Soi Cowboy is a red-light district in Bangkok


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Sawasdee Krab,

Soi Cowboy is a red-light district in Bangkok

Soi Cowboy is a red-light district in Bangkok, Thailand. A short (400 meter long) street with some 40 bars, it is similar to Nana Plaza and Patpong and caters mainly to tourists and expatriates.[1]

It is located near Sukhumvit Road, between Sukhumvit Soi 21 (also called Soi Asoke) and

Soi Cowboy Bangkok

Soi Cowboy Bangkok

Soi 23, within walking distance from the BTS Skytrain’s Asok Station and the Bangkok Metro’s Sukhumvit Station. The Grand Millennium Hotel is nearby.

The go-go bars follow the pattern common in Thailand: alcoholic drinks are served and women in bikinis dance on a stage. Topless or even nude dancing occurs in some bars, even though illegal. (The police are paid to look the other way.) Most of the dancers are also prostitutes and will go with a customer if he pays a “bar fine” to the bar and a separate fee to the woman. Sexual services take place in the tourist’s hotel room.

The soi was given its name by longtime nightlife columnist Bernard Trink, after the late T. G. “Cowboy” Edwards, a retired American airman who opened one of the first bars there in 1977. A tall African-American, Edwards got his nickname because he often wore a cowboy hat.

When Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was elected in 2001, his government instituted a “social order” campaign. As part of this, all bars, nightclubs and restaurants had to close by 2am, later changed to 1am for all areas not officially designated as “entertainment

Soi Cowboy Bangkok

Soi Cowboy Bangkok

zones”. (Unlike Patpong, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza were not so designated). A mandatory midnight closing time was even discussed. Soi Cowboy’s reputation suffered a temporary blow when, as part of the social order campaign, police closed off the street one Friday night in November 2003 and required all workers and patrons to submit to urine testing for drugs.

Over the years this policy has eased, and as of 2012, some Soi Cowboy bars stay open as late as 2:30am.

At their entrance, all go-go bars carry government-mandated signs in Thai and English. The sign reads

NO-ONE INSIDE
UNDER 20 YEARS
DRUG-FREE

During the 2004 International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, a bead sculpture made in Soi Cowboy was displayed as part of the cultural program.

Films and songs

In 2000, the Norwegian group Getaway People released a song called “Soi Cowboy” about this area. The American rock band Sun City Girls also have a song called “Soi Cowboy” on their 1996 album 330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond The Rig Veda. In the albums booklet it is said to be based on a traditional melody.

Actor Hugh Grant visited Soi Cowboy in December 2003, while shooting the movie Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The Tilac Bar and several Soi Cowboy bar girls are seen in the film. The Sun wrote on 23 December 2003 that Grant was chased by bar girls and had to flee, though that apparently was untrue.

Two 1-hour episodes of the British comedy/drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet were shot in Bangkok in the summer of 2004, partly in Soi Cowboy.

In August 2006, scenes were shot in Soi Cowboy for the film Bangkok Dangerous .

In December 2010, scenes for the film The Hangover Part 2 were also shot here.

First Birthday Supplies at BirthdayinaBox.com

Soi Cowboy was named after the cowboy hat-wearing African-American who opened the first bar here in the early 1970s, this red-light district has a more laid-back, carnival-like feel to it than Patpong or Nana Plaza. Flashing neon lights up a colourful streetscape comprised mainly of middle-aged expats, Japanese and western tourists, and of course a lot of sexily dressed girls. With cries of ‘helloooa, welcome!’ the latter try to lure you into one of the 20 or so A go-go bars that line its sides… don’t be shy, it’s pretty easy going and open-minded, entry is always free and drink prices are fixed.

Soi Cowboy is just next to Terminal 21, this very popular new shopping mall, so just cross the street and see it for yourself… or use Terminal 21 as an excuse to have some fun time! Remember, you might not see this again anywhere else in the world!

If you are thinking of going by all means go, however can I recommend that you use a travel group that specialises in trips to the bar areas of Bangkok.

The travel group I have been to Bangkok with is called

Asian Experience Tours.

Check out their website,

Any questions you can ask them directly.

