Since Pattaya’s “discovery” by U.S. soldiers in the early 1960s and its rapid transformation from an unknown sleepy fishing village to Asia’s hottest tourist destination for fun seekers and night owls, Pattaya has always been (in)famous for its bustling nightlife and “sex industry”. Although the city has revamped its image significantly in recent years and is surely on its way to establish itself as a multifaceted resort suitable for tourists from all waks of life, Pattaya’s notorious nightlife and entertainment industry – with hundreds of bars and nightclubs, thousands of sexy bar girls, GoGo dancers and ladyboys – are still Pattaya’s major attractions.
At a rough estimate, there must be something like 2,000 entertainment venues all over Pattaya, from so-called “beer bars” and hostess bars, live music venues and traditional pubs, to ultramodern discos and dance clubs with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems; from GoGo bars with “sexy show” performances to world-renowned transvestite cabaret shows. So if you’re looking for a nearby watering hole to have a few drinks or turn night into day, you’ll never have to search for very long.
Although beer bars and A-GoGo bars are concentrated most densely in the South Pattaya area, bars can be found virtually anywhere around Pattaya, from Naklua in the North to Jomtien in the South and the “Dark Side” in East Pattaya. Especially Soi 6 (mostly “short time” bars), Soi 7 and Soi 8 in Central Pattaya, and Pattaya’s world-famous Walking Street – the unrivalled epicentre of Pattaya’s nightlife – are literally packed with hundreds of neon-lit bars. Other up-and-coming entertainment areas with an ever-increasing number of bars are, e.g., Soi Buakhao, Soi LK Metro and Soi New Plaza, to name but a few.
The official closing hour in Pattaya’s entertainment zones is “around” 1 a.m. In practice, this usually translates to sometime between 1 and 3 a.m., depending on the location and season, how busy a bar is at that time, and whether the “boys in brown” in the area (police) are willing to turn a blind eye or not. On Walking Street, for example, the official closing time is 3 a.m.; but even so, many bars and clubs still remain open until sunrise. Also, depending on how strictly or laxly these vague rules are enforced in some areas, “closing” is often interpreted as only switching off the music and non-essential lighting (it’s common practice for many bars to pay tea money to police).
Indeed, Pattaya’s nightlife is so seductive that legions of innocent visitors – perhaps conservative people in their everyday lives – develop veritable vampire mentalities in Funtown. Some night owls, they say, don’t even leave their hotel rooms before their shadows have become invisible and, vice versa, only get back into their coffins when the morning sun threatens to burn their pale faces. This is for one simple reason:
Pattaya is a true “Disneyland” for adults where anyone’s entertainment dreams come true. If you’ve been to Hamburg’s Reeperbahn, seen Amsterdam’s famous red-light district or Bangkok’s notorious night spots, then you’re not even halfway prepared for what Pattaya has on offer. And well. if you’re coming to Pattaya to find the lady (or ladyboy?) of your dreams, chances you won’t get satisfied and find some suitable company for at least a couple of hours, are basically as low as zero.
Pattaya Beer Bars (Hostess Bars)
It’s virtually impossible to count how many bars there are in Pattaya. Roughly estimated though, it’s got to be something between 1,000 and 2,000 bars all over Funtown, perhaps even more? So if you’re looking for a nearby place to have a drink, chat with one of the ladies, or find sexy female companionship for a couple of hours or the rest of the night, you’ll never have to search for very long in Pattaya.
The most traditional and Pattaya-typical form of a bar beer (as Thais call them) is an open-air kind of a hut, with a square bar counter and a roof on top. While the punters sit on bar stools around the bar, the service girls, mostly prostitutes who are “for hire”, stand or sit behind the counter and entertain their customers from there. Aside from having a drink or chatting with the girls, beer bar pastimes include a game of pool, connect-four and shut-the-box. Many bars will also show live sports on TV.
Open-air bars are often concentrated in large bar complexes, e.g., on Walking Street. Other bars are located on the ground floors of shophouse units and often provide guest rooms on the upper floors. So-called “short time bars”, typically indoor bars with dark glass fronts and dozens of girls sitting outside advertising their services, can be found abundantly on Soi 6 off Pattaya Beach Road. In addition to the regular bar business on the ground floor, “short time bars” rather resemble small brothels and often provide “short time” rooms with “special maid services” on the upper floors.
In order to draw attention to themselves and their services, Pattaya bar girls usually shout stuff like Hello sexy man, where you go? I go with you, or something even more obvious at passers-by. If you travel as a couple or family, these verbal invitations will usually be more reserved: Hello madame, welcome inside please, or something along those lines. To make this clear: Although bar girls are effectively prostitutes, hostess bars in Pattaya (including GoGo bars) don’t cater exclusively to single male tourists, but female guests, couples and families are welcome nonetheless.
