Thai Bar Girls – Money for Honey

How much does it cost for a night with a Thai bar girl? That’s a question I get asked a lot, mainly from 30 to 50-year-old single guys. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the bar girl scene, but the rules will be just the same, and money as ever the name of the game – money for honey to be exact.

Beyond The Mango Juice takes a look at the world of the Pattaya bar girls, aiming to arm Thailand newbies with some rules, etiquette and information on the “dancing queens” of Pattaya.

All photographs in this post are used for illustration purposes only and do not imply the girl’s pictured sell sex.


Pattaya Bar Girls

They say it’s the oldest profession in the world, but I think the word “prostitute” is a little too harsh to label and slap on Pattaya bar girls. Working girls are what they like to call themselves, and I couldn’t agree more. Anyone new to Thailand needs to understand that the country has no social benefits system in place for unemployment or child care – if you don’t work, you don’t get any money.

Given the life that most of the bar girls tourist customers have, I’m sure the girls – if they had the same opportunities, would also hold down jobs in offices and factories and not lay on their backs and think of Thailand. Most of them are from the poorer provinces of Thailand and are single mothers with young kids to feed, and that makes it harder to ignore the lure of tourist resorts like Pattaya.

Pattaya Bar Etiquette

sexy-pattaya-babesRespect is the main word you need to know and put into practice. In any walk of life if you have to do something that you consider beneath you, then you hope you receive a little respect from others when carrying out those humble tasks. Thai women feel the same but will deep-six their morals and self-respect with a smile.

Anyone who is planning to hop from bar to bar and pull a different bar girl each time then that’s fine, but if a punter returns to a bar and ignores a girl he’s taken before in favour of a different one, then sparks may fly.

If you do return to the same bar, then do not pick up a different girl unless the one you bar fined before is with another customer – and even then think twice. If the girl is not with a someone and you bar fine a different one, she’s going to lose face big time, and big money too, that’s a combination which often leads to trouble. There are plenty of bars with plenty of girls about, don’t play with someone’s dignity, or put Thai style, don’t make the girl lose face.

A Little Bit Of Spiel

  • The MarketThere are two market types, buying and selling. Peak season is the seller’s market where the bar girls hand is strong, plenty of tourists means plenty of customers, and with it, the price of honey goes up. The off-season sees much lower tourist levels, and this makes a buyers market, the tourist has many more girls to choose from making the buying price drop.
  • No Money No Honey – After just a couple of days in Pattaya most middle-aged men feel ten years younger and believe their looks reflect that. A bar girl’s sweet tongue can iron out the most unkind and deepest of wrinkles, to the wearer at least. No matter how good you may think you look if you run out of coin then no bar girl is going to give you the honey she’s sat on, ever.
  • Bar Fine – A fee paid to the bar owner to release the bar girl from her hostess duties at the bar. Prices range from 300-500 baht for one day/night. The bar girl will receive a small cut of the bar fine.
  • Butterfly – The simple term used by Thai bar girls for tourists who fly from one girl to the next. Farangs, who despite being in a lengthy relationship, still find the lure of other bar girls hard to resist. A helicopter is another word used.
  • Short Time/ Long Time – Self-explanatory. Some bars will have rooms upstairs where you can take one of the girls for a short period and do the business. Most bars haven’t got them, and you’ll have to take the bar girl back to your hotel room for a short time or a long time. Long time means all night typically, and the girl will hope to tag onto you for the next day and beyond.

Doing The Deal

Thai bar girlA perfect place for any newbie to dip their toes in Pattaya’s nightlife are two trendy side streets off Beach Road, Soi 7 & Soi 8. They both have loads of bars and hundreds of bar girls and bar fining one is very easy to do. You just need to sit in a bar, grab a beer and wait – as a rule, and you won’t be waiting long.

The girls will come to you with baht signs in their big brown eyes and if a particular one does catch your fancy then don’t come on too much because her hand will be a lot stronger if you make the first move and she’ll want to charge you more. Act calm and have some fun with the girl haggling over the money she wants before you bar fine her. Just remember that simple word respect.

How Much For A Bit Of This And That

The following and all the above has been solely based on bars and not Go-Go Bars; they have different rules, etiquette and prices and that brings us back to The Markets, and we’ll start with the buyers one. Off-season an experienced Pattaya tourist (remember this is 2008) can look to pay as low as 500 baht for long time with a bar girl. Newbies will probably need to bargain hard to get a long-term deal for around the 700-1000 baht mark. Short term prices would be, if anything, only slightly lower. The bar fine is extra on top.

