There are two main staples of Pattaya Nightlife Entertainment. Beer Bars and Go-Go Bars. Beer bars in Pattaya are everywhere. They line the streets, hosting 10, 20, or even 30 different bars. Normally, they are open-air bars, with a roof but no walls, although many of the individual bars are on the ground floor of shop-houses. Most are not air-conditioned so it can be a little hot, although fans work overtime to try and keep you cool.
They do not sell only beer but include all kinds of beverages you might fancy. Drinks will cost you around 100 – 180 Baht a shot. Besides, many complexes offer Thai boxing nightly for your entertainment. A 20 Baht tip to the winner of each match is traditional.
Each beer bar is quite small, with room for 10 to 15 customers to sit around, drink and talk with girls working there. The girls are very friendly and they always make you feel right at home. Language is sometimes a problem but you still have fun. Frequently, many guys return after 6 months or a year’s absence and they find cheerful girls celebrating their return as if they were long-lost friends.
This can happen, even if you only visit the bar two or three times for one beer. The girls have astonishing memories.
If you want to take a girl out, you have to pay her bar fine because the bars are losing the services of that girl for the rest of the night. The fee is usually 500 – 600 Baht, but this is for the bar only. The cost after that is between you and the girl. Once you take her out, you can spend time with her doing many things.
Take her to a nice restaurant, go to bars dancing with her in tow, catch a show, or just get to know her very well. There are also bars with Bar Boys. Possibly, these bars are quite popular among Japanese women. You can find the bars in Boys Town (Pattayaland Soi3) and Sunee Plaza.
There are around 50 Go-Go bars in Pattaya where you can see the Thai Go-Go girls hanging on to their poles and performing the old bump and grind. This you may expect a little more pressure than in the Beer Bars and slightly higher drink and bar fine prices. The shows range from sedate to sleazy and everything in between. The largest selections are along Walking Street and Pattayaland 2.
PATTAYA NIGHTLIFE EXPLAINED
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Maybe it’s your first time here in Pattaya or even your first time in Thailand. One thing is certain, that you will lose your heart to someone you meet over here. We are relaxed and here on holiday to enjoy ourselves, so like Europe, America and anywhere else in the world, we enjoy getting involved in holiday romances. To lose your heart is OK, but with a little wisdom, you will not lose your shirt as well.
The majority of people working over here are honest and very hard working (Would you work 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week, with only 2 days off a month for a monthly wage that is about the same as the loose change in your pocket?). There are always a small group of bad people everywhere in the world, so just be careful and lock your money, passport, and tickets in the hotel safe. But if you show trust, most will repay with equal trust.
They are people who do not work for a bar or other business, who approach you in Discos and on the street. Be very careful, as if things go wrong, you cannot trace them or have a mamasan to resolve the problem. In effect, Bars give you security. Always ask for an ID card.
Hotels will ask your Barfine or Lady friend for their identification when returning to the room for the evening. This is to protect you from things like theft, being drugged, or scammed. Always ask your date for their ID to verify that they’re 18 years old if you’ve found them outside a beer bar or go-go bar.
SLAVES IN CHAINS
We are often told how the girls are working against their will and cannot getaway. In the tourist areas, nothing is farther from the truth. The girls come and go at a rapid rate, move between bars, change jobs to unrelated work. I once met one girl who left Mike’s Department Store selling cosmetics because she was unhappy painting other women’s faces from 11.00 am to 11.00 pm and worked in a bar because they enjoyed the fun and meeting people.
WHY DO THEY WORK IN BEER BARS AND GOGO BARS?
There are many and varied reasons. Some like the sex, but many don’t. For the majority, they could earn the same money back on the farm or in an office or shop job. Most do it to escape, but from what? On the farm, they get up at dawn and go to bed in the evening.
Their backs ache. The sun burns them. There is no NIGHT life. Even so, there are MILLIONS of Thais who do work on the farm and live a happy life as they know no better. Many do not have a good education so cannot progress into high-tech industries where the money is.
