Three Nights in Bangkok Part 1
Night 1, Tuesday 27th September
I visited Thailand last week on a visa run from the Philippines (ironic, as most visa runs described on this site are out of Thailand). I had no trouble at all entering the country. After a cursory glance at my Covid certs, I was passed on to Immigration, and as it was an early flight, arriving at 7:50, there were not many people about and I was through in no time.
After Angeles City, where many bars parade their girls in dresses, I had a yen to see some skin, so what better place than my old favourite, Dollhouse? I popped in at about 7:30, only to find an empty stage – and quickly popped out again. Where next? It had to be Crazy House. I’ve never cared for that bar as it is too hardcore, but nudity is its USP, so off I went in pleasant anticipation of lots of Isaan-brown lovelies in their birthday suits. However, the reality was disappointing, with few girls and fewer customers, so I decided to try somewhere else. I looked in Baccara, Shark and Midnite, but they were no better (and the girls had clothes on) so I went back to Crazy House.
By 8:00, there were six girls on stage, three of them naked and three in tartan rah-rah skirts and tops. All were tall and hefty, though two of them were OK (just!). Set 2 consisted of eight girls, one of whom was plump, and one of whom was nothing short of fat. I sat there gazing at them in disbelief. I had come here to see naked girls, and there they were, but, frankly, they weren’t worth looking at – flab, cellulite, sagging boobs and lunar landscape bellies are not what I’ve been fantasising about for the last two years. I was hoping to see girls like those in the photosets of My Cute Asian, but this lot would have looked better with clothes on (preferably the full burkah!).
On the other hand, I quite liked the way the girls – no, I can’t call them that, they were too old – the “ladies” – mingled with customers naked. It would have been quite exciting if they had been halfway decent. I remember a time – about 2008 – when naked girls would wander around Rawhide, but they were farm-fresh youngsters who did credit to Marlowe’s line: “the youthful hue / sits on thy skin like morning dew”. These ladies had skins were at best tired and at worse wrinkly.
By the time I had finished my Beerlao, the place was picking up. I counted 20 ladies on stage, though none of them were any better than the first lot. There were almost as many customers, most of whom appeared to be Japanese, and there was a vibrant atmosphere.
My Beerlao was 180 THB, a lady drink is 200, a double tequila lady drink is 400, and the barfine is 700.
Time to try Dollhouse again, and this time it was up and running with 10 girls on stage, four of them naked, though none of them were much to look at. Among them were three heavyweights and two who looked 40-ish, if a day. None were young and cute, so I’ll call them “ladies” again.
As I watched, I kept having flashbacks to the good old days, when this was my favourite bar. The deco was more or less the same, though the small glass ceiling had gone. There is a central stage with a small carousel at one end, and just opposite the carousel, a single pole for table dancing. I vividly remember when that stage was packed with young cuties, usually about 20 of them at any one time. Dollhouse used to run about 50 girls and there was a sign outside which said, “50 beautiful girls and one ugly one”. Legend has it that the bar boss, Daryll, regularly restocked the bar with a busload of sweeties fresh from the rice paddies of Isaan.
One girl in particular flashed into my retrospection: Kaeo from 2006, whom I chose by mistake, thinking she was someone else, but who turned out to be so good she became my girlfriend for a while. That girl had everything – only 18 years-old, new to the bar, petite body but with full breasts, and a sweet personality (you can read more about her in Pussy Struck in the Land of Smiles which is a collection of articles and diary entries from 2005 to 2020). It is interesting to note that the sign outside the bar on this occasion advertised Happy Hour (well, you could hardly display a sign saying “20 ugly girls and one beautiful one!).
I counted five ladies with tattoos, so about half of them. One of them, #28, had the whole of the back of her body covered with one huge tattoo. It was artistically done in different coloured inks, but I prefer art on a wall not on a girl. There were only six customers (though it was still early): four Japanese and two westerners.
