Bangkok Byron is Back in Bangkok!
“It’s not like it was before,” said the guy on the next stool in front of the stage at Rainbow 4. I was thinking the same thing. It was my first time in Thailand for ten years, and in that time it seems that the average Thai girl has grown a few sizes. I don’t mean that they were fat (though some were, well, plumpish), but that their “scale” (speaking as a keen railway modeller) was larger than it used to be – indeed, not far from that of the average western woman. We got chatting, and the guy said it was the result of the growth hormones in the junk food they eat, though I think it is more probably due to the cumulative effect of a good diet since childhood.
Apart from that, there were fewer good lookers, and fewer girls overall. When I first visited Rainbow 4, in 2005, the stage (two stages, actually) was so packed that they were almost falling off (I read somewhere that there were about 100 girls in the bar on most nights). Nevertheless, there were just enough in front of us to make the stage look full (-ish), and there was no shortage of customers. Indeed, the bar was packed, which is why I ended up sitting at the stage. This gave me a good view of their feet (and ridiculously high heels) but I got a crick in my neck trying to see their faces. Looking around it seemed that most of the customers were Japanese. They were staring at the stage with fixed looks, and very few of them were interacting with the girls.
The guy on the next stool was from Sweden, but I forget his name. He began to wax lyrical about a bar called Butterflies. He got up to go there, and suggested I come along. I almost refused, as I was just getting in to Rainbow 4 (in its new incarnation, where G-Spot used to be). I have often found that it is necessary to “study the form” for a while before you can see the possibilities, and I had spotted one or two girls that I quite liked, and might have chatted to. Still, it is good to have a wingman, so I agreed to go along with him.
As soon as we went through the curtain I felt it – that elusive quality called atmosphere. The place was vibrant, and it was packed. Butterflies has three stages. To the left is the pool where half a dozen girls danced (they didn’t sit down or get wet, except for their feet). In the middle is the largest stage, and to the right is a slightly smaller stage. There were about 20 girls on the middle stage, and about 12 on the one to the right. They were wearing white bikini bottoms tied with bows at the side and white crop tops with the “Butterflies” logo. These alternated with girls in black bikinis. All of them had monster shoes.
There were many beauties, including several of the petite scale that I have come to associate with Thai girls. Sadly, though, there were even more tattoos than I remember ten years ago, along with other artificial enhancements, such as fake breasts, and fake braces – I like women as God (or Buddha) made them.
At the changeover, the new set came onto the stage before the previous set left, giving that packed stage look that was characteristic of the old days. There were also many girls around mixing with customers in a “hands on” way. Some of these girls approached us, and wanted to sit with us. I don’t mind this, as long as they are not too pushy, as it breaks the ice, but as we had just arrived, we wanted to have a look around, so we sent them away.
I had not seen topless girls dancing for ten years, so I suggested we move to the pool. Within minutes, my Swedish friend was chatting to a girl, and I was admiring a slim, long-legged beauty who had replaced her standard bowtie-panties with a thong (or what the Americans picturesquely call a “T-back”). She saw me watching her and wiggled her butt for me only a few feet from my face, and teased me by pulling the string of her T-back aside briefly. Then the set changed and she was gone. She was replaced by another beauty, a little less petite but with fuller breasts, whom I signalled to join me for a drink. She was very touchy-feely, and her skin was that wondrous combination of soft and firm, warm and glowing in places and cooler in others. She encouraged me to stroke her all over (above the waist, of course), and I was glad to oblige. It turned out that long-legs was her friend, and soon I had one of them on each knee. Another friend joined us from somewhere, and they took turns to sit on my lap (and do the dry-humping thing) while I had my arms around the other two. Even if they are with a customer, the girls are expected to go when it is their turn to dance, and for the next hour or so, they came and went, and consumed a number of lady drinks. Despite what I had read about “double lady drinks” etc., these were just cokes, and not expensive. I didn’t note the price, but I did note my final bill, which was 1,500 THB, and that for an hour of flirtatious, hands-on fun with three girls. I had forgotten what fun Thai girls can be – they have a word for it, after all: “sanuk” – my beginner’s Thai was beginning to come back to me.
