Pattaya is all about sex – so say some – and while there is much more to the city, the whole Pattaya bar girls scene is one of its chief attractions. For sure, the city is full of bars full of girls and Pattaya has long been the ‘naughty’ centre of Thai tourism. We prefer to promote Pattaya for its more wholesome attractions, but recognise that a large number of visitors are attracted to Pattaya for the girls. By day and night, the streets (sois) off Beach Road are full of girls hanging out of bars waiting for customers. There’s nothing discreet about it, yet it’s all relaxed and without the sleazy atmosphere.
The culture of acceptance in Thailand means that prostitution thrives because many girls from poor backgrounds find that the skin trade in Thailand isn’t an entirely unpleasant way of making a lot more money than they could working in a factory. Although their parents pretend not to know what they are up to, the family back home certainly benefits from the generous remittances, for which a Thai girl can gain that all important respect.
Bar girls in Pattaya mostly come from the poor Northeast region, and some are very sexy indeed. No matter where they are from, they are all here to make money, and also to help visitors have a good time. If you can understand those two rules, then you’ll both be satisfied. It’s all pretty casual and open; there are no pimps, bouncers, expensive entry fees or strict rules, but the girls do deserve some respect and a safe environment.
So what we have is a bustling coastal town brimmed with activity and, most notably, in the neon glare of night. Hundreds of bars line Pattaya’s beachfront and side streets and inside most of them will be a number of girls somewhere. The girls are generally forthcoming and, apparently, confident as they compete with fellow workers for the evening’s business. Many of the bars are rough, dingy affairs with girls sitting around drinking, or involved in lame, but playful, conversation with a potential customer.
Other bars, of the go-go variety, have a number of girls dancing scantily-clad to a bass line, which can make conversation more difficult. Late at night, the big nightclubs in the centre of town are jammed with girls who have finished working in their bar or others who are known as ‘freelancers’.
Bars with girls can be found in most areas of Pattaya, but the main concentration is around Walking Street (near the beach) and all the sois (alleyways) running off the main Beach Road. Pattaya Second Road also has its share of establishments, while Soi Buakaow has a growing appeal. A little further down the coast at Jomtien Beach, there are, again, an array of mainly open-air bars with smiling young girls offering compliments and a welcome to both wallet and customer.
Bar girls in Pattaya – how it works
Throughout Pattaya, the usual modus operandi if you fancy the look of a particular girl is to buy her a ‘lady drink’ and then engage in some kind of informal chat. If both parties appear keen to leave together, the bar is then paid a ‘fine’; usually somewhere between 200 baht (most beer bars) and 500, or more, baht (most go go’s), and then the girl’s fee is often open to negotiation. Girls in Pattaya provide a service for as little as 1,000 baht ‘short time’ (an hour or two) basis and would usually accept no less than double this to stay overnight. A lot of these girls are not short of business sense, though, and they can obtain much higher fees than this from most customers.
Pattaya bar girls are forward, suggestive, and there to empty your wallet, but in a friendly sort of way. Thailand is cheap enough that buying a few drinks (more expensive for the girls and in the girlie bars) won’t break the bank, so it’s worth moving around, sharing a drink with several until you are comfortable with one particular girl’s company.
They are experts at making you feel like a million bucks, and their ultimate objective is to get you to invite them back to your hotel, so don’t be deceived by the friendliness of the very first girl you meet because they are all like this. In fact, the older and uglier you are the more attention you can expect, for these are the customers that they usually can negotiate easiest with for a high price. Thais are naturally friendly and fun-loving, which is all part of their charm.
In all, you can expect to end up spending about 3,000 baht for a fun night (US$100) after all the drinks, the bar fine and the fee you eventually settle with the girl. Some hotels will also expect you to pay an extra charge for bringing bar girls to your room. Bearing in mind that many flush and naively generous tourists have been there before you, the more stingy and penny-pinching you try to be, the less enthusiastic the girl will become, until the whole evening ends up being a boring chore for her and you feel like you’ve been ripped off. If this is your first experience, you are likely to be taken for a bit of a ride, and some girls are ruthless in demanding extra if you shoot too quickly and want a second go.
Visitors often end up keeping the girl’s company for several days, which is not necessarily cheaper because you will still have to pay the bar fine, her fee and take her out every night as you go about. She can prove to be a good companion and tour guide or a completely tiresome, disinterested burden outside of the bedroom. A smart guy will try several options during his stay. Be aware that the bargirls of Pattaya will expect you to pay for everything, including shopping.
In Pattaya, the bar girls you encounter in most bars are there of their own free will. Although prostitution is a loss of face to any Thai, these girls are far away from home and fairly relaxed about it; certainly in Pattaya. Fortunately, the whole scene can be a mostly enjoyable lifestyle and work environment for the girls, and certainly a better alternative to a factory job.
However, the job is fraught with insecurities, over-supply of girls, bitchiness within the ranks – and some of the girls are cheated at some point by unscrupulous customers – so try to treat them with a smidgeon of respect. They can be ruthlessly-unpleasant if they are crossed or feel cheated, yet they can also really warm to you if you treat them like a regular date. Unfortunately, few of them are ever suitable as long-term girlfriends when sex has become their tool for earning money, so don’t waste time getting emotionally-attached to bar girls in Pattaya.
A word of warning; although all girls you encounter in girlie bars are supposed to be over 18, some may be new and somewhat uneasy with the experience. Underage sex is not supposed to be tolerated but many Thai-run bars don’t have a problem employing girls of 16 or 17 to work in their establishments. Anybody who engages in sex with young children or is caught with girls under the age of 17 is liable to face prosecution in Thailand.
Although the publishers of 1stoppattaya.com have a policy of ‘telling it like it is’, regarding all of Thailand’s popular attractions, we do not condone or encourage sex tourism and certainly take a strong objection to sex with minors. The judgement is yours entirely, but prostitution remains illegal in Thailand and we urge you to treat the activity with caution and respect for those involved. Some girls willingly enter into the sex trade for economic reasons, but others who have not but may be short on money should not be encouraged to participate.