17 Tips to Survive Ladyboys and Pattaya Crazy Nights
It is fair to say that if there is one thing that Pattaya is famous for, it is its nightlife. Whilst action keeps going long into the night and the bars are lively to say the least, it can be quite intimidating to those who are new to the city as it is unlikely that they will have ever experienced anything quite like it before.
Pattaya can be overwhelming with Walking Street alone being home to around 80 go-go bars and hundreds of beer bars. Many of the activities that take place in these establishments are unique to Thailand and in many cases unique to Pattaya. There is an old saying, “what happens in Pattaya, stays in Pattaya” and you will soon realise why!
Although you can never really prepare people for what they are about to encounter when they arrive in this fabulous city we have attempted to put together a newbies guide letting you know what to expect in terms of the wilder side of the city. Hopefully, this guide will keep you out of trouble and let you enjoy the real side of Pattaya after dark whilst at the same time avoiding any of the common pitfalls, surprises and confusion that those who aren’t prepared often encounter.
The bar fine is a fee that you pay to a bar for taking a girl outside. This includes if you take her for a meal or if she comes back to your hotel. Prices vary a lot and can range from THB300 to THB1500 depending on the establishment.
Quite an obvious one but it is a girl who works in a bar. Generally, bar girls are available for being bar fined and you will be charged “lady drink” prices when you buy them a drink. Sometimes they are divided into two groups – coyote girls (often dancers in beer bars) and go-go girls.
Beer Bar or Bar Beer
These are effectively the same thing. These are the open-air bars that you see all around the city where the prices are generally quite low and they have a few girls serving the drinks. Most bar beers have a TV showing sports or music videos and are often recognisable by neon lights.
A Cheap Charlie is someone who is tight with his money and never buys the girls a drink. They will be called “Kee Niaow” and will quickly find that they are disliked by the girls and management.
This is a game that most of us will be familiar with from our youth. It basically involves lining up four coloured tokens in a row. This is a technique used by many of the girls when the conversation goes stale and they still want drinks. Due to the large amount of practice that the girls get they are usually very good at it!
Go-Go Bars or “Agogo Bars” are enclosed bars usually with a stage in the middle and lots of half-naked girls dancing. The drinks, bar fines and the girls themselves tend to be quite a lot more expensive than those in beer bars.
Isaan means the “northeast” in Thai and refers to a wide, largely rural area of Thailand close to the Laos border. Many of the girls in Pattaya come from this region in the hope of making a better life for themselves.
Another of the girls’ favourite games and an alternative to Connect Four. Jackpot, is a box that has nine paddles at one end. The paddles have numbers on one side and letters spelling out “JACKPOT” on the other. Two dice are rolled into the box and the value of one dice or a combination of the two can be used to turn over the matching number. You keep rolling until you can’t go when all the paddles are flipped back. To win you must turnover all nine paddles.
Katoey or Ladyboy
These are transvestites or transsexuals and you will find that there are lots in Pattaya especially in certain sois such as Soi 6/1 or Soi 13/1. Generally, the ones in bars are quite friendly but can be quite pushy especially if they think you are nervous.
This is what many girls work for as they will be paid a fee by the bar for every one that they get. They are usually very small drink that can be double the price of a beer. Girls will often push for Tequila as it can be consumed faster and gets them drunk!
Ring the Bell
A common feature in pretty much every bar in the city is a brass bell hanging somewhere close to the bar. If you ring this bell it means that you are agreeing to buy a drink for everyone in the bar. Some go-go bars limit this to only the dancers and a cap is placed at THB1000. If you do this, you will be encouraged to do it frequently and you will immediately become very popular as well as becoming quite poor.
A Soi is the Thai word for the small streets that come off the main road. They are usually numbered but many have nicknames such as Soi Yamoto and Soi Post Office (Soi 13/1 and Soi 13/2 respectively).
Tilac or Teerak effectively means “darling” and is usually a sign of affection or wanting money. “Da Ling” means “Monkey Ass” and is often used by the girls around foreigners who can’t speak Thai. When you hear this, you are more than likely going to become the target for lots of girls wanting lady drinks.
Ladyboys in Pattaya
The ladyboys tend to generate a lot of interest in conversations at least with many people fascinated by them. Many first-time visitors are scared of them and have a natural fear of flirting with someone who they thought was a girl who ends up being a man. Most of the ladyboys in Pattaya will openly tell you what they are and have no intention of tricking anyone and don’t want to cause any problems. Ladyboys can be easy to spot as their bone structure is different to a lady, they have an Adams Apple and deeper voices.
Lots of ladyboys outside of bars or in some of the lower class establishments have earned a dubious reputation for antics such as pickpocketing and reacting with extreme violence to insults or slight snubs. Be careful and handle them with care as their hormones can be going haywire and they have the strength of a man!
Walking Street becomes completely pedestrianised after 6pm and most of the other main nightlife areas such as Sois 6, 7 and 8 along with LK Metro and Boyztown become so crowded that most vehicles will not attempt to venture down them. The best way to get around is by either baht bus or motorbike taxi. The price of motorbike taxis tend not to be consistent and rises throughout the night.
The baht buses will usually continue their circular routes throughout the night but it is worth checking before getting onboard especially if it is after midnight. If you do take a baht bus privately or indeed a taxi it is well worth agreeing on the price before you travel and probably avoid being dropped right outside your hotel.
Overall Pattaya is a very safe place and very few people encounter any problems especially when you consider that the city is a resort and has lots of people who have been drinking heavily. Violence is rare although bag snatching and pickpocketing is becoming increasingly common so care should always be taken. It is wise to carry as little with you as possible and take the same precautions that you would do it your home country. Don’t take chances and don’t drink so much that you become unaware of your surroundings.
Drink spiking, although rare, is still around and it is usually men rather than women who are the victims. Don’t leave drinks unattended or accept drinks off strangers as you potentially could wake up a few hours later with a bad headache and relieved of most of your personal belongings. Avoid taking girls or ladyboys back to your hotel unless you know which bar you have taken them from so you can report them afterwards should you have a problem.
Bill-padding is still quite common in many bars where drinks will be added to your bill without your consent. This may be drinks for their friends or additional lady drinks. The ‘sick buffalo’ scam is another that you should look out for when you are told a sob story about a sick animal or member of their family and then you are asked for money to help. You will be told that you are a ‘good man’ and they will quickly move on to the next person to try the same trick.
For your own safety and peace of mind, it is a good idea to be aware of the Tourist Police Volunteers who are mostly westerners looking to assist foreigners who have problems. There roles as usually in mediating and translating. They have a posting on Walking Street at night and can be contacted by calling 1155.