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What is the Karaoke Kraze?


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In my 6 months in LOS and Cambodia I have never figured out what, exactly, goes on in karaoke bars. And they are phenomenally popular, the biggest kind of entertainment venue by far. Sure, I have heard a lot of Asian men and ladies singing offkey. But what is the deal and cost with the ladies in a men-oriented karaoke. Exactly what goes on and why. What do the girls do for you, do they go out, oh why is karaoke so popular?!



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What do you know about the 'laos sing a song' scene, I've never been able to find out why the dancin/singin girls get money hung around their necks, is it payment for services to come !! or people just giving it away ? I used to go regular with my thai (now ex) wife and she was very evasive with her explanations..


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In Thai karaoke bars the customers don't sing, the professional, semi-pro, and wanna be singers do the vocal chores. Some are really good, some great, most average, and a number are down right terrible. As far as I know it's a profession driven by desperation similar to other "entertainment" opportunities available to women in Thailand. If the singer doesn't make it in the karaoke scene the next stop might be Thermae or a massage parlor. The salary is low, about 4000 Baht average, and the purpose of the lei with the money pinned to it is to give a tip to a favorite singer. Small tip signifies "please stop by my table I'd like buy you a drink and enjoy your company while I'm here." The really big necklace means, "Wow, your great and I'd like to take you home"...necklaces for everybody means, "I'm a bigshot, please watch me throw my money around", multiple necklaces from the same customer to the same singer means, "Baby, what's it gonna take to get with you?" As with all Thai business transactions, it's all negotiable. The personal part of the scene is not really available to foreigners. Beyond the language barrier there's all of the posturing, and subtle, unspoken signals. Sure, a farang is going to stumble unwittingly into a personal situation with a karaoke signer every once in a while. But, as a general rule, it's a Thai thing. It's kind of like the Thai version of what used to be called a "clip joint". All are welcome to come and watch, be sure to bring you wallet when you do. Good luck, enjoy, and have a great time, Guido. wink.gif" border="0

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Thanks for the insight..its prompted me to remember another situation; about three years ago I was with the ex. somewhere in Issan in a one horse/buffalo town late at night, we booked in the only hotel for 100kms and then went for a walk ..the only entertainment place was a small poorly lit karaoke place, there were a few of the local yobs in there and a couple of girls who alternated with the singin, they were young and quite cute enough, claimed to be 18 but look younger,I speak v little thai and the missus ended up chattin to the girls and they ended up sitting and drinking with us, towards the end of the evening the missus indicated I should give the girls a tip, so I gave them 100 baht each, they were v happy and promptly started to strip to their underwear and step up on a little stage and sing their thai love song...well

I was most impressed and to this day one of the few fantasies I have left involves me going back to that place and reliving that experience but with a different outcome..in reality the wife terminated our time there and sulked all night saying I had given too big a tip!!!

[ June 16, 2001: Message edited by: Jap 12 ]

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Just wanted to add that Condomking's review is excellent and his insight to the cafe industry especially about the reason and why people give flowers w/money attached to the singing girls is spot on.

However, MOST karaoke places do not that flowers to give to singing girls. This practice is USUALLY limited to the CAFE's.

Most karaoke places are just that..karaoke.. and though some employ semi-professional singers.. these ladies... and gentlemen in somecases are well can be invited to sit with you but you are charged a flat hourly or semi hourly rate to speak with them. The policies on charging for these introductions varies quite a bit from club to club.

I will venture to explain.. though please don't hold me accountable for 100% accuracy here.. I deem myself semi-qualified to speak on this subject because I currently hold 7 memberships at various karaoke clubs and lounges throughout Bangkok and Hatyai.


The prices range from lounge to lounge and karaoke bar to karaoke bar due to the popularity and exclusivity of each club. For example... at Claudia, and Cassiopia and Spice Club it cost as much as 300 to 400 baht per 45 minutes for a lady to sit with you. That can add up quite quickly. These blocks of time are termed lady drinks where the lady must sit and talk withyou durring this time even though after the first dirnk you may not be see her ever order another drink trust me when I say the charges are racking up. This is for non members though. Members who pay a member charge the prices which may vary greatly from 10,000 to 100,000 bhat are given discounts and prepurchase price for their membership fees.

For Example.. If you pay 30,000 baht for a membership you may get 10 bottles of whiskey, 3 to 5 reservations of private karaoke rooms and anywherer from 20 to 50 free lady drinks.. All this is purchased for paying up front for your membership. In additional all the stuff you buy after this is gonna be like 30 to 40% off. These are just general numbers... they vary from club to club and from membership type to membership type. Most people here are gonna say OMG geez 30k baht is a lot... but if you frequent these establishments this is rather a cheap alternative..especially for us corporate type that love to splurge on our clients, guests, and friends...you get the picture...

For example.. 10 bottles of JW black alone can cost you 15k baht 40 day drinks at the normal price = 16k baht and then the reservations for the rooms may cost 2k per evening thus 4 reservations = 8k. Add all that up and you get 39k. Also your mixers will probably be free... that equals at least 4 to 6k now you are at 45k. 45k for 30k worth of services equals about 33% off. Not bad... And most combos of memerships are actually negotiable.. you just have to talk with the mamanger of the establishment. For example you might say I don't like private room reservations and don;t drink that must whisky and he might adjust the membership to 8 bottles instead of 10 and no private room reservations and give you 100 lady drinks instead...(you lech hehe)... Anyway to "barfine" a girl from these establishments it cost the equvalent of 10 drinks.. this is a normal policy that could vary from club to club.. thus barfine = approx 3000 baht + what you gonna pay her for her services.. ouch.

