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Prostitution at Thermae in Bangkok

Prostitution at Thermae is the undoubtedly the main thing that keeps the place in business. Funny then that it is not a go go bar or really any sort of sex shop at all then. Instead the place is just a bar and cafe where sex workers and punters happen to mingle. Lucky for the owners. Because if it wasn’t for the sex workers showing up night after night I doubt that Thermae would be long for this world.

This underground bar has long been one of the most popular places in the city for horny guys to meet independent sex workers. The ladies don’t work for the bar of course. They are on their own. The bar exercises some crowd control. Security checks ID cards to make sure all the ladies who show up are adults with vaginas. But they don’t exercise much more control than that.

I have been writing about the commercial sex industry for more than a decade. In the course of that work I have reported on sex work in countries all around the world. I have gone especially in depth into the massive adult entertainment scene in Bangkok. But I have not yet written about Thermae. Frankly I don’t think the place is all that special. Though I do think it deserves to be covered.

Thermae Bar in Bangkok

Thermae sits in the basement floor of a building housing Ruamchitt Hotel. Though it has its own separate entrance open to the street. The building is located at the intersection of Sukhumvit and Sukhumvit Soi 15 and is easy to find.

Thermae Bar Bangkok review

One could easily miss Thermae itself however. The door is down a flight of stairs with only some basic signage to mark it. Though when the bar is hoping there are usually a lot of people around. That includes a fair number of female and ladyboy sex workers stationed just outside the door.

Since Thermae has achieved near legendary status in some circles it has become a sort of a landmark. Though I have to imagine anyone showing up with visions of a sort of Eiffel Tower of sex work would be sadly disappointed. What we have here is a shabby bar with some prostitutes. It is not even as notable as more interesting places such as the old Lisboa Racetrack in Macau.

How hooking at Thermae works

So how does it all work? Dozens of mostly average looking Thai ladies in fairly plain clothes stand around all sides of the room. The mainly East Asian customers circle around slowly looking the ladies over like drinks in a convenience store cooler. Some customers sit down and take their time while downing admittedly inexpensive drinks.

If a guy likes a lady he approaches her. They strike up a deal. Usually something like short time sex for around 3000 Baht ($86 USD). This is more or less what Bangkok go go dancers expect now for the same service. There are no barfines or lady drinks at Thermae. So it is a bit cheaper. But the ladies aren’t dancing on stage in bikinis either.

Several full service massage parlors in Bangkok charge as little as 2000 Baht per hour. And they don’t turn away any customers. While go go dancers will occasionally reject a guy outright that is pretty rare. At Thermae women will sometimes shoot a guy down completely no matter how much money they offer. It’s a place where things like eye contact and expressed interest matter.

Some say the women who work at Thermae Bar are a cut above the freelances one might find at Thai Friendly or standing on Sukhumvit Road. But I don’t really know what that is based on. Management at Thermae does seem to have some control over the place. Yet they are not screening the gals in any real way. So basically it is just a place like any other where women can go to sell sex.

I would like to go more into detail about Thermae but there just isn’t much more to say. On a recent visit I found that the place like more or less exactly like it did decades ago. It hasn’t changed since the last century. There is something to be said for longevity. Thermae has obviously carved a successful niche out for itself. It’s a place where ladies of the night find customers. And that’s about it.

Thermae. Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand. Open every day from 8:00 PM until 1:00 AM.

2 thoughts on “Prostitution at Thermae in Bangkok”

  1. Hi
    I was in Thermae as recent as the other day and it’s great as a ‘go to or fallback’ place especially during rainy season when obviously less Freelancers will brave the elements on the streets particularly before midnight. Also as Thermae doesn’t allow Ladyboys, I found most of the freelancers on the street/ blocks close to it tended to be ladyboys.

    When I went to Thermae first, I couldn’t get over how small it actually is inside, you can do a lap in about 20 seconds and because of the way the ladies stand around the sides, it’s impossible to get a seat, so don’t expect to be able to sit down and mull the time away for an hour or two!
    Also what stood out was that Westerners or Europeans/Americans are in the distinct minority amongst the punters, on my last visit I counted 3 including myself and one left as I came in. Don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing!
    Even if you don’t plan to pick up, I’d definitely recommend a visit to Thermae on a trip to Bangkok, even just to say to yourself that you have experienced it first hand.

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