The seller’s market makes the stakes a lot higher. December and January are peak season, and a lot more Thai women head to resorts like Pattaya to grab a slice of the tourist cake. Any newbie will be looking at paying 1000-2000 baht for the same service he would receive off-season (700-100 THB). The experienced Butterfly might quickly get the same girl for around the 500-1000 baht mark.

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This post has merely skimmed the murky waters Thai bar girls float their boats on and the smiles and guiles that come with them. There are lots of things to consider when trying to bargain hunt Pattaya bar girls and the price they expect you to pay – she’s waiting on her sugar daddy to arrive back in town is one, she thinks you’re a Cheap Charlie another, these are things you’ll have to weigh up yourself and decide if they greenlight the ‘price’ will there be any trouble that may be an add-on. There’s not a set fee for a bar girl, and they are out to get the best dollar they can.

Have fun in the sun and show that simple country girl respect.



I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

34 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    HD not my scene, but a well written piece. On the other hand if I had discovered Thailand 30 years ago who knows.

    Mike’s last blog post..A New Broom Sleeps Clean in Thailand.

  2. Bodhi says:

    The one quirk that I always found fascinating, is how the whole thing is just all so respectable and normal. To the girl, and their family back home, they are Working. Plain and simple. It’s just work. As long as it’s with a farang.

    Then again. With the comparison of a thai girl working in a gogo, or as a hotel receptionist. It’s the equivalent in the West in terms of salary between being a lawyer or stocking shelves at Walmart. Guess with big money comes acceptance.

    Bodhi’s last blog post..Fearless

  3. martin in bulgaria says:

    One of the oldest trades in the world and still going strong.
    Very interesting etiquette you have givne out HD. I also think that many tourists visit just for this sort of thing. The demand is therefore still high and it sounds like there are two options – make it illegal or moderate it. The former is impossible therefore the latter seems to have been successfully done in you neck of the woods.

    Are there any vacancies for Brit Bar Males? Many I’m sure many Brits would do it just for the pleasure! lol

    martin in bulgaria’s last blog post..Living or Surviving in Bulgaria?

  4. Lostinbangkok says:

    It’s been a while since i have been in pattaya but the etiquette rules are spot on!

  5. Talen says:

    I’ll be in Pattaya right before Songkran but I’ve been told by the missus ” you look lady too mutt and I cut cut cut”

    If I survive the few days in Pattaya without getting cut I’ll be beating a hasty retreat up country before the serious water fights start.

    Talen’s last blog post..Briton Hauls in Record Fresh Water Stingray

  6. Hoo Don says:

    Mike – I’d settle for 30 years ago. I realize the topic is not really to everyone’s taste but it is nonetheless a subject that is very much Thailand. It is now not my scene, like you I much prefer the quieter natural Thailand life. Thanks for your comment.

    Bodhi – It has always amazed me how these families put to the back of their minds the daughters profession.Yes as you say I think the money does talk rather loudly and smooths the path of acceptance.

    Martin – Most Pattaya tourists are there for one thing and one thing only. When I was in Bulgaria years ago I noticed the Russian Mafia had introduced the sex scene into one of the big hotels in Sunny Beach. Perhaps you could try for a job there.

    Lostinbangkok – The rules never change only the girls and the customers.Thanks for dropping by.

    Talen – Hardly the kindest cut of all, make sure she doesn’t bring any baloons. Songkran in the village, that brings back happy memories. Being the farang of course makes you the kids number one target. Happy memories.

  7. David from greystones says:

    In terms of the bar girls. There is a level of denile in Thailand that spans all levels. The girls and their families are in Denial on how they earn the money. For many families it is the only income. There is denial from the police who collect money every month in corrupt payments from the bars.I have seen a “share out of this money” in a Pattata seaside restaurant, among high ranking officers. And ultimately, a denial in the upper echalants of government when they get their pay offs from the police who they appointed. It is a system that has existed since the GI’s firsr started paying for sex. Then Pattaya was a small fishing village. The whole city has grown up from this coruption and Denial. It ain’t a River in Africa

  8. David from greystones says:

    DENIAL not nile

  9. David from greystones says:

    This should be read by anyone interested in what happens when a
    foreigner in Thailand decides to take on the system and fight for
    justice and I hope that this account will offer some guidance to
    anyone in a similar situation.

    In November 2008 I received an email from “Alan” ( full name Ilhan
    Ozturk) asking for my assistance. I thought it was just another one of
    the many similar emails I’ve received from my readers over the last
    two years. However, even though his English was at times hard to
    understand, the story Alan had to tell attracted my attention.

