Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

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fountainhall
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#41 Re: Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

Postby fountainhall » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:38 am

I fear I do, Oliver - although I would not have missed those early days for anything. Last week's trip to the Soi almost exactly marked the 38th anniversary of my first short Bangkok visit. It was fascinating to watch the gay scene grow from a few bars, through the start of the small saunas - Volt off Asoke was the first I visited, then the 10-storey Obelisks, another in a small Soi off Ploenchit between what is now the Holiday Inn and Central Chidlom, and then Babylon and Heaven - the disco boom etc.

Strangely I don't have early memories of massage spas. The first I visited - I think - was Albury days after it opened in 1997 or 8. I was visiting friends who lived on Soi 15 around the corner and we all thought it worth a try. It sooon became my regular and Noom my favourite massage boy. I had earlier had a few massages from a lovely guy who worked at the original Babylon (all the staff seemed lovely there!!), but Albury was my first spa experience.

In my view the real start of the slippery downhill slide were the Social Order Campaigns in 2001. I'm sure others will correct me if I have the info wrong, but it seems around then that the wonderful Barbiery moved to the Soi opposite Nature Boys before dying a quick death and Twilight changed totally and became Hotmale.

It's perhaps unfair to target Thaksin as the culprit as it was his highly moral and religious Interior Minister who promoted them (politicians and morality really did mix with this guy)! And the constant pressure he exercised brought him a lot of popularity locally, although increasingly not with many gay tourists.

As the New York Times wrote in a 2-part article "'Social Order' Takes the Life Out of Night Life". Even Kurt Wachtveitl, the esteemed GM of the Oriental Hotel, chimed in against the nightlife restrictions.

Would it have remained the same if those Campaigns had never been introduced? Probably not, but that's crystal ball time!

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#42 Re: Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

Postby fountainhall » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:23 am

Back to Shameless Mac's Prototype. I like the idea of bars which are smaller, perhaps more targeted and with different sections. I suspect there will definitely be a market for those with a couple of small show rooms perhaps only with nudity and more intimate dancing. Even with a "no touch policy unless tips are given", I can see a couple of dozen customers prepared to pay extra for 45 minutes or so in the presence of some cute guys - if the guys go along with the idea. As others have pointed out, despite the Thai convention of shyness, perhaps money would indeed talk. On Saturday I happened to visit a straight massage spa on Sribumphen having seen a cute guy outside for quite some weeks. Newish to Bangkok and not gay, he was very reluctant to remove all his clothes. Once the tip I offered reached a certain level, all resistance disappeared!!

I'm not sure if the authorities main complaint is that the gogo bars exist or that they have sex shows - or are basically outlets for prostitution. Many girlie bars get away with the sex show model and are also places of prostitution. Gay saunas get away with naked nights seemingly without a problem. Despite my earlier comments, I think there is a market for this type of bar. Provided nothing untoward goes on in the more private rooms, might the BIB turn a blind eye? Might it draw back some of the disappearing farang market? Would it have an appeal for the Asian tourist?

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#43 Re: Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

Postby a447 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:58 am

The only way Soi Twilight can survive into the future is if they can capture the Chinese gay market. Not curious tourists, but actual gay guys who are willing to off boys as we do, not just watch a show and have a drink.

If the boys don't get offed, why would they bother turning up every night? They'd make more money on the apps.

The old German will be retiring soon. He doesn't care whether or not the boys get offed; he's just interested in making a reasonable amount every night from drinks.

Are any of the bars actively pursuing the gay dollar by advertising on Chinese websites?

I seriously doubt it.

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#44 Re: Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

Postby Undaunted » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:46 am

When I am in BKK I see many groups of young Chinese gay guys in Soi 4 they aren't interested in the commercial gay scene and why should they with all the apps. and saunas. Soi twilight's decline is symptamatic of most if not all gay venues in Thailand.
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

Oliver

#45 Re: Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

Postby Oliver » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:42 pm

The problem with the Chinese tourists is that they are group-minded; how often do we see singles? It is much more likely that a single guy- as I assume most of us are, or were in our "offing careers"- will attend a bar to meet someone than those in a group of friends. They'll drink, maybe even leer but then leave together. I wonder whether they even book single rooms at hotels. And they even go to Babylon together in some cases.
My impression is that Thai punters are similar in this respect.

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#46 Re: Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

Postby Undaunted » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:02 pm

Oliver wrote:The problem with the Chinese tourists is that they are group-minded; how often do we see singles?

They travel much the same as the Japanese did years ago minus the cameras around their necks.
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

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#47 Re: Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

Postby a447 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:34 pm

Oliver, they are exactly the type of tourists who will not save soi Twilight.

If punters don't off the boys, then the sex trade will just go to the apps and the bars will close.

They need to advertise to the single guys in China and let them know what is available. Even if only a very small percentage of Chinese gays are interested in travelling alone and offing boys, that would still be a considerable number.

The Chinese signs outside the bars only mention show times and drink prices. They need to encourage the visitors to off a boy, perhaps by telling them the boys are available and stating the off fee. Let them know that the night doesn't have to end with just a drink and a show.

They need to do something.

Oliver

#48 Re: Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

Postby Oliver » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:09 pm

I wonder what opportunities Chinese single guys have to learn about Thailand's unique opportunities. A few years ago, I saw a mamasan in Fresh Boys explaining the system at inordinate length to a young Chinese guy who had clearly arrived with little knowledge but wanted to try.
Hotels have successfully marketed themselves to Chinese tourists- the one P. and I stay in regularly is 90% Chinese- and so there must be ways of advertising . There's plenty of Chinese gay porn on-line, too and it's certain that gay sites exist there.
However, even if more single Chinese were to come, wouldn't they react to the scene in much the same as our younger falangs do and prefer non-commercial sex?
The target age group must be the 40 plus one....but how do bars attract them?

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#49 Re: Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

Postby fountainhall » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:02 pm

Oliver wrote:Hotels have successfully marketed themselves to Chinese tourists- the one P. and I stay in regularly is 90% Chinese- and so there must be ways of advertising

With that number of Chinese, I suspect the hotel will be selling almost exclusively to tour agents. So apart from a few "familiarity visits", little advertising will be required.

I think a great many Chinese gay guys are well aware of Bangkok's gay sex scene. China has a large number of websites at least some of which discuss gay travel issues. As a result, word gets spread around quickly. But from the many guys I have both met and chatted with (admittedly younger than the age group Oliver mentions), their priorities are quite different from most westerners. They are fascinated by what they see as the freedom of Bangkok's nightlife, but the idea of offing a barboy has no real interest for them. If they want sex, they will go to a sauna or more often for a massage. I don't write Chinese and so can't quote examples. But if you check the travel section on Singapore gay sites, at least half the extensive posts are about specific massage spas, the most handsome guys for massage and whether HEs are more than just hand jobs. I see almost no posts about specific gogo boy bars - or even gogo bars in general.

Westerners find Thais extremely attractive and many are happy to pay for sex. The impression I have is that Thais do not hold anything like the same attraction for other East Asians. My young Asian friends far prefer Soi 4 to Soi Twilight.

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#50 Re: Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

Postby christianpfc » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:38 pm

In low season, some bars should close for some months and the boys work either in other bars or go home. Thus, a viable ratio of staff to customers can be maintained.

If the bar owns the building, they have no income from the property (but still better than running at a loss, and I would say most places run at a loss). If they rent the space, they would have to continue paying rent to come back in high season, but no expenses for staff, light/water, bribes.


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