Pay For Play: Bangkok-Singapore-Saigon
Man: “If I offered you a million dollars would you have sex with me?”
Woman: “Well, ah yes, why not.”
Man: “How about if I offered you a hundred?”
Woman: “What kind of woman do you think I am?”
Man: “We’ve already established that, sweetheart; it’s just the price we’re negotiating now.”
Apparently, the above interplay between the sexes is from an old Hollywood movie. It was something which came to mind during a recent R & R in the City of Angels. I’d picked up a cute freelancer at one of my favourite watering holes along Soi 11 – Oskar Wine Bar – and after pushing on to a chic club around the corner for more imbibing, we were getting down to the pointy end of her evening’s liaison with me. I’d had enough to drink and posed the question “Did she feel like coming back to my apartment?” The thing about these pseudo hi-so freelancers who go to great lengths to tell you they’re actually out of work real estate agencies just looking for a bit of extra cash to pay the rent is that they prattle on with so much inane nonsense to justify their decision to shag for cash. Being well experienced with this particular type of pseudo hi-so/real estate agent/part time hooker and their amazingly boring stories, I’ve learned to just switch off while they go through their routines. While she droned on about being down on her luck and having just lost her job I continued sipping my wine while staring out across the empty bar area and nodding to the beats. I checked my watch; it was approaching 1.45 AM and she still hadn’t given me a straight answer. Having heard enough of her numbingly, repetitive diatribe I cut her off mid-sentence.
“I’ll give you three thousand baht for a long time.”
“Oh, you think me so cheap?” she replied unimpressed with my offer.
“Well no, three thousand is quite expensive really, my dear. Normally I don’t go with hookers. I date good girls from the internet dating sites and give them five hundred baht for a taxi in the morning. But if you can find someone else to give you three thousand baht then I wish you good luck”, I said knowing there was virtually no chance of that in the wee small hours of the morning.
Needless to say with her options limited by time and location, my cute companion finished her wine and ten minutes later we were in a taxi back to my apartment.
The great game continues in the Land of Smiles (does anyone really think this will change any time soon? I mean, seriously?), and while the faces and locations may change, the M.O. remains the same, money thank you very much. As a long term resident of the LOS and in particular this most exotic of cities, Bangkok, I think I can safely say I’ve finally attained that rarefied place of total ambivalence when it comes to ladies of the night. Or, simply put, I genuinely don’t give a shit. “Look, sweetheart, I’m going to try and beat you down to the lowest price I can because I’m expecting you to do everything in your power to scam me or provide the minimum service possible.” Some out there may find this a rather negative approach when it comes to interacting with the demimondaines but take it as a given in Bangkok these days, satisfying the punter is their least concern. Even so, and allowing for the mercenary attitudes so often prevalent, there’s still plenty of fun to be had out there when the sun goes down.
With a well-paid career providing me with a comfortable lifestyle, I’m finding my time here to be a lot more enjoyable lately. I guess it’s got a lot do with the female population of the region and the fact I’m honest enough to acknowledge that with my 60th birthday fast approaching, I feel rather fortunate in having access to an endless bevy of smooth-skinned, almond-eyed beauties half my age. Granted it is a world of make believe because the bottom line is always the bottom line but having heard work colleagues talk about the quality of their relationships in the west recently, I’ve realised the bottom line is the bottom line regardless of where you are.
If considering a move to South-East Asia, Bangkok still compares well, or even better than other cities in the region when infrastructure, modern shopping malls and the relatively low cost of living is taken into account. Yes, foreign males coming here do and will to continue to trip up with the at times cunning female population of the country; that goes without saying. But if you have the resources to recover and move on, the great game can be an entertaining and fun part of life here. Lessons learned bring wisdom and the ability to remain fluid when interacting with the demimondaines. Truly, there really is no need to suffer stupidity or nonsense when there are millions of young, attractive ladies available for a short encounter or something more serious if she ticks all the boxes. Deceit, lies and emotional manipulation should be kicked into touch as soon as these negative qualities rear their ugly heads. “Well I can sympathise with your lousy predicament in life, dear, but seriously, the world (aka foreign males) doesn’t owe you or your family a living.” I can understand the hardship they’ve come from and the motivations for their career choice, but when you see one of them leaning on the bar at Oskar dressed to the nines, wine glass in hand, it’s a bit of a stretch when they say “you don’t know what it’s like to fight for your life.” Probably not, but that’s still a pathetic justification for taking a monthly stipend from your foreign sponsor while you’re out fucking the town every night. Sorry, but your excuse just doesn’t fly.
