Phuket, Phnom Penh and Yangon
Thanks to all who have written recently about Pattaya and Angeles City.
You have convinced me never to go to either place.
Actually, I had already decided not to go, but your submissions put the last nail in the respective coffins.
To show my thanks, I wanted to write about three places I enjoy immensely, and thought you might also.
Compared with Pattaya, Phuket gets little mention in these pages. It is a lot more family friendly than Pattaya (but I imagine that Pattaya might be going that way). It is quite common to see many families in “Walking Street” in Phuket, including small children (which I find extremely odd). It is also common to see western women in the bars, chatting with the girls. Families, especially women, like to take pictures of the lady-boys, who pose in outlandish costumes. < And expect similarly outlandish "tips" – Stick>
The entire atmosphere of Walking Street in Phuket (Bangla Road) is festive. It is a party. Not at all scuzzy or depressing. It is a lot of people there to have a good time. It is not just about picking up girls. I imagine many of the blokes there go to get drunk and never have a bar fine.
As it is a holiday destination, most of the people are there for one week; they come, party, and they leave. Since it is rare that a bar girl would get more than a week’s worth out of someone, looking for a long term boyfriend is not high on their list. Most of the girls I have chatted with also come just for the high season…lasting about 4-6 months, and then go back to their villages. I have been going to Phuket for many years, sometimes once a month, and it is rare to see a girl stick around for long. If you go back to place where you met a girl 6 months later, it is likely that she will not be there.
All of this transience makes, in my mind, for less pressure on both sides. One night hook ups are common and expected, with no pressure from girls to take it further.
I wouldn’t say the girls in Phuket are the highest quality. If you go looking for a “9” or a “10” you will be disappointed. But the girls are friendly enough, and if you go in low season you might be the only bloke there. I find low season much more fun than high season; even though there are less girls, the ones that stay are more than willing.
Start out at the top of Bangla Road. There are two discos on the cross street…”FBI” (also known as TaiPan) and another one next door whose name I can’t remember. They both get going late so you might want to save them for midnight.
Next on the right as you walk down the street is “Rock Hard a Go Go” which is an institution. It opens at 2 PM if you are interested, and I find that going around 6-8 PM before the girls change shift is a very nice way to spend a few hours. The girls are the most “professional” in town, and tend to be “harder” than those elsewhere. Try it out but don’t take anyone from there unless you have failed everywhere else to find your dream.
Moving on you will find a small soi to the right with a lot of lady boy bars, if that is your thing. The very next small soi leads a number of inexpensive but quite delicious sea food restaurants. They are the only places I will eat in that area. Late at night you will see many girls taking their boyfriend for the night there for a meal before the hotel.
The whole set of bars there, underneath Tiger Disco, are very hit or miss. I have been there when it was crawling with beautiful ladies, and also been there when it was just crawling. Give it a try. The better ones don’t show up until 10PM or so.
Walk up the stairs to Tiger and have a look. Usually it doesn’t get going until late, but sometimes you will find free-lancers there early. If you pick up a girl in another bar, Tiger is a great place to take her for an hour or so. Good music.
Next is Soi Lion which of this date was being rebuilt. They used to have some great bars there and I hope they will return.
Soi Seadragon was the latest soi to go for an overhaul. This soi specializes in games where you hit nails into a wooden table which some people might find amusing. Halfway down on the right is a bar where the girls are 100% naked. There are also ping pong bars here if that is your thing but they are very expensive. On the left hand side at the very end is the only BJ bar in Phuket but you have to know where it is to find it.
Soi Eric is a classic and it is hard to walk down it without being groped a hundred times. I usually detest the atmosphere there but if you can find a quiet place it is fine to sip a beer and watch the world.
Soi Crocodile is where the lady boys dance and I tend to avoid it. But if you are up for it, climb the stairs to one of the bars at the entrance to the soi, and you can watch the world stream by from up above.
Hollywood Disco is a little further down, on the main street, which is good late at night but the music is usually techno.
Past Hollywood there is not much girly action. The Aussie bar is a great place to shoot pool and watch sports.
If you haven’t found your dream girl, turn around and make the walk back. Someone (or Something) will catch your eye).
Prices tend to be pretty standard. 2000 baht short time and 3000 baht long time. You can try bargaining but the money means more to them than it should to you. Rock Hard girls will usually ask for 4000 long time in high season. Barfines are 600 and 300 after midnight.
