Review: JJ’s — Yangon, Burma

JJ’s in Yangon is another nightclub like Emperor where working women go to meet the men who adore them. While it can be difficult to find it’s not exactly hidden away either. Most taxi drivers seem to the know the place by name and even those who don’t know the famous Mindalar Market it is located near.

JJ’s is located in a large square up a side street directly across from another place called Asian Entertainment that operates in a similar fashion and may be reviewed here in the future. The building that houses the place is large and the JJ’s name features prominently in neon outside the main entrance. For those can’t find their way even with a big bright sign there are plenty of male touts in the parking lot waiting for people to arrive. They guide customers inside and help them navigate the place though there is no obligation to go inside with one. Customers are also free to walk in on their own and many do indeed do that.

The elevators that lead up to the club on the fourth floor aren’t as bad looking at those at Emperor but they aren’t great either. I seriously doubt they have ever been inspected. They’re also filled to the max at almost all times during opening owners. Punters, club workers and women go up and down one after another with barely enough room inside to breathe.

Once out of the elevator customers must stop by a small table staffed by a few women to pay the 4000 Kyat ($4 USD) cover charge. Customers are given a slip that can be exchanged for the drink of their choice once inside. The women at the table can speak a little English so things aren’t too difficult.

After customers pay their entry they are free to roam around the premises. The walkway leading to the main club is in the typical warn down shape but is interesting because of large posters on the walls that show the biggest “stars” of the place. There’s even a leader board that shows which women won the most garlands. Those who have read my review of Emperor will know that in these kinds of bars in Burma women put on a sort of catwalk fashion every night and are rewarded for their efforts by customers who buy flowery necklaces for them. This is sort of like buying a lady drink in Thailand or Cambodia.

Not all the women in this bar or the others like it will do the fashion show. There are also plenty of freelancers around who are simply looking for a few good men to exchange money for a bit of private time with them. The women who work the fashion shows will go home with customers but they ask for more money than the others and they can be selective. Some guys visit repeatedly and shower them with flowered necklaces to win favor. The freelancers can also be choosy and demand high sums of money though. More on that later.

JJ’s is larger than Emperor and has a high ceiling so it doesn’t feel so cramped. As a bonus there are also a few lights so one can make things out visually a bit, unlike Emperor which is something like dining in the dark with a more adult flavor.

The place has a sort of complex layout. There is a big dance floor in front with some sort of changing rooms to the back that women will occasionally emerge from. The dance floor is surrounded by bars on three sides with stools where guys can sit. On the far side of the main room there are some tables and along the back wall there are small private rooms. On the opposite side there is a stairway leading to an elevated section with more private areas. The remaining side is home to a large elevated bar area with plenty of tables and seats. This is where most of the working women tend to congregate early on though they are always coming and going.

Customers are free to sit where they like. Most single guys seem to take one of the seats around the dance floor though some will go elsewhere. East Asian guys arrive in groups and are whisked away to the private rooms where they await parade after parade of gals to pass through until they find women they like.

These Japanese and Korean guys are the kings at JJ’s without any question. They are catered too by a litany of people and are able to request women at the drop of a dime. The majority of women at the place seem to prefer them and quite a few are exclusive to them. This is unfortunate for fellows who don’t come from one of those two countries.

There are probably a few reasons for this. The most common given in English is that the East Asian guys have small packages that don’t hurt. I don’t know how true this is. It may be a way to build up non-Asian guys egos while rejecting them at the same time. It does seem that this rumor that all Western guys are huge permeates the scene in Yangon. Other reasons told are that East Asian guys like to spend a lot of money and that they often drink themselves into a stupor and never end up doing anything more, which means easy money for any gal that goes with them.

I think it’s just as likely that the women are simply used to those guys and they more closely resemble local guys. Westerners aren’t that common in Myanmar and haven’t been for decades. They’re even less common in the bars and its easy to sit inside all night and see one or none at all. On the other hand Japanese and Korean men have been flooding Yangon for sometime due to business interests. Most of the women at the bar don’t speak English either.

There are a variety of women at JJ’s every night though since they are all from Myanmar one shouldn’t expect to see any tall blonds or thick Latinas walking around. The vast majority of the women are petite and in their 20’s. They try to dress provocatively though what is sexy locally can look quaintly outdated to outside visitors. On any given night there could be as many as 100 women around.

While most of the women are at least somewhat attractive there are only a few stunners around. They seem mostly committed to the East Asian customers and most will even wait them out, refusing advances from other guys even when there are no Koreans or Japanese guys around in the hopes that some will soon arrive.

There are also a few large old ladies around who in comparison to the others look like they may have come from another planet. One could easily mistake them for mamasans but since there’s no such animal the hard reality soon sets in that they are working women too. They seem to gravitate towards any Westerners who wonder in probably because most Asian guys want nothing to do with them and have no qualms with shooing them away.