One of the real estate/marketing team at Oskar Wine Bar
One of things which I really can’t accept about many of these ladies (and this is probably the major reason not to get involved with one) is their time wasting traits. Being late is one thing but when they try to lead you on a wild goose chase, that’s a flaw which needs to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible. I got chatting to an attractive vixen on WeChat. Her profile photos showed a tall, large breasted, attractive, white skinned Thai female (it wasn’t a katoey). After a number of encounters on-line I arranged to meet her for dinner at the Zen Restaurant at Central World. Fifteen minutes after our allotted meeting time she sent me a message saying she didn’t know where to go and asked if I could come to her shop on Sukhumvit Soi 22. I said I’d consider it, finished the call, then turned off the phone and waited for my order of sushi. An hour later I was sitting at the lounge bar at the Intercontinental Hotel (Rachaprasong) enjoying a drop of New Zealand red when the phone rang. It was her. After a short conversation in which she apologised and said she’d take care of me if I came to her salon I decided, against my better judgement, to go and check her out. Her shop was situated near that bar complex on Soi 22. As I stood across the road from the dimly lit bars, a lady roughly ten years older and ten kilos heavier than the one in her profile photos exited a shop to my left and slowly approached me. When she was approximately three meters away I could see it was her but a much older version than the photos on-line. I didn’t even waste breath engaging her in conversation as I waved her off, flagged down a cab and made a beeline for Spasso’s. As the taxi worked its way down Sukhumvit the messages began arriving on my phone. No doubt she’d lost face and was going to do everything she could (as they always do) to turn it around and be the winner. These days I don’t even bother with their stupid mind games and I delete their messages immediately. Another worthwhile tactic for quickly dealing with these idiot whores is having the blocking code for the service provider you are using, keyed into your phone. After blocking her number (blocks calls but not messages) I sent her a short message “1500 baht short time. Nothing else to talk. Don’t waste my time again.” I haven’t heard from her since.
As I’ve said before, one of the great things about this part of the world is that it never fails to surprise and entertain. There’s never a dull moment here and when one door closes another will surely open. Don’t dwell on the past when there’s abundance available in the future. Recently I’ve been going over past submissions on this site, some as far back as twelve years ago, and it certainly makes for interesting reading. One thing which never changes is the way in which so many guys beat themselves up emotionally, and sometimes physically, over women who are surely some of the worst skanks you’d ever hope to meet here. Seriously, there’s a litany of serial masochism there and as Stick mentioned at the end of one particular story, it often makes for painful reading. At the end of the day it really is just a game. The game for them is a convoluted mix of the constant need for money, meeting the demands of the family and/or Thai boyfriend and, very importantly, never getting caught out by the farangs they manage to reel in. The game for us is simply about fulfilling our sexual needs for the lowest price we can negotiate. Occasionally if things fall into place, we can aspire to a bit of companionship. If you understand the rules of the game – don’t get into a serious relationship with a hooker – then you won’t have any major issues living here. If you want a real relationship, get a normal lady with a proper job.
Asian hookers are fun, the sex is usually reasonable and in Bangkok there’s a huge variety of girls available from your hard core go-go dancers to the part-timers one can often bump into on a Saturday night at Spasso’s. Granted the prices there are always higher than many other venues and being a keeneow at heart there’s no way in God’s earth I’d give a girl 10K baht for a night's sex. Occasionally though a stunner will turn up that I don’t mind paying five thousand for. A recent mid-week visitation bought some good fortune when I was lucky enough to bump into a large breasted, white skinned freelancer from Phnom Penh. A mix of Cambodian and Vietnamese parentage she was a standout in amongst the darker skinned Isaan girls along the bar and I quickly came to an arrangement to get her back to my apartment. Judging by the looks she was getting from a couple of rich Thai blokes sitting in the restaurant area, I knew she was a genuine looker. Normally the hi-so crew quaffing champagne and Black Label at their restaurant tables don’t even bother looking at the Thai freelancers.
A Spasso beauty from a few years ago.