We had a quick look around the rest of the plaza. I quite like the new roof which covers the whole plaza, and the new third-floor bars, looking big and glitzy. It is nice to see an adult entertainment area thriving after my recent visits to Subic and Angeles where everything seems so run down. However, I was amused to find that the access arrangements were no better than on my first visit in 2005. As you enter the plaza, there is a staircase to the left and an up-escalator to the right, so if you go up the steps and work your way around, you can’t get down (I seem to remember a narrow staircase at the back, near the escalator, but couldn’t find it this time). We pulled aside the curtains of several bars, and found some that seemed to be thriving, and others struggling along with few girls and few customers. There was plenty of “showing” (which was not allowed on my first visit). Also, the bars are open an hour longer until 3:00 AM. It was usually 2:00 AM in times gone by, and sometimes as early as 1:00 AM.
My Swedish friend wanted to find a disco, as he said he usually managed to find a girl who would stay with him for a few days without charging an arm and a leg. That sounded good to me, so I said I would tag along with him. The place he used to go on Soi 11 was closed, and as we stood there debating where to go next, a tuk-tuk driver offered to take us to a disco he knew for free. I didn’t like the sound of that, but my Swedish friend had had quite a lot to drink and threw caution to the winds. He assured me it would be OK, but I was not so sure, and we agreed to part. I decided to head on to Soi Cowboy.
I had a quick peep in some of my old-time favourites and found that there was not much doing – but it was around 2:00 AM by then, so they were winding down. I had read a lot about Crazy House on this site, so went to have a look at that. I got in for free (I had read that there is a 100 baht charge at the door) and found that it was still quite full. The stage was also full, and the girls were butt baked – but nothing appealled. All of them seemed to be the “large scale” type (perhaps the petite ones had all been barfined by then). So I went to another new bar that I had read about – Lighthouse. There were about 20 girls on stage in pink bikinis, who were, on average, OK-ish. A girl hit on me hard and I couldn’t shake her off. So I bought her a drink (I love it when they wai their thanks – it is one of the many, many aspects of Thai culture that make a visit to Thailand such a rich experience). I didn’t get her name (the music in the bars these days is much too loud for comfortable conversation), but I found out that she was 32 and had a daughter of 12, yet she had a fantastic hard body and flat stomach.
I was very tired by this time so decided to call it a night. I walked back along the Sukhumvit Road, glad that the area around Asoke is now well lit, and free from ladyboys. It used to be a dark and dodgy area, where I narrowly escaped an attempted pickpocketing ten years ago.
Summary of the evening: 3 bars visited (sitting down for a drink – many more looked in to), 1 new friend made, 5 girls talked to, 5 beers drunk, c. 7 lady drinks bought, and a huge amount of flirtatious fun enjoyed. Cost: 2,500 THB.
* * *
My Swedish friend wasn’t where I agreed to meet him (same time, same place in Rainbow 4), so I’ll never know what happened on his tuk-tuk adventure. I decided that I would take a few photos before going to Soi Cowboy again. I took two, and was stopped by a security guard, so I gave up. There are plenty of pics of the Bangkok nightlife on this site (better ones than I could take with a cheap mobile) so I decided not to bother.
First stop was Kazy Kozy, which I have heard is run by the same group as Crazy House. There were 10 girls on stage in yellow bikinis with tassel tops, but the best thing on stage was a Harley – I would have barfined that in preference to any of the girls! Some of the girls were topless, some naked, and one naked girl was interacting with a customer (she tried me, later on, but she was too pushy, and I sent her away). I went upstairs to the toilet to find that there was an upstairs bar named Kozy – but it was not in use. On my way back I was hit upon by a slim cutie named Noi. I bought her a drink, but when she started pushing for a barfine I just wanted to get rid of her. I was delighted when she had to go to dance, and hoped I could finish my Beer Lao in peace, but no, she was back again in no time, so I drank up and beat a hasty retreat.
Dollhouse was next. Back in the day, this was one of my favourite bars, as it always seemed to have plenty of the girls of the type I liked. I noticed that it had been revamped, but not excessively. The central stage was there, with the carousel at the far end, with a new, bigger, sports screen above it. The seating was the same, so I sat in my usual place (in the middle, to the left as you go in).
There were 13 girls on stage (back in 2005, there were never less than 20). Five were naked, the rest wore black or white panties, and some had black or white crop tops with the orange Dollhouse logo. The tops and the panties went on and off to provide a bit of variety. Nudity was not allowed on my first visit in 2005, and I know that it would have blown me away back then. Now, I’m not so bothered. Upstairs there was table dancing with naked girls – about five of them. I never liked table dancing, because the girl on somebody else’s table was always the best.
I sipped my Beer Lao (my favourite beer, and more widely available these days) and settled down to watch the show. I was soon taken with a lovely young woman on the carousel with firm, full breasts and large nipples. The only thing that put me off was the frown she was wearing. Still, the body more than made up for it, so I signalled her to join me. She responded with a warm smile, though I had to wait until the set ended before she could join me (in the PI, they can join you straight away, and don’t have to dance while they are with a customer).
