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 A Beginner's Guide to Meeting Freelancers in Bangkok
(Part One)

The first time that most guys come to Thailand, they think they've died and gone to Heaven . except without the "dying" part. And the reason is very simple: Lots of beautiful young Thai women who will treat them like a prince.

And to any Western male who has spent his life being denigrated by ill-tempered women back home, Thai women can become downright addicting. Enough so that once a man has been to Thailand, he will come back again . and again . and again.

And where does a young (or not-so-young) man find Thai women to entertain him? They can be found almost anywhere. There literally are many thousands of go-go clubs, beer bars, massage parlors and other venues all over the country and each will have anywhere from a few to a few hundred lovely women, each of whom is available for your enjoyment.

Just in Bangkok alone, for example, you could entertain three new women every day for the rest of your life and you would still not get to all of the available ladies. But, hey, don't let that stop you from trying!


Most guys first visiting Bangkok will start out in one of the three main nightlife areas (Patpong, Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy). Each of the three areas has dozens of clubs and bars and a few thousand women waiting to get to know us better, so most guys will spend their first few trips here frequenting these venues and living a wet dream.

But most of these clubs don't open until early in the evening and all of them have a 2:00 a.m. closing time (by law). So what if you're in need of female companionship and the bars and clubs are closed? Or if you've done the bars and clubs enough times that you want a change of pace? Or if you're on a tight budget and you'd prefer to avoid paying bar-fines and buying several rounds of lady drinks?

You're in luck . Bangkok also has a thriving "freelancer" scene.

There are dozens of freelancer possibilities in Bangkok, so I'll start with several places in the lower Sukhumvit corridor (between Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy), as most Western tourists focus on this part of town for their courting and sporting. Here are some of the more popular choices:

Soi 7 Beer Garden.  As you may have guessed from its name, this beer garden is located on Soi 7 (about sixty meters from Sukhumvit on your left).

Of the freelancer places, this would be your best bet for action in the afternoon or evening. It's open all day, although you'll usually see only a handful of girls at mid-day. By three in the afternoon, a lot more girls will have arrived and the pickings will have gotten a whole lot better. And by about six, it's packed (as the girls getting off their regular day jobs are starting to wander in). And it will stay that way for the rest of the evening and into the wee hours.

It's open-air, but with a roof and partial walls, so you're protected from the sun and it doesn't get uncomfortably hot (they have fans all over the place). And it's lighter inside than in most clubs, so it's easier to see what you're getting. That can make a big difference, especially if you're past forty and your eyes need more light than they used to need. They'll also have music playing (it sounds like a jukebox, but I've never checked to be sure), but it's not as loud as in most clubs and therefore it's easy to chat with the girls.

The one drawback is that it gets crowded. That's a good thing from the standpoint of selection. But it can be hard to find a seat later in the day. But all in all, it's probably the best freelancer venue during the afternoon and into the evening.

New Wave.  This is a smaller beer bar that's across the street from the Beer Garden (about twenty meters closer to Sukhumvit). It has an enclosed location on the first floor and you can't miss it . there is water continually running down its front windows and lots of neon across the top above the windows. It has a couple of free-form bars and five pool tables inside.

This one is also open for much of the day but is not as busy as the Beer Garden. Whereas the Beer Garden may have four or five dozen girls when it gets busy, New Wave might only get one or two dozen. But it's an alternative and it's nearby and it's easier to get around in it. So if you do pop into the Beer Garden and don't spot "Miss Right Now", it's a short detour to stick your head into New Wave and see if something there is a bit more eye-catching for you that particular day.

Soi 7 Food Court.  Actually, I'm not sure what the official name is for this place (or if it even has an official name). But it consists of half a dozen food stands in a covered area with a common eating area (with maybe a couple of dozen folding tables). It's across the street from the Beer Garden and next door to New Wave. The girls who hang out at the Beer Garden and New Wave enjoy the food here and so you'll see many of the girls from both places popping over here to get a bite to eat throughout the day and evening.

It's not an official pick-up venue, but it can be used as one since almost all of the girls there (who are not employees of the food stands) will be freelancers eating. So if you see a girl eating at one of the tables and you'd like to meet her, go for it. Since they're all entrepreneurs, they'll usually be happy to make a date with you for later that evening (or later that minute).

Thermae Coffee Shop.  Thermae is the grand-daddy of all the freelancer venues . or at least it's the best known. It's located on Sukhumvit near Soi 15 (in the basement of Ruamchitt Hotel), or about midway between Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy (maybe one kilometer or so from each).

In the olden days, it went all night and therefore was the venue of choice for the bar-girls who had finished their regular shift without having been bar-fined that night, sort of a "last chance saloon". As a result, you'd get a pretty good selection of bar-girls each night, but not have to spring for several lady drinks and pay a bar-fine. For expats (many of whom are on a budget), this appeals to their Scottish side.