I watched the ladies for a while, trying hard to like one of them, and decided that #37 and #40 were not bad. #40, one of the naked ones, was quite slim and had a pretty face, so I asked the waitress to bring her for a drink. Gop, aged 30, from Bangkok, no children, shapely body, but a large tattoo on her back depicting a girl with eagle wings. She did the wai thing when she came to sit with me (I just love that!) and immediately made body contact. We had a good conversation (as far the loud music permitted) and there was lots of stroking and even kissing. She seemed eager to please, and eager for a barfine. I told her that I was tired from my flight, so couldn’t barfine her that night, but enquired about prices: 3,000 short time, 5,000 long time (these amounts seem to be more or less standard, and are the same as 2019), and she was quite happy to stay long time (the sign of a good attitude). I was not in a barfining mood, but if I had been, I think she would have been a good choice. Other prices were as follows: My Heineken was 110, a lady drink is 180, and the barfine is 800.
Another old favourite, Baccara, was next. The Baccara formula has not changed from my first visit in 2005, except that faulty neon has renamed the bar “Bacca”, the last two letters not lighting up (I have visions of a Bangkok greenhorn mistaking it for a tobacco shop and getting the shock of his life when he saw all those girls without a pair of panties between them). Girls dance on a central stage in rah-rah skirts with no panties (you can see upskirt in the bartop mirror) and above them is a glass ceiling on which girls dance in schoolgirl outfits: skirt and white blouse – and no panties (those girls must save a fortune on panties!). Every now and then, the white blouses come off. The biggest difference between this and my previous visits was that it was “ladies” again, though they were a better selection than in the previous two bars. Another difference was that girl-numbers are down Post-Covid, with only 10 ladies downstairs and eight upstairs compared to double that number, pre-Covid.
One of these ladies smiled at me and said something about my glasses (very thin travel glasses which look sort of cute – even on me!). I could tell that she was well outside my preferred age range of 18-25, but I was more interested in research than barfining, and she looked as though she would be interesting to talk to. Noo, 41, from Buriram, no children. She looked younger than her age, had a winning smile and a full bosom displaying generous cleavage. She sat close and made good body contact, stroking my arms and thighs, and even giving me a few quick kisses. Despite my preferred age range, I found that I didn’t mind her advanced years at all as it put her in the same ballpark as me. I was no longer an old lothario exploiting young lolitas, but an ordinary man chatting up an ordinary woman – and I’m sure she was available for a relationship, especially as she started calling me, “my love” and “teelak”.
Switching to researcher mode, I asked her about the customers, who seemed to be mainly youngish Japanese. She replied, “Japanese #1, Korean #2.” Of course, there’s no way I can tell the difference. There was just one other westerner. Then I went on to barfine prices, giving her my line that I was too tired tonight, but might be interest in barfining her another night, and how much did she want? “Up to you,” she said. I first heard that answer in this very bar in 2005. In recent years, the girls have been more business-like and trotted out their price list. “Tell me what the going rate is,” I replied. “3,000 short time, 6,000 long time.” (Baccara girls always were a bit more expensive, so no surprises there). Then she added, “But if you want to take me out just for barhopping, you don’t need to give me anything.” I said I quite liked that idea, but of course I’d pay her. It might have worked, too. An evening in the company of those magnificent melons might have inspired me to keep her all night – but I wasn’t in the mood.
My Heineken was 190, a lady drink is 230 and the barfine is 1,100 (which is probably the highest in Bangkok).
I decided I’d had enough of the 2022 incarnation of Soi Cowboy and would go to Nana Plaza where I hoped to find something under 30, but on the way out, I peeked into Long Gun and was impressed enough to sit down.
There were 13 girls on the central stage in blue-grey two-piece rah-rah costumes. It was the best batch of girls I had seen so far. Two of them were quite pretty, though four of them had tattoos. I first visited this bar in 2005, and, amazingly, the formula has not changed: gogo girls alternating with shows – the music has changed though. Back then it was classic rock n’ roll. Now it’s – I don’t even know what you call it – it’s just “boom boom” (of the wrong kind).
When the gogo girls had left the stage, two girls in maids’ costumes came on to clean up. They wore no panties and made much of bending down to give the customers an eyeful. This was followed by two pole dancers in black negligees. They performed with great skill, often flipping upside-down then sliding down the poles. Bit by bit, their clothes came off until they were buck naked. Two naked girls, upside down, sliding down poles is quite a sight!