Some places it maybe cheaper... and if your a frequent customer they may lower the price to say 1500 to 2000 to barfine. Most ladies are barfineable.. some are not... some will never have sex with you some will. Many of these women .. especially at the very posh places like the Piano have MANY admirerers and customers. Some will put them up in condos and buy them cars. Normally in a place with 150 girls.. about 3 to 4 of the most stunning ones will recieve this lavish treatment form their customers so don't scream bloody murder yet. Also.. if the girl likes you.. I mean really likes you... It free.. no cost.. she will mostly likely give you her number meet you after work if over.. 1:00amish and go partying with you. If she discovers your not a complete asshole she may bang you all night after not haveing given her other PAYING customers as much as a stroke in over 6 months. Then she will most likey ball her eyes out at even the thought of receiveing money for spending the time with you. I went to a college in Boston with a Thai friend whose father is a Amphur..District officer (politician) in thailand and he is an expert and manipulating these girls in to free sex situations.

Now.. before you get any ideas about free sex et all. Let me qualify this.. My buddy is thai..and rich and young and handsome.. over 6feet tall for a thai guy.. usual.. well spoken..speaks 4 languages and extremely polite.. and slick with the ladies..thus he is immediatly thrust into the "possible marriage catagory" by these girls who will often desparately fall in love with him to the point where they are buying HIM gifts and calling him non stop.

The likely hood of getting free boom boom from these girls if you donot fall into the catagory above is almost nil. Though if you nice enough for long enough.. who knows.. Also... free boom boom from these girls accompanies emotional involvment to a dangerous level.. like serious stalking and possible threats of falic dismemberment and suicidal tantrums from the above said girl. IE in a nutshell girls of this nature give it up for free if they love you or fall in love and love carries with it all the crap it normally accompanies with it in any country.

Now back to the CAFEs.. Villa, and Mirage are two of the best known though there are many others.. Girls get up on stage.. and single and men buy flowers.. and Condomking explained the rest very well. So I really don't need to elaborate further here unless you have specific questions. Again.. these girls fll into several catagories.. sex if you give me enough flowers (money) no sex no matter how much you give me (you'll have to marry them first ROFL) and .. free sex if I like you. again.. the same applies here as it does above in the karaoke and lounges.

Now... some of the low class lounges and cafes have girls that always go out and do so every night. These places are just like gogos except they keep their clothes on while working ROFL. Hope that helps..

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Wow, Smartwong, quite a mouthful for an initial posting!!

Thanks for bringing us through the ins and outs of the "private club" scene. A Thai friend brought me to one, once, a long time ago and, well, it just wasn't for me. Two petite, gorgeous, very fragile looking young ladies were brought to our table and we all sat there smiling at each other while the one designated to be my hostess vigilantly refilled my glass after every sip I took, lit each cigarette and then monitored and flicked every 1/4 inch of ash off the end of my smoke. I got the idea right away that it was a "look but don't touch" situation and my Thai friend did clue me in wink.gif" border="0 that he was boinking the lady sitting with him and that if I were willing to put in enough time and effort I too could, maybe, find a "girlfriend" to hang with afterwork.


"Uhuh, oh well, gee, thanks, maybe in another lifetime, if I do come back as a wealthy Thai man, I'll probably have the time and inclination to pursue an exquisite Thai private club hostess lady, but for right now, I think I'll head over to Thermae and see what's shaken." Hahaha, to each his own.

Actually, upon rereading the original post it appears that Zane May might have been asking about the third type of sing-a-song venue, the regular "pass the mic around" karaoke club where the customers do all of the singing. If it doesn't cost an arm and a leg they can be a great evening's entertainment. Some that I've been to with the private room and the bulter service can be quite pricey, but lots of fun on a double date, especially if the girls are into it and at least one of the guys can attempt to carry a tune.

On the other hand, I've been to the upstairs karoake bar at Country Road on Soi 19, usually with Nana plaza girls after work and that was really fun. Just keep pouring beers into them and watch them sing their asses off until the dawn's early light. Ok, Ok, enough of memory lane.

Anyway, Zane May, I guess that just about covers what the attraction is in karaoke bars, cafes and clubs. Anyone else?...

Happy/Enjoy, Guido.

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While CondomKing is right on the mark with the Thai sing-a-song places, the scene in the more upscale karaoke bars is fairly different.

Most guys go to these places to drink with their buddies, sing a few songs and enjoy the company of cute girls. In some of the bars all the girls are available for take out, but in most places it is left up to the girl what, if anything, happens when a customer buys her out. In my experience most of the girls will not sleep with a customer, and even fewer will do so within the first couple of visits.

As for salaries, the girls in these places make a pretty good living. Base salaries are around 10K, and they make about 80 Baht per 'drink' and tips (which can be VERY high). My wife used to average about 30-40K a month, just sitting on her ass talking, drinking and singing.


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