Nightlife: Bars for Thais

Autumn 2005    What Thai guys do for kicks ...
Stickman goes on a road trip

Have you ever wondered what Thai guys do for kicks? Have you ever wondered what the naughty nightlife scene for them is like? Stickman went on an adventure to find out.

First there was a massage parlour in the sticks. It had a fish bowl with perhaps 40 or 50 Thai women looking bored, most watching one of the two TVs that were placed inside the bowl.

On the glass window of the fish bowl prices were written clearly for all to see. 170 baht per hour for a Thai style massage or 650 baht for a two hour oil massage. It also noted that early in the day it was just 100 baht per hour for traditional Thai massage.

The girls in the fishbowl ranged from pleasant on the eye to very attractive. There was not one old, one fat, and most certainly, not one ugly girl. Frankly, in terms of their appearance, this sort of quality cannot be found anywhere in the farang nightlife areas. Believe me, it just doesnít exist.

We chatted with the papasan about the deal in this place and he confirmed that the prices posted were for massage only and any extras were to be negotiated directly with the girl, with him suggesting that such services would likely be in the vicinity of 1,000 to 1,500 baht. Whether this was accurate or not, I do not know, but that would seem to be in the ball park. Given that this was what I would term a massage parlour of medium quality, but in a less prosperous area, the figures might have been a little on the optimistic side. But frankly, I do not know for sure.

If you have driven around Thailand at night you will have seen small venues with lots of neon lights and coloured light bulbs outside. These are karaoke venues. They range in size, but in the smaller ones there is usually one karaoke machine playing videos of popular songs with the words there like subtitles. You can choose your song from what is often a huge list, a microphone is given to you and you can sing along, all other customers getting the pleasure, or otherwise, of your singing. The girls in these venues sit with customers and they too sing songs. And of course arrangements are often made to go elsewhere. That's not to say that all karaoke girls are up for it, because that is not the case. Some only sing songs, and some sing songs, and, well, you know.

Next was a street of bars. Each of the venues was a single floor, single shophouse. Surprised to see farangs at such a venue, we were invited into each venue Pattaya beer bar style, with girls calling out to us. The only difference was that everything was in Thai. Finding English out there isn't easy. We found the biggest venue and entered.

The bar, if you could call it that, was dimly lit and the furnishings were similar to what you would get at a typical food vendor on the street. We're talking basic. I couldn't help thinking that this is the closest the Thai guys have to the gogo bars that cater to Westerners. From a looks perspective, the girls in this particular spot were probably on par with the better gogo bars, such as Angelwitch or Rainbow 1. Some of the girls were seriously cute. They were all relatively young and from what I could see, all were in the 20 - 25 age bracket.

The girls were mostly from the surrounding district and had not been shipped in from the North or Isaan. All were there of their own accord. Sadly, some were of a very modest education, and two could not even read or write. I asked the girls about broken marriages and babies and no, most hadn't been married and NONE had had babies, major difference with the girls in the farang sector of the industry. Frankly, if you were to pull all of the girls out of there and put them into a Nana gogo, youíd probably be running the gogo bar with the prettiest girls. And absolutely without a doubt, the most polite.

This is what I found perhaps most interesting of all. The girls were VERY polite especially when compared with the girls in the farang oriented sector of the industry. They used polite vocabulary, used all of the right pronouns showing their understanding of the customer / service provider relationship.

We chose another venue and wandered in, grabbing a seat. Looking around the shophouse, there was a fridge out the back full of Chang Beer, and signs up on the walls in Thai saying that no weapons were allowed, no drugs, and no gambling. Everything was basic, plastic chairs and tables and the glasses which were presented with the beer must have come from the Vietnam era, and perhaps only been cleaned a handful of times since. Despite the rudimentary surroundings, even there, at the very bottom of the food chain, in what essentially was a rural brothel, the girls were polite, very polite in fact. There was no pressure placed on customers apart from some gentle words of persuasion and while I wouldnít say everyone was smiling and having a jolly old time, neither did it seem like I had expected a low class brothel to be.

Chatting in hushed tones to find out the score, the deal is that the lady gets half and the brothel gets half of the fee paid, but the lady doesn't get her share of the money until the end of the month. The lady has a degree of control over everything and it is her who sets her price, and not the establishment. We were told the prices were generally 300 baht, or 400 baht short-time, that being the only English we heard all night. Inquiring about what the 300 baht got you, "30 minutes upstairs was the response", short-time being one hour. This is an all up fee.

Apparently the most expensive ladies go for 600 or 700 baht although they would represent a very small number. These women come from very poor backgrounds and the sight of a purple banknote is a lot of money to them. They have to work every day except during menstruation, and if they miss a day they are docked 2,000 baht at the end of the month.