Therefore, many dream of marrying a Farang, who will take them away to their home country and they can live like a queen. Most say they prefer English, as the English have a reputation for treating women with respect. Also, they can usually speak English.
Then there is a pecking order of other nationalities. Sadly, they find the younger generation does not live up to the reputation. That is why they often prefer an older man, who is also easier to please than the “Young Stud” who give them a hard time, in both senses of the word.
They say “You can take the girl out the bar, but you cannot take the bar out of the girl.” Once they go home, they miss the nightlife, the music, the discos, the movies, and other things we take for granted. That is why they are always coming back to visit their friends. They like the excitement.
SHE’S A NICE BOY – Thai Ladyboy Advice
Eyes can be deceiving in Thailand. If you notice that the very beautiful girl who has been eying you up is very tall, has broad shoulders, perfect breasts, narrow hips, large hands, and feet, has an Adam’s apple, and speaks with a low husky voice, she is probably a “Lady of the second category” in legal parlance or “Ladyman” to you and me. Unless this interests you, be very polite and leave because if you get abusive towards them, they can suddenly flip and turn vicious and maybe even beat your ass.
Don’t come to Thailand and get your ass beat by a ladyboy… I mean, unless that’s your thing…
One Gogo bar has a sign on the counter which says “Prostitution in Thailand is illegal. Payment of a bar fine is not an invitation to sex”.
Everybody has heard of them [Bar Fines], but few know the full reason. In the old days, it was a way of the bar owner getting back the wages he pays the girl when she is out of the bar. It also is to get back some of the money he would have earned if the customer has stayed and drank more.
In gogos, other customers may not come to the bar if there are fewer girls to look at dancing. That is why Gogo Bar “bar fines” are higher than Beer Bar “bar fines” because the wages are higher.
Now for the lesser-known facts – The owner often sets a target of “Offs” (short-time (in the old days) and long-time) for each girl. Also, the number of “Ladydrinks” she gets the customers to buy. If she does not make both the targets, he will cut her wages by a set amount for not working hard enough.
The system can benefit you, the customer because if he covered his wage bill, he can afford to hire more girls, so you have a greater choice. But on the other side, out of the tourist season, if a girl gets no “Offs” in the month, she may receive little or no wages for dancing for the past month. She may also lose her job. That is why most staff changes happen a couple of days after payday, usually due to getting heavily cut wages.
It is normal in all bars to stop a higher rate of barfine to wages for girls that do not turn up to work, saying they must have a private arrangement with a customer who doesn’t want to pay the barfine. This is fair as in effect the bar owner has lost the income of the drinks the customer would have bought before bar fining the girl.
Most Gogos also stop bar fine money from a girls wages if she is seen after work with a customer that has previously been drinking in the bar for the same reason.
WHAT IS A SHORT-TIME BARFINE?
Gogo bars, you can pay a reduced bar-fine for personal recreation purposes, either using their rooms to relax with a girl of your choice or going back to your hotel, for an hour or two. Some of the older gogos had rooms above.
Under the Social Reform directive, the police are now enforcing the 30-year-old law on closing times and anti-prostitution, which prohibits horizontal entertainment on the premises.
However, a few girls do live on the premises and may invite you back to their personal living area, which they rent from the landlord (The landlord is often not the bar owner). But this is now very rare.
Where to go?
Some hotels now have short-let rooms available, which are rented by the hour, in case you have reasons for not going back to your hotel or house. They usually charge about 500 – 700 Baht for the privilege.
WHAT DOES SHE DO AFTER?
If you agree to Short-time fees with the girl, after the agreed time or action, and as a full bar fine has been paid, what she does is up to her. Usually, they go back to work to hopefully get another barfine, tips, or drinks. Remember they have targets to meet!
Some bars pay a bonus to the girl to come back and work, as it refills the stage. But maybe she will go home and do her laundry, go shopping, or just visit her friends.
