at, the Kings' Group bars.
Limelight: Well lit bar; some real beauties. Great massages are available while you are nursing your beer watching the girls dance up on the stage. The management is very friendly.
Kangaroo Bar (upstairs): Not for the faint of heart. For about B400, you'll get a blow job while you sit at the bar.
The bar fines in Patpong are currently B350. The bars all close around 2:00 a.m. After 2:00 p.m. there are a couple of discos on Patpong. The prices for the extracurricular services vary, but figure about B1000 to 1500 for a short time. Unless your hotel is close and allows girls, you will have to rent a short time room, which means another B250. There are several short time hotels on Patpong; the girls know where they are (there is one right next to the Limelight, on the left-hand side as you face the front of the bar.) Most of the better looking and more sophisticated girls prefer short time liasons since they can earn more money by going out with several customers in the course of one night. A "long time" can be quite expensive and many of the really beauties are just not willing to do it unless you make it economically worthwhile.
The best book on Patpong is Cleo Odzer's, "Patpong Sisters." Ms. Odzer apparently wrote the book from research while conducted for a doctoral dissertation on prostitution in Thailand. A good read, and generally accurate.
The nearby hotels include: Wall Street Inn ($60), Montien ($100), and Dusit Thani ($140++). Good luck getting a girl into the Dusti Thani.
2. Nana Plaza
Nana is wild. You won't find very many middle aged housewifes from Des Moines here. Although the official closing time is 2:00 a.m., the real closing time seems to be closer to 4:00 a.m.
Nana is located near the beginning of Sukhimvit. It's an entertainment complex consisting of three stories of bars built around an open plaza. Most of the bars are on the first floor, and the last we checked, there was only one bar on the third floor. But Nana is gaining in popularity, and this could easily change.
Over the last few years the quality of the girls at Nana has improved markedly so that it now almost equals Patpong. Prices are starting to catch up to Patpong now too. The bar fines are the same, but the charges for extracirrucular activity are generally lower. Some of the better bars in Soi Nana include:
Hollywood Royale: This bar gets packed. After about 10:00 p.m. they have lesbian sex shows on stage. The quality of girls here varies tremendously.
Bubblegum: Small bar to the left as you enter the plaza.
Farang Connection - Second Floor; more rock n' roll than technopop. Seems to be popular with the Ex Pat population.
Nearby hotels include the Landmark ($130++) - which will sometimes allow guests - Nana Hotel ($38) - which always allows guests - and several others.
3. Soi Cowboy:
This bar area has gone down hill in recent years. It used to be the favorite among the expatriates, but Soi Nana now has that honor. It is generally cheaper than either Patpong or Nana Plaza, and this is reflected in the quality of the women available. The best bar is probably Tilac.
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 1997
Subject: Re: info ..hey I'm in thailand !!!!!!!!
howdy....Okay...fingering keys at a cyber cafe about 100m from the nana.
i'm sure you know about the new bars at the nana...the touts are really more agressive to get you in the bar than previous years.. The new thermae is open and not impressive....really , really, really, scuzzy and well...had the sense of scraping the bottom of the barrell.
Down the street from the Dynasty Inn is the Heidelburg. restaurant. Good european food but man...old fat belly, balding, beer belching germans....and the women are...aahhhhh.....well weathered!
I would say the best place to go to these days is the pretty girl and vodoo bar. the royale..seems to have an awful lot of trannys and I mean alot.
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997
Subject: Some advice on bars in Thailand
Here's some sencible advice from Meestah John on how to behave in the girlie bars in Thailand. These are bits of wisdom that I haven't seen anywhere else on the World Sex Guide pages.
When you go into the kind of Thai bars that are saturated in pink neon, you will generally fare if better if you:
TAKE IT EASY. This is the very first precaution and one that you should take to heart even before you leave your hotel room. The whole environment that you are about to enter is likely to be assaultive to your senses and your hormones. The bars at places like Pattaya, Patpong, Soi Nana, Patong are side by side in limited areas, and they compete with each other by turning up the volume of the music. The prostitutes often scream and holler to attract your attention. Lights flicker. Sex is in the air. - This is likely to produce a state of erotic hysteria, and it can make you go bonkers in a way that is not productive to good experiences.
You will notice the effect on some males that frequent these places - round midnight you will see some disheveled figures who have pissed in their pants, crying in their last beer at the now deserted bars.
There is no need to get worked up and going down that way. You will inevitably find that sweet beautiful orchid fantasy girl of your wet dreams. If she is not there in the first bar, she'll be at the next ... or the next. Don't worry. The more you keep your cool, the more likely you are to meet her.
