I remember like it was yesterday, my very first experience with a Thai bar girl…
Having never been to Thailand before or knowing much about this country, I was about as naïve as they come regarding all things Thailand. And no where was this more noticeable than in the Bar scene.
My friend and I arrived in Koh Samui from Bangkok by Lomprayah bus and boat. It was not a terrible traveling experience, just long. It took nearly 12 hours to arrive in Koh Samui.
Once we arrived, we booked a hotel room near the pier. A couple hundred meters down the road from our hotel, we see a few bars with pool tables and each bar is full of very cute girls.
Walking past them to find a restaurant, three girls jumped out of their seats, take us by the arms, and try to pull us into the bar.
Not used to getting so much attention from women, I turn bright red, slip out of their grip, and proceed to eat an excellent Thai dinner which costs about 1.50usd.
Later that night my friend asks me if we want to go out and play some pool at the bar. I agree and we head out.
One thing you need to know, my friend is from Mexico. He is a short, stocky, brown man. Some have even said he looks like he is from north Thailand. But he has never been to Thailand before and is as unaccustomed to the culture as I am.
So we enter the bar and instantly have a Thai woman on each arm. We look at each other smiling, we heard Thailand was easy but this was more than easy, this was awesome!
We order a couple Singha beers, and head to the pool table. The girls are right next to us and ask if we want to play teams. We agree and I choose the most attractive one. She is short, tan smooth skin, great smile, incredible body, and in her middle 20’s. For my first day in Thailand, things are looking great.
Things are going even better. She is sitting on my lap and whispers in my ear that she likes me and would like a drink. I agree and buy whatever she wants.
I tell her I’d like to take her out for dinner and drinks tomorrow. She says why wait and wants to go tonight.
I agree and wait for her to change her clothes.
I go to the bar manager and ask for my bill. I look it over and notice there is an extra 300 baht charge. I ask about it this.
She says, “This is for bar.”
“What do you mean “for bar”? I have to pay you 300 baht for the right to drink here?”
She says, “For bar for girl.” Then she looks at my friend and speaks to him in Thai.
Since my Mexican friend speaks little English and absolutely no Thai, we look at each other equally confused.
I challenge the manager again and say that I’m not going to pay 300 baht for just the right to drink here. She attempts to explain it again, but I’m getting too worked up to listen.
The girl comes out and is looking even better in her short sexy black dress. I never liked Asian girls before, but she is quickly changing that. She puts her hand around me and asks what’s going on. I tell her.
She responds, “You pay 300 baht to bar and you pay me 2,000. I go with you.”
“What the fuck, now I have to pay you 2,000 baht.”
This was getting worse and worse…
She looks at me confused….
I look back at her equally confused. It seems minutes pass until the only logical reason why this is happening pops in my head, this must be a scam….
“What kind of scam do you got going on here? Forget this, here’s the money for my drinks. I’m never coming to this place again.”
I slam down my money for the drinks and get the hell out of there. Feeling scammed, embarrassed, and humiliated all at once.
I thought she liked me…
Then I do what any self respecting man would do for answers, I turn on the computer and go straight to Google.
Ten minutes later I feel like an idiot. They weren’t trying to scam me, I just walked into a brothel without knowing it.
Here is what I learned that night surfing the internet:
Bar Girls 101
A bar girl is a girl who works at a bar in Thailand. She usually has a shift from open to close and works every day.
For her to leave the bar anytime during her shift, she must pay a bar fine. The bar fine can vary from 300 – 1000 baht.
If she meets a guy after her shift, and does not return in time for her next shift, she still must pay her bar fine.
Bar girls make money three different ways.
1- They get a small portion of the bar fine. If the bar fine is 300 baht, they usually get 100 baht.
2- Drinks. If you buy the girl a drink at the bar, they will get a small commission for the drink. This commission can be between 20 – 80 baht per drink. Which is why drinks for girls is more expensive than normal drinks.
3- First and foremost, a bar girl is a prostitute. When you are with her at the bar, she will negotiate with you on the fee to take her home. You can pay for a short time (sex one time) or long time (she stays with you all night).
The fee will range from 500 – 3000 baht. The girl does not have to split this fee with anyone else.
During high season, these girls will go with 3 or 4 different men every day. They don’t usually discriminate if the money is good.
If you meet a bar girl and god forbid, you use the words, “She’s different.” Then you have the option to “buy her out from the bar”.
Instead of paying the 300 baht bar fine every single day, you pay one large sum to the bar and she will no longer have to return working at the bar. This amount will usually be between 10,000 – 20,000 baht.
Note, she is not necessarily a slave to the bar. But when she started working there, she made an agreement with the establishment. This agreement states that she can not stop working and stay with a man that she met while working at the bar. For her to stay with the man, he will have to pay for her to finish work at the bar.
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, my first time in Thailand and my very first encounter with a prostitute. It may have been my first, but it sure as hell was not my last…