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But don’t just listen to the moaners and groaners – Pattaya is still the world’s central hub of raunchy nightlife and “adult entertainment” unrivaled anywhere across the globe; a virtual “Disneyland for adults” where a man can materialize his secret dream of sexy exotic women at relatively affordable prices; not forgetting the infrastructure and general safety provided for tourists – aspects where aspiring destinations like Cambodia or the Philippines simply lag light-years behind Pattaya.Men come to Pattaya for sex – the core service that bar girls provide.You can pick up freelancer hookers most easily along the Pattaya beach promenade or in one of the notorious late-night bars and dance clubs on Walking Street that are essentially pick-up joints for freelancers, for example, JP Bar on Soi Lucky Star, Insomnia, Marine Disco, Lucifer’s or Tony’s.As a single male, you probably won’t just easily spot them there but will sooner rather than later get chatted up by one anyway. (“Normal” Thai women that don’t work in the bar industry would as good as never chat up or date foreign guys in Pattaya.True, Pattaya has made immense efforts to upgrade its sleazy image in the past decade – away from its tattered reputation as a receptacle for so-called sex tourists and “sexpats”, towards more “upmarket” and family-friendly “quality” tourism.Then again, have these efforts been really successful?In that respect, the girls of Pattaya have been the driving force behind the city’s boom – an attribute they were never given kudos for – and still keep on making the world go round in that little parallel universe that Pattaya resembles for single male tourists. And what should you as a tourist be prepared for (and aware of) when engaging with them?And well, if it ain’t broke, you wouldn’t fix it, would you? To start with, you need to realize that the vast majority of working girls in Pattaya’s bars and Go Go clubs don’t actually come from Pattaya but hail from Thailand’s rural northeastern region commonly known as Isaan (or Isan, Esarn).
While infrastructure in the region has developed continuously since the turn of the millennium, and the rich-poor divide between Bangkok and Isaan has slightly decreased, many Isaan people, especially from rural areas, are still seeking higher-paying work outside the region, particularly in Bangkok.
Here’s a thought experiment: Simply imagine a completely redesigned “clean” Pattaya without its hundreds of bars and Go Go clubs and their 20,000 or so bar ladies, lightly-dressed coyote dancers and ladyboys – how many tourists do you think would still opt for Pattaya as a holiday destination?
Probably significantly less than the 9.1 million visitors Pattaya attracted in 2014.
(At least that’s the girls’ version.) Nearly all bar girls you’ll meet in Pattaya – we’d say probably more than 95% – have also given birth to at least one child that has usually been entrusted in their parents’ or grandparents’ care.
The obligation to not only support their kids financially but also their parents or other family members who look after the children, certainly adds to the financial pressure bar girls have to cope with. While a more serious relationship may always be on the horizon, as a tourist “dating” bar girls in Pattaya, please accept one fundamental fact: In the first place, you’re just another customer paying for their girlfriend-like services and are nowhere near the top of their priority list. Thai women with more romantic ambitions increasingly hook up with foreign guys on social networking and dating sites rather than work in a bar in Pattaya, which not so long ago was virtually the only platform where Thai girls from the countryside could hook up with love-starved Western guys.