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What Is Going On In Bangkok Nightlife?


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Oh I thought you were talking about in NP itself, I didn't realize you were including the bars up and down soi 4 too.


Wendella, that is a misunderstanding, but this misunderstanding is on your side!


I stated: “Today, how many girls are in the gogo bars? My personal estimation: 1700 – 1800 girls.â€


And now – after reading the postings of you (Wendella), Flashermac and YimSiam with their references to the many ladyboys – I would like to improve my statement.

I state more precisely now: “ My personal estimation: not 1700 – 1800 girls, but 1700 – 1800 persons work in the bars nowadays.†Persons = girls and ladyboys!


1. Kathoeys

Yes, it is a horrible thing with the kathoeys! Kathoeys infiltrate and conquer more and more the bars of the plaza.

In my opinion the kathoeys become a massive plague, which I very much regret.


Hey! Herr Flashermac, University Lecturer, are there any investigations, studies and researches that deal with this phenomenon?

How many boys of a birth cohort undergo a sex change? And why?

Is there an increase in numbers of sex changes in recent years?

And what might be the reasons?

What is the social and family background of the boys who undergo a sex change?

What are the social classes, these young men come from?

Do they come from the lower classes or the middle classes?

Do they come from the cities or more of the rural areas?


Questions and questions and no answers.


By the way: The Iran – the Islamic Republic of Iran – has the most number of Kathoeys, not Thailand.

The Iran is dominated by the males and nevertheless there are many boys and young men who change their sex.

Incredibly and inexplicably for me.



2. The relation Girls to kathoeys in the bars

The number of girls falls in the Gogo bars and the Kathoeys increases.


My explanation:

The bars cannot find enough girls who want to work in a bar. The supply of young women and girls diminishes. Why?

1. There are more and better jobs in the Thai economy

2. The decline in the birth rate in nearly 30 years. Fewer women are available.


In this gap push the Kathoeys! And the bars have no other choice than to take them.


PS: I hope you can understand my “school†English. Sorry for that!

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Here is a short study. Some interesting comments in it.




"Interestingly, ideas about multiple genders are found in ancient Northern Thai creation myths which speak of three genders – male, female and mixed - at the beginning of the world (Matzner, undated). These beliefs apparently persisted until the mid-twentieth century (Nanda, 2000). Archaic Thai beliefs link transgender to special shamanistic abilities; a tradition that persists today (Matzner, 2002; Taywaditep et al., 1997). In short then, multiple genders have long formed part of the Thai worldview."




"Thai culture is one of overall tolerance, albeit a conditional tolerance, to all groups – religious, ethnic, gender and sexual. Just as the position of women is relatively privileged, so, compared to many other societies, is the position of those who do conform to the male stereotype.


"Homosexuals are a case in point. Thailand is a markedly non-homophobic society. Buddhism has a broadly neutral view on homosexuality, seeing it as resulting from bad karma (Taywaditep et al., 1997). There is high social acceptance of male-male sex (Jackson, 1995; Ford and Kittisuksathit, 1994), allowing homosexuals the freedom to pursue their lifestyle. Indeed, male-male marriages are still common upcountry (Jackson, 1995). However, many homosexuals often pursue their life style discretely. As Taywaditep et al. (1997) remark, same-gender sex is less stigmatised than disclosing it. Notwithstanding all this, the incidence of male-male sexual experience seems to be no higher in Thailand than in many Western societies (Jackson, 1999).


"The conditional tolerance extended to homosexuals also extends to kathoey. In the recent research with Kim, Lertsubin and Udomsak I mentioned earlier we found that around 40% of our kathoey believed that, as a general statement, Thai society was encouraging or accepting of kathoey. Another 27% felt that it tolerated them. Only 15% believed it rejected them."



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WIth respect to the poster who mentioned its only a problem for the ones who actually look like girls, I would say yes that is a problem too. But to me, the huge number of katoeys working in Nana now has kind of tainted the experience. I've always been totally ok with their presence, wouldn't even mind them in a bar I was in. If I ever got fooled into thinking that one of them was a girl, it was no big deal. Oops. Move on. (maybe I've been lucky and have always been clued in before anything happened) Actually for most of the night at Nana now everything is mostly fine. There's the bars where the LBs are which are mostly mainly LB bars. Theres' a few that seem mixed but with the main attraction being the LBs. THere is the issue of one bar up on the middle level, right next to Rainbow 3 on its left, which I honestly wasn't sure what it was -- I mean there seemed to be some there that probably were LBs, and others who looked like spinner types who probably were real girls, but honestly I wasn't sure. I poked my head in and came back out confused about what kind of bar it was, whether there were girls in there or not. If it was a mix and there were some real girls there I thought were hot, I'd have gone in .But I wasn't sure if it was a 100% LB bar or not. (anyone know?) Girls in front of RB3 told me it was a LB bar, but they would do that wouldn't they. Walkign around, you pass by the tall ones in teh back just like always, and that's fine. If they try to reach out and touch or anything I just treat it like it's no big deal, just joking around.


But no, the real problem is when the place starts closing and you see it's SO MANY LB's coming out of every opening, both inside NP and outside in front. There'sno way on earth all those LBs are getting customers, or even 5% of them are.


The drive seems to be a desire on their part to be part of this scene. That was my impression at least.


So of that 1700-1800, I would bet it's really close to 50-50 at this point, in terms of how many LBs compared to real girls. At closing time it isn't close, it's way more LBs. At least 8 to 1. Probably higher.

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and how many LB bars are there in Nana now? and how many with real girls? I wonder how many there were back in 2002 or so.


