Pulsating Patpong Bangkok

It has a reputation for being one of the world’s most famous red lights districts, but that reputation is really quite over-rated.

Patpong, a lively street in Bangkok, certainly does have its girlie bars where women do perform some remarkably clever tricks with their nether regions. However, their antics are more comical, much like the show Puppetry of the Penis, than lewd. Performances are certainly very adult in nature, and would definitely be offensive to some. But, if you wish to quench your thirst for the bizarre, catching a show is worth at least one viewing, if only for curiosity rather than voyeuristic purposes.

First time visitors should know that you certainly can’t mistakenly wander in to these girlie shows. The touts whose job it is to entice people into the shows make it quite clear about the sort of entertainment you will see, and you do need to make a conscious choice to enter, usually via a stairway, as none of the performance areas open directly onto the street.

There are other bars at street level, but these are for drinking only. Whilst they are quite open, and are staffed by girls whose job is to entice hapless men to drink more, there is no entertainment offered other than people watching which, in itself, can be quite enlivening.

Patpong is certainly not as notorious as it once was, and it is certainly worth visiting if only to browse the stalls at the night market which operates on most nights of the year.

Patpong occupies two parallel streets which run between Silom and Surawong Roads and for a place with a huge reputation it is actually quite small. However, it is very colourful, lively and ridiculously noisy as thumping music competes with the shouts of traders and touts as they compete for business.

You will see some very glamorous women around Patpong. The best dressed and made-up tend to be the Lady boys, transsexuals whose looks would fool most people, but they just can’t seem to hide their Adam’s Apples.

There are some very sleazy places in Bangkok, but Patpong really does appeal to the tourists these days and besides the shows and bars the area has some good, reasonably-priced restaurants and, of course, the markets.

It’s debatable as to how much of a bargain you can get in the market as you do have to haggle over prices, but that is part of the joy of shopping there. The merchandise you buy is unlikely to be the genuine name brand it purports to be, but most buyers understand that even before they start negotiations.

Haggling at the market and ogling in the girlie bars are just part of the Patpong experience, take your sense of humour with you, and you’ll be fine.

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