However, after a training/schooling period that lasts anywhere from1-3 months, nearly all of these young girls are turned into semi-professionals. It is quite amazing to see how a very shy, inexperienced girl can change into someone who is very good at the trade, and can be quite provocative. You may think that because the girls go with customers, it makes them bad, well, many have limited education and have no decent future in their home towns. They would be lucky to earn 100 dollars a month working in a factory or shop. Where as, in the bar, 30-40,000 Baht 800 dollars is not uncommon. In most cases the girls send a large percentage of this money home. The thing that I find sad and makes me angry, is that the family often never seems to do anything constructive with this new found bounty. ie: house, land, business etc. Often it is just wasted and after many years of working in a bar the girl or her family has nothing to show for it. Someone should set up a savings bank or investment bond! In some cases the girls underlying character shows through, turning a once sweet girl into a bar monster, be careful! The above is just my own point of view, and there are quite a few girls around, who still remain nice respectable despite their trade.
If good at their trade, the girls can make a lot of money. Just look at some of the figures mentioned below, and you will be able to calculate that the attractive, active ladies will easily make more than 30000 baht a month (they also receive a monthly salary which is usually 4000-10000/ month range). The total income they receive easily surpasses the income of most middle income Thai families! In fact, I know some girls who earn over 80,000.
How it Works!
If you are new to the bar scene, this will give you an idea of how things normally work in the gogo bars. The girls dance on a stage (try to find a girl who puts a lot of energy into her dancing, normally they will do the same in bed!). The girls are usually divided in 2 (sometimes 3) groups that take turns dancing. In between they are free to go sit with customers etc. It is usually worthwhile to ask if she is going to dance soon, before buying her a drink, as you might get upset if you have just bought her a drink and she dissapears to dance.
Most bars have the girls dancing in bikini outfits, uniforms or if you are lucky topless. Naked dancing was the norm until 2003 when a public order came into place, changing this once regular scene. Naked dancing can still be found, ask the bars if they do a special show ie: Suzie Wong in Soi Cowboy
Look out for the happy hours, great saving over regular prices. Most bars stock most of the popular Western drinks. As a guide beer prices range from 50 baht to around 110 baht depending on the type of bar. Whisky prices are quite similar (don't drink the local Thai whisky it really is horrible), cocktails are a little more upmarket at 120-150 baht. Soft drink prices are relatively expensive, often just a litle bit cheaper than a beer.
If you do invite a girl to sit with you, either to talk or have a little hanky panky, it is a good idea to buy a lady's drink, they should be similar in price to beer, but you can always ask the girl how much it is. You may be shocked at how small her drink is, but as the girl could drink anything upto 20 drinks per night, it's best not too drink to much.
Usually you end up buying lady drinks for your partner. Some girls will politely talk to you, some will poke fun, some will become sexually provocative in no time, some will not say anything. If they are bored with you, or see another customer, they will just leave you, or not come back to you after they took their turn dancing, or find an excuse, like going to the bathroom and not return. This is common practice, do not get upset. However it is quite another thing if the girl leaves you after just a minute or two, after you just paid her a drink. Just get the message, do not get upset. Some girls will quickly leave you shortly after you told them, you are not going to take them home. Others will happily stay with you for a longer time.
Despite being prostitution, there is a lot of regular human interaction going on in the Bangkok bar scene. To put it bluntly, the attractive girls have a lot of choice, they might want to like you a bit, before they go with you. Money is important, a lot of money can probably always get you the girl you want, but personal or physical attraction still pays a role.
One of the most difficult things for a newcomer to handle is the bar fine. Basically choosing a girl to have sex with. Now, while seen in the west as a terrible thing, it has been about in Thailand and Asia for 100's of years. Massage parlours, not normally visted by foreign tourists are located nearly everywhere. It is a relatively new thing in Thailand for tourists. In the West we often have to wine and dine our ladies for weeks before anything happens, but here you can find a beauiful 18 year old girl , willing to please you in everyway, and it will cost you around 30-40 dollars. When taking out a girl from the bar, a barfine has to be paid to the bar management. This varies between 400-600 baht. Sometimes one has to pay a little bit more for service girls etc.
The barfine is for the bar, but the girl will need her own payment for her services rendered. There are basically two ways to go about financial arrangements. One way is to settle the price in advance (thats best, no mistake). The other is to settle after the 'fact'. Since a financial transaction is involved, it may take away from the overall experience. Please be nice to the girls and treat them fairly. But equally don't pay too much. Girls working in certain bars catering to Japanese customers, tend to expect more money.
When asked in advance, girls will try to get as much as they think possible. So it is not unusual to bargain a bit about it. Simply put, girls will go with a customer for between 1000 and 2000 baht short-time or until you cum!. Some of the most beautiful girls at some bars will ask more than this. There are no fixed rules about this, and common sense should prevail. Obviously an attractive girl will want more money from a fat, old, smelly, poorly groomed man, than from a handsome young fellow, and so on. Actually in many cases the girls prefer to go with an old man, as often is the case they can't have sex and just want company, where as, a young man will bang them to death!
If you want the girl to stay all night 2000-3000 baht is a resonable price to pay.
You can avoid paying the bar fine, by arranging to meet the girl later, but the bars don't like this and will financially punish the girls.
Bar owners often penalize the girls if they do not reach a sufficient number of barfines per month. The bars will deduct a sum from their salary if they don't reach their quota of bar fines, normally 8-10 per month. At the end of the month, it is sometimes easier to find girls willing to go with customers.
Short-time or Long-time?
Short-time you take the girl out of the bar with you for at most a couple of hours. She will not spend the night with you.
Long-time generally means she will spend the whole night with you.
Barfines for both are the same. If you have something particular in mind, discuss it in advance with the girl. While common in the past, most girls do not favor to go longtime with customers. One reason is that some of the better looking girls may want to go back to the bar, and pick up another customer or even go home to their Thai husband or boyfriend, Yes you did read this correctly. Most likely, some girls just want to get away from their customers. After all, there is some safety in not spending the whole night with someone you do not really know. Many girls will tell you they do want to go with you longtime, and after a few hours they will still try to get away. If the girl wants to go, I would suggest not to create a great fuss about it, and just pay the girl for the short time you have spent with her.
If you travel around Bangkok nowadays in the evening or even during the night, you will notice lots of freelancers, just hanging around at outside eateries, and in front of some quite fancy buildings. This is a new sight that occurred the last few years only, possibly related to the economic crisis. These girls prefer not to work in the bars, and have the freedom to choose their own working hours and customers. The main disadvantages for the customers is that you do not easily see what you get, and that you do not have the same level of security as with girls working in the bar. If there is a problem with a bargirl (which in general is quite rare), you will know where to find her, find her employer etc. The advantage of freelancers is that you do not have to pay a barfine, and services might be cheaper. I would not recommend their services. Also, beware that a lot of the girls around in that area, are actually 'ladyboys', that is transvestites, whether pre- or postsurgery. Some of these girls can be a little light fingered, so hide your wallet and valuables, because with freelancers, you don' have much of a come back.