Patpong Nightlife District In Bangkok
A Walk Through The Not So Wild Side Of Bangkok
With 3 red light districts in the city of Bangkok, Patpong is the one visited mostly by a wide variety mix of foreign visitors and not just lecherous sex tourists. You'll find many couples, groups of vacationing ladies, honeymooners and yes even families with young children and teens twisting and winding through the stalls of Patpong's popular night market.
To this day Patpong has become a popular tourist attraction. One of the 'Must See' stops written about in published guide books. Where a visitor can go and take a dip into the seedy side of Bangkok without feeling dirty.
Patpong's go go bars are an obvious front for prostitution. There's no doubt about that. And it's not going to stop in the foreseeable future. Though all of the sex for sale are confined inside a go go bar. So as a casual passerby you won't be confronted by any such business unless you're really looking for it.
But by walking through Patpong you'll soon realize that it's more than just a seedy street full of go go bars and shady sex touts.
An early walk through Patpong 1
How To Get To Patpong
Patpong is located in Bangkok's commercial business district called Silom. As an important district in the city there are two trains systems in the area.
- BTS (Bangkok Transit System) Sky Train - Take this train to Sala Daeng station. Be sure to take exit #1, it's the closest exit to Patpong. The system is called the Sky Train because the trains run on elevated tracks along parts of Bangkok's busiest traveled streets. The Sky Train system is highly recommended for getting around central Bangkok and recommend staying in a hotel near a BTS station.
- MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) - This is the city's underground train system. Take this train to Silom station and take exit #1. To avoid the traffic on Silom road look for the Sky Walkway, the stairs leading to it is right behind the entrance/exit of the station. Take the stairs to get across.
Patpong nightlife district is quite spread out and consists of several locations. Patpong 1 and Patpong 2 is where you will find go go bars, massage parlors and sex shows.
There is also a very lively and vibrant gay community in Bangkok, so many of the gay bars and clubs are popular in this area. You can find these establishments on Silom Soi 4, Silom Soi 2 and especially in Duangthawee Plaza. Though I'm not gay I do have friends who are and frequently visit Patpong's gay establishments. And I can firmly say that heterosexuals are welcome.
With that said if you are straight and venture into a Silom 4 or Duangthawee Plaza alone you will most likely be propositioned for some type of sexual encounter.
It's the same as in Patpong 1 and 2 of course. Mainly the sex shows and naughty massage parlors employ touts to nag tourists into visiting their place of employment. Touts are harmless though some are aggressive because they work on commissions. My suggestion is to don't talk to them. Just keep walking and eventually they will leave you alone.
Patpong Go Go Bars
After living in Bangkok for sometime I often I have the pleasure of meeting new people from all over the world who've visited Patpong for the first time. And I gather from all the conversations that they are a bit confused about Patpong's status as a red light district.
There are even many hotels near Patpong where tourists choose to stay just to be close to the go go bars so that they can visit one every night!
If you're standing on the intersection of Silom Road and Patpong 1 around 7pm you might think that it's just one street full of stalls selling souvenirs, t-shirts and fake handbags with the familiar Gucci and Louis Vuitton logos. Oh and who can forget the Rolex for $30US dollars, fake of course.
Believe it or not shopping in Patpong is one of the main attractions. Visitors come here to load up on souvenirs and illegally copied merchandise. Some leave Patpong with suitcases filled with merchandise which are most likely used for sale back home.
But without a doubt the sex trade takes the center stage at Patpong. Foreign men come here (and sometimes women) to ogle and perhaps 'purchase' a date in go go bars with names such as Pink Panther, Club Electric Blue, Bada Bing and Pagoda.
Though the biggest and most familiar named go go bars are the establshiments with the King's or Queen's names; King's Castle and Queens's Castle, all are located on Patpong 1. Though currently a few of their go go bars are going through renovations, which are really long overdue and could really use a face lift. From the looks of it so far a few are being combined into one bigger venue. King's Castle 3 on Patpong 1 particularly employs an all lady-boy dancers whom you can of course negotiate a price for sex with.
In the bars the usual routine is you sit down and order a drink. If you don't they will only give you few minutes to take a glance and then you'll have to leave. Bottled beers in general cost 130 baht for a locally brewed favorite called Singh. A bottle water or glass of Cola cost a bit less.
Depending on the size of the establishment there can be a few dancers or up to several dozens of ladies in bikinis with small number tags attached to their bikinis. If customers sees a particular dancer they like they request her company by making a simple eye contact and waving her over. Or they can just tell a waitress the number of the dancer and she will get them to sit with you.
At this point a customer is required to buy the dancer a 'lady drink' which cost around 150 baht in which she gets a certain percentage for her time. Together they'll have a chat and get to know each other a bit but when it all comes down to it if the customer really likes the dancer he will ask for the price for her companionship for either an hour or overnight. Dancers in Patpong usually ask for 1500 baht for an hour or short time. For overnight or long time it's usually 3000 baht and up.
But one final bill that has to be paid on top of the drinks is called the 'bar fine', which is usually 500 baht or 600 baht (regardless of 1 hour or overnight) in Patpong's go go bars. This money goes straight to the bar's coffers for taking the dancer out of the bar establishment.
Patpong - It's Also A Very Popular Place To Stay In Bangkok
Yes it's true. Many tourist visiting Bangkok find that staying in Patpong is actually a very good location and a strategic point for exploring the rest of Bangkok.
For starters there are 2 train stations within short walking distance to Patpong. The Chao Phraya River is not too far away either especially if you hop onto the Sky Train. The river has an excellent ferry system so you can explore parts of the city that way.
There are many restaurants in the area as well with a wide variety of International restaurants familiar to Western appetites. And who can ever visit Bangkok without getting a famous traditional Thai massage. Whether it's a sore back or an overworked feet from exploring there are many massage parlors with affordable rates near Patpong.
Anyone familiar with living in a big city will surely appreciate staying in Patpong. Here are just a few popular hotels I recommend. I've linked them with a few hotel reservation companies I use to get discounted room rates.
Believe it or not - Patpong has a lot of popular tourist hotels
- Find Cheaper Room Rates for Hotels in Patpong
Here you can find a review of hotels in Patpong.
I had a chance to make a review of the Montien Hotel Bangkok in Patpong. The Montien is one of the most popular hotels in Bangkok's Silom district. It's not the newest but certainly comfortable enough for an enjoyable stay for a holiday in Bangkok.
Patpong's raunchy go go bars and the night market is literally right across Surawongse road from the hotel. Plus there are dozens of traditional Thai massage parlors, street side restaurants and bars so you won't need to go too far to find what you need.
And if you feel the need to go a bit further there are 2 train stations near the Montien Hotel.
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