Pattaya bar girls, except for the cashier and the so-called mamasan (i.e. a kind of female manager and “pimp” in one person who manages the bar and various activities of the girls) are actually hostesses or, in more obvious words, prostitutes. If there is mutual understanding, bar girls are always ready to accompany their male customers for an hour or two, or the rest of the night, back to their rooms. To take a girl out of her bar, customers have to pay a so-called “bar fine” (money paid to the bar directly so that the lady can leave with a customer) of usually around 300 to 500 Baht. The bar fine, valid for usually the rest of the night, will be added to your bill and is generally not refundable. (Please note that you’ll still have to pay the girl separately for “extra” services carried out between the sheets.)
If you should either not be looking for female company, or travel as a couple or family, a night out in a Pattaya beer bar can still be lots of fun. Although the female staff of a typical bar will usually all be prostitutes, customers without intention of paying a “bar fine” are generally very welcome, too, and usually make up the majority of the clientele. You can always pop in for a couple of drinks and a game of pool, or simply to chat with other punters, just as you would in your local pub back home.
Drink prices are reasonable, i.e. cheap when compared to what a beer may cost you in a pub in your home country. The girls are always happy to entertain their guests with a game or have a chat with you; alternatively you can just listen to the music and enjoy Pattaya’s unique nightlife atmosphere. The only real – yet significant – difference is that the bar maids, when a financial agreement has been settled, are available for extra “out-of-the-office” services in the privacy of your room.
Pattaya GoGo Bars
Do you fancy the sight of half-naked sexy Thai girls show-dance right in front of your eyes? Then a visit to one of Pattaya’s (in)famous A-GoGo bars should definitely be on your to-do list in Pattaya, regardless of whether you’re a single male, a straying husband or an adventurous couple.
GoGo bars are air-conditioned indoor bars with dancing stages in the centre and lots of attractive ladies with only little clothes or bikinis on who, in rotation, perform the erotic art of pole-dancing. Many bars also provide some kind of naughty show entertainment, often including profane objects like balloons, bananas, cigarettes (“pussy smoke cigarette”) or simply two affectionate girls involved (lesbian show).
Table-dancing on mirrored tables has also become quite popular in recent years. The sole reason for these mirrors is, of course, that the girls wear only very little clothes under their short skirts and assure that heavily intoxicated punters, who prefer to stare down at the table anyway, don’t miss any intimate physical details between the thighs of the sexy dancers. Yet other GoGo bars provide their show dancers even with jacuzzi tubs to guarantee that their most intimate parts meet international hygiene standards …
Pattaya currently has more than 80 GoGo bars, and the number of venues continuously keeps rising. While A-GoGo bars are concentrated most densely in the Walking Street and South Pattaya areas, lightly-dressed show girls, who shake their little booties on the dancing stage, are plying their trade all over Pattaya. An ever-increasing number of chrome-pole palaces can be found exceedingly on Soi LK Metro (off Soi Buakhao), but also on Pattaya Beach Road, Soi 6, 7 and 8, Soi Post Office, Soi Yamato, and even in Jomtien or Naklua.
Unfortunately, the music played in most GoGo bars in Pattaya these days tends to be the average noisy Thai-style Techno music played at a little ear-friendly volume. Some bars, however, still employ DJs of a more advanced age group and play some good old Rock ‘n’ Roll tunes or a decent mix of music styles at a more moderate volume.
Seating in A-GoGo bars is available either on bar stools along the dancing stage or on sofa-style chairs along the usually mirrored walls. While a seat right in front of the stage will certainly provide you with a more detailed view of the female physique, you can be sure to get a stiff neck as well.
Despite frequent raids on venues providing “lewd” entertainment, “sexy” shows at designated hours (often featuring real “pussy artists”), “no knickers” and nude dancing are still common in most GoGo bars.
Most Gogo bars have Happy hours in the early evening hours, with draft beer sold at as cheap as 50 or 60 Baht, which isn’t just good value for money but often cheaper than drinking in a beer bar. Most GoGo bars employ extra staff whose job it is to simply stand outside the premises, wave advertising signs promoting show times and “happy hours”, and invite passengers to come in and join the fun.
Regular drinking prices for bottled beer, spirits or “lady drinks,” however, are well above the average prices paid at conventional beer bars. For example, a bottled beer may easily set you back 120-180 Baht in most GoGo bars and especially lady drinks are usually well above 100 Baht. As a tourist, however, given the special sort of entertainment you’re getting, you should still find these prices reasonably cheap.
