Soi Twilight on a very Low Season Monday

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

Postby bobsaigon3 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:20 pm

Gerefan, I do admire your sense of humor. The Dreamboys' prices for drinks and offs are still outrageous, the highest in the soi, perhaps the highest of all gay venues in Thailand.

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

Postby Jun » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:03 am

Joachim wrote:I never give to beggars. It is not a question of greed but rather a philosophy. I am glad to tip person for a good service but to give away money for nothing is to promote the idea that some people should work hard for their living while others should get everything for free. This is especially true in case of able bodied beggars who quite obviously in position to work for living. Back at home (where, in fact we have very few beggars, my neighbour likes to engage them by offering some odd job (like repairing something in the house etc). None usually accept. In my view, it is profoundly unfair that majority of people should work really hard while others (frequently drug uses) believe that they are entitled to get everything for free.

Agree completely. In my entire lifetime, I have never given a single penny to beggars anywhere in the world & I intend it to stay that way.

In my own country, there is welfare. Those who beg also seem to subsidize habits like drinking and keeping a pet dog.
In Germany I've seen some of the non-native scum feigning disability, then 30 minutes scooting past me with their crutches thrown in the supermarket shopping trolley.
In Thailand, I'll distribute money to working people via my custom and where deserved, tips. They can decide how to care for the non-working types in their country.
As for the beggars deliberately crawling around in the dirt on the pavements of Bangkok, well they do that because it pays. Giving them money encourages such behaviour. If you must give money to beggars, these are the very last people who should get money.

Anyway, no doubt some will disagree with me, but you're not going to change my opinion or behaviour.

As for Soi Twilight, well the baht prices have gone up, exchange rate movements have made it more expensive for some customers & the phone apps can reduce the total cost of an off from >2500 baht to 1000 baht. All of that is bound to have some effect on customer numbers.

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

Postby fountainhall » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:46 am

I suggest there is a difference between giving to beggars and giving to a charity. I do not give more than a few baht to some beggars. But with the devastating earthquakes in Nepal 2 years ago and the two over the last 9 years in China's Sichuan Province or the horrific Japanese tsunami, I believe those who live in Asia have a duty to help in some way. So I generally donate what I can either to Medicines Sans Frontiers or the Red Cross. I have loved visiting both countries. I wanted to give something back, no matter how small.

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

Postby PeterUK » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:08 pm

Jun wrote: In my entire lifetime, I have never given a single penny to beggars anywhere in the world & I intend it to stay that way.

The things people boast about! I have no fixed policy about beggars. If they look able-bodied and of sound mind I will certainly walk on by without a qualm. If they are disabled but very pushy I am also likely to ignore them. There's a one-legged beggar who does the Jomtien Complex circuit whose impression of Uriah Heep with his exaggerated, ever-so-'umble, insincere grin as he wais cringingly before me actually brings out a powerful (and unworthy) urge in me to punch him in the face! Then there are those who are so horribly disabled that the decision to donate is an automatic reflex. Another of the Jomtien Complex beggars, who has about a third of his upper skull sliced clean away (birth? accident?) and who staggers along with obvious mental problems, gets an automatic 100 baht from me almost every time.

Often my decision to donate or not depends purely on my mood at the time. If I happen to be feeling happy, generous (or superstitiously hoping to improve my own luck!) I might slip a beggar a few coins (which he then examines with professional focus as I walk away). If on the other hand I'm feeling weighed down with my own worries or just dully unresponsive I might walk past a beggar whom I then guiltily feel I should have offered something.

So no fixed rules really. But to not only never give to beggars but actually be prepared to proclaim the sorry fact to the world at large - oh dear, please God never let me reach that stage of desolate hardheartedness.

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

Postby aussie » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:16 pm

Is it possible for Soi Twilight to reinvent itself with reasonable drink prices and more interesting entertainment? I was in Bangkok last week and the owner of Dream Boys and his waiter staff were sitting outside looking bored and disconsolate on a Wednesday night about 1000pm. Now if someone was waiving a sign about mid-week drink specials or something to take my notice i may have gone inside. I walked through Soi Twilight most nights and it is obviously in decline and most bars were empty or had a few customers . Soi 4 was busy every night so Telephone and Balcony are doing something good or maybe they are the only alternative to most customers not looking for go go bar type entertainment.

