This is an amount of money a customer pays to the bar to take an employee, or even a freelancer, out of the bar. In beer bars the bar fine runs between 200 and 300 baht; short-time bars also charge from 200 to 500 baht while go-go bars are the most expensive with bar fines from as low as 300 baht (extremely rare and usually only for brief periods at the beginning or the end of the night), a standard 500 baht and often now from 550 to 600 baht. In peak periods such as Christmas Eve, Christmas Night, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Night a go-go may place an impost of 1,000 baht or more. The go-go bar fines are more expensive because the dancing girls earn far higher wages than their beer bar and short-time bar cousins.
The idea of the bar fine is to compensate the bar for the loss of an employee. After all, the reason most people go to a particular bar is to look at and chat with the employees. If the employees have all gone out with customers then the bar will be empty and the owner will not be making any money. Since Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights are usually the busiest for go-go bars, the owners of these places insist all employees turn up for work on those days. Any girls who fail to do so usually have 500 baht or more cut from their salary for each day they miss. The bar fine is only the first part of the transaction between you and the girl, it does not include any money she might ask for her extra-curricular activities.
How Much for a Night of Passion?
The key factor to remember about the girls of Pattaya is they are here to make as much money as they can each and every time they can. Some ask for ridiculous amounts on the basis there is always a sucker out there somewhere. Most recognize they have to cut their cloth to suit. If a potential bed partner is clearly a first-timer then the price for her services may well be pitched high; if the customer can speak some Thai and knows his way around then the girl is likely to be more realistic.
There are a lot of girls who seem to have no visible means of gainful employment and who sit on the stretch of the Beach Road promenade. Contrary to the comments made by some stupid people, the majority do not call out to every passer-by or single male; they are generally very much aware of body language and attuned to who is looking for female company and who is just out walking.
All Thai nationals over a certain age are required to carry an identification card. This is about the size of an average credit card, laminated plastic and contains a photo of the girl as well as her name, date of birth and the province she comes from. If a girl cannot produce an ID card then she could be under-age (and doesn’t want to produce the card) or is a Lao or Cambodian national and therefore probably illegally in Thailand. Many hotels ask girls to leave their ID card at the front desk when accompanying a customer to his room. This is sensible for all concerned as it protects against theft and also against future accusations of bringing an underage girl back to your room.
Girls working in the bar scene, whether they be employed on a monthly salary or freelancers just propping up a bar stool and chatting with friends who may be working at the bar in question, are always seeking to supplement their income by way of lady drinks. Many go-go bar operators impose a lady drinks per month minimum on their dancers as part of the salary package. For example, a go-go bar may tell a girl she needs to accrue 30 drinks a month from customers (as well as four or more offs). Lady drinks in most sensible go-go bars are priced between 80 and 100 baht. Some bar owners, for some reason these are usually in the worst or least attractive places, charge anywhere from 120 to 145 and more baht.
The girls will receive an average of 20-30 baht per drink, which they collect at the end of the night. Usually this is enough to pay for a plate or two of food after work each night and maybe a motorbike taxi home. That’s if they haven’t been bar-fined of course, or they happen to be the only Thai girl in Pattaya who is not hungry on average once every two to three hours. The above is one reason why a dancing girl, and even some waitresses, hustle customers for lady drinks. It’s not they want a drink per se; they want the money, honey. In some go-go bars, it might not be the dancer who makes the approach for the drink, it will be a waitress. The latter will stand in front of you and make the internationally recognized elbow bending movement followed by pointing at you and then the girl sitting with you. It’s entirely up to you whether you succumb to the pressure or not. If you happen to spot a girl you fancy and ask her over, then she is entitled to think you’ll at least purchase a drink for her, and this is fair.
This is a Japanese word meaning the same as ‘madam’ in English, only the mamasan usually doesn’t have a financial stake in the bar. She manages the girls and a good mamasan is worth her weight in gold; a bad one and the bar can lose girls and customers for no apparent reason.
There are dangers in taking freelance girls you meet on the street or in a disco back to your room. If you are robbed of money and valuables you really have no recourse unless the establishment you are staying in asks for the girl’s ID card before she is permitted to accompany you to your room. This is sensible practice as it protects both you and her if a problem subsequently arises. There are a lot of girls who work as freelancers in beer bars but these can be traceable if you have a problem. Nonetheless, it is sensible practice at all times to be aware of your money and valuables and keep them out of the way of temptation for light fingers. In the vast majority of cases the girls are honest and as long as you treat them with respect, you will receive respect in return.
Pattaya is full of boys who would be girls (and not a few girls who would be boys). Known by the term katoey, lady boys usually stand out in a crowd. For those who have been here a long time, whether as residents or long-time visitors, lady-boys are generally easy to spot. Occasionally, one or two will get past the radar and be capable of fooling even Thai girls. There are bars designed to attract the lady-boy fanciers (an example is Hi-Boss in Soi 6) and there are a few beer bars employing lady boys on an ad hoc basis. If a ‘woman’ looks a little too tall, or walks a little too much with a wiggle, or talks with either a little too deep a voice or perhaps with too much of a high squeal, then you might take a closer look at ‘her’ hands and, in particular, search for an Adam’s apple. If you’re still not sure, a quick grope between ‘her’ legs might do the trick; the only problem being that quite a few have had the ‘cut’.