I arrived at Soi Cowboy nearing 11 pm on Wednesday night, talk about dire it felt like a place I just didn't want to be. There were several gogo bars that had bargirls within their outside bar areas, most were wearing a black dress and no one was drinking outside. You could hear music behind the closed doors to the gogo bars. I had no desire to enter any of the gogo bars as the walk down Soi Cowboy had killed the mood. It made me wonder, was it too soon to open the nightlife venues? It’s a fine line between yes or no.
Thailand is in mourning. You catch the Skytrain or go shopping and the general atmosphere is subdued. There is less chatter, people overall are more quiet although still going about with their daily lives. Most Thais are wearing all black or black pants with a white top. For tourists it’s best to tread carefully and show some compassion for the Thai people during this difficult time.
Soi Cowboy -
When going out try and stay away from wearing bright colors and stay in the grey scale from black all the way to white, blue is also acceptable but not too light. It may be hard for some but also tone down your behavior, other words don’t be a dick!! As you will lose.
Entering Nana Soi 4 the beer bars were open but the customary loud music was gone replaced by just the sounds of people talking. The first couple of bars Morning Night & Stumble Inn were doing it hard. It wasn’t until I hit the K&S Bar that I noticed a bar doing ok, which did surprise me. Hooters was all lit up but looked quiet. There was one bar doing well and that was Hillary 4 which had a good crowd inside and was the place to be if you like the beer bars.
I was dreading going into Nana Plaza after what I had just witnessed at Soi Cowboy. Nana Plaza felt alive!! The gogo bars had their signs turned on giving you the feeling that you could spend some time here. The numbers were down in regard to tourists but the gogo bars were in full swing.
The Twister Bar was the busiest of the gogo bars this Wednesday night. I did spend some time inside Jail Birdz who have all but finished their renovations. They had 2 dance floors in operation as well as their Jacuzzi.
It has surprised me that Nana Plaza is so far ahead of Soi Cowboy during this difficult time. If you’re a tourist and plan to visit the adult entertainment venues then Nana Plaza is the place to be, going by what I have seen tonight.
Nana Plaza -
Friday night I headed to Patpong and what a contrast to Soi Cowboy on Wednesday night. The Night Market was in full swing as are the gogo bars within Patpong. The only downside that I could see was there are no live bands playing. Supper Pussy had their neon sign turned off apart from that it was business as usual. Looking at who was the busiest bar on Friday night and surprisingly it was Superstars who’s dance floor was packed with attractive gogo dancers. It appeared that a large group of tourists on an organized tour had decided this was the place to be. I just knew Superstars GoGo Bar would be good if they could get a crowd inside, and tonight they did.
The music was pumping at the busiest bars and it wasn’t until I hit Bada Bing that I noticed that the volume was turned down. It does take a bit away from the atmosphere but under the circumstances they are right to turn the volume down. Cool Bar.
I headed back to Soi Cowboy to find much the same as Wednesday night. The neon signs were off, the outside bars are depressing plus the general atmosphere is of somewhere you just don't want to be. The bright spot was the Tilac Bar as at least people did and could sit outside and have a drink. I had a look inside a few bars, the first being Crazy Cat who had three customers inside and two dancers on the dance floor. Quiet but it’s better than having no one inside. I had a quick look inside the Lighthouse who where doing okay as was Rawhide. It’s not all doom and gloom if you do decide on spending some time within Soi Cowboy.
Decide early which bar or bars you intend to visit and go straight in. If you wonder up and down Soi Cowboy the dreaded atmosphere will get to you, then most likely you will just leave.
Next up was Nana Plaza who have their main sign to the Plaza turned off, apart from that it was business as usual. The best bars Spanky’s, Bangkok Bunnies, Billboard and the Twister Bar all had a decent crowd inside. Again Nana Plaza felt like the place to be if you are in or around the Sukhumvit area.
The downside is the bars are only open until around midnight therefore if you’re after a bit of company for the night you’d better start making plans by 11 pm, otherwise you will find yourself negotiating the minefield that are the Freelancers.
You do have to feel for the bars at Soi Cowboy. They depend so much on the neon lights that do so much for the atmosphere and the overall look of Soi Cowboy. With the neon lights off, for what could be a month, it’s going to be tough times for more than a few bars.
For tourists who are in Bangkok right now then Nana Plaza and Patpong are your best bets for a good night out.
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