The go-go bar scene has become somewhat tamer than the legendary days of Bangkok’s naughty past and now consists mainly of bikini-clad girls pole-dancing on stage. The girls are available to go home with you, and are generally stunning, though more expensive than those available in the numerous girlie bars. First time visitors will find these go-go bars in Bangkok worth the trip.
Go-go girls are somewhat different from bar girls; they are generally sexier, yet more expensive, and can found in specific go-go bars which are more private than the rest of the girlie scene. Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza and Patpong are the main places to find go-go bars in Bangkok, with hundreds of young women taking to the stage every night.
Inside a Bangkok go-go bar the scene is usually similar, with a central pole-dancing stage surrounded by tiers of comfortable chairs.
On stage will be a dozen or more sexy go-go girls, usually in bikinis, or imaginative costume (school girl outfits are a popular fantasy), sometimes with nothing on at all. If you decide to stay you’ll soon be expected to order a drink (they’re about US$5 each), and if you’re interested in a particular girl she’ll come and sit with you once her 10-minute dance shift rotates with a new set of girls.
The atmosphere in go-go bars varies; some are lively with dozens of hot girls on stage, and the best ones, such as Angelwitch, put on a nightly show at 22:00 with choreography, costume and acts. Step into others and it might be dead with only a few girls on stage looking bored, in which case simply leave and try another.
Best go-go bars in Bangkok – The three main red light areas of Bangkok
Patpong: is the original and touristiest. It’s probably not the best place to find go-go girls, since they are the most expensive and more of a tourist attraction, with crowded streets and the ever present touts trying to drag you upstairs to the ping pong show. These soon become boring and you get lumped with an unreasonable drinks bill and no way out.
Nana Plaza: at the top end of Sukhumvit Road is probably the busiest of the Bangkok go-go areas – a three-storey arcade with more than a dozen venues. Anglewitch, Rainbow 2 and Rainbow 4 are the most recommended. There are plenty more regular girlie bars, plus discos and pick up joints in the vicinity.
Soi Cowboy: is the third area, located further down Sukhumvit Road near Asoke BTS Station. These two are conveniently close to many of the hotels in the city and Soi Cowboy is perhaps the most lively and atmospheric of the three, with about a dozen go-go bars on one pedestrianised street, but without the scope of other bars found near Nana. Here you’re more likely to find naked go-go dancers, and Long Tom, Tilac and Baccara are most recommended.
How it works
Most men in these bars sit alone facing the dancing stage; the lights are very dim, the music loud, and often the place empty. The waitresses will insist on you buying a drink, often one of the girls not dancing will sit down suggestively next to you and ask for a ‘lady drink’ (the standard watered down, overpriced variety found in these bars). You can choose any of the dancing girls to sit with you. The tab is almost always popped into a holder in front of you so you can keep an eye on the prices.
If the place has sex acts on stage the drinks get more expensive, and if you’ve been talked into an ‘upstairs place’ by a tout, expect a nasty surprise when you’re done drinking (we advise you to avoid even stepping into such places). If you like the girl you’re with, you can pay her bar fine (usually 600 baht) and off you go. She’ll want to negotiate her fee before you leave, which is anything from 1,500 to 4,000 baht, depending on ‘short’ or ‘long’ time and what you look like. Some places have rooms on the premises.