Again, I didn’t catch her name, but I found out that she was 33, and had worked in the bar for only five days (which probably explains the frown!) She made a good attempt at conversation, but was not very hands on – probably shy because so new. However, she was a very lovely woman, and if I had been in a barfining mood, I would have been tempted.
I moved on to an old favourite – the Sistine Chapel of Soi Cowboy – Baccara. These days you have to buy a drink outside, and there was a queue for drinks. Inside it was jam packed full (many Japanese) and nowhere to sit down – just like when I first came, in 2005. The formula was the same. There were 13 girls on the downstairs stage dressed in yellow panties and crop tops. Upstairs was exactly the same costume as when I first went there – white blouses, which went on and off, and navy blue skirts, with no panties, dancing on a glass ceiling. Like the Sistine Chapel, there are mirrors downstairs so you don’t strain your neck, though unlike the Sistine chapel, the view has not been spoiled by insensitive restoration – except for a little pussy-trimming. The main difference was, once again, in the scale of the girls (slightly larger) and their numbers. There were only 5 girls on the glass ceiling – far fewer than before. Despite that, there were many beauties in the bar: 245, 056, 155, 086, to mention but a few.
I decided to try Crazy House again, but there was a 100 baht charge at the door. I said to the doorman, “Can I have a peep inside to see if it’s worth it?” and he gave me a black look which I took as a no. 100 baht is nothing, but it’s the principle of the thing, so I headed back down the soi (after admiring the Apsara on the bas-relief murals outside the bar). I took a photograph of the murals, but it was blurred (probably because another black look from the doorman made my hand shake).
I popped my head into many bars, including Midnite, Crazy Cat, Cowboy 2, Shark, 5 Star and Long Gun. The story was the same as in Nana Plaza. Some bars were doing well, while others had only a few girls and fewer customers. I never saw that from 2005 – 2010. There seemed to be plenty of girls to fill every stage, and plenty of girls means plenty of customers. And yet, the general atmosphere felt thriving. Almost all the bars were well designed and well tricked out, and others were being renovated, including my former favourite, Rawhide. There was a time when this bar was the most run down in the soi, but with the cutest girls. I fear that when it reopens it will be just another glitzy, over-designed bar, with a few, large girls and no atmosphere.
I eventually settled on Suzie Wong and was immediately hit upon by a pretty little thing named Bee. She was 22 and by day was a student of Computer Studies. She had only worked in the bar for a week, so her English was not good. But she was clearly intelligent, and interesting to talk to (when we could understand each other). She was not particularly beautiful, though her face was pleasant enough. Her body was of the petite type I prefer. She was very touchy-feely, and didn’t object to a little kissing. She was also happy to go long time (so she passed my tests). However, by that time I had had far too much to drink, so I thought it might be a better idea to come back for her on another occasion. As the evening went on, I collected two of her friends, and had a lot of fun interacting with them. The waitress was helpful in explaining what the girls were trying to say, so I bought her a drink too. The drink chits were adding up, so I reluctantly decided to call it a night before I broke the bank. Total cost in this bar: 2,330 THB.
Walking down the soi as the bars were closing, I was impressed by the large numbers of pretty girls buying food from the street vendors. “Which bar was she hiding in?” I kept thinking. Actually, as many of them were still in part-uniform, the seasoned visitor to Soi cowboy could probably tell you. Well, I could have asked, I suppose – but they seemed so keen on their food that I didn’t have heart to interupt them.
Summary of the evening: 4 bars visited (sitting down for a drink – many more looked into), 5 girls talked to, 7 beers drunk, c. 10 lady drinks bought, and even more flirtatious fun enjoyed. Cost: 2,930 THB.
* * *
When I first visited Thailand in 2005, I got c. 70 baht to the pound. Now it is c. 40. When you combine that with the inflation of prices in the bar business, it adds up to serious money! Some quick internet reseacrh showed that, since 2005, prices have gone up by about 50% in the UK. They have gone up a lot more than that in the bar business in Thailand, sometimes over 100% more. I was quoted 3,000 baht for short time, and 5,000 / 6,000 baht for long time. The barfines were 1,000 baht. So long time = c. 152 GBP / 198 USD. In 2005, the usual price for short time was 1,500, and for long time 2,000. Barfines were 500/600. However, I have a note in my diary for 2008 that I was quoted 4,000 baht for long time with a Baccara girl. When I expressed my surprise at the price, she said (proudly), “This Baccara!”
