Soi Cowboy in Bangkok

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Soi Cowboy
Soi Cowboy

Soi Cowboy was named after the cowboy hat-wearing African-American who opened the first bar here in the early 1970s, this red-light district has a more laid-back, carnival-like feel to it than Patpong or Nana Plaza. Flashing neon lights up a colourful streetscape comprised mainly of middle-aged expats, Japanese and western tourists, and of course a lot of sexily dressed girls. With cries of ‘helloooa, welcome!’ the latter try to lure you into one of the 20 or so A go-go bars that line its sides… don’t be shy, it’s pretty easy going and open-minded, entry is always free and drink prices are fixed.

Soi Cowboy
Soi Cowboy

Soi Cowboy is just next to Terminal 21, this very popular new shopping mall, so just cross the street and see it for yourself… or use Terminal 21 as an excuse to have some fun time! Remember, you might not see this again anywhere else in the world!

Inside Soi Cowboy Go Go Bars

Each is brightly lit and colourful, playing loud music, offering lines of seats typically arranged in tiers around a UV-lit central stage. If you like to be close to the action, another row of stools is available directly around the stage… first timers tend to sit in the back. The girls sway and shimmy, wearing little more than a tiny skirt and a bra… sometimes even less. It seems that the later you come, the less they’ll wear. Girls rotate from pole to pole until a full round has been completed, or until a show starts. Bars usually close around 2.30 am but it’s not unusual to see them open until 3am. Weekends can be really busy and you could very well end up drinking your beer all alone, especially in the most popular ones such as Tilac or Baccara. If you are looking for company while in the bar, better come during week days or before 10 pm.

Soi Cowboy
Soi Cowboy

Soi Cowboy is fairly straight forward, no traps or scams… so just sit and order a drink: expect to pay 100 to 150 baht, which is rather fair, some bars like Sahara and Kiss now charging up to 180 baht… ouch. A girl (or two) might sit next to you and ask for a drink, but never in a pushy way. If you want to enjoy your new friend’s company, it’s a nice gesture to buy her one and it is not too crazily expensive. Don’t hesitate to offer another if you are having a good time, and you will feel good about yourself too. If you chose to sit next to the stage, you are welcome to tip the dancing girls if you feel like… and you will certainly get a bit more attention.