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November 08, 2004
Jody writes:

We went to a Go-Go Bar last night. It's something that just has to be done if you come to Thailand. Missing the experience would be like travelling to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. And no, I didn't bully Amy into it. She was just as keen, I promise.

The plan was hatched when Amy and I met a couple of Irish guys our own age in a bar round the corner from our hostel. They'd just arrived in Bangkok and while ticking through our lists of sights to see in the capital, the subject of ping pong came up and before we knew it we were in a cab on our way to Patpong.

Patpong used to be Bangkok's main red light district, but since word of the city's Go-Go Bars has got round (partly thanks to films like Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Bangkok's seedier underworld has moved elsewhere, turning the area into a popular destination for curious travellers. (Right, that's my spiel out of the way attempting to make last night seem more respectable.)

As I've said before, everyone is trying to rip you off in Bangkok, but this claim cannot be more true than in Patpong, where we were mobbed by touts attempting to get us into different bars. Thankfully, a friend had warned me of the scams that the bars try to pull (cheers Matt!), so we were a tad more clued up than some of the poor sods who we saw getting caught out.

A popular scam in Patpong is letting people into bars for free but charging them a fortune to leave. With no way of knowing which bar would be honest, we tried to find a lone lecherous old man who might be able to give us some tips. This wasn't an easy task - Patpong was mainly full of couples and even a few families out dining or drinking. We eventually found a jolly, middle-aged German chap out drinking who pointed us in the direction of a bar called the Queen's Castle. So after a brief walk, we bit the bullet and went in.

So what's the difference between Thailand's Go-Go Bars and Western strip joints? Well, while in the West clubs are filled with groups of men wanting to get their rocks off, entertainment in Patpong bars is more like a circus act. You couldn't possibly find what these girls are doing a turn-on. It's just frankly bizarre. And while I don't want to get into any detail, it involves stunts such as blowing out candles, picking up things with chopsticks, shooting darts at balloons and of course firing ping pong balls - all without the use of their hands. Give it a few years and I'm sure you'll see contestants attempting the same stunts on Jim Davidson's Generation Game.

Other than a couple of girls who seemed to be having a whale of a time, the other performers looked bored out of their minds. Another, although stripped to her waist in bikini bottoms, kept her socks on.

We only noticed a couple of quintessential sex tourists in the bar - other clientele included couples and some groups of girls (all Western, it appeared). We left an hour later and only spent 100baht each (1.40 GBP) on a drink. A cheap night's entertainment that we won't forget in a hurry.

Oh yeah, and I was hit on the leg by two ping pong balls and Amy had to punch one away from her face. But we washed afterwards.

posted at 9:01 PM | link

4 Comments:

  • I have no comment to make about this. Neither has your mother.

    Fancy shooting ping pong balls in your face. I bet it was a real eye opener.

    By Blogger Malcolm, at 12:10 AM  

  • Euw! I can comprehend most of the tricks but the darts are a struggle for my innocent mind. Be a great late night slot for channel 5 though.

    By Blogger Big H, at 3:13 PM  

  • hello,looked at your site thought it was cool.theres lots of traffic. How do you cross the road?????
    sounds like fun in a ping pong bar , do you think i should start 1 in the Royal Oak ? Lucinda , Zach and Jill

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:08 PM  

  • Lucinda,

    Re: crossing the road... You just run and hope!

    By Blogger Jody, at 5:37 AM  

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Jody and Amy have finished their 10 month adventure around the world, that began Nov 2, 2004, and ended Sep 2, 2005. They're back home in London now, doing normal things, like going to work and drinking tap water. You can see a map of what was their planned route, but we didn't quite follow it.
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