Inside Soi Cowboy Go Go Bars

Each is brightly lit and colourful, playing loud music, offering lines of seats typically arranged in tiers around a UV-lit central stage. If you like to be close to the action, another row of stools is available directly around the stage… first timers tend to sit in the back. The girls sway and shimmy, wearing little more than a tiny skirt and a bra… sometimes even less. It seems that the later you come, the less they’ll wear. Girls rotate from pole to pole until a full round has been completed, or until a show starts. Bars usually close around 2.30 am but it’s not unusual to see them open until 3am. Weekends can be really busy and you could very well end up drinking your beer all alone, especially in the most popular ones such as Tilac or Baccara. If you are looking for company while in the bar, better come during week days or before 10 pm.

Soi Cowboy is fairly straight forward, no traps or scams… so just sit and order a drink: expect to pay 100 to 150 baht, which is rather fair, some bars like Sahara and Kiss now charging up to 180 baht… ouch. A girl (or two) might sit next to you and ask for a drink, but never in a pushy way. If you want to enjoy your new friend’s company, it’s a nice gesture to buy her one and it is not too crazily expensive. Don’t hesitate to offer another if you are having a good time, and you will feel good about yourself too. If you chose to sit next to the stage, you are welcome to tip the dancing girls if you feel like… and you will certainly get a bit more attention.

Inside Soi Cowboy Go Go Bars

Each is brightly lit and colourful, playing loud music, offering lines of seats typically arranged in tiers around a UV-lit central stage. If you like to be close to the action, another row of stools is available directly around the stage… first timers tend to sit in the back. The soi-cowboygirls sway and shimmy, wearing little more than a tiny skirt and a bra… sometimes even less. It seems that the later you come, the less they’ll wear. Girls rotate from pole to pole until a full round has been completed, or until a show starts. Bars usually close around 2.30 am but it’s not unusual to see them open until 3am. Weekends can be really busy and you could very well end up drinking your beer all alone, especially in the most popular ones such as Tilac or Baccara. If you are looking for company while in the bar, better come during week days or before 10 pm.

Soi Cowboy is fairly straight forward, no traps or scams… so just sit and order a drink: expect to pay 100 to 150 baht, which is rather fair, some bars like Sahara and Kiss now charging up to 180 baht… ouch. A girl (or two) might sit next to you and ask for a drink, but never in a pushy way. If you want to enjoy your new friend’s company, it’s a nice gesture to buy her one and it is not too crazily expensive. Don’t hesitate to offer another if you are having a good time, and you will feel good about yourself too. If you chose to sit next to the stage, you are welcome to tip the dancing girls if you feel like… and you will certainly get a bit more attention.

The A Go-Go Bars

Baccara

Baccara maybe the last A go-go bar in the street, but it is also one of the most popular. Unfortunately because of its popularity, the place gets packed early and you probably won’t get any company, baccara-cluband sometimes not even a seat. This recently refurbished bar is bright, clean and is even non smoking downstairs, a good improvement. But the way the girls are packed on the central stage is a bit disturbing, they barely have enough space to move and kind of stand there, waiting for something lucky to happen. No less than three elevated rows of sofas around the room add to that feel. The room upstairs is ‘hotter’ and more interesting, but is also the smoking area. Baccara is a favorite place for Japanese guests and this always leads to higher prices. Is it because Japanese traveller don’t excel at the art of bargaining or are they less fussy about the price?

Deja Vu A Go-Go

Deja Vu A go-go is a fun place with a typical design – a long high stage with poles deja-vuaccommodating up to eight girls and a transparent ceiling above that doesn’t seem to be used very often. Unfortunately, shows seem to take place only at the end of the week (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). Staff members are friendly, not pushy and rather more educated than average (that means that their English conversation goes beyond “what’s your name?”, “where you come from?” and “you buy me a drink?”). Drinks are around 100 baht.

Kiss A Go Go

kissA nice bar but among the most expensive in the soi, with local beers starting at 180 baht and draft beer available ‘all night’ at 110 baht as advertised outside. If you still can’t afford this, you can take advantage of their happy hour from 7pm to 8.30pm which is a rather shorter happy hour. About eight girls perform on a multilevel stage surrounded by two rows of red sofas all in good condition. Girls are pretty and friendly and music isn’t too loud.

Midnite Go Go Bar

midniteA nice place but as pricey as its sisters bar ‘Kiss’ with local beers at 180 baht, but you can opt for the cheapest but very light draft beer at 110 baht. The place is actually nice and well maintained with a central stage an two rows of sofas around the room.