These women usually speak English well. They may have picked it up while working in Thailand years ago; there are a lot of women from Myanmar on the scene there. I don’t know. They could perhaps be useful to some guys as an intermediary for that reason though they would undoubtedly expect a tip.

Some of the “regular girls” will also approach Western guys. This seems limited to the few who can speak decent English an unfortunately they tend to be some of the least attractive women in the bunch. Still a few are good looking and willing to go with a Westerner. Some of the prettier gals will come over to a Western guy if he or one of the English-speaking bow-tied male waiters summons them but they won’t have much to say and may not be willing to spend any time with the guy outside. A guy who sits alone and doesn’t get up the courage to summon a gal he likes or at least ask someone else to will be stuck with those who approach him and then the pickings may be slim even in this land of plenty.

The amount of money the women working at JJ’s ask for isn’t set in stone but there are some basic guidelines that most seem to follow. The women considered prettiest including many of those in the fashion shows expect 180 USD or the local equivalent for a night of their time and they seem to get it from the aforementioned Asian guys. The regular gals look for around 80 USD per session. Some may start with higher quotes but nearly all will accept this amount. Some may go lower but the sessions may be even worse than usual.

In any event the women don’t tend to be very knowledgeable in the arts of pleasure or put on much of a performance and the starfish seems to be the standard. Most of the gals seem to operate on the hit it and quit it model which if executed correctly can get them back on the dance floor at JJ’s while the towel they dry themselves off with in the hotel is still wet. Payment is accepted after the fact though some may try it on and ask for it up front.

As a large but partially difficult room to work JJ’s doesn’t deserve much in the way of ratings. It’s not the only show in town and although some claim it has the prettiest gals I think that’s simply the appearance because there are so many women around. In a group of 100 women there are bound to be some lookers but there are also some much less desirable lasses in the group too. One benefit the place has is that it stays open late but I don’t think that makes it much better. Taking everything into consideration I give the place one-and-a-half stars and that may even be too much. Perhaps someone writing from another perspective like a Korean business man working in the city would rank it higher.

JJ’s. Set Yon Rd near Mingalar Market. Open seven days a week from 8:30 PM to 3:00AM.

Review of JJ's bar girls in Yangon Myanmar
1.5

15 Comments

  1. James says:

    Thanks for the report. This place sounds absolutely awful. Racist attitudes towards non asians, unattractive girls, starfish performances combined with rushed service….and at least a 100 bucks must be paid for the “privilege” of having this experience. I think 1.5 stars seems outrageously generous lol. This sounds like somewhere to avoid at all costs.

    I am also frankly amazed at these prices. 180 dollars for a hooker in a country where the majority of the population subsist on less that $200 per year…wow. Thats insane. For about double that amount a guy could have a really memorable evening in a luxurious macau sauna with first class service and stunning (not to mention friendly) girls. The more I read about Burma, the more it sounds like a really bad place for mongering. Are there any redeeming features for the prospective monger?

    • rockit says:

      I guess everything depends to a large degree on perspective. As I said if I was a Korean businessman on location for some extended period of time I might find the place more to my liking. As for the rates they don’t really seem to have much to do with local salaries in other industries. Some of the poorest countries around have limited action for foreigners and can have sky high rates. In other cases rich countries like Japan have some incredibly cheap options. There’s more at play than just the average income. Cheers.

  2. Jack says:

    I too urge some perspective by our brother James. Myanmar is a country that was decades isolated from the West. I developed very good, intimate relationships when I was there a few years ago but not without many many missteps.

    There’s more to a country than whether the mongering is cheap and easy. Sure, that’s why we are reading this, but some countries aren’t on their backs with their legs spread open for us like Thailand or Macau!

    • rockit says:

      Good perspective. Cheers.

    • James says:

      I do not require any additional “perspective” on the matter Jack. While I am delighted that you managed to have “very good, intimate relationships” during your time there, I am baffled as to why you think that’s relevant to my comment. Your response has nothing to do with the point that I was making, which is simply that its amazing that a hooker can earn in 1 night what the average person earns in a year in that country. By any standards, that’s crazy. Nothing more, nothing less. Likewise while I’m fully aware of Myanmars political and economic isolation from the West, I have no idea why you think that’s pertinent here.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but this site is about mongering, not about relationships. That was the context of my comment; namely that Myanmar seems to be a poor choice for the Western monger compared to other available options. Thus your lecture about there being more to a country than “cheap mongering” is both redundant and irrelevant. I am interested in mongering, whether cheap, moderately priced or expensive. If I wanted to discuss relationships I would do so on an appropriate forum, not on a site dedicated to prostitution and where to find it.

      Finally if you think that a country like Thailand is really “on its back with their legs spread open for us” then I would urge you to broaden your perspective. Contrary to popular imagination, Thailand is not one big whorehouse. Get out of the bars and meet some normal girls, the vast majority of whom would never in a million years work as a hooker. The sex industry is a very small component of Thai society.

