Bangkok is as famous for its nightlife as anything else. Although there are countless massage parlors and other types of bars scattered around the city the go go bars in Bangkok get the most attention. There’s a reason the cast of The Hangover 2 ventured down Soi Cowboy instead of Huay Kwang.
I have done a few reports on the go go bars in Bangkok in the past but the industry is so fickle that things often change not long after my reports go online. So today I will start what I hope will become an annual tradition. Along with yearly reports on subjects like the hostess bars of Ho Chi Minh City and deep throaters in Bangkok I plan to publish an updated report on the go go bars of Bangkok every year from here on out at least when time and resources allow.
For those who are unaware nearly every go go bar in Thailand follows the same model. They have seating organized around stages in the center. Women dance on the stages in anything from shorts to their bare bodies. There are no cover charges but customers are expected to order a drink when they sit down. When customers want to talk to a woman they ask her to come over or ask a waitress to call her over. If they want to take a dancer out of a bar they ask the dancer or a manager. If the dancer agrees the customer pays a bar fine then pays an additional tip to the dancer later. Nearly all dancers who leave a bar with a customer expect to have sex with that customer though their expectations beyond that can vary.
Bar fines typically range from 600 to as much as 2000 Baht. The women in the bars ask for anywhere from 1000 to 5000 Baht depending on how long they will stay with customers and a number of other factors. Many of the women now prefer to use short time hotels instead of going back to girl friendly hotels with customers. Most go go bar areas are surrounded by short time hotels.
Years ago rumors were circulating that the infamous Nana Plaza on Sukhumvit Soi 4 was going to be sold and demolished to make way for some other developments. With so many condos and shopping malls going up around the city and some of the bars in the Nana Entertainment Plaza looking worse for wear the rumors actually seemed as if they may be true.
Today Nana Plaza is without question the most popular go go bar area in all of Bangkok. People from all around the world flock through its gates every night into the multi-floored complex. It even seems that long discussed plans to put a roof over Nana Plaza may finally come to fruition and the sign out front welcoming punters to the world’s largest adult playground is even being refurbished.
While Nana clearly isn’t going anywhere it is changing. The biggest difference past visitors will notice is the proliferation of ladyboy bars. Years ago there was only one ladyboy bar in the complex. Today there are several including the repurposed DC-10 and Straps. DC-10 was once a bar where regular ladies danced. Today it is filled with mostly pre-op ladyboys. Straps on the other hand is staffed entirely by post-op ladyboys who have gone through sex change operations. They look more like “real women” than any other ladyboys working in Bangkok and many of them refuse to even admit that they were born with penises.
Other ladyboy bars include Obsessions, Casanova, Cascades, Temptations, Charades, Chili and Mercury Bar. Diamonds, Easy Lick and London Calling have a mix of ladyboys and regular gals on staff.
Agogos like Spanky’s and the Rainbow bars continue to be the most popular and crowded bars in Nana Plaza but some of the friendliest and best looking women can actually be found in lesser known bars.
Erotica is stashed away in a corner up the first flight of stairs in Nana Plaza. It’s a small bar with a small staff but the women who dance topless tend to be fit and quite attractive. The bar fine is 700 Baht ($21 USD) which is pretty common nowadays. The cost of a Chang beer at 95 Baht ($2.85 USD) is more out of the ordinary.
Butterflies on the top floor has two stages and a large bathtub with seats all around it. The bar is spacious so it never gets crowded even when there are several customers inside. The women on the two stages dance in bikinis but the gals in the tub get fully nude. For some reason Butterflies seems to staff an inordinate amount of heavily tattooed women though many are attractive. The bar fine at Butterflies is also 700 Baht and there is a short time hotel almost right next door. Bangkok Bunnies is a very similar bar.
Billboard across the plaza also staffs several very good looking women though they sometimes get lost in the crowd off less attractive women that keep the stages in the bar full at all times. Since one of the stages rotates customers can get a look at everyone on staff. Ongoing bath shows at the bar usually includes several fully nude ladies with great breasts.
Soi Cowboy continues to operate as it has for years. This neon strip sits empty most of the day only to come alive around 9:00 PM as the numerous signs and bright faces of hundreds of Thai women illuminate the short alley.
It may be fair to call Soi Cowboy the most mainstream of the go go bar areas in Bangkok today. It is often visited by tourists and women who have no real interest in taking any of the women on staff out of the bars. There are also more contracted coyote dancers working the bars on Soi Cowboy than an in any other go go area in the city.
The Dollhouse is one of the more unique go go bars in Bangkok thanks to its upstairs lounge. The area is filled with round tables where women dance while customers look at sports events on the numerous televisions or more commonly up the dancers’s skirts.
