I have now lived or travelled in the four main SE Asian countries – Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos – and I would like to give my brief take on the nightlife scene in each of these countries. But first I would like to make some general comments.
First, I would like to express my amazement at the power these girls hold over seemingly educated, sensible guys with good jobs. I must admit that I myself have fallen in love and lived with one of these freelance bar girls in Vietnam. However, after living with her for a few months and putting up with her vanity, arrogance and lies I have left her and cut her off completely. These girls are bad news – they are no longer capable of love or having normal relationships.
Prostitution is a major part of life in Asia and for whatever reason these girls have found themselves in this industry, they are damaged people beyond help. The only people they can relate to are other bar girls and they are best left in that environment. It is sad and unfortunate but true.
I agree 100% with what Stickman says about the prostitutes in Thailand (take them short-time, have your fun, pay them and forget them) and I can tell you this applies to every country in SE Asia. Bar girls vary from country to country in their style and methods but at the end of the day they are doing it for money – nothing else.
As for sending them money … do the guys who do this not realise these girls go straight from the bank or Western Union branch straight to the bars whereupon they try to have big face by buying all their girl friends drinks etc. And if during the course of the night they happen to meet someone they like, do you really think they will turn down the chance of making some extra money AND having some fun into the bargain. Think about it.
Also, do these guys who bar-fine these girls and take them out for the evening for drinks and dinner etc. not realise these girls are completely taking the piss and laughing at them behind their backs? Do they have no pride? Do they leave this behind when they board the plane? I don’t care if they have money to burn – give it to some charity who will help the really poor people in SE Asia.
When in Asia do as the Asians do – sex is hard to come by with a good girl so by all means use a prostitute but keep it discreet for all our sakes. There is something rather disturbing about seeing a fat, bald sixty year old guy walking hand in hand down the street with a young twenty year old girl.
Why, when there are so many wonderful, beautiful good girls in SE Asia, do most foreign men try to find a girlfriend in the bars? Is it because it is so easy? If you really want to find a wife in SE Asia, then all it takes is a bit of courage and persistence with a girl who has a job during the day. I think you will find they are delighted to meet a nice foreign guy.
So, my advice for what it’s worth – if you want to have some fun, go to a bar and if you see a girl you like buy her ONE drink (if you feel like it) and then back to your hotel. Have your fun, pay her and say good-bye – no phone numbers or e-mail addresses as this will only tempt you later. Good luck.
For me, Thailand has the worst nightlife in SE Asia – it is very commercialised and the girls have developed a kind of arrogance which really annoys me. The vast majority of foreign guys treat these girls (prostitutes) with respect and I firmly believe they should do the same with any potential customers. Bangkok and Pattaya are really becoming sad places with overpriced drinks and girls. For me the whole industry is jaded and in need of a shake-up.
Saigon is fast becoming another Bangkok in terms of its night-life. The Government is cracking down on the raunchy night-life and there are now only a few foreign oriented bars where you can pick up girls for a bit of fun. Apocalypse Now and Pham Ngu Lao are the only real areas for a good night with the option of a girl. Also, the Vietnamese girls are the greediest and most dishonest in SE Asia asking for ridiculous sums of money. If you take a girl back to your room, make sure you lock away anything valuable and undress in the shower as they will steal money from your pockets.
Vientiane is a very quiet city with a low-key night-life. However, there are some decent bars with plenty of bar girls available but they seem to ask for slightly inflated prices probably due to many of the girls working in Thailand previously. In Laos, you need to know where to look.
Cambodia is my favourite country in SE Asia and for me it has by far and away the best night-life. Forget the negative image Cambodia has in terms of paedophiles – for sure there are some but you will never see it unless you specifically look for it and let’s face it Thailand is far worse for that kind of thing (regarding Asian men) than Cambodia. If you don’t think so, find out what happens on the Myanmar-Thailand border.
Phnom Penh is fantastic at night-time – there are a phenomenal number of bars etc. catering to every taste imaginable. And the bargirls are the friendliest, most easy-going in all of SE Asia. If they like you they will happily settle for less rather than go with the grand-dad in the corner offering big bucks. The main bars are Martini, Sharky’s and Walkabout which are always full of freelance girls.
I would like to finish my submission by repeating Stickman’s excellent advice: DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN RELATIONSHIPS WITH BAR GIRLS AS THEY ARE BIG TROUBLE.
Absolutely spot on. I could not agree more.