The (micro) Evolution of a Bangkok Visitor
Before I was married I'd only had perhaps two soapie massages. My Bangkok experience dated back to the 1980s and mainly in the bars at Patpong. After 20 years of marriage my wife divorced me and, feeling decidedly sorry for myself, I visited Bangkok again in 2013. I've been back nine times since.
I stay around Sukhumvit, generally in soi 11. Sometimes I stayed in soi 20, 22 or 24 but even though it's seedy I prefer the vibe in soi 11. Initially I asked myself what I should do on my visits? Some shopping? Yes. Eat some good food at reasonable prices? Yes. Go to the bars to look at naked women? YES. I'm not much of a drinker so I'm content with Sprite or soda water. I may not lose my mind every night but I also try not to lose the contents of my wallet. I hope I'm not a Cheapie Charlie but I also don't see the need to spend money to impress people around me who I don't even know.
There is a Villa Market in soi 11, a very decent supermarket. It has one entrance and one exit. To get back to the street you have to walk down an arcade full of massage shops. Six or seven of them, all with ladies, some gorgeous, asking you to come in for a massage. Due to separation and divorce I hadn't had sex for 3 years and by then almost every woman looked good because I was seeing them thru translucent white goggles. Walking down this arcade on my first trip became the highlight of my day and night. I went to the supermarket more than once just as an excuse to walk down that arcade. At first I didn't use their services I just enjoyed the experience. By about the 3rd day (maybe sooner?) I succumbed to the temptation of a massage. Why not? It was only Baht 300 for an hour. But it wasn't. After 2 or 3 similar experiences I learned the deal was to start with a massage and after maybe 10 minutes the lady sees you're excited and says "Mister want special?" Of course I do, why do you think I'm here? So she proceeds to give you a special time. But once you've unloaded, that's it, it's over. She dresses, you have to dress and you're out the door. Gee, that only lasted 20 minutes. (Go ahead and laugh if you want, but remember I was breaking a 3-year drought.)
That's not my idea of a good time. I'm not a massage freak but after several similar experiences I wasn't happy. I paid for an hour's massage; I paid the additional fee for "special" treatment and the whole experience was done and dusted in 20 minutes. It goes against my nature of getting value for money. While I enjoyed walking down the arcade and the ladies' attention I learned to dislike all the soi 11 massage places and only interacted with the ladies there for amusement. I didn't go back for their services.
Wanting more than 20 minutes entertainment at a time I turned my attention to the bars – after all soi 11 is close to both Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. I found a great bar on the ground floor of Nana Plaza, almost immediately on the left in the courtyard as you entered; regular visitors will know the place. It's gone now but the exterior was styled like a train station; inside the women were dancing topless with skimpy little skirts. They wore no underwear and danced on a platform & on customer tables that were equipped with mirrors. You could look up at their pussy or look down at the mirror and get a different view of the same. I loved that place. For about Baht 120 per drink I could look pussy in the face or I could look at it in the mirror. When I liked a lady (and after 3 years in the wilderness I can assure you I didn't have a problem liking several of them) I could have one sit with me and be entertained for the price of a Baht 150 lady drink. Because I don't drink much and I'm not shy to periodically check the tab I typically spent Baht 1,000 to 1,500 for an evening in a bar like this. I don't think that's unreasonable for the entertainment I received. And a whole lot better value than 20 minutes in a soi 11 massage place that ended up costing Baht 2,000 or so.
Up to this point I hadn't taken a girl from a bar for ST but it was only a matter of time, right? When I found the right little honey in this Nana bar I paid the barfine and asked her to take me to a clean short-time room (I'd read some were good and some were not). She took me to a place one or two levels up in Nana Plaza where the room was clean and the sheets on the bed were fresh – I had no complaints. And she was well worth it. I had a wonderful time and was able to go back to my hotel for a good night's sleep with no strings attached. Perfect.
Soi Cowboy was good, too. I visited several bars and ended up in Midnite. The bar wasn't important but that's where I met the woman I called Bangkok Bertha (her working name was Joy). She was fantastic. When I first went into Midnite there were two ladies I liked performing a show on the stage. After ending their routine both wore the same outfit; as a simple man I find found this confusing; one had big breasts and one was smaller. I was more attracted to the bigger one. Sitting by myself I was an easy target for the girls; one of them came to sit with me and even though I preferred the bigger one it was the smaller one who joined me. Darn. It took me a few minutes to realize because of the white translucent goggles. After the few obligatory questions she determined that I was indeed a fool who could be easily parted with his money and it was all over for me. Really, you're staying in Bangkok for a week or two? Really, you're by yourself? Do you want me to come to your hotel? No? How about a short term room? No? Do you know we have rooms upstairs? Do you want to try? The mind behind the goggles said "why not" and off we went.