But since the early closing (2:00 a.m.) rules were put in place after the last election, Thermae has lost much of its former luster. Now, it closes the same time as the bars and clubs and therefore it doesn't get many moonlighting bar-girls anymore (only a few who come by on their day off). And with the improvements in the local economy the last few years, Thermae gets fewer regular working girls (out to supplement their salary) than it used to.

There are often some interesting ladies there, but it's getting harder to find them, as many ladies who hang out at Thermae have been going there every night for years and have gotten a bit shop-worn by now. Some are nearly as hardened as the veteran bar-girls (and some veteran bar-girls graduate to freelancing at Thermae once they can no longer make a good living in a regular club).

It also is very dark inside, so it's tough to see well (one reason that aging bar-girls gravitate there). That could leads to disappointment once you and your "bride du jour" get out onto the sidewalk and you can see better. It's no surprise that the place starts emptying out about fifteen minutes before closing time . most of the girls want to be gone before the lights are turned up.

Thermae opens around 8:00 p.m., as I recall, but is usually pretty dead prior to about 10:00 p.m. and it doesn't get really busy until midnight or so.

Every now and then, guys get lucky and find a really nice woman at Thermae, but it's hit-or-miss . light on the wheat and heavy on the chaff. That's in marked contrast to past years, when Thermae was a very fertile hunting ground indeed.

Ambassador Plaza.  If you're walking from the Soi 7 Beer Garden to Thermae, you'll pass by Ambassador Plaza on your left (between Soi 11 and Soi 13). It's a large open-air parking lot that extends back more than 100 meters and has a string of traditional massage places and internet cafes on the left side. They used to have more of the same on the right side, but that building caught fire some time back (under suspicious circumstances) and has been leveled.

In the evening, the parking lot is converted into a makeshift beer garden and food stand. Folding tables are laid out over most of the area and they have a stage about half of the way back, with a live band that plays later in the evening.

This place draws a pretty good crowd . many people stop off for a frosty beverage or three after dinner, since they don't want to hit the bars that early and it's a cheap place to take your date for some live music. So you'll see lots of couples and families having a bite to eat and a few cold ones while listening to the music. And it's a good place to kill an hour or two in the evening in the fresh air if you're not ready to hit the clubs and bars yet.

But it also attracts a number of freelancers. And the later in the evening it gets, the higher will be the proportion of women there who are available for your entertainment. They're not hard to spot but, if you're not sure, just make eye contact and smile at anyone there who catches your fancy. That's all that it takes to get things started . if she's available, she'll smile back and either beckon you over or else come over to you. Bangkok is a very friendly town.

One reason why this spot gets quite a few freelancers is that many of them are also killing time until Thermae gets into full swing later in the evening (or are taking a break from one of the other venues). Occasionally I'll find an interesting catch here.

Many freelancers also kill time eating from the food carts that are spread along Sukhumvit between Ambassador Plaza and Thermae. You'll see a lot of little tables set up along the sidewalk and lots of girls sitting and chatting with each other over a meal. Almost all of those girls are freelancers, so feel free to give your best wink to any girl there who catches your eye (or gives you wood). She'll respond favorably and invite you to join her.

An added advantage to picking up freelancers at Ambassador Plaza or dining along Sukhumvit is that it's well lit, so you know what you are getting. And it's quiet enough to chat. It's worth a look.

Grace Hotel Coffee Shop.  Grace Hotel is a bit of an oddity. It is located on Soi 3 (on the right side, a few hundred meters up from Sukhumvit) and it's a very large hotel. Although not far from Nana Plaza, Grace Hotel is in a different neighborhood and tends to get a heavily Arab, Indian and African clientele (although Westerners do also stay there and some enjoy the change of pace).

There is a large coffee shop in the Grace Hotel basement that, in the olden days, catered mostly to its non-Western clientele. And since the preferred look for that demographic is a "fuller-figured" woman, the freelancers who used to hang out there tended to be chunkier than what many Western men prefer. As a result, most Westerners gave the place a pass.

That changed after the last election, when a 2:00 a.m. closing time was established for nightspots (probably in response to relentless pressure from American and other Western governments and NGO do-gooders, who were alarmed that "their" men had better places to get laid than with the old hags back home). But because Grace Hotel Coffee Shop catered to a largely non-Western clientele, it had continued to stay open all night without harassment.

As a result, for the last couple of years, much of the late-night freelancer action migrated to Grace Hotel Coffee Shop and it was THE place to go if you were feeling amorous in the wee hours.

If you've been to Bangkok in the last couple of years and did the late night scene at Grace, then there's some bad news . the Grace Hotel Coffee Shop has run afoul of the authorities. As a result, their liquor license has apparently been lifted, so there is a "no alcohol" policy in place. It's still open, but there's not much action to speak of lately.

Of course, this is Asia . so there are always places to meet women (no matter what the hour). Next month, we'll explore a few more of the freelancer venues and include some advice about how to meet these ladies and what they'll expect from you in return.

Stay tuned...


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