The Women Of Bangkok, A Different Perspective
I became a regular reader of your column when I spent two years living in Bangkok, after a year in each of Singapore, Jakarta and Saigon. I did eventually go home to the UK as my Philippine girlfriend became pregnant during the time we lived together in Bangkok. I took the view that Bangkok was not an ideal place to raise children. My daughter is now 5 and thriving in the beautiful city that I call home, Saint Albans in England.
The reason that I’m writing is to provide a perspective of my time in Bangkok. During my stay, I went to the club at Nana once (then called Angel Disco), Soi Cowboy on 2 occasions and Patpong a couple of times. The club at Nana was the preserve of the girls who had not picked up and frankly seemed to cater for the kind of farang that would happily pay 500 baht for a girl in Lumphini. I was never a fan of the gogo bars and found myself spending my early evenings playing pool in The Office or the bar adjacent to The Office that is owned by the guys who own one of the best sports bars in town.
Prior to meeting the girl that I married, I dated three local girls and was a gig to two other working girls who had ‘retired.’ If you live in Bangkok and want to date a nice local girl, then avoid gogo bars and definitely do not engage in takeaways from these bars. I made a deal with the staff at my favourite restaurant. I could either tip or take them out once per week to Spasso's. They chose a free night out. This is how I met my first girlfriend. She was the older sister of one of the male waiters. She worked in The Westin Hotel Bar where all the girls are inordinately attractive. I became friends with all of them. I attended 5 weddings and I would like to think that our 6 months together was as good for her as it was for me. She would never have dated me if I had ever engaged in gogo barfines. I’m not an angel (more of that later).
The Thai women who may be interested in you are watching you. If you dress well, are kind, polite and discreet about how you pay for your pleasure (trust me, you will), they will date you. If they need help financially, be generous. Word will soon get around that you are a person worth dating. This approach served me well in Jakarta and Saigon, but not in Singapore. I did not date one girl in the Lion state. Like many local men, I travelled at weekends to party. Is it possible to date in Singapore? Yes, but you had better have deep pockets. The most attractive girls are the Malays, who are quickly snapped up. The farangs are your best bet of a real girlfriend, but I only ever saw them at the supermarket and frankly it did not seem right to chat them up there. In retrospect, that was naïve of me. If you find yourself working in Singapore, you might also have chosen my approach.
A weekend in Bangkok is quite different from living there. I became a regular guest at the Novotel in Soi Lang Suan. From my hotel it was a short walk or motorcycle taxi to Spasso's or The Tunnel. The girls who frequent both are working. At Spasso's, the gorgeous girls are looking for $250 per night. This is probably $300 now. <Some ask for 15,000 baht these days but will accept much less, of course – Stick> You can negotiate, but you won’t pay less than $150 – $200. However for this relatively small amount you will get a date. If you want to go dancing at The Tunnel, or dining, this beautiful girl will accompany you. She will kiss you. Only intercourse will require the use of a condom. If you liked the experience, as I always did, you might arrange a date with her on Saturday evening. Take her to the Q Bar, the cinema, bowling, The Office, or one of the bars in Thong Lor or Ekamai where the local well-heeled men play. You will pay slightly less than you did the night before, or the same in my case. I'm not going to quibble about $25.
So far in this Asian journey, so good. However this is the time to stop kidding yourself. If you meet a girl in a bar and you decide to exchange your arrangement for something more permanent then beware. When living in Bangkok I had a couple of gigs. These girls were beautiful, lived in condos in Soi Lang Suan and one of them drove a red plated (new) BMW 3-series. These girls were the so-called girlfriends of guys who travelled for business or were based in Singapore or Hong Kong. When their guy was in town, you rarely saw them out. If you did, you kept well away. Do you think your bargirl will change and be faithful to you? In my experience, this will only be the case if you were to relocate with her to a place far from Bangkok. If you are picking up the $4,000 – $5,000 monthly tab you might have expected fidelity, right? Wrong. They will be faithful when you are in town. When you are out of town, they will sleep with guys who live locally. So If you’re smart, generous and most of all discreet, you can have great sex with gorgeous women, at a fraction of the $4,000 per month. You cannot change these girls. Their lives and friends are out in the bars and clubs 7 nights per week. They are not going to stay home. When you call late at night they are in bed with guys like me. This happened every night I was the gig du jour.
Hopefully this provides a different perspective. I also went to CM2. I was regularly quoted prices of 3,000 baht. I always paid 5,000 baht. At 3,000 baht they can barely eat and pay the rent in a squalid hovel in Soi 100. I know, I have visited them to buy them their shopping when they were stuck, and to buy them dinner. Pay for your pleasure, gentlemen. If you are on vacation, be nice!