DAYTIME BARS AND BAR FINES
While the larger bars employ a larger number of girls, while small bars often have a smaller number of girls, but get most of them to work double shifts to earn a higher salary. This entails the girl dancing from says 2.00 pm until 2.00 am.
The problem that affects YOU is that as they are effectively working double shifts. The double-edged sword means that they are often tired by the evening and then have to rush back home early to change before going back to work the next day.
The DOUBLE BARFINE has to be paid for the 24 hour period because her work is split over two shifts or an “All Girls On-parade” time in the early evening. The larger daytime Gogos, like Lipstick, let the daytime staff off around 11.00 pm. However, if a girl is then seen leaving with a customer, she will have the lost barfine stopped from her wages! TQ1 has a total shift change at about 7.30 pm.
It is normal in all bars to stop a higher rate of barfine to wages for girls that do not turn up to work, saying they must have a private arrangement with a customer who doesn’t want to pay the barfine.
PLEASE NOTE that unlike the Philipines, where the Barfine includes the ladies’ time, in Thailand, you have to negotiate a rate for the ladies’ time on top of the bar fine.
The ladies may well (or always do) ask you to buy them a drink. These drinks are called “Lady Drinks” and the girl gets a small commission, usually about 20 baht for each drink. This is fair as she spends time talking, however, limited her “English”, and keeping you company while you visit the bar. She is targeted to get a set amount each month, or her salary is cut. So forgive her for asking – it is part of her job. It is not customary to buy drinks for waitresses, but that is up to you.
In Tim Bar, the waitresses have a bad habit of coming up and tapping the table saying “Buy drink for me”. This is the only bar with a one-to-one ratio of waitresses to customers, so you WILL be pestered. Just tell them to go away. YOU choose who you buy drinks for!
While many of the bar’s Facebook pages have photos of the girls in the gogo bars, they are taken by or on behalf of the management. You will find that almost all the bars have signs saying “No Photo, No VDO” (Video). They are NOT joking.
We have heard of cases where the customer is injured while being forcably ejected from the club. Don’t risk it! We all know that the camera CAN lie, so they are only protecting their business, for which you cannot blame them.
Yes, you can take photos in the beer bars, but be warned that if you show the photos to the girls, they will want you to send them a copy. It is just expected. They like to send copies home to show they are safe and well.
FARANGS LOOKING FOR MARRIAGE
Searching for a bride? If you are searching for beauty or just a small dusky maiden, then this is the place for you. But if you are have been divorced two or three times, do not expect this marriage to last either. First, look inwards (Like a Buddhist) and cure the problems that caused your divorces. Once angry, the average Thai turns into a hellcat, not the meek and submissive image that some portray.
Back in your country, she will miss her friends, have no-one of her own language to speak to, feel the cold, be homesick. Many want to return home within the year. You must have a very good and strong bond to see you through these times. Yes, there are many divorces between Thai/Farang, but how many Farang/Farang friends have got divorced too? Like any country, you get out of a marriage what you put into it.
LETS GET MARRIED
Most “Western” countries have very strict rules on applications for Visas, either for settlement or even as a Tourist. They know the high failure rate of marriages due to cultural differences, so make what seem hard decisions to protect their nationals. A Thai Marriage does NOT mean you can bring the bride home. Most people take a couple of years and three attempted applications to get the clearance.
PRACTICE SAFE SEX
I don’t think I should have to say this more than once but “ALWAYS WEAR A CONDOM”! Bring them from home! Thai condoms have a reputation of breaking and being too small for western men. You’ll thank yourself later. Trust me.
Like anywhere in the world, money talks. If offered enough money the girls will risk not using a condom. Remember that if this is the case, you will NOT be the first to do so, so your risk is even higher. The girls are fatalistic, and if they die, so be it. Unlike the west, death is not considered the end of life, but merely a passage to the next life. They will risk it, but can YOU?
Thanks for checking out our Pattaya Nightlife: Beer Bar and Go-go Bar Guide! If you’re interested in reading more about Pattaya City click here.
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