I was distracted from the rest of the shows by a “an angel sliding up to me” (a quote from Murray Head’s One Night in Bangkok). Taay, 30, from Buriram. She was topless and had a fine pair of pert boobies, so, of course, I offered to buy her a drink. In no time at all she was encouraging me to fondle those boobies which was so enjoyable that I almost forgot to do my research, but I managed to drag my hands away from her wobbly bits long enough to jot down a few notes. My Heineken, 185, lady drink, 185, barfine, 900. Taay said that she wanted 3,000 for short time. Long time is 5,000 in Long Gun, but Taay doesn’t do longtime, “Because I can’t sleep.”
While we were talking, the shows continued, and included some of the pussy shows that Long Gun was famous for back in the day: shooting firecrackers from the pussy, shooting darts at balloons with pussy power, pulling out a string of flowers, etc.
Post-Covid Soi Cowboy seems to be a kind of retirement home for geriatric bargirls (I exaggerate, but I’d met nothing under 30), and, remembering my Bangkok Byron award of Best Gogo Bar to Twister BKK in 2019, I thought Nana Plaza would be better, so I headed up the Sukhumvit Road and went straight into Twister. What a disappointment! There were only 13 girls on the stage in that huge bar (it’s about 3 times the size of the average Nana Plaza bar). Pre-Covid, there were twice as many, plus others dancing in and around the pool to the right of the stage – worse, it was “ladies” again – in other words, oldish, with a few plumpers amongst them.
I studied the form for a while, trying hard to like one of them, and eventually noticed a slim, OK-looking girl at the other side of the stage, near a customer, but not with him. I signalled her over, and immediately regretted it, because she turned out to be tall (I estimate 5’ 6”), lanky, and tattooed. Not that it mattered. Any girl will do for research purposes. I had got one thing right though. I had guessed she was younger than the current average, and so it turned out. Koi is 21. She wasn’t very communicative and didn’t make much effort, but I got my research done: lady drink, 205, barfine, 1,000. She wanted 3,000 for short time. She didn’t do long time but said the going rate was 5,000. My Heineken was a very reasonable 160.
Koi’s drink was a watered coke. In some bars they can opt for a Chang or a Tequila. The problem with the small, watered Coke is that girls can knock them back in no time. Some will ask for another, and others will use it as an excuse to get away. Koi did the latter. No problem. She wasn’t very good company, and I was glad to be rid of her.
I walked around the Plaza looking in through a few curtains. All too often there were few, or no, girls on stage and few, or no, customers (the worse combination is a few girls and no customers, because then you become the centre of attention, and some blubbery middle-aged lady plonks herself on your lap). Of course, it is important to put this in context – it was a Tuesday night in Low Season, and Typhoon Noru had just passed over, leaving intermittent rain.
I looked into an old favourite, Butterflies, and was disappointed again, and then into Billboard. The bar was full of customers, but there were not many girls dancing, and they were an unappealing lot. Then I caught sight of an old name of fond memory: Rainbow 3. I went in and found myself in what used to be called Enter. There was the same small stage with a tub at one end, and the same shower cubicle just to one side (neither was in use). There were only three ladies disporting their plump persons on the stage, one topless, and only a few customers. One of the girls waiting her turn to dance asked if she could sit with me, so, in the interests of research, I agreed. I asked her name, but couldn’t get it, so I asked her to write it down. She wrote “V”. (I still don’t get it!). V, 25, from Buriram, was the slimmest girl in the bar and almost pretty. It was very hard to chat to her, though, as the music was far too loud. Anyway, we didn’t connect.
My Heineken was 165, a lady drink is 200, and the barfine is 1,000. 3,000 short time, 5,000 long time. She gulped her lady drink in double quick time and asked for another, but I said I had to go. As I was getting up to leave, she asked for a tip – a mercenary young lady! Of course, they’re only in the game for the money, but they needn’t be so blatant about it!