The girls sit on one side, and the Thai guys on the other. The guys drink and chat together and then they simply pick a girl and take her upstairs, with no communication beforehand, and absolutely no rapport at all. It's not indifferent from a massage parlour in that respect.

From an anthropological point of view, this was one fascinating evening out. And contrasting it to what is available to the average Westerner in Sukhumvit, well letís just say it is no wonder the average Thai is puzzled at what farangs end up with. The girls we met and saw were friendlier, prettier and more polite.

It was a fun adventure.


Pattaya Bars for Thais

3rd Road
The farangs may have monopolised Beach Road and 2nd Road in terms of the ownership of bars but 3rd Road is still a stronghold for Thai oriented bars. Pretty near the whole length of the road is populated with Thai bars.
Suhkumvit Road: Soi Esso (Soi 20-22)   From Pattaya-Addicts , February 2014: Still Going Strong

The bar area for Thais on Soi Esso is still going strong. The latest prices reported are 1000 Baht for the girl and 200 Baht for the room

  From Pattaya-Live, July 2008: Sub Soi 6

I went to Sukhumvit sois 20 and 22 which is just past Bangkok/Pattaya Hospital. It's on the outskirts of Pattaya. It's basically a Thai version of Soi Six. There are lots of karaoke places with girls sitting outside, although not much karaoke seems to go on in these places. It's two sois and two side sois connecting them with about 20 of these "karaoke" places.

The girls were nothing special. Most of them are in their mid twenties I would say and all of them have babies. There are definitely fewer 'doable' girls here than soi 6 and no schoolgirl outfits. The girls are friendly enough although they seemed quite surprised to see a farang and don't speak much or any English. You choose one outside and then take her to a nearby ST hotel.

A mamasan approached me and helped me choose one. None of them didn't have babies but I chose one with a nice enough face. Mamasan wanted 700 baht up front (including the room). We went to the ST hotel and I saw the girl pay 100 baht for the room.

The room was basic but at least it had it's own shower (unlike most soi 6 places).

I don't buy the claim that girls in Thai places are much more attractive than farang places. My experience with these karaoke places is the girls are no better than beer bar or ST bar girls and for a similar price.

I wouldn't even recommend going though as soi 6 is much better.

  July 2006: Soi Esso

A large area can be found off Sukumvit just north Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital. The main street is Soi 20, which runs right beside an Esso gas station, and the secondary street is Soi 22.

This is where many of Pattaya's working girls start their careers and there are some lookers here that belie the amount of money they command. Here you will pay 350 baht ($7) for a babe including the room with a 50-100 baht tip for good service. The customers that frequent these areas are for the most part Thais although you will see a few farangs out there also from time to time.

I have often wandered into Thai venues and they are always friendly and accommodating. The biggest problem encountered is the frequent total lack of English speakers.

 From Pattaya Secrets, July 2006: The Swamp

I went there once - it's also known as 'The Swamp' for obvious reasons if you visit during the rainy season. It was cheap but practically nobody spoke any English we found. I wouldn't go again, it was a shitty atmosphere what with the Thai blokes screwing us out the whole time. You'd have to be pissed up or very thick skinned to enjoy your time there.

Theprassit Road: Soi 8 & 10  From Pattaya-Addicts , November 2009: 700 Baht All In

IThe Thai guys don't get there until late... but things are changing, I do see farang down there now. Lots of Indians are getting taken there by songtaew drivers, but they usually try and drive down the price and leave empty handed.

Its 700 baht all in, including hotel. But bear in mind the girl only gets half of this, and you are limited to 1 hours. Its better off turning up with a bottle of whisky, paying 100 to bring it in, then you only pay for ice and mixers.

There is a decent turnover of girls there.

  Review 2004

I had a wander around the dozen or so Thai karaoke bars that are located near the junction of Theprassit Road and Sois 8 & 10. All bars had a selection of girls sitting outside waiting for customers. The girls were often pretty. One bar had incredibly alluring girls but this venue has recently been converted to a church.

At about half the bars the girls would invite one inside. The girls at other bars would hardly acknowledge one's presence. Probably they simply cannot speak enough English to invite one inside rather than them being unfriendly.

Inside the seating was generally scruffy looking sofas arranged to sit either two or a party of four. Once inside the entertainment of the day is drinking, chatting, singing and offers of sex. ...and yes there were some customers whiling away a few hours with a microphone.

There are two main reasons why I won't be making a regular habit of visiting the karaoke bars. Firstly the girls usually lack sufficient English to even make minor chit chat. Secondly I am always uncomfortable drinking in the proximity of any drunk Thai guys. They then have a propensity towards violence and I don't want to be on the receiving end of an fight provoking: "What are you looking at? That's MY girl".

old Walking Street sign





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