Phuket Girls, Ladyboys and Nightlife Tips
Some Fun and Useful Stuff
Along Bangla Road many bars don't open before 21:00. The official closing time is 02:00 and in recent years the authorities have cracked down on places operating later, but it's still possible to find places open until 05:00 - 06:00.
Just ask around at the bars to find the late-night venues. But remember that these places are circumventing the law, so there is a chance that they will be raided by police, with patrons facing ID checks and urine tests for drugs.
Tips and Glossary
- Go-Go Bar: An enclosed place where girls dance on the stage.
- Katoeys - Transvestites, sometimes prettier, taller and slimer than real girls, but mostly too 'feminine' to be real.
- Beer Bar or Bar Beer: An open-air bar, surrounded by girls calling you 'handsome man' with a big convincing smile, inviting you to drink there and more.
- Soi: A small backstreet street or lane.
- Ping Pong Show: A show performed by a lady involving ping pong balls, but not in the way that you remember it played at school.
- Lady Drink: A small drink, probably more expensive than yours. The more drinks you offer to the lady, the more attention she will pay you. See it as a fee.
- Bar fine - This is the fee to cover a bar's 'loss' when taking a girl out of the place for a 'date'.
- The Hanging Bell - Most beer bars have a bell at the bar within easy reach of patrons. Grasp the rope, give it a good ring: Guess what? You just bought a round of drinks for everyone around the bar. Use sparingly.
- 'Hang' and 'Wakie' - Two drinks available in small bottles sold in most convenience stores. When planning a serious drinking night out, drink one 'Hang' before party, another after party (if you still can), and a 'Wakie' in the morning. It seems to work.
- Connect Four - A game where you try to align four colour tokens on a vertical board... you will probably win as long as money is not involved and the reverse applies.
Bar Girls in Patong - First Dates
Girlie bars in Patong (mostly bar beers are girlie bars) have up to 10 'bar hostesses' willing to go with tourists for money. Many girls are looking for a boyfriend, some for a short time, others longer term - mainly as a financial asset. If you get on well, she may well accompany you on trips around Thailand, providing fun company and local insight but you will have to negotiate a rate first. You will also have to pay a 'bar fine' each time for a 'date'. After that, it's up to you!
Bar fine - This is the fee to cover a bar's 'loss' when taking a girl out of the place for a date and can vary with each establishment. Usually 200 -500 baht for the evening. If you're planning to spend a few days or longer with the lady, you'll need to negotiate the fine with the bar. This does not cover her fees which are best discussed directly. Night rates vary between 1,000 - 4,000 baht and like everything else, are negotiable.
Bar Girls in Patong - A Few Tips
It's generally good advice to stay with a girl for only one night. This avoids the situation where after two nights, she considers you her boyfriend. This can produce jealous tantrums if you look, or are tempted by other girls - even if you are paying!
If you decide to take her on trips be prepared to pay for meals, tickets and extras. A gift will be expected, usually anything gold or valuable. Gold is both a status symbol and an insurance when the money runs out. The pawn shop is never far away.
You can be sure you'll be asked for your email address, so she can keep in touch with you, in case her family needs money. She will keep in touch with you, but be aware she may get help from friends or other visitors to write back, so don't write anything you don't want others to read. Sooner or later you may receive an e-mail requesting financial help because her mother is sick, or the family buffalo has died. The same email will reach several boyfriends - not just you. And that's just the start...
The above is general advice based on general experience, not every working girl is the same. You can have lots of fun and a great time, if you remember that working girls work for money!
Katoeys, Ladyboys and Transvestites
Katoeys (transvestites or ladyboys) used to be easy to spot but with modern surgical advances it's getting harder and harder to tell who is who. Often taller, slimmer and sexier than real girls, and clearly with more volumes and shape, they also tend to be more a lot more 'feminine' than necessary and sport a flouncing walk. Usually wearing large and fancy colourful dresses when walking up and down the street to attract customers, their outfits shrink to the bare legal minimum when working in bars.
Beyond these tips, if you are still not sure, a good way to catch them out is from their voices... but here too, after years of practice, some might just fool you. Ladyboys might even invite you to judge the quality of the silicon job, so it is up to you to give a fair opinion... note that at this point, a lady drink would probably be in order.
The seemingly friendly katoeys (ladyboys) are infamous for lifting wallets and having sudden bursts of nasty behaviour, so be extra careful around these 'ladies'. Just use your common sense and make sure your belongings are secure. If you take photos of katoeys, be prepared to pay or things could turn nasty.
Getting Around at Night
At night Soi Bangla turns into a pedestrianised walking street with tuk tuks and motorcycle taxis waiting at both ends to provide a ride home. Prices are negotiable and tend to increase with the number of passengers, the distance and the lateness of the hour. Many tuk tuks try to charge excessive and inflated rates so it's best to check with other visitors and locals first. ALWAYS agree on the price before you get in as it's difficult to negotiate after the journey.
Both motorcycle taxis and tuk tuks can be flagged down anywhere along any of the streets. Head for Banana Disco on the Beach Road (Thaveewong Rd) where most of the tuk tuks and motorcycle taxis park. Or at the other end of Bangla (near Tai Pan.)
While Patong is pretty safe for women. It's not advisable to travel alone by tuk tuk or motorbike late at night.
Dangers & Annoyances
The streets of Patong are quite safe at night. In fact, safer than in many Western cities. Incidences of violence against tourists are very rare, though there have been cases of purse snatching and pickpocketing. In discos, it's rare to see any problems as the crowd is very international and not obsessed with drinking themselves to oblivion.
The most common visitor complaint is of harassment by local touts trying to lure people into anything from Indian restaurants to timeshare presentations to tailor shops to tuk tuk tours. Ignoring these characters usually does the trick. Women are generally safe to go out at night, though it's not advisable to travel alone in tuk tuks and motorcycles.
Dedicated to visitors’ safety, there's a Police Information Centre at the bottom of Soi Bangla on the Beach Road. If you are victim of a negative situation or witness an accident, just dial 1155 and speak slowly and clearly. The Tourist Police will help you.Police Emergency: 191Tourist Police: 1155