Boyztown Pattaya with the exception of BBB is heading the same way. The show and beer bars are near empty most nights including weekends. Drinks are expensive for most retirees living in Thailand and if there are no tourists with less limited budgets then the bars will stay empty. I will stay in Jomtien for my next visit here. More bars with my type of guy, reasonable drink prices, more farangs to chat with and managers who listen to their customers.

I don't have all the solutions but just a bit of business acumen and trying something new to interest and entice customers would help. It seems most of the bar owners are stuck in their ways and don't have the know how or interest to change.

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

Postby fountainhall » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:08 pm

This has been discussed many times on all the Boards with virtually the same sentiment being expressed: is there no viable business model that could stop the decline?

On the negative side, the answer is almost certainly ‘No’. As others have pointed out, since they heyday of the Bangkok gogo bars from the mid-1980s (they really were amazingly fun places then) up to around 2001, life has changed quite dramatically both here in Thailand and elsewhere. Although those in the countryside remain relatively poor, there is far more money around than used to be the case 20 - 30 years ago. It is much less easy to find 18-year lads needing to come to the capital to earn money for their families by working basically as prostitutes in bars. Hence the increasing number of guys from neighbouring countries in the gogo bars and bars.

HIV and AIDS must inevitably have given many second thoughts. But the Social Order Campaigns of the first Thaksin government in 2001 really did signal the beginning of the end. Venues had to close earlier, they were zoned, initially many were raided and some forced to close for a period. What these Campaigns really achieved, though, was an understanding amongst much of the population that sex for sale was a thriving business drawing more and more sex tourists to the country. Sex has always been part of the fabric of Thai society. The realization that the country was a sex tourism haven became a concern of many who had probably closed their eyes to the possibility, especially those in the middle and elite class. The campaigns certainly attracted high polling numbers thourghout the country.

I have often said that in the 1980s and 90s, many of the patrons at the Bangkok gogo bars were Thais. Many evenings there would be more Thais than farang and most were offing boys. Quite when the Thais started to disappear I’m not sure. There were still lots around in the early 2000s. Now they are almost nowhere to be seen.

So bar owners had to concentrate more on the farang market – and farang were coming in droves. Now, though, there have been more changes. Long distance travel is cheaper and gay sex is more openly available in more and more cities in various countries. Add in first the dating sites, then the availability of all types of porn on the internet and now the apps. All mean there is no need now to visit a bar with outrageous drinks prices and off fees.

I also believe the bars themselves have become, in most cases, downright boring. Dancing – as in gogo dancing – almost without exception means a very slow trot around a stage with the hope of some eye contact with a punter or two. The great dancing found in the My Way and Bariery bars of old is all but dead.

On a personal note, I also feel the fact that a large proportion of the boys now are straight whereas they used to be almost entirely gay has affected the atmosphere in most bars. The straight boys seem not to be as lively or as much fun throughout an evening. I get the impression they are almost exclusively out for an off whereas the young gay guys of older times were in the bar as much to have fun for themselves each evening as finding offs and getting tips. A contentious view, I know.

Lastly, there is the issue of the tea money paid to the BIB in order to stay open. I have lost track of how much the monthly amounts are in Soi Twilight but one of the mamasans I have known for 17 years told me not so long ago they were quite staggeringly high. Add in to the cost side high rents and a quickly falling customer base and it’s obvious why drinks and off prices are going sky-high.

Lots of ideas have been floated around about how the business model might be changed. The much missed blogger/poster Shameless Mack made a very long post on Gay Thailand many years ago in which he produced the model for a small but more intimate type of bar with several areas (if I can find that I will repost it). About 17 years ago, the English owner of X-treme Bar in Soi Twilight experimented by having the usual gogo dancers complimented by a different type of show. He got together a group of around ten excellent young semi-professional and fully professional gay dancers who put together half hour shows of excellent quality dancing. They really were highly enjoyable and great fun, but it was not what most punters wanted to see. Eventually his bar closed, the dancers moved over to another bar owned by the German owner of Dreamboys. I believe they then transferred to the then-new Roxy on Soi 4. That was in the same building where the famous almost exclusively gay Rome Club had been a roaring success for several years in the 1980s. Then, for some mad reason, the owner turned the Club into a straight dance Club. It died less than a year later. Roxy met the same fate much more quickly. Classic tried the swimming tank gimmick which was fun for a while but has become increasingly boring over the years.