    I spoke to him on the phone and he decided to travel from Bangkok to
    Pattaya to see me at my office where we chatted for some time. I
    became very moved by what he told me and my interest was further
    aroused when I realized I was well acquainted with one of the key
    antagonists involved in his story.

    At about 11:45 on the 5th December 2006, a speed boat operated by a
    well known local operator was carrying a group of Turkish tourists
    from Pattaya Beach to Koh Lahn island, a trip lasting just 15 minutes.
    The sea on that day was particularly rough and red flags were flying
    advising boats to stay ashore. The 19-year-old boatman ignored the
    warnings and headed at full speed for the island oblivious to the
    requests from the passengers to slow down.

    At approximately 1 km from its destination the structure of the boat
    failed, the hull split and the vessel began to take on water and sink.
    The 18 passengers onboard then realized that their number was more
    than the boat’s official capacity of 12 and with a sense of panic
    discovered that there were only 13 lifejackets onboard.

    The tour leader took command of the situation and told everyone to
    calm down, reassuring them that they were not far from the rescue
    services and help would arrive within 10 to 20 minutes. He handed out
    the limited number of lifejackets to the passengers, but not to
    himself, even though he knew he wasn’t a strong swimmer and wouldn’t
    manage to survive long in the water.

    As the boat sank the passengers ended up in the rough sea swimming and
    hanging on to anything available to keep them afloat. Another boat
    passed by and managed to pick up a few of the passengers but
    inexplicably continued on its journey without waiting for additional
    help to appear.

    The rescue team didn’t arrive until 2 pm, 2 hours after the accident.
    It remains a mystery as to why the rescue service, based on Koh Lahn
    just a few minutes from the scene of the accident, took so long to

    Most of the passengers were in shock and two of them were admitted to
    the ICU at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital. The tour leader, who had remained
    calm and reassured his group throughout the crisis, disappeared into
    the sea and he was never seen alive again. The tour leader was Alan’s
    younger brother, Ichami. He was 36 years old and married with a young

    At the time Alan was running a restaurant in Pattaya and on hearing of
    the accident he rushed to the scene to help search for his brother. He
    contacted local officials to help with the search but none was
    forthcoming. Even the company which owned the boat was not interested
    in offering any assistance. To Alan’s surprise and dismay the search
    was called off after a few hours.

    Two days later his brother’s body was found by a fisherman. Alan
    assumed local officials would assist him with the necessary
    arrangements such as the autopsy and the procedure to send his
    brother’s body back home to Turkey. However, neither local and
    government agencies nor the boat company offered any help at all and
    the burden was on Alan alone, grieving at the loss of his brother, to
    fund the costs and take care of all the practical and legal

    After sending his brother’s body home, Alan decided to sue the boat
    owner, who happens to be a well connected businessman in Pattaya who
    I’ll call “Mr. H”. Mr. H refused to take responsibility even though
    the boat was revealed to be in a poor condition and lacked a technical
    certificate and insurance. It was then suggested to Alan that he sue
    the boatman who had been charged with reckless operation of his
    motorboat. The boatman also had no licence.

    After 2 long years the criminal case against the boatman finally
    ended. The young man confessed and he was punished with a jail term of
    two years. With no previous criminal record, the sentence was
    conditional and he was free to go back to his job driving rotten,
    uninsured boats from Pattaya beach to Kho Lahn every day.

    Alan’s brother “Ichami”

    By this time, in 2007, Alan had learned that there was more to the
    case than he previously realized. The boat owner, it seems, had
    friends in high places, including high ranking Pattaya officials and
    the police. His lawyer had suggested that Alan should sue Mr. H for
    negligence. It would be a civil case and might take some time, but it
    was the only way to get something out of this very influential and
    powerful man.

    At our meeting in my office Alan showed me a big stack of documents
    including letters from his embassy, the TAT, the Minister of
    Transportation, The Pattaya TAT and the Pattaya City hall itself.

    I really felt sorry for Alan, who was reaching the end of his tether.
    It also became very apparent he had difficulty communicating with his
    lawyer and I decided to get myself involved.

    Mr. Sanit Boonmachai
    Among the many officials Alan had tried to contact, but without
    success, was Mr. Sanit Boonmachai whose department at Pattaya City
    Hall has ultimate responsibility for the licensing and control of all
    marine vessels in Pattaya. Alan told me this man was very powerful. I
    smiled and told Alan “Yes, he is. I also know why this guy has been
    avoiding you”. Unbeknown to Alan, one of the main election canvassers
    for Mr. Sanit and his team of officials was Mr. H.