The best sex I ever had was in 1988 in Jakarta with a lady named Sri who was shaven when she revealed herself; that was my first time seeing a shaved pussy and I was smitten. I made a special effort that night and exceeded my normal number of times. I'm older now and can't do that any more. But sex with Bangkok Bertha was better than my memory of Sri; or maybe it was just that I was breaking the drought, but in any case BB was great – she had talent.
For a few months BB became my girlfriend. When I left Bangkok we stayed in touch using LINE. I sent her money and she always asked me for more. I stupidly gave her pretty much what she wanted. When I reached my 3nd trip to Bangkok things weren't as good. She was asking for too much. She would ask for money one day and then ask for more in 2 days' time. That really pissed me off. She was boasting to the girls in the bar that I was her guy. She introduced me to the girls as "sami" (Thai for husband). She was liberal ordering drinks for herself and friends. Her mamasan saw I was an easy touch and forced more girls on me all of whom wanted drinks. Several nights in a row I was in the bar for an hour to barfine BB and walked out with a bill of Baht 3,000 to 4,000. Hold on, I wasn't in to this. The greedy mamasan and equally greedy girls drove me away. BB was no angel herself but at least she provided me with a return on the investment. I don't regret my time with BB. While it was never going to last she was a lot of fun – and wild. She "procured" for me. She learned my taste in ladies pretty quickly; we'd go into a bar and she'd find the girl of my dreams and get her for me. Remember that other lady with the bigger breasts? She was Bertha's best friend in Midnite and BB insisted one night we all go back to the hotel, so I didn't miss out on her in the end. I stayed in an apartment type hotel that had a living room and a separate bedroom. BB would get a girl for me, we'd all rock on back to the hotel and BB would politely sit on the couch in the living room while I did the business with the other girl in the bedroom. That's right, there were no 3 ways – it doesn't seem to be my destiny. After I was finished the other girl would leave so BB and I would sleep together until morning. (I mean "sleep" – I'm old now, I can't normally manage multiple times a night; if I was lucky I could do BB the next morning but not always.) Bertha annoyed me financially but she was a lot of fun and I don't regret spending time with her.
Back to massages. I don't like getting ripped off. With some Internet research I learned of a place called Aviva in soi 8, which happens to be on the other side of Sukhumvit directly opposite soi 11. How convenient. What I read about Aviva struck a chord. A massage in a private room with a happy ending and you're guaranteed to get the time you paid for. You paid for 60, 90 or 120 minutes but the massage didn't end when you "finish", it kept on going until you had all the time you paid for. It sounded like it was worth a try.
Man oh man I loved it. The deal was Baht 400 for an hour of oil massage, 50% more for 90 minutes and double for 2 hours. That's fair. They had a hand drawn page of "extra services" to include with the massage; it read: hand job 1,000; blow job 1,000; full sex 1,500. Going back to my penchant for getting value for money, that means 400 for an hour + 1,500 for full sex totals about 2,000 for the same thing as I was getting in soi 11 that lasted 20 minutes but I was getting ALL of the time, in a private room, with a proper shower. It was a far superior product; I loved Aviva. If they had a membership plan I would have joined – it was fantastic. I went there two to three times on each of my Bangkok visits. In a situation like that you try all the ladies you can. If there's one who's good you see her several times but not all the time, after all, variety is the spice of life. Honestly, they were all good. The best one for me was Linda (her real working name). This woman was incredible. She gave an excellent massage and had the best hands of anyone I've met. She had her hands there AND there – how was that possible? I'll swear from time to time she was massaging three different parts of my body at the same time – it didn't seem humanly impossible. We all know the meaning of a happy ending. The best thing about Aviva, or maybe just Linda, is when she knew you it didn't matter if you had a happy ending, a happy beginning or a happy somewhere in between. We're all wired differently; some people enjoy the pursuit to see if they'll achieve their goal. Not me; I found I enjoyed a happy beginning and then the relaxation of a good massage. Initially I felt guilty about it but Linda said she enjoys giving a massage so she was OK if the business was done first. On a really good day, I could get a happy beginning and a happy ending but that was rare; the mind is willing but the body is not. It can be fun trying, though.
