Feb 092011

One thing I neglected to mention about Swan Inn is that although it’s very centrally located, it also happens to be on one of the sleaziest streets in all of Bangkok: Sukhumvit Soi 4. All along Soi 4 it seems like every third person is a prostitute. Including many of, erhm, “questionable gender.” Walking to or from the guesthouse invariably results in countless hoots and hollers, sometimes associated with an unsolicited nipple-pinch or two. Even on my very first night, as I huffed my way in with all my luggage on my back, I was accosted by several “sole proprietors” offering their one and only product: boom-boom.

Man, I have to say, I’ve heard that Thailand has a problem with prostitution – but this is just ridiculous!

I suppose I should’ve expected, then, that Nana Liquid – the nightclub just down the road from our hotel – would probably be more of the same. Not only was the male/female ratio way out of control (think 4-5 girls to every guy), but many of the men were old, bald, and/or fat – with women a quarter their age. Not exactly my scene, but hey, an interesting eye-opener to one of the darker sides of the enigma that is Thai culture.

(…Especially when you consider the fact that I’d barely even been on the ground for an hour. You know what they say: sometimes it’s best to hit the ground running.)

And despite the somewhat off-putting knowledge of what was going on in that particular club, it was a more-or-less enjoyable (and very unexpected) night out. Not to mention a chance to meet one of Stefan’s friends who I’d been hearing about for some time: Bangkok’s social butterfly, Evan.

The four of us stayed at Nana Liquid until closing, then had a quick round of beers at a street cart just down the road before grabbing breakfast at FoodLand, a small eatery inside a conveniently-located supermarket.

Note: I love Thai food. Spectacular shrimp Pad Thai for less than $2.

  13 Responses to “Nana Liquid”

  1. Oh man, SOOO many people told us about the “lady boys” in Thailand! one cab driver even giggled and said “you know lady boy? lady boy” haha

    the gender benders were pretty believable, too! some of them had some crazy bodies

  2. interesting stuff…..stay safe

  3. @Linda: Yeah…it’s WAY more prominent than I ever would’ve guessed.

    @Andy: Will do my best, hehe πŸ˜›

  4. Again, the prostitution you refer to is a very small tip of the iceberg. Even my Lonely Planet describes it as how it might seem like it’s a tourist thing, but in fact it’s the Thais themselves that are by far the biggest customers. Most of it is supposedly controlled by Chinese hongs (mafia) that have been in the country for ages.

    And I would not call Soi 4 “one of the sleaziest streets in all of Bangkok”. There are far worse (unless it has changed considerably lately). Didn’t you say you went to i.e. Soi Cowboy? Or notorious Patpong?

    I’ve never had my nipples pinched there though. In fact, I’ve never had them pinched anywhere. So that might be a Justin-effect πŸ˜›

  5. We did go to Soi Cowboy, but not at night – so it’s a bit hard to compare. And similarly, our visit to Patpong was a bit *too* late at night and things were already closing down.

    Nevertheless, “one of” doesn’t mean “the most” – it means “one of the most” – which, even if Cowboy or Patpong are worse, can still be true πŸ˜›

  6. Peder, my nipples were pinched first by the aggro pros. Can we name it the Herb-effect instead? πŸ˜‰

    I thought Soi Cowboy didn’t have any guesthouses along the street. Same with Patpong. Those streets seemed to focus on nightlife, while Soi 4 attracted both sexpats and budget travelers. But Soi 4’s seediness spills out to the Sukhumvit Rd–from the corner of Soi 3, down the street until FoodLand (Soi 5?), so I’m going to have to back J up on this one!

  7. …Plus I think Nana Plaza (and the bus stop right across the way) is about as bad as it gets anywhere πŸ˜›

  8. Soi cowboy and Patpong are as bad as they get. And you be glad you never even went to Pattaya cause that place is absolutely gutwrenching. That said, and agreeing that Soi 4 is not where you wanna raise your kids, Nana Plaza is really really really seedy. I’ve never spent more than 30 seconds there for a good reason. In fact I was surprised you were happy staying there for drinks. I also find Soi 3 very obnoxious, although for a much shorter distance.

    Anyway, this is not secluded to the sois off Thanon Sukhumvit. You’ll see this kind of stuff (and much worse) all over Thailand so after a while you’ll come to acknowledge that Soi Nana is perhaps not so bad as it seems at first sight. It’s not the western world πŸ˜‰

  9. >>In fact I was surprised you were happy staying there for drinks.


    >>It’s not the western world

    That’s for damn sure! πŸ˜‰

  10. >> ??

    Cause why would you wanna stay in a horribly seedy place and spend your money where every girl is for sale and the potential of getting totally ripped off is sky high? Far more fun to be had elsewhere than to waste time in a hooker-joint πŸ˜›

  11. Cuz I didn’t know anywhere else to go, it was my 1st night in the city and I was delirious from exhaustion anyway, plus we were hanging out with a cool group of guys. Easier to just stay in a place that’s 200m from the hotel πŸ˜›

  12. …you should have walked across the street to Sin (rooftop disco), that still might not be top notch, but waaaay better than Nana Entertainment Plaza. I think I even specifically warned you about Nana Plaza in emails and skype conversations prior to your departure. Oh well, at least you had fun with the guys πŸ˜€

  13. We never went out in Nana Entertainment Plaza…

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