    That day we went to City Hall and, not surprisingly, Mr. Sanit was
    unavailable to see us and we instead ended up enjoying the hospitality
    and smiles of the City Hall secretaries and hostesses.

    We had lunch at a small restaurant where we spoke further and I could
    ask Alan what exactly he wanted.

    He was now becoming very frustrated. His brother had been dead for two
    years. The boatman was forgiven and now back at work. Alan originally
    intended to sue the Mr. H for 12 million Baht but was told he needed
    to lodge security with the court, an amount which was beyond his
    means. He consequently reduced his claim to 1.6 million Baht.

    I told him if he carried on with the court case, it could take up to 5
    years to get the 1.6 million so it may be better to come to a
    compromise. Alan said he’d already had five such “compromise” meetings
    and four times Mr. H never turned up. It had already cost him a lot of
    money to travel back and forth from Bangkok to Pattaya and sometimes
    from overseas. At the last meeting, two months previous, the
    defendant’s lawyer said they agreed to pay 400,000 Baht.

    Alan refused the offer and was really upset that such a small value
    was put on his brother’s life and the hardship facing his brother’s
    son and widow. Mr. H had also claimed Alan’s brother refused to wear a
    lifejacket and that at the time of the accident he was drunk.

    Alan’s next meeting was to take place the following day at the Pattaya
    District Court, where I agreed to be his interpreter.

    In the two months since the offer of 400,000 Baht, Alan had thought
    things through carefully and he and his girlfriend, whom he was due to
    marry shortly, had come to the decision that they would just accept
    the amount on the table and put this all behind them, even though he
    instinctively felt the defendant would never actually pay.

    Anyway, the next day we went to court. I also invited along an English
    friend as an observer. There were several cases to be heard that day,
    Alan’s being the last. The second case involved two young Thai men who
    were sentenced to 4 years in jail for stealing 10,000 Baht’s worth of
    electric cable. Police handcuffed the shocked pair and led them away
    as their families cried on the bench behind us. The irony of their
    harsh sentence was not lost on us as we compared it to the levity of
    that handed down to the boatman responsible for the death of Alan’s
    brother and the suffering of the other passengers.

    Mr. H hadn’t bothered to turn up and the reason why was plain when his
    representatives informed the court that the offer of compensation had
    been reduced from 400,000 to 100,000 Baht. Alan was very upset and
    refused to accept that amount of money. The defendant’s legal counsel
    completely dominated the proceedings and I could see that Alan’s
    lawyer appeared hopeless and intimidated.

    It was virtually impossible for Alan to put his case until, when we
    realized the opposition were asking the court to postpone the
    proceedings for another full year, we [Alan& I] had to raise our hands
    for permission to talk. Luckily the Judge listened to us and scheduled
    the next meeting for 23rd January 2009 when, she advised, Mr. H and
    his full legal counsel must be present.

    And so it was that on the 23th January, we returned to the court
    again. In the meantime Alan had had more meetings with government
    officials in Bangkok who, it seemed, were becoming more sympathetic to
    his cause. One government department had ordered their Pattaya
    counterparts to send observers to the court.

    This time Mr. H was present and sat with an air of authority and
    confidence bordering on cockiness. It was fascinating to see the
    change in his demeanor as a small group of uniformed officials, the
    observers requested by Bangkok, entered the court. He showed obvious
    surprise and a sense of uneasiness.

    The judge was not the same as before but once again Alan’s lawyer was
    obviously scared of the defendant. He hadn’t prepared the necessary
    papers and his performance was borderline incompetence. I did my best
    to help as friend and interpreter but I was limited as to how much I
    could get involved in the court proceedings.

    Unfortunately, the case was once again postponed – this time until the
    end of this year (2009).

    Although downhearted, Alan was encouraged by the court appearance of
    the official observers. He had also decided to give his case more
    publicity, especially outside Thailand. With this in mind it now
    seemed a good idea to Alan to broaden the spectrum of officialdom
    involved. So we went to see the head of the Pattaya Immigration Police
    who gave us a warm welcome and showed a genuine interest in Alan’s
    case. He even contacted two top ranking officers of the Tourist police
    and invited them to join us together with a lawyer and his assistant
    and some other officials.

    We all had lunch together and spent nearly two hours discussing Alan’s
    case and its implications. I must admit this show of support was
    unexpected and was certainly a morale booster for Alan. It was agreed
    they would use their contacts and influence to try and persuade Mr. H
    to show some understanding and come to an amicable agreement with
    Alan. We left the immigration office feeling very optimistic and Alan
    returned to Bangkok.

