is an adult nightlife area in Bangkok, Thailand. A short street with some 40 bars, it is similar to Nana Plaza and Patpong and caters mainly to tourists and expatriates.
It is located near Sukhumvit Road, between Sukhumvit Soi 21 (also called Soi Asoke) and Soi 23 within walking distance from the SkyTrain's "Asok Station" and the underground's "Sukhumvit Station".
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 occasionally occurs in some bars, but it is technically illegal. Many of the dancers are in fact prostitutes and will join a customer if he pays a "bar fine" to the bar and a separate fee to the woman. Sexual services usually take place in the tourist's hotel room. Bars and nightclubs in all of Bangkok now have to close by 1 am. There are also a number of restaurants at Soi Cowboy, including what is perhaps Bangkok's best known fish and chips shop.
The area is named after T. G. "Cowboy" Edwards, a retired American airman who opened one of the first bars there in 1973. A tall African-American, Edwards got his nickname because he invariably wore a cowboy hat.
Soi Cowboy's reputation suffered a temporary blow when, as part of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra "social order" campaign, the area was closed off by police one Friday night in November 2003 and all workers and patrons were required to submit to urine testing for drugs.
During the 2004 International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, a bead sculpture made in Soi Cowboy was displayed as part of the cultural program.
(officially Nana Entertainment Plaza; shortened NEP) is a red-light district in Bangkok. It lies on Sukhumvit Road Soi 4 across from the Nana hotel and allegedly takes its name from an Indian family that owns the land.
Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy and Patpong are the Bangkok red-light districts which serve primarily Western customers. However, in recent years more Japanese men have found their way there due to the extremely high prices in the Japanese oriented nightclubs in Bangkok.
The Plaza is in the shape of a square and consists of a ground floor and two additional floors. It started out as a restaurant area in the late 1970s. During the early 1980s go-go bars began to appear and gradually replaced the restaurants. As of 2005, the enclosed part of Nana Plaza consists entirely of go-go bars. Woodstock Pub, the sole exception, has sold out to Rainbow group (who already operate 3 other go-go bars in the plaza). The former Woodstock site has opened as "Rainbow 4." The open centre of the ground floor, once simply a car park, is now occupied by beer bars.
Most women working at bars in Nana Plaza are willing to leave with customers upon payment of a bar fine. While most bars in Nana Plaza do not employ katoeys (transsexuals or simply males dressed up as women), a few do so exclusively. As of 2005 these are Obsession (ground floor), Casanova, Temptations (middle floor) and Cascade (top floor). The "female" staff at these are almost all pre-operative, as opposed to the kathoey bars in Patpong.
Nana Plaza is within walking distance from the SkyTrain's "Nana Station".
(Thai พัฒน์พงษ์) is an entertainment district in Bangkok, Thailand, catering mainly, though not exclusively, to foreign tourists and expatriates. While Patpong is internationally famous as the red light district at the heart of Bangkok's sex industry, the city in fact has numerous red-light districts that are far more popular with Thai men. A busy night market aimed at tourists is also located in Patpong.
Patpong consists of two parallel side streets running between Silom Road and Surawong Road and one side street running from the opposite side of Surawong. Patpong 1 is the main street with many bars of various kinds. Patpong 2 also has many similar bars. Patpong 3 has long catered to gay men, whilst nearby Soi Thaniya has expensive bars with Thai hostesses that cater almost exclusively to Japanese men.
Patpong is within walking distance from the SkyTrain's "Sala Daeng Station", and Bangkok Metro's "Si Lom Station".
History and ownership
Patpong gets its name from the family that owns much of the area's property, the Patpongpanich (or Patpongpanit), immigrants from Hainan Island, China, who purchased the area in 1946, when it was an undeveloped plot of land on the outskirts of the city. A small klong and a teakwood house were the only features at the time. The family first built the road - Patpong 1 - and several shophouses, which were rented out. Patpong 2 was added later, and both roads are in fact private property and not city streets. (The so-called Patpong 3 and Soi Thaniya are not owned by the Patpongpanich family.)
By 1968, a number of nightclubs existed in the area, and Patpong found some use as a R&R (Rest and Recuperation) location for US troops involved in the Vietnam War, although the main R&R area was actually along New Petchburi Road. In its prime during the 1970s and 1980s, Patpong was the premier nightlife area in Bangkok, and was famous then for its sexotic shows. In the late 1980s, the Patpongpanich family began to rent out small lots in the middle of Patpong 1 for a night market.
Today, the nightlife areas of Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy provide strong competition for Patpong. However, Patpong is the only one within the official entertainment zones decreed in 2004, and thus may in future years be the only one allowed to remain.
Most Patpong go-go bars feature women dancing on a stage. The dancers (and even occasionally the serving staff) are generally available to customers willing to pay a bar fine to take them out of the bar; the fees for sexual services are negotiated separately. Some establishments advertising "massages" are in fact disguised brothels, and a few notorious "blowjob bars" offer oral sex in back rooms.
Several upstairs bars still feature (technically illegal) sex shows, with women performing various creative acts with their most private parts. Some of these second-floor bars are run by scam artists who lure tourists with offers of low prices and later present a wildly inflated bill along with a threat of physical harm should the bill go unpaid. The Tourist Police, usually stationed at Patpong 1 and Silom Road, can help in these situations.
Some establishments in Patpong employ kathoeys (or "ladyboys") either exclusively or as part of a mixed gender staff. As of 2005 the King's Corner bar on Patpong 1 was known for doing so. Unlike the kathoey bars in Nana Plaza, many of the staff at these Patpong bars tend to be post-operative trans-sexuals.
With one or two exceptions, the gay bars in Patpong are not go-go bars, but simply traditional gay pubs, such as Telephone and The Balcony, which cater to both Thais and tourists. The commercial gay oriented go-go bars are mainly on Surawong Road or in small streets leading off Surawong.
In recent years, Silom and Surawong have been taken over by the Patpong night market, making movement in the area difficult and filling the area with farang tourist couples and backpackers. Men selling pornographic DVDs have become an increasing social disturbance in the area, as are solicitors who try to direct tourists into the bars offering sex shows.