Vegas may be ‘Sin City’ in the United States, but Bangkok has the worldwide claim. Bangkok’s economy is built on corruption, prostitution, and tourism – just like Vegas in the old days, when the city was run by the Mafia-, but despite its seedy reputation, most tourists in Bangkok will not have Hangover II adventures (emphasis on most). This doesn’t mean you won’t have an epic night in Bangkok. It just means that you probably won’t end up with a giant face tattoo, or lose a finger, or have drug lords chasing you around (If this does happen to you, you probably shouldn’t be traveling without a chaperone).
Whatever your tastes are, Bangkok has just about everything, and last night I experienced a little bit of what this intense city has to offer.
YadongNN and Dthong at Yadong Stall near Lub d Silom
Yadong is a Thai rice whiskey, which is basically Thai moonshine. Yadong is like Bangkok. The smell can be potent, and turn you off, but if you can get passed the smell, and endure the slow burn as the alcohol runs down your throat, to your belly, you’re good.
For Yadong we left the hostel (Lub d Silom), and walked down a small Soi to a cart. It was dark outside, and the cart looked lonely as we approached. The cart was small, a decorated with unlit Christmas lights. There were three jars of liquid on display, some bottles of Sang Som, and a couple shot glasses. There were 6 of us, which meant there were three rounds of Yadong (2 people at a time). We agreed that each of us would have one shot, then move on. Watching the guys almost gag as they swallowed, was highly entertaining.
Patpong Night BizarreSomeone looks happy….
Patpong is known as one of the seedy parts of Bangkok. It’s a wash with bars selling everything from beer, to ‘ping pong’ shows (where girls shoot ping pongs out of their vajayjays), to sex. Yes, it’s real. It’s not a fish tale. At first, patpong doesn’t look as seedy as its reputation. The night bizarre is like any other in the city, with stalls displaying clothing, watches, and souvenirs. Until you walk closer to the middle, then the bars start to creep up along the sides. That’s where the seedy side comes into play.
As you walk, hawkers approach and try to convince you to go into their bar. The ‘cover charge‘ is usually the price of a beer, which is 100 – 120 THB -not to mention the other side of the menu which describes the type of shows you can see while inside their establishment. I must admit, it can be a tad exhausting.
The guys from the hostel who were with me were more interested in having a beer, rather than seeing a show, so we chose a bar in the middle and walked inside. The walls in the bar were covered in mirrors, and there were hard red vinyl benches lining the walls, with small round white tables infront. The bar itself is oval, and in the center is an oval raised white stage, with bikini clad girls, and shiny silver poles. The guys were more than content to sit down, and have a drink. “The girls look dead in the eyes” one of the guys said, and they were right. The girls looked bored, with dead expressionless faces. They were there to sell themselves, and it was at that moment that the guys decided they no longer wanted to see a ping pong show.
A Gay BarThe guys letting loose at DJ Station
Everyone agreed. Once they finished their drink, we’d all leave and go somewhere else. Our next stop was a gay bar, DJ Station, on Silom Road. The cost for entry was 200THB, which included 2 drinks. Not bad considering most cocktails cost 200THB+ in Bangkok. There was a black bar on the left wall , and a small dance area and stage on the right. It was still early in the evening (maybe 11pm), and the bar was empty, except for our large group and a few locals. That didn’t stop us from enjoying the dance floor, and within 30 minutes the place was filling up with travellers and locals.
Our group crowded the small dance floor, as locals looked on -probably wishing we’d get the hell out, so they could reclaim their bar. We drank our 2 FREE (well, they were part of the cover) drinks, and made our way back outside into the heat. It was time for Khao San Road.
Khao San RoadInside Gazebo, near Khao San Road
I’m not a big fan of Khao San Road, it’s crowded, full of annoying Patpong hawkers, and foolish backpackers (Gee, can you tell I’m old?!). I generally avoid the area, but there are times when I may venture there with friends or fellow travellers. Like this last Friday, during Club Crawl.
Our group had experienced Yadong, Patpong, and a gay bar, before arriving at Khao San Road, and when we arrived, we were a little divided. Some wanted a bar/pub type place, and others wanted a dance club (I’ll give you one guess as to which place I wanted to go). We compromised.
Gazebo is a rooftop bar just off Khao San Road, with live music, and a dance club-like room. It was the perfect solution (for a time, until some of the more drunk people in our group decided to disappear for the remainder of the night). The cover band was okay, and the drinks were good. We sat around, and shouted over the music, mingling, and dancing.
Still So Much to See
We barely scratched the surface on Friday. Bangkok is a huge city, with over 12 million people, there are tons of bars, and great areas to party. Sukhumvit Soi 11 is a hot place with pubs, cool hotel bars, and a couple lounges/clubs. Ekkamai is home to several clubs which are usually filled with locals, as are the bars and clubs in Thong Lo. Soi Cowboy is even more seedy than Patpong, and the most famous lady boy place is Calypso near Siam Paragon.