Same as beer bars, A-GoGo bars are hostess bars; this means that the dancers (not the service girls usually) are available for a session of erotic exercises in the privacy of your hotel room. As Gogo girls are usually more attractive, though, than their colleagues in customary beer bars (and their base wages much higher, too – which means higher running costs for bar owners), bar fines in A-GoGo bars tend to be at least double as high as in beer bars, roughly around 500-1,000 Baht or even more for “coyotes” and “show girls”.
Accordingly, the “compensation fee” that GoGo girls charge for additional “naughty” services between the sheets also doubles or triples the amount that an average looking bar girl would ask for. Expect to spend a minimum of 2,000 Baht all-inclusive. Short-time rates (for an escapade of an hour or so) may start at around 1,000 Baht at the cheaper venues while long-time rates are roughly between 2,000 and 4,000 Baht (the sky is the limit).
Having said that GoGo bars are primarily hostess bars that cater to single male tourists, they can certainly provide great fun for more adventurous couples, too. A-GoGo and coyote bars have become a substantial feature of Pattaya’s (in)famous nightlife and synonymous with Pattaya’s “sex industry”. A visit to a GoGo bar should therefore be on every visitor’s must-see-list in Pattaya, even if it’s just to get a first impression and you should leave it again on your own – or with your wife of 25 years.
Pattaya Gay Scene, Ladyboys & Transvestite Shows
As the rest of Thailand, Pattaya is extremely gay-friendly and has a fairly developed gay scene including gay host bars, A-GoGo clubs, show bars with male dancers, transvestite cabaret theatres, gay massage parlours, and many other gay-friendly establishments.
Albeit less developed than the straight bar scene, Pattaya’s gay bar scene is similarly organized. There are dozens of host bars where you can simply have a drink and chat with the male staff, as well as gay A-GoGo clubs and show bars, which feature erotic dance and show performances. The only difference from straight bars is that the service staff, the hosts and dancers, are young and attractive males instead of bar girls.
The two most popular entertainment areas for gay men in South Pattaya are Sunee Plaza and Soi Day-Night (off South Pattaya Road) and the world-famous Boyz Town (Pattayaland Soi 3, off Pattaya Second Road) with more than a dozen gay bars and clubs, massage parlours “for men by men”, and related gay-friendly establishments. A few gay bars can also be found on Pattayaland Soi 1 and 2.
Boyz Town is the indisputable epicentre of Pattaya’s gay nightlife and the equivalent to Walking Street in the straight scene. This short and narrow cul-de-sac is literally packed with A-GoGo and show bars, and if you can’t get laid here, they say, you probably can’t get laid anywhere. Boyz Town is more expensive than Sunee Plaza, but you can be sure to find top quality entertainment here.
Sunee Plaza, on the other hand, has gained a reputation for younger boys, some well below the minimum age of 18; so to avoid legal consequences, you’re advised to be careful and ask the boy to show you his ID card before engaging in more intimate activities. Underage prostitution is strictly prohibited by Thai law.
Jomtien Beach has also developed its own popular gay scene. While Jomtien’s own “gay beach”, Dongtan beach, is a popular daytime meeting point for local boys and Western gays, the Jomtien Complex area has a growing number of gay bars and nightclubs, including a popular cabaret show at The Venue.
Another typical feature of Pattaya’s nightlife are Thailand’s unique katoeys aka ladyboys. Often more attractive than the “real thing”, Pattaya’s ladyboys are famous for their sexy looks and their potential to offer you a sexual experience of a different and slightly “sleazier” kind. While most ladyboys work as freelance prostitutes on Walking Street and Pattaya Beach Road, there’s also a rising number of bars and pick-up joints specifically designated to katoeys.
Pattaya’s two most famous ladyboy shows can be enjoyed at the Alcazar and Tiffany cabaret theatres. Both are located on the northern section of Pattaya Second Road, not far from Big C and the Dolphin Roundabout. If you fancy watching a professional Las Vegas-style cabaret show performed by female impersonation artists, then you should certainly not miss these two places.
Tiffany and Alcazar have both been in business for nearly three decades and are renowned across the world for their fantastic, professional ladyboy shows. Regular televised beauty pageants are additional attractions for visitors.
Discos & Nightclubs in Pattaya
Pattaya has a growing number of foreign-oriented discotheques and clubs, mostly located in the Walking Street area in South Pattaya. Most clubs are popular not only with foreign night owls but also with freelancers and ladies from the nearby GoGo bars looking to hook up with a last-minute punter after their workplaces have closed.