Then the unthinkable happened. On my 3rd or 4th trip to Bangkok in 2013 Aviva was gone. It closed down. Oh no! How could that happen to me?
Ever the optimist I went back to the same location from time to time. After a few visits with a break of 6-8 months I was happy to see Bamboo Massage, a new place, had risen from the ashes of Aviva. I had to go in and check it out. New owner, several new ladies but also some of the former ones from Aviva. Linda? YES! I'll have her, thanks. Happy days. I asked her what she did when Aviva was closed and to my surprise she said she worked in the massage places in soi 11. I asked if she enjoyed that and she said no. That made sense to me. She liked to give massage and the idea of 10 minutes and then "Mister want special?" wouldn't have been her thing. Something you learn about Thai ladies, though, is they do what they have to do to survive. So that's what she did.
But back at Bamboo I could hire her for 90 or 120 minutes and get all of my time again. I'm happy to say she'd lost none of her touch. In February & April 2014 I had Linda at Bamboo. But there's bad news to come. In July Bamboo was still there but Linda was gone. She didn't work there any more. I couldn't get a good explanation of why but I did notice on their website where they listed the credentials of the girls (I always check to see if there's someone new who might appeal) I saw Linda was described as "older, but with good experience". I'm not a marketing guy but that doesn't strike me as the most glowing write-up possible. My guess is she wasn't getting a lot of customers or perhaps she wasn't popular with the new owner so she left of her own accord, or otherwise. It didn't matter, she wasn't there so I couldn't see her again. I asked what happened to her and the new owner said something like "Oh, I heard she's working somewhere around soi 13" – informative enough to be helpful but not informative enough to be very helpful. Very Thai. I walked up and down soi 13 one evening but I my impression was it was a quiet little street with not much going on. Damn. I lost Linda again.
After several more visits to Bangkok, each time with a trip or two to Bamboo I was starting to fall out of love with the place – it had become a brothel. You hired a girl, received all of your time and there was no problem with service. But there was no massage. It had become a routine of going into the room, shower, sex, talk & play around for the rest of the time, shower again and your time's up. I used to enjoy my massage; I enjoyed the business model of Aviva. The business model of Bamboo was efficient but it wasn't as much fun for me. So I strayed. A friend took me to a place in Rama 9 that was not a massage parlor but what's now called an Entertainment Complex (i.e., brothel). There was no fishbowl; ladies were out in the open to view or even for a short chat. A mamasan or papasan would approach to advise you on the strengths of each lady and tell you the prices. The ladies fell into different categories, some cost 2,300, others 3,500 or 5,000 and some up to 7,500. The time was fixed (I think it was 90 minutes). If you chose wisely at a place like this the cost was close to Aviva, Bamboo or (shudder) soi 11. If you had finer taste or just more money it would cost you more. But the deal is the same everywhere – first they bathe you, then suck you, then f*ck you. It can be nice, but it seems very formula driven. And it's not as if we could talk much; my Thai is poor and their English is generally the same, especially at places that are oriented towards Thai or Asian clientele.
Overall I was getting frustrated; it was too much of the same thing and I was disappointed at being ripped off (even if it was only for relatively small amounts). The bars weren't enjoyable any more because of the lady drink formula and their aggressive nature – something I've experienced first hand; low class massage parlors don't give value for money; brothels aren't much fun – guaranteed sex but lacking chemistry. The initial joy of going to Bangkok – to get sex again after a bad marriage and 3-year drought – had been satisfied, so what was left?
I found a regular girlfriend, someone I like a lot. Remember the movie "He's Just Not That Into You"? The problem with my girlfriend is "She's Just Not That Into Sex". She'll generally have sex with me when I ask but she's happier for me to go out and get it from other ladies because it saves her the trouble. But all my special places / ladies were disappearing. And there comes a time when you lose the enthusiasm to go out and find new places and new ladies. Maybe if I visited Bangkok once a year and it was novel & exciting again it would be OK, but 4 times a year? No. Too much same ol' same ol'.
I was starting to fall into the bored old man routine. The bars and massage parlors weren't exciting; the brothels weren't my thing. But I was enjoying the food. I have a cycle of food and places / things to eat that I really enjoy and they were becoming a "must have" on every trip. Was I becoming a foodie? There's always something to buy in the excellent shops. Was I becoming a shopper (like my ex-wife)? No! Shudder, shudder! I buy things when I want / need them but I can't and won't spend all day looking at shops. I don't do the tourist things; I don't visit temples or go to the floating market – I'll leave that to other people.
