Soi Cowboy is a famous small alley composed mainly of gogo bars. Like Nana Plaza and Patong, it is the main red light district of Bangkok, located in the center of Asoke, between Sukumvit Soi 21 and 23.
Named after the American who opened the first bar in the 1970s, he was wearing a cowboy hat. The atmosphere here is more laid back, with fewer hustlers, so you’ll find a lot of local expats living in Bangkok, a good sign of where the experienced locals go at night, there must be some good restaurants and bars. The prices of drinks have gone up but there is nothing to worry about, it’s still not that bad compared to western prices. Most bars also offer “Happy Hours”, for example two beers for the price of one at certain times.
Each bar is characteristically lit and colored, with loud music and tables arranged in rows stacked around a stage in the middle, often lit by UV lights, on which the girls dance. If you want to be close to the action, another row of seats is available right next to the stage. The girls sway by the pipes to the beat of the music while looking through the mirrors hanging on the walls, dressed in tight little skirts or shorts and bras, and sometimes even less. It seems that the later you arrive, the less they are dressed. The bars usually close around 2-3am.
The system on Soi Cowboy is simple and pretty scam free, you just sit at the bar and order a beer between 120-200 THB. The girls may sit and ask you to buy them a drink, which they earn by getting a commission, but they don’t do it pushy. If you want to enjoy the company of such a girl, it would be an appropriate gesture to offer her a drink or two. If you decide to sit next to the stage, you may be asked to tip the dancers, this is not mandatory and is done culturally.
The most popular go-go bars are Baccara, Suezie Wong, Lighthouse, Shark, Doll House and the futuristic Tilac bar, where scenes from “Hangover 2” or “Very Bad Trip 2” were filmed. These bars have the most dancers, which increases the probability of meeting prettier girls.
Some bars are unique, like Baccara, where, sitting on the first floor, you can watch the girls dancing upstairs through the glass floor. Sometimes in bikinis, sometimes half-naked, which is technically illegal, this is how prostitution works in Thailand. One type of fetish is dressing up in school uniforms or tight sexy nurse uniforms.
Speaking of other bars, you can find two specialty bars to check out for the more adventurous. At Afterskool, customers can drink a beer while a lady satisfies her oral needs under the table. It is advisable to have a drink here to relax, as there is not much privacy in the bar. The same is true at Toy Bar where these matters are also handled by hand by trained girls.
Walking around Soi Cowboy, lawyers may try to persuade you to attend a ping-pong show, a fairly notorious scam to be wary of. There is a club located in a completely different area where you can watch the show safely and without scams, exact information on the email.
How to get to Soi Cowboy
Address: Sukhumvit Soi 21
Opening hours: 6:00 pm – 3:00 am
Soi Cowboy is located in the city center, right next to the huge Terminal 21 shopping mall.
The easiest way to get there is to take the BTS Skytrain to Asoke Station and the MRT subway to Sukhumvit Station. Exit 2 is a few meters from Soi Cowboy.
Taking a cab at night is quite inconvenient, Soi Cowboy drivers don’t want to drive with the meter on, so it is better to walk to the main street of Sukhumvit to Asoke station or to walk in front of one of the many hotels.