The clubs around Bangkok are a bit of an international melting pot for ladies on the game these days. I’ve met Vietnamese and Colombians at Mixx and a Mongolian freelancer at Levels. As mentioned, Bangkok is a city which continues to surprise and on any given night you may encounter an exotic lass from beyond Thailand’s borders which is hardly surprising really given the fact the place with its vibrant club, bar and restaurant scene and plethora of modern shopping centres continues to be a good choice as an international holiday and partying destination. For those of us who live there the traffic jams and underlying third world markers (street beggars, cluttered street hawkers carts, broken footpaths and substandard power and sewage utilities) eventually wear you down and a long weekend out of town is a welcome relief from it all.
My two favourite spots in the region for a short getaway from Bangkok continue to be Singapore and Saigon. Not so much for the bar and club scene but more for the shopping and change of location. A three day stay in the Lion City is never a cheap exercise though, with even a reasonable standard hotel coming in at SGD 200 per night minimum. But if you want to spend some time in a modern, clean, first world city it’s worth the expense. There’s probably little difference in the price of laptops, mobile phones and cameras when comparing Singapore to Bangkok and I would say that Power Buy probably has as wide a range of electrical goods as any of the malls in Singapore. The advantage to the Lion City is more in the quality food stuffs and health products that are available in stores such as Robinsons on Orchard which Thailand just doesn’t have. A good example would be Manuka honey which, although available in small amounts at Paragon and Emporium, is stocked to the rafters at Robinson's in Singapore. There is also a huge range healthcare products – vitamins and herbal products – which one just doesn’t see at Boots or Watsons. Thailand has some stringent import restrictions which stop a lot of good products coming into Thailand. An example would be Melatonin, a herbal product which helps one to get a good night’s sleep. This product is barred from entering Thailand which, when one considers that Xanax can be easily bought over the counter at many pharmacies, is quite ridiculous. <You can get it at the big pharmacy popular with foreigners in the Soi Nana area – Stick> Of course, if you’re in the mood for a bit of female companionship, no trip to Singapore is complete without a visit to Orchard Towers or Brix Night Club in the basement of the Hyatt on Scotts Road.
Vietnamese ‘working girls’ continue to be the flavour of the month in the pay for play flesh pots along Orchard Road although, after a recent trip there I’d say Orchard Towers (aka the four floors of whores) is definitely looking a bit tired. Apart from the fact there are Katoeys swarming on all levels and the building itself has definitely seen better days. A lot of the legitimate businesses – the camera and electronics outlets – have been replaced by seedy looking massage shops. A Singaporean friend who until recently ran a small electronics shop on the first floor (next to the Ipanema Bar) told me the legitimate business operators are being pushed out by the naughty massage outlets. After being in business for thirty years he was shutting down because he just couldn’t afford the astronomical rents being asked. According to him, when a massage shop knows the contract of a legitimate business is up, they offer the landlord double the going rate. Obviously those naughty massage shops are doing well which, when one considers the nasty looking Mainland Chinese hustlers staffing them, is a bit incongruous really. For the unwary, you’ll be enticed into the premises with the promise of a cheap massage – SGD 80 for an hour. Once inside the massage room you’ll be bombarded with all kinds of offers for extras, with the price quickly doubling or trebling for oral or a quickie, or both. The best advice is to steer well clear of these painted face little scammers as there’s absolutely no value in them.
Having experienced mainland Chinese working girls on a previous work assignment in Shenzhen, I would rate about them about three out of ten for service quality. For those who are interested, there are a couple places in Singapore where attractive mainland Chinese ladies can be acquired for a bit of pay for play but be warned; they come with an expensive price tag with SGD 1000 being regularly mentioned. However, there is a caveat; the two locations where these ladies ply their trade are the domain of cashed up Singaporean businessmen. There is a club in the basement of the building behind Orchard Towers. If one sits down with a beer at the outdoor seating area of Harry’s Bar, around 8 – 9 PM, you will see a bevy of tall, white skinned, well dressed Chinese ladies disembarking from a steady line of taxis and descending a set of carpeted stairs to an apparently exclusive club right next door. While there, I’ve never seen any farangs enter and have been told reliably it’s a meat market for the rich local boys. The other expensive meat market for Chinese ladies in Singapore is a Karaoke Bar in the Basement of the Holiday Inn Atrium, on Havelock Road. This, once again, is touted to be another domain of cashed up Singaporean businessmen and the bar is run very much to the preference of Asian clientele – you will need to buy a bottle and pay an hourly rate for them to sit with you. If you’re waiting for a taxi in the hotel lobby at around 8 PM, you’ll see a steady stream of tall, white skinned Asian girls enter the hotel and make their way down the escalator to the bar. According to a taxi driver I queried, SGD 1000 is the going rate for a bit of short time action.
