When I first visited the "Land of Smiles" back in 2003, I will readily admit that I was more than a little naive.
I had heard stories from friends and acquaintances about the shannanigans that went on, but dismissed most of it as jocular pub banter, but little did I know that most of the eye-opening anecdotes were actually true!!!!
Arriving in Bangkok, I can remember approaching the "naughty bar" scene with a sense of trepidation, coupled with a feeling of sheer unadulterated joy, like finding the golden ticket to visit Willy Wonkas chocolate factory.
The aim of my post is too introduce first-time visitors to the nightlife in Thailand, guide them through the complexities and hopefully help them to avoid any pitfalls.
I shall start by giving you the low-down on the types of entertainment venues that you are likely to encounter.
1) Beer Bars:
The Beer Bar is probably the most common venue that you will encounter on your travels around Thailand and they range from beach-front shacks to modern air-conditioned buildings complete with pool tables and satellite tv.
They can be found in almost every destination catering for foreign tourists and as their name suggests they are geared towards servicing the liquid but also the libidinous needs of their predominantly male clientele.
The majority of beer bars will employ a number of nubile young ladies whose services can be bought, by paying the "barfine", which is a fee charged by the bar to release the girl and then agreeing a separate fee with the girl for her company which will either be "short time" (2+ hours) or "long time" (overnight). Barfines will be added to your tab or "check bin" and paid before you leave the bar.Penfold's Tip: Make sure you agree a price and how long you want to spend with girl before you leave the bar or it will end in tear's for one of you!!!
The girls will usually be sitting outside the premises waiting for guys to walk past and they employ all manner of tactics ranging from shouting niceties, kissing, cuddling and physically pulling you through the door to encourage you to frequent their establishment. The girls are often paid a commission for any drinks that are bought for them by customers. These are referred to as "lady drinks" and will usually be 2 or 3 times the price of a bottle of beer and will also be added to your tab.
Penfold's Tip: Make sure you double check your tab before leaving as it is easy to forget how many drinks you have had and overcharging does happen. If there are any problems in the bar including poor service, overcharging etc that are not resolved satisfactorily, my advice is keep calm, pay the bill and leave and never go to that bar again!!! Remember your wallet is king!!!!Beer bars are generally more laid back than go-go bars or discos although many of them will have the ubiquitous crappy pop music being played at full volume. I find that beer bars are a good place to go to start an evening before visiting either a discotheque or karaoke bar or if you are looking for a relatively cheap night then a bar crawl is the ideal way to check out the watering-holes in a particular destination.
Competition for customers money, both among the bars and the ladies who work in them, has always been fierce. In the current economic climate it is a "buyer's market" and although drink prices have stayed static, the price of an evening of fun with your favourite bar girl is falling significantly. However, this is a double-edged sword, due of the dirth of tourists there are now fewer top quality girls available, so it may take you longer to find your partner for the evening.
The following are a list of my favourite beers bars and details of where they can be found. I have included a link to their website, if they have one that is.
Big Dogs Bar - This is located on the ground floor at the entrance to Nana Plaza on Sukhumvit 4 Soi 2, in Bangkok. There are plenty of nice girls and I have never had any problems with service here. This is a great place to relax and watch the world go by!!!
Cathouse - This is also located in the Nana Plaza entertainment complex on the 2nd level. It is well-known among tourists and expats for its happy hour promotions. The staff are very friendly, the girls won't hassle you for "lady drinks" and it is a good spot for people watching too!!!
For more information please click on their weblink..........
UP2U Beer Bar - This is a good little bar in Pattaya and has been going for about 6 years now. It is located on Soi 13, more commonly known as at Soi Diana Inn, and is opposite the Mike Shopping Mall. The girls always seem to be having fun and again I have never had any problems with service.
Here is their website.........http://www.up2u-bar.com/
2) Go-go Bars
Go-go bars are the mainstay of the nightlife industry and are the reason why plane loads of foreign tourists come all the way to Thailand!!!
Even if you have never been to Thailand there's a good chance you have heard about the goings-on at these infamous establishments!!!!
What is a go-go bar you may ask? Well, the format is very simple, it's a nightclub or bar that features dancers in various stages of undress!!!
In most go-go's there will be a mainstage where the girls dance, frolic and slide up and down shiny chrome poles, vying for the customers attention. Some bars have really good music and choreographed shows whereas, in the majority of others, the dancing and music is slightly more ad hoc.
Many go-go bars particularly in Pattaya and the Patpong district of Bangkok, have live sex shows, featuring the girls ejecting all manner of items including bananas, ping pong balls and darts from their nether regions!!!!
The dancers services can be bought by paying the barfine, which is a fee charged by the bar to release the girl. You then agree a separate fee with the girl for her company which will either be "short time" (2+ hours) or "long time" (overnight). Barfines will be added to your tab or "check bin".
The girls, much the same as their sister's in the Beer Bars, are paid a commission for any drinks that customers buy for them. The "lady drinks" will usually be 2 or 3 times more than the advertisied price and, will also be added to your tab, which you pay when you leave.
Penfold's Tip: The barfines and prices charged by the go-go girls are often a lot higher than you find in the beer bars but the quality of the ladies is generally much better.
Dollhouse - This is a good quality go-go, located along Bangkok's ever-popular Soi Cowboy, between Sukhumvit Soi 21 and 23. The bar is nicely decorated, the standard of girls is generally quite high and the music and sound system are pretty decent too.