All this makes Angeles City a great bargain, where you can get long time for an all-in barfine of 3,000 PHP (a tip of 500 for good service is usual). So long time = 53 GBP/69 USD. Thus, in the PI you can (almost) buy three girls for the price of one in Thailand.
That said, I was surprised to find that I preferred Thailand. I love the sanuk of the girls – Thai girls are definitely more fun! Admittedly, that verdict is based on a small sample of only 10 girls, but so often in the Philippines the girls, despite their better English, don’t interact to the same extent (Catholic inhibitions?). I also like the fact that the bar scene in Thailand is still thriving. Many is the time that the demise of Nana Plaza has been predicted, yet I have never seen it in better shape (in my dairy for 2005 I described it as “very run down”). The bars are better designed, stylish, modern, and most have been recently renovated. A cover has been placed over the plaza, and there are guards to keep you safe (and stop you taking photographs!). Indeed, the whole Sukhumvit area seemed safer than I remember. I walked from Soi Cowboy to Soi 4 at about 3:00 AM without once feeling uncomfortable. I regret the passing of the hard-bodied, petite bargirl, fresh from the farm, but applaud the fact that they are now better fed, and growing in stature – just as the English were in the middle years of the last century. But if petite is your taste, they are still there – you just have to look harder to find them.
I have been visiting the Philippines for a while, as you can see from my previous submissions, and when I booked this trip to Bangkok, I wasn’t expecting much, perhaps because of some of the negative things I have read on this and other Thailand forums. These led me to expect a sort of “Amsterdam on Chao Phraya”, with hard-bitten girls, and high prices. The prices were saucy enough, but the girls were as fun and as sweet as ever, and I have fallen in love with Thailand all over again!
* * *
As my pen-name is Bangkok Byron, and as I am (understandably) not famous for my poems about Thailand, I cannot let you go without inflicting one of my flights of fancy upon you. This poem (which is shameless clone of a poem by Robert Service about the Yukon) was written when I gave up Thailand on my marriage (as I was determined to do it properly). However, my marriage failed, and the prophecy in the poem came true.
On the face of it, prospecting for gold in the frozen North is about as different as you can get from chasing girls in the torrid East, yet I was surprised how few changes I had to make to Robert Service’s The Spell of the Yukon, to create my Thailand version. In my adaptation, the Yukon = Thailand, cold = hot, gold = girls, and the fun of “finding” is same same.
THE SPELL OF THAILAND
I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy, I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it —
Came out with a fortune last fall, —
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,And somehow the gold isn’t all…
I wanted the girls, and I sought them;
I travelled to countries afar.
Tropical diseases – I fought them;
I wasted my youth in a bar.
Then I wanted real love and I got it –
Came home with a good wife last fall;
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
And somehow a wife isn’t all.
No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
Exotic’s the best word I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the rice paddies spread out below.
Yes, it’s hot where the palm trees don’t shade it
From the blistering heat of the sun –
Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
For no land on earth – and I’m one.
You come to get girls (damned good reason);
You feel like a sinner at first;
You fornicate hard for a season,
Taking the best with the worst.
It grips you just like drug addiction,
A bargirl becomes your best friend;
And you can’t give her up on conviction
That she’ll treat you right in the end.
I’ve stood in some lively agogo
That’s plumb-full of girls to the brim;
I’ve watched the girls after the show go
With customers lusting for quim.
And sometime I’ve gone for tag-teaming
With two girls, the best of the crop;
And I’ve thought that I surely was dreaming,
With two pretty bargirls on top.
The ruudu rawn (summer) was ever
The worse time to be in Bangkok;
The stench from the Chao Phraya river
And the drains backing up when they block.
But I love that lifestyle without harness;
The sois where the Hello Girls call;
The freedom, the fun and the farness –
O God! how I’m stuck on it all.
The ruudu fon (wet season) soaks you,
And floods every thanon and soi,
And the smog from the traffic jams chokes you –
But there’s other things that I enjoy:
The wat that are older than history,
The monks’ meditation and chant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I bade ’em goodbye – but I can’t.
There’s the girls, and they’re haunting and haunting;
I think of them till my head swirls.
Yet it isn’t the girls that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the girls.
These are pleasures that nobody reckons
In our land so boring and chill;
There’s a land – oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back – and I will.
* * *
A note to my Swedish friend: if you read this, I’m sorry I bailed on you at the tuk-tuk. Drop me an email and maybe we can meet up again.
The author of this article can be contacted at : [email protected]