Going to Cambodia from Thailand is like entering a time warp. Tuktuks abound and they are for everyone, not just tourists. The people are gentle and warm, and a little shy with foreigners. There is not much sightseeing, but the infamous prison is there, as is the Royal Palace and a small but excellent National Museum.
Gogo bars were outlawed years ago. While there are some streets and bars for tourists (the old and falling apart “Heart of Darkness”) I would suggest going to where the local expats go. Streets 104 and 136.
These streets are lined both sides with a number of bars. Upon entering you will be greeted with a huge chorus of “Hello!” and many eager girls will be delighted to show you to a stool. Drinks are cheap, so go ahead and pick 4 or 5 girls and buy them all drinks. You will be danced with, massaged, talked to and entertained until you can’t stand it anymore. As you might be the only man there, even when the drinks are gone the girls will usually stay with you.
Unlike Thailand where the girls are usually uneducated farm girls from Isaan, PP girls are from the Capital, and live with their families. You will rarely hear the story about getting pregnant from a local guy who left her. These girls have no job prospects and go to the bars to make money for their family, but rarely have children. Since they are from the city, their English tends to be better than Isaan girls
Because they live at home, long time is usually not an option. They are happy to go with you, but need to leave before 2am as they are expected home and will catch hell if they are not there. If you make arrangements before hand and the girl can come up with an excuse for Papa, they will stay with you for longer.
It is hard to recommend one bar over the other, as it depends on who is there on any given night, but on 104 I like Zanzi Bar, and Rose Bar clearly has the best pool shooting girls in town as well as the most naturally endowed ( a requirement fro working there). Pool is free by the way. I can think of no better way to pass an evening than shooting pool with a good looking woman. They will bring in pizza or burgers if you are hungry.
On 136 “69” is my bar of choice. A sister bar “Butterfly” opened up down the street to pretty good reviews.
PP Girls will never ask for money. It is customary to put $40 in their purse afterwards (short time or long time is the same). Some people I know brag about giving $20 (shame on you). I always give $50 so I can expect good service from the lady the next time. Bar fines are $6/7 before midnight and $3 afterwards.
All hotels are girl friendly. When the girl leaves your room you will get a call from the front desk moments later (“is everything all right sir?”).
Zip up to Siem Reap (40 minute flight/4 hour drive) to see Angkor Wat if you haven’t done so already, but the town is not girl friendly so get it out of your system before you go.
If Cambodia is Thailand 20 years ago, Myanmar is Thailand just after WW2. Talk about time warps. It is so backward they don’t even have tuk tuks. Mellow is the only word for it.
There are no bars where girls work. In Yangon you must hit the discos and look for freelancers.
In most of Asia, expats and locals are separated in their choice of bars. When was the last time you saw a Thai man drinking in a bar in Cowboy or Nana? Yangon discos are different, and you will find you might be the only westerner there. Most of the expats who go to Yangon on business are Chinese, Korean or Japanese, and they (and the Myanmarese) will be in the same bars you are in.
The Park Royale Hotel disco is the most famous. They have a new policy where 80 girls have been screened and will be admitted on alternate nights, 40 a night. When those girls get taken no more are allowed in, so if you arrive at midnight there might be only 10 girls left.
In Yangon it pays to arrive early.
There are other discos where you will need a taxi to take you. Best to ask when you arrive which ones are currently hot. The girls are all free lancers, and many are local “non-professionals” so be careful who you try to pick up. It helps to go with a local.
Like PP, Yangon girls live with the families and will not stay the night. If they do, they will set their alarm for 6 am, shower and dress, and insist you escort them to a taxi. “Morning service” is rare. It is best to let them go before you sleep.
Surprisingly, prices are higher than in Cambodia. The fixed price used to be 50000 kyat, which was $50. But as the kyat recently appreciated against the USD, that same 50000 will now cost you $65 or $70. One girl in Park Royale has been heard asking for a hundred. As the girls are freelancers there is no bar fine.
Yangon sightseeing is amazing, and if you have the time you must go up country.
Food in Myanmar and Phnom Penh is edible, but a poor imitation of Thai food.
That’s my report. I can heartily recommend all three places for an enjoyable time. Please email me if you need any more details
I got burned out on Phuket a long time ago and to me it almost doesn't feel like Thailand, at least not at Patong Beach where attitudes towards foreign tourists vary from poor to appalling. I disagree with you about Rock Hard A Gogo and suggest that is one of few bars worth visiting, at least it was when I was last there, several months back.
Phnom Penh I like as a place to relax. The nightlife I thought was a bit rustic.