Welcome to the ‘City of Angels’, not quite the angels that King Rama I had in mind when he named it ‘Krung thep’, but Bangkok is certainly one of the naughtiest cities in the world, with thousands of Bangkok bar girls who work in the city’s various red light districts. It’s not difficult to find yourself a girl for the night in this city, but some prior knowledge of how it all works and where helps maximise the experience of a good night out.
Bangkok bar girls are famous for their sex appeal, friendly, fun nature and easy approach. Unlike other red light districts right girl and you could feel like you are having an evening out with a new girlfriend. Even as a first-timer it’s easy to meet bar girls in Bangkok, and the whole evening could cost you less than US$100.
Bangkok bar girls – who are they?
The majority of Bangkok bar girls come from Isaan, the north-eastern region of Thailand. They come from poor rural areas where job opportunities are low paying – in the bars they can earn a lot more, and have a lot more fun. With their dark complexion, sultry looks and sexy bodies they are certainly a hit with foreign men.
Don’t expect an educated girl you can practise your wit and personality on; as long as you have a bulging wallet they’ll take a liking to you. After you’ve met a few different girls, you’ll soon notice that some are of better character than others. Ultimately, most Thai girls are fun and easy going, and remember these poor girls are just trying to earn a living and will be far more sweet and natural than a business-like prostitute in a European city.
Bar girls also come in various forms; there’s the sexiest and jaded ones who work in the go go bars and strictly mean business. In the beer bars you get a more casual character, where the girls will genuinely take a liking to particular customers and end up spending days with them. Then there are freelancers, which range from ‘street-trawlers’ who don’t ‘fit in’ with the structured bar, and even students who work the discos for pocket money or a generous short-time boyfriend. The experiences among these can be vastly different, depending on how carefully you choose your girl.
Mostly, visitors find their Bangkok bar girls in the bar. Sit down in a lively place, begin chatting up a girl and soon she’ll ask you to buy her a ‘lady drink’. These are a bit more expensive than regular prices and are often watered down. You don’t have to buy her a drink, but don’t expect much attention if you don’t. Either way, you’ll have to order something if you’re going to hang around.
Sometimes it’s best to try several bars before settling on a girl you like, which can add up to a growing drinks bill, but it does help break the ice to share a few drinks with a girl and get her a bit ‘oiled’. She’ll be far more fun, but be aware that Thai girls sometimes have a low alcohol tolerance and become useless when too drunk, so ease up on the shooters.
Now for the bar fines! When you’ve decided to take a girl out the bar with you, you will have to pay a ‘bar fine’. These vary from 300 to 600 baht depending on the quality of the venue and girls. It’s useful to know what the bar fine is before you start spending money on drinks. This fee is separate from anything you later agree with the girl, though you can usually bash her down in price if the bar fine has been excessive (she gets some of it anyway). Freelancers in discos and the street don’t have bar fines.
The ‘fine’ is added to your bill and you usually pay the girl. All of this is controlled by the ‘mamasan’ – who is vaguely equivalent to a pimp but serves a bigger function of taking care of the girls and acts like a bigger sister and wearing the boots in the place. Sometimes, they may all live together on the premises. Mamasans are often ladyboys or retired bar girls.
How much for a bar girl?
The Bangkok bar girl scene is nothing more than a huge financial osmosis which draws vast amounts of money out of the wallets of flush farangs and into the needy pockets of thousands of sweet, deceptive players who can often be ruthless and without conscience. If you want to play, then keep this in the back of your mind the whole time.
The minimum price for an ‘ordinary’ freelancer is 1,000 baht. If you are inexperienced with the bar girl scene then 1,500 baht ($50) is more realistic, and by the time you’ve bought all the drinks, paid the bar fine and taxied home it could be double that. Obviously, the more sexy the girl and busier the bar, the more she’ll want, and you can expect to pay over 3-4,000 baht for a top go-go dancer. Escort agencies charge double that again.
The main consideration is whether you want ‘short time’ or ‘all night’; the latter costing about half again, but you get to enjoy a morning shag, too. Go-go girls often only go for short time as they have more chance of ‘doing’ many customers in one night. Some girls turn out to be a disappointment and you won’t want them hanging around. Always negotiate a fee before hand, although it’s payable when she leaves. Hotel security always asks for the girl to deposit their ID at reception for your security. If you really get along well, she will accompany you on your trip (they love being taken to the islands) but remember there’s plenty more variety in the tourist spots.
For Thai women, choosing to enter the bar girl scene represents a choice that clearly breaks from what is accepted in Thai society. Most enjoy the work (relative to alternatives) but undertake it discreetly. They derive enormous goodwill from sending money home to their families from their ‘hotel job’ in the city. Most work as bar girls for a few years then leave the industry.
Prostitution is illegal in Thailand, but tolerated since it’s seldom harmful at this level, but you should not abuse or cheat these women. They are mostly country girls from Isarn just trying to earn a better living than they could working in a factory. They will rightly expect to receive a ‘reward’ every time you shag them. Enjoy their company, have a laugh, pay them money, but in most cases it is inadvisable to start a relationship with these bar girls. As the popular saying goes; ‘you can take the girl out of the bar but you can never take the bar out of the girl’. As long as there is money to be made they will continue working in the bar, despite promising you to quit if you send them a stipend.