A group of Vietnamese “working girls” about to clock in at Orchard Towers
Having lived in the region for the better part of twenty years, my taste in local ladies has changed so much from my early years here. Instead of the dark skinned, tattooed types often seen in the farang bar areas, my preference is now very much the same as the local boys. Different strokes for different folks of course but these I’m definitely more attracted to the fair skinned, more voluptuous Asian ladies; and all the better if there’s no ugly tramp stamps adorning their skin. If in Singapore and your preference in female companionship is the same as mine, an evening at Brix Nightclub is highly recommended. The demimondaines plying their trade there are a mixed lot but it’s still predominantly the domain of the Vietnamese ladies. And there are some real honeys to be found there, to be sure. Friday and Saturday nights always see a good crowd packing into the place. If you want a seat around the bar, go early (10 PM), otherwise you run the risk of having to wait in line at the entrance for others to leave before gaining admission. The cover charge is SGD 30 and includes one drink. There’s normally a live band doing sets between 1030 – 0230 and the standard, and music style, is similar to that which is encountered at Spasso. During a recent night out there I had the good fortune of meeting a very attractive Vietnamese lass from Saigon. With her white skin and ample breasts, Lilley was a real looker but as can be expected for a lady of her quality her price was also high end; SGD 400 for a short time and SGD 800 for all night. Having met other ladies similar to her profile on previous visits, I wasn’t surprised when she told me she had a one year visa to study English in Singapore and went to lessons for two hours every weekday afternoon. She also had a firm body, kept in shape by morning gym sessions. Yes, she was a hooker but even so, when compared to the Thai variety, she seemed to have her life in order. Her reason for being on the game was a common story coming out of Vietnam; her parents had been in business with a relative who’d scammed them. To pay off the debt they’d been forced to sell the family home. She was now in Singapore for a year to put together a nest egg for another family business. I didn’t doubt what she was telling me as my experience with Vietnamese girls in the past is there’s a steely determination in them which is often lacking in Thais
A Vietnamese beauty I met in Singapore
With ladies like Lilley there’s a refreshing honesty about them which I tip my hat to; she was a hooker and didn’t have any issues admitting as much. It’s a very pragmatic approach which one is very unlikely to encounter amongst the pseudo hi-so/real estate agent/hooking fraternity along Soi 11. For the Lilley’s of the world, the lines aren’t blurred; she had a mission and would stick to it. Being a prostitute was not likely to be the long term career choice we so often see amongst Thai freelancers on the game. Not that things are completely black and white with Vietnamese ladies when it comes to making some cash on their backs. With the wages in Vietnam being so meagre even ladies with normal jobs aren’t above soliciting for dollars to supplement their low incomes. So called good girls can, and do, cross the line from time to time. Point in case, a Viet lady I spent some time with in Saigon last year. I met Lin on a flight from Singapore to Saigon. I’d actually seen her at Changi Airport departures hall seeing off her boyfriend and during the flight we struck up a friendly conversation. When the flight arrived at Than Son Nhat I offered her a ride into town and couple of hours later we’d worked out a price for her to be my companion for the week I’d spend in Vietnam.
Lin, my Vietnamese companion on two recent trips to Saigon
Lin was average in the sack, but made up for her lack of carnal skills by being an excellent tour guide and translator. She was at a bit of a crossroads in life and at thirty years of age, realised she needed a marriage prospect as her meagre income in the beauty salon she worked in wasn’t going to provide her with any kind of stable future. By agreeing to go with me, she was hedging her bets. The boyfriend in Singapore, although providing her with a monthly stipend, had already told her he wasn’t interested in marriage. In the week we were together she hinted more than a few times of her hopes of tying the knot with me. Having had a certain amount of previous experience with ladies from Vietnam I knew they, be it good girls or hookers, were very much of the mind a foreigner has to pay the parents for their daughter's hand. In Thailand it’s called sin sot but the fact is the Vietnamese are probably more focused on this aspect of a marriage than the Thais. When asked why the dowry needed to be paid, a previous Vietnamese girlfriend told me quite unapologetically, “For her parents for raising her.” The fact she’d been a whore for the previous five years was lost on her. No doubt a Vietnamese man, just like a Thai, would never pay a dowry to an ex-hooker. Conversely, there are plenty of foreigners who get mugged by this idea. It’s a waste of time arguing the point with them because their limited intellect doesn’t see beyond the idea. First and foremost, you are a just a potential cash cow for the family. Better to just smile, say you need time to consider it and then disappear quickly out of their lives. After a second holiday in Vietnam with Lin I cut all ties with her. The pestering for money became a sore point and I realised she really wasn’t any different to a professional hooker. They just never get it; they always screw things up with their short term approach. Grab the money and run is probably an apt description.
