I've been visiting the LOS and reading your website now for over 8 years (over 20 visits)! I've pretty much been in every gogo bar in Bangkok and Phuket and only 1 short visit to Pattaya. Even visited Saphan Kwai, recently after reading your article. The point I'm getting to is I feel over the years I've pretty much seen all the ways they extract our hard-earned but have managed NEVER to be scammed until how!
On my recent visit, June 3rd – 19th 2009 I first stayed in Bangkok for 4 nights then travelled to Phuket. Over the years now I've got to know a lot of people and feel quite at Home there. One good friend being big boss Ken from Molly's!
When I arrive in Phuket on my first night I like to have a good look around all the gogos. As normal I always start in Rock Hard. I like the atmosphere there and have some good memories especially when it was downstairs too! Then I move on, Roxy next where I know quite a few of the girls, some being ex-Dragon, then Suzy Wong's, D- Club, first time to this bar with some good shows and a couple of good lookers. Overall seeing some nice new faces along the way.
One evening I had the pleasure of the company of one of the new faces I'd seen. She was very new, and to Phuket. She wanted to see all the bars so I offered to show her around. We did all the gogos I've already mentioned and then I decided to show her a gogo located on Soi Dragon. BIG MISTAKE! I'd visited this bar on my last visit 6 months previous and had no issues so no reason to be on my guard, or so I thought!
We walked to the bar on our own with no assistance from any touts. But as we walked in I noticed in the corner of my eye we were followed In. We sat down and my young lady ordered a drink, I asked to look at the drinks menu, to see the first drinks were 700 baht each! I said I'm sorry but I'm not paying 700 baht for a drink. I got up and made my way to the door. I was then surrounded by about 5 or 6 Thai guys. They said – 'Pay for the drink that was ordered'. I was very reluctant to do this at this point BUT one guy was prodding me and saying 'YOU PAY, YOU PAY' So I decided to pay for the drink that had already been ordered. Went and sat down again. Paid one of the guys 1,000 baht. At this point there's still 5 or 6 guys still around us. They told me I must buy a drink also if I wanted to stay. So in the end to diffuse the situation I reluctantly ordered a drink. Now owing 1,400 baht so I thought. I handed over 400 baht more thinking that was it!
Oh no. This guy now wanted 1,000 baht more. I said I have just given someone 1,000 baht. 'No you haven't', 'who was it then'? I said 'who ever brought the drink'. This argument went on for sometime, and getting quite heated at times, Not wanting to be had over twice!
Then some kind of boss came over and ordered all there guys to go. Because this was happening in front of all the other customers. He then talked in Thai to the girl I was with and basically said I should pay the 1,000 baht they were asking for or it could get nasty when I left. So I had to pay another 1,000 baht, this making my bill now to 2,400 baht for 1 Bacardi Breezer and 1 bottle of beer. We left the drinks and walked straight out.
This really ruined the night, not so much from losing the money but now been so wound up it was hard to enjoy our selves. Also had to give Bangla Road a wide berth for the rest of the night in case any of the touts recognised me and wanted to take things further. We decided to go to Banana Disco and end the night there!
I would really like you to let your readers know about this as I feel its just not on. But just maybe a sign that Phuket is on a downhill slope now? I thought of going to the Tourist Police but decided against in case someone was in on the scam and valued my life at more than 2,400 baht!
Please use this info in your readers submissions and edit where necessary. I'm looking for another location some where that's like Phuket was maybe 6 to 8 years ago! Any ideas? Chang Rai maybe?
It is scams like this that give Thailand a bad name. Of course you could argue that such scams have been taking place for a long time, and you'd be right, but they are now so widely known about that the calculated effect is really trashing the country's reputation as a tourism destination.