The well known Suzie Wong still has nude dancing and shows but it staffs some of the oldest women on the strip. There are also several single mothers in the line up including several who seem like they’d rather be somewhere else.
Baccara is probably the most visited go go bar on Soi Cowboy. Like its similarly named counterpart in Pattaya the bar is known as a place that staffs attractive women including many with artificially enhanced hooters. The bar gets crowded most nights.
The infamous Crazy House just past the intersection of Soi Cowboy and Soi 23 remains one of the most popular go go bars in all of Bangkok. That is mainly due to the fully nude state of the women dancing inside and their penchant for getting touchy feely with customers who buy them lady drinks. Since the music blares so loud at Crazy House it is no wonder people inside don’t simply chat.
Five Star Bar on Soi Cowboy proper has apparently been taken over by the owner of Crazy House and now follows a similar pattern. So full nudity is in and the live band that once played at Five Star Bar in the past is out.
After years of looking like it was on its last leg the formerly bustling nightlife area composed mainly of Patpong Soi 1 and Patpong Soi 2 made a sort of rebound earlier in this decade. In the last year or two things seem to have slowed down again but there are still plenty of go go bars in the area.
The Strip recently changed ownership and went through some changes. The bar no longer allows customers to get busy with dancers in the private booths but there are some good looking women on stage every night of the week.
Badabing is hit or miss. Some decry the aging state of the dancers while others claim it has one of the best looking lineups of any go go bar in Bangkok. The last time I stopped in the women working at the bar actually looked very attractive to me but I am not a regular visitor.
Black Pagoda continues to be a popular go go bar but I cannot figure out exactly why. I have visited many times over the years and the place always seems to be quiet and understaffed. Different people have different opinions however and the management must be doing something right since guys continue to file into Black Pagoda on a daily basis.
The previously reviewed Club Electric Blue is still going strong too. This bar doesn’t seem to suffer through the kinds of ups and downs of some other bars in the area go though.
The lesser known Thigh Bar is known as a place where the staff can get hands on. It isn’t the biggest go go bar in Bangkok by any means. Perhaps that’s how they get away with charging just 60 Baht for a draft beer.
The Kings and Queens group of go go bars are a mixed bag with many ladyboys working the stages. They are almost always quiet with staff out front trying to beckon customers in off of the street.
Nearly every foreign man who enters Bangkok knows about the three famous go go bar centers of Bangkok. Fewer know about a big group of bars in another part of the city even now in the age of widespread internet use.
These go go bars are grouped together along Sutthisan Winitchai Road not far from the Saphan Kwai BTS Station.
The Sutthisan Road go go bars arose to meet the needs and desires of foreign servicemen stationed in Bangkok during the time of the Vietnam war. After the soldiers left the Sutthisan Road go go bars catered to local customers and thus had lower rates than the tourist oriented bars in other parts of the city.
The bars didn’t push customers to take ladies or do much of anything and they offered bigger drinks at lower prices than other go go bars in town. The drinks could even be shared between multiple customers. The bars charged less for barfines and the women who danced in the bars asked for less than the women dancing in other areas too.
However some of this seems to have changed. After more and more farang starting entering the bars again a few years ago some of the prices did appear to go up a bit and pushiness returned at least for non-Thai customers.
Now when farang customers enter these bars it is isn’t surprising for a floor manager to hurry over with a group of women on staff. Typically they are among the least attractive women in the place as the managers apparently share the widely held Thai belief that farang like old and ugly ladies.
Customers are of course free to decline the company of any of the ladies brought to their tables but it is worth noting since this was not a common occurrence in the past at least as far as I am aware.
Apparently these bars also have an all inclusive pricing scheme now too. So foreigners are quoted one lump sum price of 2000 Baht for an overnight session that includes the bar fine. These rates are less than those charged at the other more well known go go bar areas but when the combination of fees makes things a little more obscure.
The women who dance in the Sutthisan Road bars don’t generally look any better or worse than the women dancing in other go go bars around town though there are certainly some good looking women on the stages. There are certainly less large women and gals with obvious signs of motherhood on Sutthisan Road.
The women typically dance in bikinis but there are some fully nude dancers to be found and in at least one bar things can go further toward the show realm with variously props and additives being incorporated into the act.
The women at all of the Sutthisan Road go go bars put in real effort when it comes to dancing. It is not like some of the bars in the tourist oriented areas where the women basically stand on stage and call it a dance.
Bars on Sutthisan Road include T Ded 99, RCA 1, RCA 2, Spicy Bar, Chat and For You. T Ded 99 is the biggest bar of the bunch with several stages and a lot of women on staff.
Most of the people in these bars do not speak English. Business is typically transacted in Thai. Some of the customers appear to be puzzled or perhaps even perturbed by the presence of foreigners but none of the bars bans foreigners outright as is the norm in countries like Japan.