As a journalist who loves to explore the hidden gems of Thai culture, I've had the opportunity to visit a variety of places and experience a range of unique activities. Amongst the most exciting of these experiences has been visiting several of the infamous Thai go-go bars. Although they have a reputation for being seedy and scandalous, I found that they are also fascinating, thrilling, and full of surprises.
For the uninitiated, the Thai go-go bars are establishments where customers can enjoy drinking and socializing while watching a variety of exotic and sensual dance performances. The dancers, typically women, perform choreographed routines while dressed in revealing clothing and flashing dazzling smiles. The atmosphere is charged with energy and excitement, and the experience is like no other.
There's much more to these go-go bars than just dancing, however. They're also a place to meet locals, enjoy tasty food and drinks, and witness unique cultural practices. Throughout my visits, I've learned a lot about the customs, language, and inner workings of these establishments, and have come to truly appreciate the unique experience they offer. So, if you're curious to learn more about this aspect of Thai culture, read on to discover the wild and thrilling world of Thai go-go bars!
The Origins of Thai Go-Go Bars
Thailand has a long history of nightlife entertainment, and Go-Go Bars are among the most iconic aspects of it. In fact, they have been a part of Bangkok's nightlife for over 50 years. Pattaya, another popular tourist destination, is also famous for its Go-Go Bars. Often considered a taboo subject, these places are actually an important part of Thai culture and contribute greatly to the country's tourism industry.
The first Go-Go Bar in Thailand opened in the 1960s in a small alley near Patpong Road, a popular shopping district. It was frequented mostly by American servicemen stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War. Eventually, as the war ended, the Go-Go Bars started to rebrand themselves as entertainment venues for both locals and tourists.
The Atmosphere: Sensual and Enticing
The atmosphere inside a Go-Go Bar is unlike anything you have ever experienced. It's usually dark, and the only lights come from neon signs and flashing strobes. The air is thick with cigarette smoke and the music is loud and energetic. The dancers are dressed in revealing outfits and perform on a stage, usually to popular Western songs.
The atmosphere is sensual and enticing, but it's important to remember that Go-Go Bars are not brothels. The dancers are usually employed by the venue to dance and entertain customers, and while some may be open to more intimate interactions, it's not a given.
The Dancers: Beautiful and Skilled
The dancers in Go-Go Bars are some of the most beautiful and skilled performers you'll find anywhere. They range in age and body type, but they all share a talent for dancing and entertaining. Most Go-Go Bars will have a mix of Thai and international dancers, and they will all be more than happy to take photos with customers for a fee.
It's important to remember to treat the dancers with respect, as they are professionals and deserve to be treated as such. Also, be sure to tip them if you enjoyed their performance.
The Music: Energetic and Loud
The music in Go-Go Bars is a mix of Western and Thai pop music, and it's usually played at a high volume to create an energetic atmosphere. Many of the dancers will perform to popular songs, so it's not uncommon for customers to start dancing along with them.
If you're not a fan of loud music, then a Go-Go Bar may not be the place for you. However, if you're looking for a fun and exciting night out, then this is the place to be.
The Drinks: Unique and Delicious
Most Go-Go Bars will have a variety of unique and delicious drinks on their menu. From fruity cocktails to beer towers, there's something for everyone. It's important to remember that the prices for drinks are usually higher in Go-Go Bars than in other bars or restaurants, but it's all part of the experience.
If you're not sure what to order, ask the bartender for a recommendation. They'll be more than happy to suggest something that fits your tastes.
The Rules: Know Before You Go
It's important to know the rules before you visit a Go-Go Bar. Most places will have a dress code, so be sure to dress appropriately. Also, it's important to remember that touching the dancers is not allowed, and it's disrespectful to try.
Be sure to also watch your belongings, as pickpockets are known to operate in these areas. Finally, if you're not comfortable with the idea of a Go-Go Bar, then it's perfectly okay to skip it and find other forms of entertainment.