Here’s a selection of Pattaya’s hottest dance clubs in alphabetical order:
Brand-new disco and nightclub above Candy Shop on Walking Street with state-of-the-art sound and light systems. Opened in April 2014.
- Candy Shop
Open-fronted music bar and dance club in the heart of Walking Street featuring hip hop and R&B bands every night from 9pm. Popular with bar girls for an after work drink with their colleagues from 1-3am.
- Club Endorphin
Located in the middle of Walking Street, this brand-new club promises to redefine nightlife in Pattaya and set new standards in nightclub technology.
- Club Insomnia
Disco and coyote dance club on Walking Street with purportedly the “sexiest ladies in Thailand coming for fun every night”. World-renowned DJs mixing up a “hectic-electric blend of beats and basslines” (from club music, trance and house music, to mainstream pop), a great party atmosphere and hot Thai girls have made Club Insomnia one of Pattaya’s most favourite nightclubs and pick-up joints.
- LimaLima Club
Bali Hai Plaza, southern end of Walking Street
Reportedly popular with Russian clubbers, LimaLima promotes itself as the “biggest” disco and nightclub in Pattaya and takes pride in having brought many international DJs and artists to Funtown. LimaLima has two dance floors with Techno, mainstream dance and Hip Hop music. LimaLima charges no entry fee and reportedly offers “inexpensive” drinks.
- Lucifer DiskoTK
Stylishly decorated “dance club” on Walking Street and one of the hottest spots in Pattaya, with plenty of freelance ladies on the prowl. The music is generally mainstream American Hip Hop, Gangsta rap and R&B, with live music on the weekends. Lucifer is notorious for double-tier pricing and charging foreign revelers double the price for their drinks. Given the fancy cave-like interior design and the entertainment you’re getting, it’s definitely still worth a visit though.
- Marine Disco
Marine Disco, located in the very heart of Walking Street, has been in business for decades and become an institution in Pattaya’s nightlife. Thanks to the many freelancers – often on their second shift of the night after having been bar-fined in their regular venues – Marine has gained a reputation not only as a disco but rather as an after-hour pick-up joint.
- The Mask Club
Located on the second floor of the Bali Hai entertainment complex at the southern end of Walking Street, this club caters primarily to Russian tourists.
- MIXX Nightlife Disco
Bali Hai Plaza, 3rd floor (at the Bali Hai Pier at the southern end of Walking Street)
Promoted as Pattaya’s “first upscale disco”, MIXX actually combines two discos in one. If you’re into House music or Trance, then you’ll enjoy the Crystal Palace with its modern, funky atmosphere and state-of-the-art technology. If your taste in music runs more towards R&B or Hip Hop, Rouge Club is the place for you. MIXX opens nightly from 9pm till late, with the “best international and Thai DJs and very beautiful dancers”. Popular exceedingly with Russian revelers.
- The Pier
Pattaya’s “most exciting” nightclub in the heart of Walking Street opened only in 2013 but has quickly established itself as one of Pattaya’s most popular disco clubs. Check their website for their weekly schedule, special events, guest DJs etc.
- Star Dice
Located at the Pattaya Garden Resort on Naklua Road, Star Dice is a large traditional Thai-style disco featuring live music and show entertainment. You’re welcome to bring your own bottle of whisky and order only the mixers and the ice cubes. No double-tier pricing as in the pick-up joints on Walking Street – but no freelancers either. Popular with locals and tourists alike.
- Tony’s Disco & Entertainment Complex
Large entertainment complex with live music and dance show entertainment at the southern end of Walking Street. Same concept as Marine Disco and one of Walking Street’s favourite pick-up joints with many freelance ladies. (Warning: Tony’s has become notorious for excessive double-tier pricing. While drinks are sold at very moderate prices to the local girls, it’s a rather expensive venue for foreign revellers who are expected to pay at least double the regular drinking prices.)
- Walking Street Club
Coming from Beach Road, this club is located just 20 meters down Walking Street on the left side. Reasonable drinking prices and a fair share of working girls.
If you fancy “nightclubbing” with the locals, alternative entertainment venues include Thai-style pubs (often featuring live music) and karaoke bars, which are exceedingly popular with the locals. Although the main reason to visit a karaoke bar is obviously to “sing a song”, some karaokes also employ hostesses and operate just like Thai-style short-time bars. As they mainly cater to Thai clients, though, and the volume and quality of the singing performances might not fully meet your Western taste, it’s probably more advisable to stick to the Farang-oriented venues if you’re in search of accompanied evening fun.