Spice Girls - This is another of my favourite Soi Cowboy haunts. There's plenty of top totty and a good selection of drinks. Spice Girls is always a winner in my opinion!!!
Mistys - Ah Mistys!!! This is an extremely popular venue in Pattaya and during my bachelor days I could always be found, beer in hand, gawping at the fine selection of fillies!!!!http://www.mistysagogo.com/
3) Freelance Bars:You may already be familiar with the term "freelance bar" but if not, it is certainly a word you will frequently hear among tourists and expats.
A freelance bar is a essentially a beer bar or other venue which is frequented by ladies who are not employed directly by the bar and work on a "freelance" basis. There are many reasons why the girls work freelance, for example they may not be suited to working in beer bars or go-go bars, they may have a full-time job and are looking to make extra money in the evenings or on their days-off or they are students trying to fund their education.
A freelance bar does have some advantages over other beer bars, because punters do not have to pay for expensive lady drinks or fork out for barfines and the rates the girls charge for their services are generally a bit lower too. But be warned there are also some serious disadvantges to going with a "freelancer"!!! The biggest problems are with STD's among freelance girls and they are also more likely to steal from you!!! If any of your valuables do go missing then the chances are you will never find her or your property again but if something like that happens and the girl is employed by a go-go or beer bar then you may have a chance of tracking her down!!!
Penfold's Tip: If you go with a freelancer, make sure you put all your valuables in the hotel safe and always ensure you have a ready supply of condoms!!!
Some good examples of Freelancer bars are listed below......
Gullivers - The Bangkok branch of Gulliver's can be found on Sukhumvit Soi 5. This is a nice venue that serves a range of Thai and International food. There are plenty of bottled and draught beers (they also serve Beer Lao which is one of my favourites!!!).
Beergarden Soi 7 Sukhumvit - This a good Bangkok meeting place and perfect for an afternoon drink or if you fancy an all day session and there's definitely no shortage of girls!!! It starts to get busy in the afternoons and by the evening is jam packed!!! There are also plenty of hotels and eateries in the area and you are just a short stroll from Nana Plaza.
Thermae Coffee Shop - The Thermae is a basement bar in Ruam Chit Plaza on Soi 15 Sukhumvit. Drinks are reasonably priced and it is a perfect place to meet wide range of ladies. It gets very busy from about 6pm onwards and when the regular beer bars and go-go's close around 1am the place gets packed. It is really easy to mingle and have fun chatting to the girls.
4) Massage Parlours - This is an integral part of the "naughty boy scene" in Thailand and there are parlours the length and breadth of the the country offering everything from the infamous "soapy" massage, (no description needed for this one I think!!!) to a relaxing oil massage with "extras". The massage ladies will usually sit outside the shop waiting for passers by and try to cajole them into popping in for old fashinoed rub down!!! Oh er missus!!!
I must admit that I haven't been to a massage parlour, for anything other than a massage, for quite a long time, so I haven't really kept up with developments in this area the nightlife scene.
Back in the day I used to visit Annie's next to the Raja Hotel between Soi 4 and 2 in Bangkok. There was a great selection of girls, the service was first rate and represented very good value for money!!!
Here's their website...................
Another smashing venue is Dream Heaven on Soi 33 Sukhumvit, with great ladies and excellent service.
If you like to find out more please visit......................
5) Nightclubs, Gentleman's clubs and "alternative venues".
There are plenty of great venues in Thailand whatever your taste and budget. Whether your boogeying the night away in a trendy dance club, parading around in a gimp mask and arse-less leather chaps or simply relaxing in the company of a beautiful hostess.
Here are my hot tips for some of the best venues in Thailand.......
Booze - This funky venue can be found in the Thonglor area of Bangkok, around Sukhumvit 55, Soi 10. It has a cracking live band, big-screen TV's and is popular among Bangkok's bold and beautiful. And as the name suggests there is plenty of boozing.
Q Bar - It's one of the most popular venues in Bangkok and it is easy to see why. Q Bar plays some fantastic house and dance music, offers a fine selection of food and drink and the gnerally atmosphere is one of fun and enjoyment.
Eden Club - This legendary venue, on Sukhumvit Soi7/1, is where you head if you want to experience the thrill of multi-girl action and believe me it does not disappoint. The prices are a bit steep but you can rest assured the girls and the service are fantastic and it will be money well spent!!! They even offer you VIP memebership for 20,000 baht which gives you 10 girls!!!
It is mandatory that you take a minimum of 2 girls each time you visit, so you have to have reasonable stamina and be able to keep it up!!!!
The Bank - The bank is an exculsive member's club, in the Soi 40 area of Sukhumvit, near the Thonglor BTS station. It describes itself as "a full service entertainment complex with something for everyone".
With VIP Suites, a party room and business lounge it is aimed businessmen looking to entertain their clients.
However, it's also great place for birthdays or stag parties and with trial memberships starting at 10,000 baht, its well worth a visit.
Fetish clubs - If you get your jollies by cavorting with pvc-clad midgets, dressing up as a baby or having your bare bottom caned, then not only are you an extremely dirty boy, but you should also check out a couple of Thailand's leading fetish clubs!!!!
One of Bangkok's premier establishments is the Barbar club....
And for those staying in Pattaya, your best bet is the Castle Club......
They offer all manner of unusal and alternative services and are rapidly growing in popularity, despite Thailand being quite conservative when it comes to sex and relationships.
I always welcome feedback on my posts and my blog in general, so if you have any comments or suggestions then drop me a line.