    • rockit says:

      Thanks for the comment. I don’t think the average monthly income in Myanmar is $6. Though it is low that is not the only determining factor when it comes to the price of services. There are other things at play like the customer base and what they are willing to pay, the number of working women and the risk involved. I can think of a few places where working women can earn a month’s salary in one night. A good example would be Vietnam where the average monthly income is a little less than 150 USD. There are plenty of women working places like Apocalypse Now who score that amount for a single long time session regularly. Cheers!

  3. James says:

    I agree it seems absurdly low and salaries in the larger cities must undoutedly be much higher. However its a figure I have seen repeatedly on various different sites such as http://fortune.com/2014/09/18/asia-myanmar-burma-telecommunications-market/ and http://www.worldvision.org/our-impact/country-profiles/myanmar, and also http://maetaoclinic.org/resources/about-burma/fast-facts-on-burma/.

    There is clearly huge poverty, especially in rural areas where incomes are much lower but its hard to imagine it could be that low. Incidentally just to clarify, that was the reason for my remark on the craziness of $180 dollar charge. Its not that 180 is outrageous, its simply the ratio between it and the quoted income figure seems ridiculous. I can only assume the latter is outdated.

    However that’s really just a side issue. As you say there are multiple factors which determine the price, such as the supply, demand, prevailing attitudes, price sensitivity of the customer base and the risks involved for all parties. But the bottom line for me is that based on everything I have heard and read, including this report, at this time Myanmar just seems a poor option for the Western monger given the alternatives available. I have had a lot of negative feedback which is why its one of the very few countries in SEA I have not visited. Still, YMMV and all that. I guess there is only one way to find out and that’s to bite the bullet and give it a try. Thanks again for the report.

    • rockit says:

      Good comment and I can definitely see where you are coming from. I think there are probably people living on that little in the country especially in some of the outer provinces but I don’t think that it is the average today. Then again I’m no expert on the subject. There are places where full service goes for a lot less including Emperor which I have already reviewed but also some brothels where sex is sold for a few dollars. Obviously poor rice farmers wouldn’t be paying 180 for a bit of fun. Things will always come down to perspective. Some people view Japan as a paradise and others dislike it immensely, and I’ve heard and seen similar things for almost every other country around from different people. Cheers.

  4. Andy says:

    I’ve been living in Yangon for a while now, the review is close to reality, but I’d like to add some of my experience. Girls are not exclusive to Japanese or Koreans, although these guys do spend a stupid amount of money most of the times. Talk to the girls who collect flowers money, some are very good in English, be nice to her, offer to buy her a drink (she’ll usually take a soft drink), and she’ll help you out in selecting the “fashion ladies”. Now you do not have to give any flowers to the fashion ladies, if you see one you like, talk to the flower girl, ask if they will go to a hotel, and many times you can request an all night – which of course is value for money. If the fashion lady agrees, then you pay 50,000 to the flower girl and pay 50,000 back at the hotel after the deed is done. if the girl you want does not agree to go or other requests such as all night, you can move on to the next group. There are at least 80 fashion ladies walking every night! For the freelancers, the flower girls might be able to help, but at least she could be your translator. Price is 80,000 paid afterward. Most girls don’t have any skills, so don’t expect much. However they will warm up to you if you are nice to them.

    Now if one wants better looking girls that speak English and actually have some skills in the sack, head to Park Royal Hotel. The girls there are anywhere from $100 – $150, most speak good English, and if they like you, from the second time on they could stay all night or give extra special services (don’t expect anything too kinky). My girl even bring me dinner and drinks sometimes and stay with me until lunch time the next day!

    • rockit says:

      Hi Andy. Thanks for the report. I plan to do a write up on the bar at the Park Royal in the near future. From what I can tell there are only a handful of women who work there and most are older and less attractive than what one would find in clubs like JJ’s. Cheers.

  5. Jack says:

    I’ve avoided this post since I was targeted for scorn, but my experience was similar to what Andy describes. Skill is definitely a YMMV thing, but it is surprising what some cultivated intimacy does to an initially timid gal. Never hit the Park Royal scene.

  6. James says:

    Apologies Jack if my earlier post was scornful. I guess I was having a bad day and wrongly took it out on you with an overly harsh reply. I hope you accept my apology and that there are no hard feelings.

    RE your post, I actually do agree with your point about cultivating intimacy (perhaps that’s what you meant before about having “intimate relationships”? If so I misunderstood). I have had that approach work not just with shy or inexperienced girls, but surprisingly even with some hardened pros. Yes its a business transaction at the end of the day but the girls are still human beings. Treating them with kindness, respect and consideration can often go a very long way indeed. Peace.

  7. lam says:

    Thanks for the information and comments. I had a good idea what to expect and what to do. Much appreciate.

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