And the more likely she will be to accept your proposal when you approach her. There are few things Thai prostitutes dislike more than a moody, brooding, emotionally unbalanced costumer. It makes their own bad feelings come alive. To them it ranks along with lack of personal cleanliness and rude manners. So they will look towards the composed and good spirited men first, and they will treat such a man better than the feeble wretch.
There's a rythm to the night bar scene at places like Pattaya and Patong. The action start rolling around eight o'clock. The sex market reaches its peak between 9 and 10 pm when most costumers have finished their evening meal and now go out in search of adventure. That is the hour when the greatest number of women are available and looking for business. The closer you get to midnight, the more the bars become empty of people. After midnight you will mostly meet the human debritus of the adulturous night.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE BAR OWNER. When you sit down at a bar and order a drink, take your time. Eye the girls, talk amiably with them. And try to establish a good rapport with the owner of the place if he is at all there. The bar owners generally are jovial and nice to their guests. After all they are the very people he lives on, and he is in fierce competition with his colleagues who are everywhere around him. Your opinon of his bar matters to him. (Notice the first class cocktails they serve. You won't get a better Mai Tai anywhere, not even at the Ritz in Paris. This is what a free market does.)
Moreover, the bar owner is the one who hires and fires the girls you are after. In his world their purpose is to attract men like you. So they will immediately notice if you and him are becoming pals. The girl is likely to state a more sensible price for her favours if you want to strike up a deal, and she will definately not try to cheat you. In fact she will be a bit extra kind to you for fear that you might say something negative about her working spirit to your pal, her boss.
DO NOT OVERPAY THE GIRLS. This will only empty your wallet and contribute to the vicious circle that has destroyed (to my mind) places like Patpong and Pattaya.
At Patong, where the market still makes sense, the proper price should be 600 baht for a short time and 100 baht to the bar for taking the girl away. But greed is also at work here, and most girls will start out demanding 1000 baht for herself and 300 for the bar.
As for me, I am willing to pay more than 600 to her - if she is nice. But no more than 1000 at the very most. 600 is fair, and the distance up to 1000 is negotiable. What I like the best is a decent 600 for starters and then a possible tip according to her performance and to my good heart, after the fact. But I don't like to get fleeced from the beginning.
IF YOU HAVE YOUR MONEY STOLEN BY A BARGIRL, complain immediately to the bar owner. He will not like it at all, it ruins the reputation of his business, and he has the right connections to the police.
But please ask yourself "is it really true that she took my money?" An acusation of this kind can have very serious consequences for the girl. It could land her in prison for a year.
There is an authentic insident where a patron accused a girl of stealing his wallet. He went to the bar owner who went with him to the police. Everybody, including the girl, went to his hotel room - where the wallet was found in the freeze department of the fridge. He had put it there himself for safety and forgotten about it. The bar owner rightfully made him apologize to the girl in front of the police officer and pay her five thousand on the spot.
BRING YOU OWN CONDOMS. Thai condoms are often not safe due to bad storage conditions. And bring "dry" rubbers, without lubricant or creme. It has a bad chemical taste to it, and it will make the girl gag. If you need lubricant, bring a tube of K.Y. and apply that at the moment before penetration.
Subject: Bangkok Private Club report
Back in 93 I had the pleasure of going to the Chamois Member Club in BKK. I was in Asia on business and took a 3 day stop in Bangkok in between Seoul and Singapore.Since I was on the business tab I stayed in a nice suite at the Shangri-la on the river. This was in May and it was hotter than hades! The first two nights I checked out the hotel bar and Patpong scenes. Patpong was interesting but I had been before and this time it was a little loud and congested for me so the third night I decided to try something different. Fodor's guidebook had mentioned the Chamois Club, a private "upscale" nightclub with a reputation for having beautiful hostesses. I set off about 8pm, first stopping at the hotel desk to get directions for the taxi. Both men at the desk immediately brightened up at the mention of the club and said I was very lucky to be going there, they envied me! So it must have had a good local reputation. They also pronounced it as the "Cha -moy" club and gave me a card with the address in Thai for the driver.
The cab took me to a residential area near some embassies, I think, and I went into a one level standalone building and stood in a small lobby. Soon a woman appeared who introduced herself as a manager. She said they were open, but most of the girls would not be here for about an hour as it was slow season. I said I would go eat and come back. Luckily the cab was still there as I think he was waiting to go in and get his commission for delivering me there - very common in Asia. I took the taxi to the Hard Rock Cafe and had a good burger and beer at the bar, and was able to watch and American airline pilot (not American Airlines) make an ass of himself trying to impress some stewardesses from another airline. About 9:30 I headed back to the nightclub and saw the same manager, who sat me down at a desk and explained why I should like to become a member of the club. There were several expensive options, from lifetime down to one year, and I think they ran from several hundred to over $1000. But you got freebies such as liquor and free barfines depending on your level of membership. I explained that I was just there for one more day and wouldn't be back for several years and settled for the temporary membership I think about $15. Even though you had to listen to the pitch, it was low key and they accepted what you wanted.