The bar owners seem stuck in their own little rut, completely uninterested in trying anything new. But would anything new barring the complete nudity that used to be on display for several hours each night before the mid-1990s actually work? I don't think any boys would now agree to do it. Plus the authorities will ensure that will certainly definitely not be permitted to happen now.

So I have no answer your question! My own view is that the gogo bar scene in Bangkok will not last much longer. The farangs are largely disappearing and the new Asian tourists, whilst quite enjoying the lip-syncing and occasional nudity in the shows, aren’t there for the gogo boys. Nor are most there for the offs. One drink and they're gone.

As has been said before, the writing has been on the wall for a few years now. The gogo scene in Bangkok may last a bit longer. By 2020 I believe it will be dead.

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

Postby Daniel » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:14 pm

I spent a lot of time in Boyz Town during June and July. BBB was busy every night. Some nights in Toy Boys, there was insufficient seating for customers, and Panorama was doing very well for low season. While the clientele remains predominantly gay men, there are more and more groups containing straight men and women. Some groups in Panorama were entirely composed of straight people, who simply want to avoid the girl bars. No doubt, there are some that are uncomfortable with this, but if it were not for the straight money coming into Boy Town, I’m not sure it could survive. Boyz Town is reinventing itself.

I visited both Sunee and Jomtien. While Sunee still has a few excellent bars, the empty units, plethora of surrounding Arab establishments, and dim lighting, make it a most unattractive area. In Double Shot Bar and Elephant Plaza Bar, customers were enjoying Singha beer for 45 baht and double house spirits with mixer for 50 baht if ordered by 10.30. There will always be customers attracted to prices like these.

Jomtien Complex has found its mojo. There are lots of bars, lots of available young men, and the street is attractively lit. It’s far from having the same ‘party vibe’ of Boyz Town, but that is offset with cheaper prices. I feel much of the Complex’s success is due its location. Many expats live, and many tourists now stay, in Jomtien. Travelling back and forth in slow moving, crammed baht buses is cheap but not pleasant, and the additional cost of a motorbike taxi or hiring a baht bus is off-putting for most.

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

Postby fountainhall » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:39 pm

Daniel raises two very good points - access and customer base. Clearly Jomtien has little problem with either and can survive on its existing model. But on their own they are no guarantee of success.

Soi Twilight has easy access and should have a very large customer base considering all the tourists that visit Bangkok each year. Yet even with the tour groups it has been in a downward spiral for some years. Silom Soi 4 has many more customers and a party vibe. The beer bars in Soi Twilight are not expensive and can be fun. The gogo bars are expensive and are increasingly not much fun.

Form Daniel's post, I assume Jomtien's clientele is almost exclusively farang. If so, then that is precisely the customer group that has given up on Soi Twilight.

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

Postby Undaunted » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:04 pm

Daniel it is interesting that there are absolutley no straight tourists at any gay places in the complex...and most of the falang seem as if they are there merely to socialize and most bars have few boys on offer that are not fem twinks with the exception of a few Cambodians. I like some of the places to eat there but the fem boys for me are really a turn off.
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"


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

Postby Oliver » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:17 pm

I haven't been in the go-go bars in Soi Twilight for three or four years and so that interests me. There has clearly been something of a change since then. The main reason I stopped going was that there so few twinks. The bars seemed to have plenty of macho, straight guys in their late twenties or early thirties but not the sort of guys (I'm told) are to be found in Pattaya bars like Cupidol. Accordingly, during my two nights of freedom before P arrives, I now restrict myself to the host bars.
Perhaps next time, I'll have a look, even if I'm on my own! I can appreciate that the macho guys are the ones that bring in the Asian women.

As far as the decline is concerned, putting aside the fact that are fewer of our age-group travelling there, Fountainhall's post nails it. Particularly resonant to me is his reference to the gay go go dancers being more "fun" than the ones of today. They laughed and joked with each other-and with us. Over a period of time, this lively atmosphere was lost as straight guys stood in a line preening themselves and barely twitching a muscle. If the cast of a show ( I refer to the go-go show) clearly don't enjoy themselves, you can be certain that we won't either.

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