Patpong in Bangkok, not to be confused with Patong in Phuket, has one of the wildest night life scenes in Southeast Asia. Patpong was the starting point of sin and debauchery during the days of the Vietnam war when soldiers from the US came to Thailand for rest and recreation. Forty years later the hordes of boot wearing soldiers have been replaced by the sandals of backpackers, single males, honeymooners and families from all over the world.
Yes, you heard correctly, I mentioned families. There are three major red light districts in Bangkok, Patpong being one of them of course. As raunchy and seedy as Patpong can be, it has a whole different atmosphere then Nana and Soi Cowboy, the other two red light districts.
Patpong’s Night Market is the sole reason why Patpong has the most mixture of tourist, not only children and teens accompanied by parents, but females out on the town to party. You’ll never find them in the other two red light districts.
Even though Patpong’s Night Market has played a pivotal role in making the area seem more tourist friendly, there is still the seedy underbelly of sex and cheap booze for sale. Patpong runs on two lanes parallel to each other, conveniently named Patpong 1 and Patpong 2.
Patpong 1 is definitely more popular, mainly because of the Night Market which opens at 6pm and closes at 1am when the go go bars shut down as well. Walking down Patpong 1 is like taking a trip through a kaleidoscope, bursting with color. Neon lights with naked women adorn the entrance above the many go go bars and below are the army of touts employed to promise you a great time once you step through their doors. And it’s always a funny sight to see curious onlookers ogling at the go go dancers on stage.
Patpong 2 is less crowded and the tourist who frequent here are single males who hang out at the various open bar areas where women are lined up to keep them company.
There are other miscellaneous parts of Patpong such as Soi Thaniya, which as an area catering to Japanese clientele. And hidden away on Patpong Soi 4 is a dead end street called Boy’s Town where gay men from all over the world go to party.
Patpong is definitely a sight that can’t be missed in Bangkok. Even though it’s considered a red light district, when you’re there you just don’t feel it at all. It’s totally commercialized, there’s a McDonald’s on the corner of Patpong 1, a Starbucks right across and a couple of 4 star hotels in the area. Patpong is definitely a place where you can go without feeling dirty, yet able to if you’re looking for it.