    At the Immigration with Torist Police

    Two weeks later, I received a call from the Pattaya Tourist Police.
    The news wasn’t good. They had approached various officials including
    the Pattaya City Mayor but no-one seemed interested in contacting Mr.
    H. Nobody cared.

    And so, I have decided to publish Alan’s story. If we can’t help him
    here in Thailand, the least we can do is to bring his story to a wider
    international audience. I also think there are some lessons to be
    learned here, for Thais and non-Thais alike.

    I’m now back to my usual work routine again [with more emails from
    readers in need of help] but I still think of Alan every now and then.

    Alan’s next day in court will be in December 2009. I know I’ll be
    there too and if anyone wants to join us, you are welcome.

  10. Robert says:

    Hi I found your blog on digg and I like it. I am currently helping a friend of mine to set up her own blog and I am looking to exchange links with some good quality blogs/websites. Yours fit that bill 😉 If you are interested please send me a message through her comments.


    Robert and Noon

    Robert’s last blog post..My first time selling sex.

  11. Hoo Don says:

    David – That is a very sad story and I wish Alan all the luck in the world in his quest for fair compensation. I do however feel you should contact a high profile media source rather than a small outlet like mine. Good luck, best wishes and thanks for posting the story.

    Robert – Thanks for the compliment about BYTMJ and I will check out the blog site.

  12. thaikarl says:

    pretty good summary. although i’m married now, i had a few early visits to thailand where i was a single guy, and i did have a good time. you’re right about being respectful. i thought of it like having an “instant girlfriend” for the night. but don’t be a fool doing it.

    thaikarl’s last blog post..090302 Thaikarl – a pleasant sunday

  13. Steve F. says:

    Heading out to Pattaya later this week.

    Curious to know if others have heard how, if at all, the world’s economy has affected the rates in Pattaya. I found a couple blogs, but unfortunately, one said it has become more of a buyer’s market, and the other says the girls are charging more to try and make up for otherwise lost income.

    Anybody with first-hand knowledge know what the actual situation is like there??

  14. Hoo Don says:

    Karl – I think we’ve all been a Pattaya fool at some time.

    Steve F. – The rates will be the same as ever 500-1000 baht or whatever you get talked into paying. Pattaya is a game of poker (no pun) and you’ve got too be strong with your hand. With very few tourists believe me it is very very much a buying market. Be strong but kind with it.

  15. Jon says:

    Great post, although along similar lines to others this isn’t my scene. Another life another time who knows?!

    I’ve heard some horrendous stories of Pattaya and bar girls, any of yours you’d care to spill?

    Jon’s last blog post..Man City end Thai links

  16. Hoo Don says:

    Jon I’ve not personally had any horrendous bar girl incidents myself. I have been ripped off a few times, nothing heavy but have been aware of the “ripping” taking place. Sometimes it’s best to keep quiet and walk away.

  17. Emm says:

    What an interesting post! It certainly opened my eyes and I can see how these girls can feel respectable.

    Emm’s last blog post..At Work: Working Late

  18. lala says:

    Thanks for the insiders look at something most of us might judge but know nothing about. 😉

    lala’s last blog post..Great American Picnic

  19. David from greystones says:

    Koh Chang – Whatever Happened to this Paradise Island ?
    March 17, 2009 ·Happy Saint Patricks day

