Thailand’s gay gogo bars are in a league of their own. Visitors come from all over the world for a taste of Thailand’s naughty nightlife and unlike other locales with a rep for dishing out heavy loads of sin, gay visitors are well provided for in Thailand. For the gay touri in Thailand, there’s a bar for every taste. From risque to pure raunch. The guys are hot and whether you like them young and fem or prefer hunks of pure muscle, you’ll find the man of your dreams in Thailand. Paradise, heaven, or nirvana, walk into the gay gogo club of your choice in Thailand and you’ll be as happy as a kid in a candy store.
Or so you’d think. Unless you’ve perused some of the threads of the various gay Thailand message boards. The forums frequently include whiney posts bitching and moaning about the cost of a night out at a gay gogo bar in Thailand. Prissy posters pitching hissy fits over high drink prices, predicting the end of Thailand’s bar industry because of it and swearing they’ll never go to a gay gogo bar in Thailand again because prices are so out of hand are a frequent occurrence, both on topic and off. To the uninitiated, you’d think there was a real problem, that maybe the gay gogo bars are just another one of the infamous scams you’ve heard about in Thailand. To those that know better, they are just another bitchfest from disgruntled sexpats unhappy with their lives and willing to complain about anything and everything under the sun. The fact is the prices charged at gay gogo bars in Thailand are not high. Like most costs in the country, they are quite reasonable. Unless you are a cheap bastard.
A lot of the cheap bastards live in the cesspoolside town of Pattaya where prices are half of what they are in Bangkok. Pattaya was built on the sex industry and is known for being sleazy and cheap. That’s why so many cheap bastards move there. And they still bitch. But mention Bangkok, and particularly Soi Twilight, and they go into convulsions spitting derision and belching indignation, “250 baht for a beer?! Those bars are going under and deserve it for gouging their customers!”
Do they have a valid point? Is that a ridiculous price? Could it be that the cheap bastards are right?
Get real. That they are bitching about less than $10 should give you a clue. In today’s economy if ten bucks is that important to you, stay home. And cry into your glass of cheap gin. While you post yet another rant bitching about the costs of gay go go bars on Thailand.
The cheap bastards attempt to convince you their outrage is valid. And if you listen, they almost make sense. $8.50 for a beer does sound like a rip off. $8.50 for a bottle of water sounds like a scam. $8.50 for a no-name brand gin and tonic even sounds a bit high. But you are not buying a beer, mixed drink, or bottle of water. You are paying for a night in a bar filled with naked guys performing sex acts but a few feet in front of you on stage. Your first drink in a bar is not $8.50. It’s free. The $8.50 is a cover charge. And where else in the world are you going to get that type of entertainment for such a low price?
The producers of The Hangover set their sequel in Bangkok, moving from Las Vegas to a more exotic version of a town known for the opportunity to get into major trouble. Nothing gay about the movie (well, mostly) and unlike Bangkok, Vegas doesn’t have a soi full of strip clubs filled with man meat. But it does have strip clubs. In aces. Vegas has the same kind of draw for straight guys as Bangkok has for gays. It’s a party town filled with safe establishments offering a fantasy world where you can fulfill your wildest desires. Of course the good things in life are never free. So whether you are in Vegas or Bangkok, pleasure will have a price.
It’s not a perfect comparison. There’s much more flesh on display in a Bangkok gay gogo bar than you’ll ever get to see in Vegas. And the comparison really is a case of apples and oranges, or more appropriately cunts and cock. But the experience is similar, the draw the same. So how do prices stack up?
In Vegas the cover charge at a gentlemens club will run you $30. That’s just to walk in the door. Drinks, depending on the establishment, run from $7 to $12. That’s for the one in your hand. Buy a ‘lady’ a drink and it’ll cost you $15 on the main floor. You can add another $1-$2 per drink for tipping the waitstaff. Let’s assume you are cheap, but not a cheap bastard, and all you did for the evening was go to the club, ogle the flesh on stage and have two drinks. Your bill for your night’s erection will cost you, at the low end, just under $50. For which you got two beers, a seat, and a chance to look at some tit. And wood. Which you’ll have to take care of yourself when you get back to your hotel room.
The same night at a gay gogo bar on Soi Twilight, for two beers, a seat, and a chance to have two guys fucking in your lap will run you 500 baht, or about $18 adding in a small tip, a few baht coins left in the check wallet. Even with sloppy math, that’s $30 less for a night out in Bangkok than in Vegas. And we didn’t even get into spending some private time with one of the bar’s employees. So what in the hell are you bitching about?
Ah! But this is Thailand you say. You can’t compare prices in the U.S. with prices in Bangkok. Prices in the Big Mango are less; it’s not a fair comparison. True. Though going no further I would argue a night out is a night out and comparing the two is legit. But you cheap bastards won’t let me get away with that. So let’s do a more comparative analysis.
Purchasing-power parity can be calculated using The Economist’s Big Mac Index which compares the price difference of the ubiquitous McDonald’s meal from one locale to another. Feel free to Google it, but for the first quarter of 2011, dollar for dollar a Big Mac costs 39% less in Thailand than in the U.S. Using our previous figures for two beers, a place for your ass, and a pair of nipples, the cost in Bangkok should be $30. That’s $12 more than what your night on Soi Twilight would actually run you. So what are you bitching about?
Don’t like fast food? Well, I was being nice. The Big Mac Index’s 39% is actually higher than any comparative consumer price indexes I could find. Ditto for tourist daily cost of living figures. The highest percentage difference I ran across on-line was a travel cost index using New York City as its base figure. In that analysis, prices in Bangkok came in at 48% less than in Las Vegas. Even then your Bangkok booty call should be running you $26, which is still $8 more than it did. So have another drink, and call it even.
I don’t expect to convince the cheap bastards that the gay gogo bar scene in Thailand is a value. No argument will. But possibly this will deflect their frequent complaints and allow first time visitors to Thailand to understand what exactly that 250 baht you are paying is for, and how good of a deal it is. But then a night in a gay gogo bar in Thailand, unless you are a cheap bastard, is priceless; a night spent back in your room with the guy of your dreams, worth any cost.
And if you are a cheap bastard, that $8.50 gives you an opportunity to bitch some more. Now everybody’s happy!