THere's some bars that are pretty untouchable in terms of remaining RG (real girl). The Rainbows, the Angel Witches. But all of those bars that are borderline, those are the ones that might either switch over (if that seems like it might be more profitable) or else to fall into the trap of hiring a katoey here and there, which increases gradualy over time until the place has passed the tipping point and become more of a LB bar. There's a lot of bars in Nana in that category, ones that seem vulnerable to getting taken over or else switching over.


And eventually that will lead to Nana being mainly a katoey place, and good luck getting hetero tourists in there when that happens. They'll be fighting over the few gay tourists who come. Maybe that will be a big enough market to keep it going, but I doubt it.


And that's fine for them if it does, but I sure dont' want that to happen.

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Of the carpark freelancers - as opposed to the 6' tall katoeys out front of NEP and prowling the Soi further down - I've only encountered a couple who were Katoeys. Both were petite, not 'the tallest damned Thai gal I ever saw !' types, and both clearly preferred the company of their sisters over the company of the caricatures out on the Soi. I dont think there is any love lost between the two groups.

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  • 2 weeks later...

WIth respect to the poster who mentioned its only a problem for the ones who actually look like girls, I would say yes that is a problem too.


But no, the real problem is when the place starts closing and you see it's SO MANY LB's coming out of every opening, both inside NP and outside in front. There'sno way on earth all those LBs are getting customers, or even 5% of them are.



This was the disconnnect where I kind of got interested in the LB thing, though in Pattaya not Bangkok - thinking: I hardly EVER see a guy with these hundreds and hundreds of LBs (classic Jenny Bar style, full on big chicks), and yet... and yet... if they weren't making sufficient money for themselves and for the bars, they wouldn't be there.

(Entertaining to imagine that it would be one of history's most bizarre variations from normal market forces, though: "Manager Jack, katoeys doesn't really pay, and arent an issue that customers are interested in, but we've got those extra slots in the stage lineup - how about a bunch of 6 foot trannies?†“Yeah, great, Owner George, and we'll do it at LOTS of bars! how many can you round up, Recruiter Nong?")

The answer MUST be that the LBs do make money… and then it's staggering to think that it is almost all happening without the punter and his new friend being seen in the street or at hotels the way the girls are with their customers. So then I started asking around, why don’t I see them out of the bar? LBs tell me only a few customers are willing to walk down the street with an apparent LB, so they arrange to meet at the ST room or hotel or just go upstairs in the bar. On the sly, kind of.

So I'd had a degree of awe at the whole enterprise for a while - the size of it, the fact that guys are interested in that particular aesthetic and activity, which just does not start to do it for me, the fact that is thrives despite obvious antipathy. Not enough awe to go chasing chicks with dicks or whatever, but more academic, if you will. (asterisk here: 8 or 9 years ago I did get up the couragosity to barfine a kathoey, to see what the fuss was about. The moment she undressed to reveal a weird male body, tiny dick, etc – that was the end of that experiment, didn’t even go thru with the bj offered, just paid up and called it a night.)

And it was around the time of my Pattaya questions I met the most charming, petite, beautiful little spinner-type with an incongruously huge set of pristine, non-surgical breasts. Breasts that seemed almost like they'd been grafted on but not silicone, her frame was small, her hips so narrow, strange that she was so buxom… And they were like a pair of Pacific Islands, totally unmarred, balanced, no weird distention, no tattoos. But hey, miracles happen! Early 20s, she was, and I went with her a bunch of times - long time, short time, hang-out-and-drink time. One could say we had similar interests, it wasn’t the most positive time for me generally. And for a long time, I didn’t doubt at all. Just enjoyed her great and crazy company. Often.

But slowly I started to piece together little things that puzzled me, and once the idea crossed my mind – no way, is she a lady boy, this one?! - it all started to come together, and I realized that I'd been sleeping with a ladyboy over many months, and had had no idea. Well, huh. It takes a while to accept that – I came up with lots of alternative explanations, but in her case, the truth must out.

Perhaps in some sort of defensive effort, I then started to see – correctly, I believe - LBs EVERYWHERE in the Bangkok night scene. Whole ladyboy bars that seem like normal bars, no Casanova these, undiscernible to the untrained eye… huge numbers in the freelance scene, the GTG-lookalike scene especially… the poorly-lit afterhours clubs perfect for the aging ladyboy… the auto-show coyote girls. Okay, not that last one - but my lesson is: you never know. One little doubt with one girl can turn out to be well-founded, and suddenly you've got pearls of suspicion planted in every pink Loi Et bivalve you kiss, making the whole thing much less fun than it used to be for me.

My prior viewpoint was: hell, if I can't tell in the bar, in the bright lights of the hotel, or between the sheets, does it really matter? Like, ‘hey good trick, you got me that time!’ But that doesn't do it for me now somehow - I think I just don't like to be tricked and made to look like a fool, basically. I get taken for a chump all the time here, ripped off, double-crossed, lied to - finally ending the night by fucking the inverted penis flesh of a young man's body (or, um, the other option - witting or not) is not an okay alternative for me. So now I spend at least as much time trying to assess LB status as I do assessing beauty, sexiness, or an enjoyable personality. That sucks, that is not sanuk.

Certainly there are areas that are higher risk than others – freelance, latenight, heavy-party scene, you raise your odds. But they are fucking everywhere, these replicas – and I’d be glad to wager that anyone who’s hit 20 or so work-at-night Thai chicks has hit a kathoey and not realized it.

I got more to say about this issue, as it’s been eating me up and pissing me off, but that’ll have to follow a bit later, if at all. To me, the interesting questions are: why so many of the ‘replica’ (rather than comic) version of the LB now in the nightlife scene? And: if one wishes to differentiate between the ‘born’ chicks and the LBs, how to do so?

All for now,


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