    It is a rather unfortunate fact of life that the vast majority of
    visitors to Thailand do not appear to have any real concerns about
    their environment and the effects that tourism is having on all the
    islands of the Kingdom. Koh Chang is a classic case of unregulated
    tourist development gone mad!. I first visited Koh Chang around 5
    years ago, and have been back regularlysince. My first visit was
    around the time that the government was trying to promote the
    development of the island – and was rather disturbed by what I found
    and even more so about what has happened in the subsequent years.
    Thailand’s record of preservation and conservation is best described
    as flawed and Koh Chang is showing the classic signs that nothing has
    really been learned from the past lessons (Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin &
    Koh Samui) and that it would appear that nobody really cares. Koh
    Chang is the second largest island in Thailand. It is located on the
    Eastern seaboard of the Kingdom some 5-6 hours by car from Bangkok.
    The island was given an unexpected boost by the post-tsunami
    unpopularity of the west coast namely Phuket & Krabi, having got this
    lucky break there are now ever increasing numbers of western tourists
    heading for the island, unfortunately completely to the detriment to
    the natural beauty of the island that existed just a few years ago.
    The fundamental problem with Koh Chang is that it’s being developed
    very badly, it’s overpriced compared to its services & facilities
    versus Phuket, Samui & Krabi, and it appears to be going downhill
    rather quickly !!. If you’re arriving on the island from either Europe
    or the United States you’ll find that the cost of living is still
    relatively cheap, a room is still less than half what you would pay at
    home, but it is no so cheap when you compare it to other tourist spots
    elsewhere in Thailand. Sure, you will love the sunsets and the lovely
    white sand, and you won’t wonder or worry where all the sewage is
    going and whatever happened to all the mangroves, farmland or the
    fishing industry that gets smaller catches every year, or the fishing
    villages being turned into souvenir arcades-cum-hotels. The
    fundamental probem appears to be that just as soon as Koh Chang was
    earmarked for development as the “new Phuket” large swathes of land
    was all bought up by the “priveleged, rich & famous” at rock bottom
    prices, leaving it almost impossible for the average bussinessman to
    buy land and set up a business, as they now have to pay through the
    nose for it. Almost all the west coast is now covered with badly
    designed & executed “luxury” self-contained resorts, built without
    consideration for the environment, conservation or island
    infrastructure. Apparently, unlike Koh Samui & Phuket there are no
    building codes harmonizing construction with the natural surroundings.
    They are also allowed to restrict access to the beach for others. They
    are for the most part badly designed and ill conceived. Appearance is
    all, the places are little more than decorated concrete blocks.Health
    and safety has simply not been heeded or addressed – some of the pool
    designs look positively lethal. Slippery tiles adorn pool-sides and
    bathrooms throughout. And building work never appears to stop, quite
    often guests will find that their rooms are within audible distance of
    a building site. All these new resorts are now greatly restricting the
    amount of good beach that is accessible to the public; it can only be
    a matter of time before all the good sandy beaches/sea fronts become
    resort owned or dominated. This goes against the principle that EVERY
    beach within the Kingdom is owned by the King and is therefore free to
    be accessed & used by EVERYONE. The other area of concern regarding
    this kind of concrete construction is that it leaves a huge carbon
    foot-print as it inevitably requires lots of air-conditioning to keep
    the it cool, uses lots of power for hot water,and uses ever increasing
    amounts of fresh water for showers and toilets, and drains etc, etc.
    The centre of Koh Chang is a dedicated national park, but unlike all
    of Thailand’s other National Parks, it is not open to visitors, you
    can get a guide who will take you in but strictly speaking that’s
    against the law. There is virtually no effort made to set up a good
    system of eco-tourism or even trials in the park as you might find in
    countries such as Australia or North America, even other National
    Parks in Thailand make an effort in that direction. There is only one
    road around the island of Koh Chang and even that doesn’t go all the
    way around, it’s a horse-shoe shape, there was a dirt track that
    connected the two ends but it wasn’t for the fainthearted and now
    impassable as parts have been constantly washed away. The roads were
    originally built for the logging & construction traffic.The main road
    is barely more than an asphalted single track but cannot cope with the
    ever increasing load of cars trucks, pickups and Song Taews pouring
    onto the island. Patchy attempts have been made at road widening in
    parts. Most of the bridges have been washed out and are replaced by
    drains covered over with rubble, please beware of hitting these at
    night or on a motorbike. In short the roads are just not substantial
    enough for the volumes of traffic that attempt to navigate them. As
    the second largest island inThailand, walking around it in a day is
    not an option. Koh Chang is also very mountainous and the roads are
    very windy and hilly and the resorts can be a long way from any shops,
    night-life etc, so you will typically have to rely on the baht taxi
    service (songtaews) but this is still very haphazard, so it’s really
    useful to hire a motorbike or a car,but you will find that this is
    typically 50%+ more expensive than on the mainland. It might even be
    worth hiring a vehicle on the mainland and driving there. Koh Chang
    does not have its own airport,so if you want to fly, you will have to
    land atTrat airport which is on the mainland quite near (20 minutes)
    to the ferries to Koh Chang. Get a taxi to the ferry – it will only
    cost you a few baht. A more comfortable alternative is to take the
    airport minibus to any resort on Koh Chang – a convenient way to get
    to your hotel with the minimum baggage re-handling. Ferries run every
    30-45 minutes from 6.30am – around 7.30pm. There are several ferry
    crossings, they take from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on which ferry
    you take. The ferries can now be very over stretched during the high
    season and week-ends coming back from the island to the mainland, even
    though there is a new car-park the queues can still extend back up the
    hill for quite a long way. The ferry services are reasonably priced
    and are among the best organised aspects of the islands tourist
    industry. Once you arrive on the island where do you stay ?. The best
    known”town” that most people arrive at is White Sands, which is
    probably the largest conglomeration of buildings on the island, it’s
    an increasingly crowded long strip of hotels, resorts, restaurants,
    gift shops, tailors and motley bars about 3 km long built between the
    sea and the mountains. The construction work that has taken place over
    the last 3 years has completely filled the space between hills and the
    shore. The developers have now started to dig away at the hills behind
    and are erecting buildings wherever they can – between the mudslides.
    One wonders how long it will be before a cliff collapses and takes a
    building or two with it. Take a look at the land above and behind the
    buildings to see evidence of where the landslips are occurring. For
    family resorts with a beach, Klong Prao Beach is probably as good as
    it gets, there are several resorts there actually with beach frontage,
    The Paradise is all nicely built new concrete bungalows, very tightly
    packed, Coconut and Royal Coconut are next to that and Klong Prao
    Resort has a long beach front and good pool beside the sea. All are
    constantly redeveloping to increase the density of accommodation
    within the available strip of beach. If you are looking for a more
    isolated place with less frantic development you need to go round to
    “Long Beach” on the far South-East side of the island. This side is
    far less developed but there are limited beaches of any significance,
    the best one being Long Beach itself, but even it is not that good.
    It’s accessible by dirt road sections of which get regularly washed
    away every rainy season, but its quite a pleasant drive with lots of
    good views. Accommodation is basic & laidback. Booking ahead is
    definately suggested especially on beach resorts during the high
    season – Christmas, New Year and Songkran (mid-April) You might think
    that I actually do not like Koh Chang, that is completely wrong, I
    really LOVED the natural, unspoilt island that I first visited only
    literrally just a few years ago, what I find so frustrating is that
    ALL Islands only have limited resources – water, space and natural
    habitat are always at a premium, they cannot survive unregulated
    development, the like of which is taking place on Koh Chang. The
    ecological ramifications of this development are now beginning to show
    in such things as sea-water quality, damage to coral air pollution
    from roads and traffic and encroachment onto the national park. This
    will spell the end for the wildlife there. The massive increase in use
    of electricity, and water by the hotels and other businesses are
    putting a huge strain on the infrastructure and the extra traffic to
    carry both people and goods is more than the road system was ever
    designed to cope with. I just hope that the lessons learnt from Koh
    Chang, Koh Samui & Phuket are heeded, but somehow I don’t think so,
    what do you think ?.