I entered the club and sat at the bar, which had very beautiflul girls pouring drinks to some local-looking business and army types. At the far end of the bar was an ugly old lady who handled all the money. I talked with one of the cute bartenders who spoke fairly good english and she explained how the club worked. There were seating areas with couches and coffee tables tiered around a stage with band, and video monitors playing Playboy videos. The female singer was singing popular Thai songs. There were several private rooms which seemed to be busy, and groups of well dressed hostesses went in and out of them. After a few drinks at the bar and getting aquainted with the place, I went to a couch and sat, and immediately a waiter appeared. Very friendly, spoke English, and took my drink order-expensive at about $6 each I think(not beer). Soon, a mamasan appeared followed by a string of girls, all very attractive and in different sizes. I picked one friendly looking girl, who sat and smiled. As I tried to talk to her I realized that all she did was smile, nod, and clutch my arm really hard. Then I knew I had "pulled a boner" by not asking for one who could speak English. As I had already chosen her, sat for a while and bought her a ladies drink I asked the waiter what I should do, not wanting everyone to lose face. He suggested I tip her and went to get mamasan who came right away. I paid mamasan the barfine for the girl anyway and gave the girl $20 so everyone went away happy ( I wasn't on a budget on this trip so why not), and mamasan soon appeared with a very pretty girl that spoke English fairly well. Her name was "Aaaaaaaaa" or something like that and she said she was a University student who worked at this club on weekends.
After some more drinks and pleasant conversation, she went to the ladies room and the waiter came over and asked if I would like to take this girl out of the bar. "She's a very lovely girl and hasn't been working here very long". OK I said and paid him my bar tab and her bar fine of $40 I think. She reappeared, the waiter whispered to her and she became very happy and bouncy. She said she had to go change and would meet me at the bar. She came back dressed fairly conservatively and I later found out that while they may be dancers or hostesses in the club, they are usually conservative in public. I asked if she wanted to come to my hotel and she said "Short-time girl not allowed to go into First Class hotel". She got a cab and we went to an ordinary looking 10 story hotel where she checked in and I paid. Up the elevator to the room, which was fairly good - maybe Ramada Inn standard- but the lights and AC were controlled by meter from the front desk! This whole time after paying the bar fine she had never mentioned any money, when I asked her at the club what I should pay, she always deferred.
She suggested we take a bath, and undressed shyly. I on the other hand was equipped with my stuntman's velcro outfit which comes off with one pull (joke) and we went in the tub. She giggled at how "hairy" I was and made appropriate comments on the size of my equimpent (insincere but enjoyable) and we did mutual rubbing and scrubbing. She was indeed almost perfect plus large breasts (natural) for a Thai girl. Out of the tub and into the bed which she hopped into shyly and pulled the sheet up to her neck. I climbed in and the rest is left to your imagination. In summary she was nice in all ways and overall better than expected.
After getting dressed, I gave her about $80 and she seemed very pleased (1993 dollars) she asked if I would come back to the club tomorrow but I explained I was on to Singapore. She then invited me to a late dinner since the club was closed now, so we went to a cafe, had a good cheap meal and more chatting. Getting tired, so I paid for dinner and gave her another $10 for taxi home although she didn't want the money. All in all a very pleasurable (but not cheap) experience. Would like to know if anyone else has been to Chamois, if it is still there, and if anyone has been to similar clubs. Happy travelling!
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998
Subject: Information on Bangkok bar jan 98
If you get tired of the usual scene in Patpong or Nana Entertainment complex (as you inevitably will!) try to go off the beaten track for a somewhat pricy but quiet bar with a good atmosphere and cheerful girls - the Elysee Bar Lounge. It is located in a cul-de-sac to the left as you enter Soi 11 on Sukhumvit - right across from the Calypso. You will have to turn around the corner where there is a pittoresquely decorated open-air bar - then you will se the Elysee at the far end of this colorful little backyard. I like the Elysee because of the playful mood of the girls, the quiet music that actually permits you to hear your own voice as you talk, and of course the sweet experiences I have had upstairs. (Yes, there has been at least one annoying incident proving that this place on earth isn't perfect either.) They charge 1600 bath for "short time" (one and a half hour) and 2100 for "long time" (all night). Also drinks are slightly expensive here. But I still like it.
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