My Recent Trip
I just returned from a trip to Bangkok, my first for 2015. I did the "normal" things – I ate nice food and passed the time of day. One evening I felt like going out and, being a bit adventurous, thought I'd try Annie's in soi 2. I've never been before and I know some people rate it highly. I looked at the website to know where to go and went there for the adventure. It was quite early, 5 PM or 6 PM, and I didn't expect a lot of choice. I walked in, there was a fishbowl and I was surprised at the number of ladies available, there must have been 15 or 20. The mamasan rang a buzzer and they all stopped whatever they were doing and hurried to sit down in an orderly fashion so I could make my selection. There was a variety – tall, short, fat, thin, some pretty and some not so much. But no one stood out or made me think "I want her"; after a few minutes the mamasan asked me who I wanted and I had to say there was no one. After giving me a look of disgust she dismissed the girls and they went back to whatever they were doing before. I was a bit disappointed but decided to walk up to Darling in soi 12. By the time I got there I'd be hot and sweaty so it would be ideal to retreat to a room, have a nice bath and relax with some company. When I walked into Darling's foyer there weren't many ladies. The mamasan asked me who I liked and I asked where were they? There were only three. It was either too early or all the others were busy – I didn't get to find out which. Again, none of the three were to my taste. Bummer. Am I so old and choosy that I couldn't find one lady I liked in two of the most famous massage parlors in Bangkok? Should I give up for the night and just go to a restaurant? No, I wasn't hungry yet. I decided I'd go to a bar, Soi Cowboy wasn't that far away. But it was too early, so I figured I'd go back to the hotel, freshen up and go out in an hour or two. On the way back I went past soi 13 and thought I'd check it out again. I walked about 300 meters down the soi but there was nothing. The few massage places I saw didn't have a lady that looked anything like Linda. Coming back towards the main road I noticed a laneway on the right but I couldn't see what was there. As I had lots of time I thought I'd wander down to check it out. Oh, look, here's a surprise. Massage place 1, massage place 2, 3, 4 … and on it goes. I nearly reached the end of the laneway and BAM – there was Linda!! It was funny when I saw her because she must have seen me from about 10 meters away when I was looking at each place. She was standing there waiting for me with an expectant look – she seemed as happy to see me as I was to see her. (I recognize that Thai ladies are expert in the art of marketing themselves; I'm just another payday but surely the ladies enjoy the company of some of their marks more than others?) Her hands were as good as I remembered and a fun time was had, definitely by me and hopefully by her, too.
When I left I didn't want to walk to the main road all the way up soi 13 and then back down soi 11. So I walked down the laneway in the opposite direction to soi 13 and – to my surprise – the alley joined up with the walkway to Ambassador Hotel and the arcade next to Villa Market on soi 11. That's why I called this article the (micro) Evolution of a Bangkok Visitor. I evolved by approximately 50 meters and it only took me 2 years to make the connection!
As a more evolved person I'm smarter now, too. Instead of going out to look for the ladies I now have the option of getting their LINE or WhatsApp ID so I can find out if they're still working and if so, where. I know, it isn't much of a change but it's a development for me – and isn't that what evolution is all about? Small steps over time in the quest to improve.
I haven't tried the escort services yet. I intended to try one this last trip but time got away from me. I've even made my first two choices of ladies (from a website that advertise on this site) so I'll have to try them one day. On that evening when I struck out at Annie's & Darling I would probably have tried my first escort later that night but I found Linda instead. So the idea of an escort is filed for future reference.
I'm probably a good example of what's happening in Bangkok now. The experience isn't new to me any more. I don't like being ripped off so the lady drink system and greedy attitude in the bars has pretty much driven me away. Massage parlors are hit and miss. The grubby little places with a mattress on the floor and sheets for partitions don't make me feel special (even though that's the kind of place where Linda works now); the Entertainment Complexes aren't designed for a foreign visitor. I buy what I want and need in the shops – most of my wardrobe is from Thailand. I have come to enjoy my regular food items which range from inexpensive to high class and are all great. And when it comes to sex I am less adventurous, I stick to the ladies I know; if I "add" one and "lose" another per trip that's a pretty good result. I guess it's called evolution – of me, the industry and Bangkok.
It's amazing to hear how much some of those ladies in the alley connecting sois 11 and 13 ask for, and seemingly actually get. Most of them are really rough, look hard and I would not be surprised at all if some of them were heavy substance users. Walking past they often have the door wide open and from what you can see of the "rooms", they look, well, for want of a better word, disgusting!