Sahara A Go Go

The large white room of Sahara a Go Go is brighter with a more creative design than average bars in Soi Cowboy. On the main floor 8 to 10 girls dance on a a multi level stage lit from undersaharaneath but the upper floor seems t be unused. Girls outside wear these very short yellow cab uniforms while the girls inside don’t wear much. As this is a sister of Kiss a Go Go, prices are as high with a beer at 180 baht and ladies drinks up to 220 baht and staff are quite pushy, trying very hard to encourage you to offer them a drink (on which they of course get a commission. This bar also sell cheaper drink during happy hours.

Shark

Shark is a two-level A go-go with a classic layout downstairs, a central elongated stage with a small rotating platform and a transparent ceiling above. Well it probably used to be shark-clubtransparent. Girls are generally cuter than in other bars but seem to only come to life and move when the boss is around. Prices are normal, 145 baht for a beer but if you are an early bird you can take advantage of their Happy Hour from 4.30 PM to 8.00 PM and get your beer for only 80 baht (applies to lady drinks too!). If girls downstairs don’t appear to be dancing very enthusiastically, go upstairs where girls seem to be more in party mood and not a single customer around… all yours!

Sheba’s A Go-Go.

Another long stage with eight to ten shiny poles and… what a surprise! A transparent shebasceiling almost unused. Friendly staff, not pushy. Girls wear less than in other bars, but as usual, everything depends on the time and circumstances. Shows are usually performed at the end of the week when there are enough customers and sometimes include a four-girl lesbian show and a slightly acrobatic and nicely executed four-girl pole dance set to rock music. Girls seem to take it seriously, but with a fun attitude. Price for a beer is 100 to 150 baht.

Spice Girl A Go-Go

spice-girls1Not so spicy… Unless this was a bad night. This place offers nothing more than just few girls dancing on the usual stage without much conviction. Staff were too busy having fun in a corner to really say anything interesting about it. No show was available.

Suzie Wong

Suzie Wong is a familiar name with an exotic image and the facade of the bar reflects it pretty well with plenty of red hues, but It’s not related to the famous Suzy Wong in Patong. suzie-wong-bar-bangkokThe interior is not as Chinese as you would expect, but at least the girls are Asian. With a centre stage with 8 to 10 girls, dimmed light and loud music, Suzie Wong uses a very traditional layout and has seriously aging sofas around the room. The main feature is probably the naughty girls show playing together with lots and lots of soap. Drink prices are slightly higher than in other bars, 160 baht for a beer and 200 for a tequila shot. Lady drinks costs the same as customers drinks and a detailed bill is brought to you with each drink. The bar is not crowded, so you will get the girls’ attention easily, which is not often the case in the bigger and newer clubs.

Tilac Bar

Bigger, brighter and newer are the first words that come to mind when stepping inside the very poptilac-barular Tilac Bar. Obviously a great deal of effort was invested in the layout, room design and lighting, even featuring large screen set on sports channels. A bar counter surrounds the large main central stage and six smaller stages with a girl on each are distributed around the room, with an average of 15 to 20 girls dancing at any given time. Prices are fair at 120 baht for a beer. The venue is very popular and gets busy in the late hours.

Soi Cowboy

Here is the list of Go Go bars on Soi Cowboy, on the left side:

  • Country Road
  • Five Star
  • Deja Vu
  • Tilac
  • Kiss
  • Shebas
  • Afterskool
  • The Dollhouse
  • Shadow Bar
  • Midnite
  • Shark
  • Baccara

On the opposite side:

  • Rio
  • Cockatoo (ladyboys)
  • Sahara
  • Moonshine Joint
  • Jungle Jim’s
  • Suzie Wong
  • Spice Girls
  • Cowboy 2
  • Dundee
  • Toy Bar
  • Lucky Star
  • Rawhide
  • Cocktail Club

First Birthday Supplies at BirthdayinaBox.com
Location: Located just opposite of Terminal 21 and less than 100 metres from Sukhumvit Road, between Asoke Road and Sukhumvit Soi 23 (the nearest Skytrain station is Asoke, or MRT station Sukhumvit).
MRT: Sukhumvit Station
BTS: Asoke

That’s all for now, until next time,Tuk-Tuk

Choak Dee Krab

Laew Phop Kan Mai Na Krab

Hotels2thailand.com

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