I looked into a few more bars, including Angelwitch, an old favourite. I heard the theme tune that announced that the shows were beginning (the same tune they’ve been using since at least 2005). I used to love those shows, but I’m not interested in watching lard ladies trying to look alluring. I had another look in Billboard, and finally decided on Butterflies. I’d already had six beers and knew that this must be my last. Anyway, it was 1:30.
Butterflies was the first Bangkok bar I visited after my marriage went pear-shaped and it blew me away. That was in 2019, and, back then, Butterflies was packed with girls, including many who were slim, young and pretty. I recall sitting on the couch near the tub with a petite 20-year old who encouraged me to feel her all over (read about it here). Being a creature of habit (or perhaps trying to recreate that experience by a kind of sympathetic magic), I sat in the same place. However, the pool was full of plumpers whose rolls of flesh, shining with water, reminded me of rhinosceri.
My next surprise was when two Heinekens appeared instead of the one I had ordered. I looked askance at the waitress, who explained, “Two for one offer.” That’s all I need! Two for one when I’m already tanked up. Well, I wasn’t going to waste them. I’d take them slowly and study the form, trying to concentrate on what was actually in front of me rather than visualising what was there in 2019.
It was hard work. There are few attractive girls in Bangkok bars these days, even in the best bars, of which Butterflies is one, but I eventually spotted #51 and asked a waitress to bring her over. I had judged well. She was only 21 – one of the youngest girls I had met that evening. Tak, from Chaiyaphum, Isaan. She was very lively and wanted to stand up and dance. I used to love to dance, but I’m well past it now. Nevertheless, I stood up, put my arm around her, and did a much toned down version of the only dance I could remember (The Twist). So different from my 2019 girl, who tried so hard to please! Tak was only interested in pleasing herself and clocking up my tab. She necked her lady drink in no time, then asked for another and also a lady drink for the mamasan.
I didn’t connect with her. The only interesting moment was when she got chatting to a western lady, an Israeli, who was with her husband (poor guy – water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!). I started chatting to her too. Tak’s conversation came to life as it never had with me, and the three of us had quite an interesting chat. Her husband had “gone to the toilet” at that point, and he was taking a long time about it (either he had got the Bangkok runs or was chatting up a girl at the other side of the bar).
When he came back, we said “hi”, had a quick chat, then went back to our couch. Tak then asked for another lady drink for her and another for the mamasan. I said no and decided to get out of there before she bled me white. It’s interesting to compare her approach with my 2019 sweetie. That girl gave me a lot in return for her drink, so I bought her another, and a drink for her friend, followed by stereo feeling up (one hand on one pair of boobies, and the other hand on another). After this, I bought another round of drinks for the three of us, and then another. I can’t remember exactly what I spent, but I spent a lot more on those two than on Tak, and, what’s more, left a satisfied customer.
Prices in this bar: 2 x Heineken, 220 (so not really “2 for 1”, just a modest discount on a drink I didn’t ask for), Lady drink, 180, barfine, 700. I never got round to asking Tak about short time and long time prices, perhaps because I got the feeling that she would consider the idea of me barfining her ludicrous. She was by far the prettiest girl in the bar and stood out a mile from her UFO (Ugly, Fat and Old) colleagues – and had the attitude to go with it.
And that was it. My first night in Bangkok since February 2020. Conclusion: Bangkok is back. The best bars seem to be doing well, but there are far too many bars in both Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza that are suffering from a lack of girls and customers. It’s a vicious circle: if there aren’t enough girls, the customers won’t come, and if there aren’t enough customers the girls won’t come. But the most disappointing thing is how girl quality has declined. In the earlier submissions on this site, you will find several discussions on this theme: old timers would say that girl quality was down, and others would counter that it was the same and the old timers were merely jaded. These days, there is no doubt about it. Girl quality is down, and by a considerable margin (the punters, especially the old fat and bald westerners, are not much to look at either – but then, they never were).
So far, Bangkok Byron is not impressed with post-Covid Bangkok and is thankful that he is here to get a visa rather than a girl. We’ll see what tomorrow night brings.
To be continued…
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