Although being a great place for a short getaway, Saigon, I would imagine, could become a bit boring for a long stay. The bar and club scene is quite limited when compared with Bangkok and if you’re a chrome pole palace enthusiast then prepare to be disappointed because I’ve never seen any there. Apocalypse Now Nightclub is a meat market, in similar vein to the Ipanema Bar in Singapore, but the quality of ladies on offer is poor in comparison. There are some upscale roof top bars around town, the kind of places where the more affluent types hang out with a mix of normal girls and freelancers. These places tend be more for the young crowd though so if you’re like me and entering your seventh decade on this planet, it may not be such a good choice for finding some female companionship for the night.
A couple of cute barmaids at the MZ Bar in Saigon
There are also the Asian style girlie bars such as the MZ Bar where attractive, fair skinned girls work as hostesses and are available on an hourly rate for a chat over a bottle. Expensive is the word which comes to mind with these bars and there is no guarantee a lady will walk out of the bar with you after all the money you’ve spent. These types of bars are the domain of the rich Asian punters who enjoy this kind of paid for, pampered attention. However if you do latch onto a girl in Saigon she is much more likely to want to give you the girlfriend experience and stay with you for the duration of your trip than Thai ladies are these days. All for a price of course – prices for companionship in Saigon are usually USD 50 for a short time and USD 100 long time.
Lana, my first GFE in Saigon
In the pay for play scene, as with just about everything else in life, the golden rule is that you get what you pay for. The ladies, by and large, if they’re lookers know they can command higher rates and therefore will gravitate to the better standard venues. I guess what it’s really about is how deep you’re willing to reach into your pockets. If a dark skinned, tattooed skank from Nana Hotel car park is what floats your boat then fair enough. I did that years ago but wouldn’t be seen in that part of town anymore. I think my M.O. these days is more about quality and not quantity and the reality is I probably spend more nights sleeping alone when in Bangkok than with a bit of female company. The fact that I’m not a heavy drinker also keeps my nights out in the Big Mango at no more than two per week and when I do venture out I target the more upscale locations to enjoy the ambience provided by good food, good music and, of course, a gathering of attractive ladies. Living in Bangkok successfully requires a more balanced approach to life than that of a tourist on a two week blowout. Maintaining one's health and finances takes a degree of discipline which is probably well above that required to live in our home countries. The fact is being out on the town every night will eventually take a toll on your health and finances, and quicker than you think. Although the temptation is great, the benefits of a couple of quiet nights in every week cannot be overstated; and a bit of abstinence here and there makes a night out that much more enjoyable.
The fact is a decent night out in the Big Mango isn’t really a cheap exercise anymore when considering drink prices and the cost of a bit of female company. During a recent leave from work I decided to live it large for a night; to replicate the kind of spending a two week millionaire might embark on while painting the town red. The result was a bit of an eye opener to say the least. After booking a room at the Holiday Inn on Soi 22, I barfined a lass from a go-go bar on Soi Cowboy, took her to Oskar for a few drinks and then to a nearby club for a few more. After I paid her off the following morning I sat down and crunched the numbers and discovered I’d spent around 14K THB. On further consideration I’ve got no doubts there are some guys out there who get through a serious load of cash during their two weeks of partying and bar hopping. While Bangkok may not be to everyone’s taste I’ve found that by retaining a balanced perspective on things one can still have a relatively normal life there. It just takes a bit of extra personal discipline and good judgement when interacting with the ladies. And if you do get tired of the place, then there’s always Singapore or Saigon for a short getaway.
The LOS Diaries Part 3