  20. Hoo Don says:

    David – I have only visited Koh Chang once and that was like your first time their about 5 years ago. I thought it was fantastic and is the best location I have stayed at in Thailand.I have always promised myself that I would go back but now having read your excellent comments I doubt I will. It is very sad what you say has happened to the island but like so many developing economy countries the green backs come before conservation.
    Reading the remainder of your comment I must say what useful information you have included for any newbie about to visit the island. Thanks and I appreciate the time you have spent on this post.

  21. Hi David

    Your article on Koh Chang published on 17/03/09 is a copy of my article of 10/03/09, which can be viewed on my website / blog & various article directories.

    I don’t mind that at all, but a credit for my work might be nice.



    Kevin Butters’s last blog post..Mar 27, Places to Visit While Staying in Chiang Mai

  22. dave says:

    Acting on a touch of remorse that I wasn’t seeing enough of my family, I organised what was supposed to be an impromptu, calm week away from everything in Thailand for us all. We arrived and the whole place went mental.

    The day we landed in Bangkok, the Red Team was rioting and trying to get rid of the Yellow Team. Thai politics is pretty simple as they wear colour-coded uniforms, making it a lot easier to understand for the visiting spectator.

    There was a lot of hullabaloo about it on all the news channels but it’s quite difficult to get nervous about Thai riots. In somewhere like South Korea you get students tooled up with Molotov cocktails and setting themselves alight before hurling themselves on to lines of heavily armed riot police. In South Africa, mobs might stone police while putting opponents into tyres before setting fire to them. The most the Thai Red Team could do was set a bus alight and even for this they looked quite embarrassed.

    Thais are not really cut out for violent protest – this is, after all, the Land of Smiles. It’s difficult to riot with a big smile: it just doesn’t sit right. We hotfooted it up north to Chiang Mai; not for any cowardly reason – it’s just a lot cooler up there. Unbelievably however, as our car left Chiang Mai airport, we were attacked on numerous occasions. Luckily for us, the assailants were only throwing water bombs.

