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Soi Cowboy… Love you long time lane

The (in)famous Soi Cowboy is the red light district of Sukhumvit, Bangkok. And theres is only one reason to go there….you know…

(Soi Cowboy at dusk. Photo by JJ Harrison)

Catering mainly to tourists and expats, the area, a short strip, is made of 40 go-go bars, rife with ladies (and ladyboys) in tiny bikinis. Some even topless or nude bars. Even though it’s illegal, the police are paid to look the other way.

Much like PatPong and Nana Plaza, It’s a kind of “anything goes” area and if you’re happy to pay the price… and the “bar fine,” then you can get yourself a beer along with…well..we can leave that to your imagination.

Arguably one of the most well know, and most taboo things about Thailand is its vast (and I mean vast) sex trade. Tourists flock from all over the world to indulge in debauchery. Thailand has of the most confusing laws on prostitution in the world (I don’t think even Thailand knows). It’s kinda illegal, but at the same time its not.

It’s actually your right to buy “satisfaction” and therefore you cannot be told off for doing so, the call girl can get a fine of 1000 Baht (about £18) but this rarely happens.

So it’s understandable why so many people flock over there for some hanky lanky with a go-go girl.

(go-go bars at Soi Cowby. Photo courtesy of

Thinking of going? Well don’t leave it too late. When Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra came into office back in 2001, his government created a “social order” campaign, forcing bars, nightclubs and restaurants that are not in designated “entertainment” areas to close at 2am, later changed to 1am. Soi Cowboy wasn’t given this designation. Nowadays though, this law is blatantly ignored, and you can find bars open until 2.30am.

Have you ever been?? Go on…tell us. We promise we won’t tell :p