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A peek at Bangkok’s Soi Twilight

John Ryan Mendoza discovers Bangkok’s infamous go-go bars and boys. And while he admits that “I did feel my pulse pound and felt some internal heat rise at the initial minutes of my first experience,” after a while, “all I see is impersonal and mechanical ramming.” For the heck of it, though, he believes it is something worth checking out.


10:00 PM.
It was too early to party in Silom Soi 2. And there was still no text from a gay Pinoy friend who was passing through Bangkok on his way to Bangladesh. So I walked to Silom Soi 4 and I saw a vacant table at Telephone Pub. I took a seat and killed some time over a bottle of cold Thai beer.  I could actually feel stares from those around me crawl over my skin. I was the only Asian guy in the middle of al fresco tables full of more mature Caucasian men. Conversations were hushed. The beats pulsated loud just across where all the Asian men were. With company, it could have been fine, but my alcohol intake still wasn’t enough to not care at all. I inserted the few Bahts under the bottle and walked my way to Patpong.

The street night bazaar was still bustling with tourists. Souvenirs, shirts, faux Rolexes, Valium, and all sorts of other stuff were everywhere. I’d rather go to either Pratunam or Jatujak for some of these things. I headed to the sidewalk, where I was approached by a guy who offered me the “Pussy Ping Pong” menu. He led me to the doorway of one of the bars with an ongoing show. It was certainly pussy, not playing ping pong, but with a paintbrush. She was drawing an elephant. Cultural pride, indeed. Of course, this was not any of the choices I would order.

11:00 PM.
At Surawong Road I finally found the flashing neon lights of Soi Twilight (Soi Pratuchai) with keywords “boys”, “show”, “men”, “big”. Crowds of people came and went at the entrance. I was welcomed by an overly eager Thai guy who kept repeating “fucking show” and “11:30” as he aggressively led me to Boys of Bangkok.

Bangkok2The sight of an array of boys and men in tight skimpy briefs on stage greeted me. Twink, muscled, chubby, androgynous, pale white, dark brown, tattooed, pierced, smooth, scarred… these were some of the options moneyed patrons can choose from. I sat on a bleacher at a corner and checked my phone for messages. A floor manager came to me and pointed to the sign that says phones that would take photos will be confiscated and then took my order of a bottle of beer priced at 150 Baht. Men, young and old, and some women started to fill the seats as the guys on stage periodically rotated to showcase their wares.

Then the lights started to dim and the club music shifted to some sort of drum roll. All the guys exited to the back stage. A few moments later and on cue with another round of club music, a tall, pale, slim, androgynous looking guy with heavy dark eye make-up and a cape came out. He sashayed to the front of the stage, and then he turned around, removing his cape to flaunt a big bare erection. He did another round of touring on stage, now stroking himself. He then disappeared behind the back curtains.

Then he came out again, now on all fours and a leash on his neck attached to a chain held by a brown muscled guy with a condomed hard-on. The guy on the floor crawled to the front of the stage while the other was prepping himself with lube and got hold of a roll of tissue. Then ready to receive while still on all fours, the leashed guy started to get slowly rammed from behind. Some cartoony sounding Thai music started playing and the thrusts seemed to be synced to the beats. Then positions shifted from doggy to missionary to standing to walking and, lastly, while swinging on chains attached to the ceiling.

After some 10 minutes or less, they stood up and went behind the curtains and were replaced by another couple, muscled and tattooed Thai men. Unceremoniously, the other one just bent over and then the other one instantaneously got in and went on with the same routine.

Then after some prescribed time, they just stood up and left. Then the lights glared and the gallery of guys was there again. The floor manager sat beside me and asked me who among the guys I wanted. He then pointed to some, then advertised them to me with statements like “Number 4 has a big dick. You like?” and “Same your age or you want younger like number 11? He can do everything.” I just smiled, refused through some little Thai words I know, paid my bill, and got out.

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12:30 AM.
My friend finally arrived with his female colleague. We tried to find any of those shows, but unfortunately, show time was really over. We decided to party, instead, at DJ Station.


In my more recent visit, I toured two gay friends and their hetero colleagues to these shows. When we got to the area, we expectedly got assertively greeted by a guy who was saying “very big” and kept on clasping his forearm. Curious, we gave in to the advert and found ourselves at another bar located upstairs.

Same guys-in-briefs galore on stage welcomed us. This time, it was less diverse. The guy options seemed to be more skewed towards the twink category. At this bar, there was a preliminary dance show of two guys in see-through underwear gyrating against each other over some American ballad.  The next set was another couple now bare and hard, just stroking. Now we were convinced that the forearm clasping advertising guy on the street was indeed accurate. After some rounds on stage, they went down to the audience to give everyone more up-close experience (of course for some tip).

Then the main show.  This bar this time is quite challenged in their casting. The fuckee had no front teeth and seemed drugged out of his wits and the tattooed skinny fucker was obviously exerting effort to pretend to even like it. We just had another bonus for a show of some suckfest happening behind us in the bleachers between a guy from the stage and a very enthusiastic customer.

Overall, I did feel my pulse pound and felt some internal heat rise at the initial minutes of my first experience. But after a while, all I see is impersonal and mechanical ramming. Yet still, I do recommend anyone who is interested to see this for him/herself, for fun or we can just euphemize it as an “anthropological exposure.”

Enjoy Silom!

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Written By

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).


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