    We’d landed right in the middle of Songkran, the Thai New Year festival. Since this takes place in the hottest month of the year it used to be traditional for people to spray each other with water to cool themselves down. In Chiang Mai this has been taken to another level – a three-day urban water assault that is quite extraordinary. Scores of pickup trucks roam the streets with huge barrels of water in the back and seven or eight youths hurling the stuff at everyone and anyone. Meanwhile, gangs wait on street corners with buckets and hoses while moped drivers weave in and out of the traffic with the pillion passenger using huge water pistols to deadly effect. After five minutes or so you relinquish any hope of staying dry and focus on finding the best weapon you can buy for defence.

    We stopped at a petrol station and bought four huge Super Soakers. Continuing onwards towards the hotel, we executed several very successful drive-by shootings. By now, the kids were completely in love with the country and wanted to move here as soon as possible.

    My four-year-old son, Jackson, was all for getting out of our vehicle and engaging in some hand-to-hand combat, but we were tired and the lure of falling into a cooling pool was successful. We settled in quickly and any thoughts of revolution quickly faded as we tried to switch off from everyday life. Then my eight-year-old daughter, Parker, made friends with a girl who lived in Bangkok and came back that night full of alarm: “Dad, did you know that if you stepped on a coin with the Thai king’s head on it you could go to prison?” I replied that I didn’t know that but that I would be very careful in future when handling money.

    “Also, Dad, if you put a statue of Buddha underwater then he can drown and you can be arrested for that as well.” I assured her that we had no statues of Buddha but that, if we did, they would be kept very dry.

    Later that evening, on the telly, I watched the Thai riot police use water cannon on the Red Team down in Bangkok – and it wasn’t for Songkran. It seems that you can’t drown the Buddha, but Buddhists are fair game.

  23. David says:

    very informative article thanks!

    David’s last blog post..Update to date info on bangkok nightlife

  24. matt says:

    I don’t think prostitute is too harsh a word, and I don’t think these girls would rather work in a factory either.
    Employment in Thailand is almost 100% and has been for some time, if you ask any business owner in Pattaya what their biggest problem is they will say getting staff.
    And if you ask the girls what they used to do they will have likely worked in the rice fields or a factory before.
    Sorry but these girls are not the saints you portray them to be, but like most human beings all they are really concerned with is money and if they can have a bit of fun at the same time then mores the better.
    Also don’t forget that most of these women have children and drop them easier than they drop there undies.
    The children would probably prefer a mother rather than the occasional money transfer.

  25. Hoo Don says:

    Matt – Thanks for your well constructed comment, you are obviously an experienced Thailand man.
    Your first point I’d agree that most wouldn’t want to work in a factory.
    As far as saints then I don’t think I portrayed them as that, I was more kinda of saying that the majority are not as bad as the mass like to label them.
    The problem with the children preferring to have a mother is that the mother would have no money, there’s no social handouts in Thailand.
    I realize that we can only go on our personal experiences of Pattaya and mine is quite clearly that most of these girls were not that bad people at all.
    Once again thanks for a worthy comment.

  26. hateb says:

    Wow these Thai bar girls are so hot…I’m starting to get hot!!!

  27. Silk Flowers says:

    pattaya one of the best place for hang out!

  28. Thanks you for your information. I preparing my Christmas holiday in this year to go to Pataya. So i have to safe my money for honey from now.

  29. Don Draper says:

    Sounds like the place I neede to be 20 years ago!

  30. plumbing access panel says:


    I know we should respect them as what we respect others too. We live in this world to be sinned and not to be sinned. They are making these because they want to earn money like we do. Hope some guys over there would respect them and not to hurt them


  31. Free Motorbike Games Seeker says:

    Spent 8 GLORIOUS days and nights in Thailand a few years back. This post certainly brings back fond memories.

  32. Hoo Don says:

    I’m glad I brought back some memories for you but eight nights in Pattaya is never enough if it’s your first time there.

  33. Flat Iron says:

    I might have gone to those places in my 20’s if I’d been stationed in Vietnam before 1975 — or the Phillipines up until 1991 when subic bay was closed. I’m not so sure I’d go as an older man. Good advice offered by the author on how to do the women properly however.

  34. led spotlights says:

    So what’s the difference between a ‘working girl’ and a prostitute? I can feel for these ladies in Thailand because they don’t usually have an option but they’re still prostituting themselves, as harsh as it sounds. I like what you’ve posted though about not going back to a bar for a different girl. No matter what these women are doing, they still deserve to be treated with dignity.

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