The Goldfish Bowl and the Thai Massage Parlour Culture

It would be an incomplete section if we did not mention the Goldfish Bowl and the Thai style of choosing a short time friend.

In most cities across the country there big massage parlours. In Bangkok, Cleopatra, Amsterdam and Caesars Palace are typical.

They are big, have hundreds of girls available to offer standard massage, through to private VIP services.

You get what you pay for and if on walking in you see the most glamorous, gorgeous creature on this earth and fancy her services, then the chances are she is a 'Supermodel' and will cost about twice as much as the others to join you - in the region of 3,500 Baht.

In the provincial towns it's a little less sophisticated and the parlours just have a large stage with a glass front, behind which sit a range of ladies from late teens to the over 50's.

They have numbers pinned on their dresses and to select one, you simply ask one the waiting staff that you would like number ** and then he will pass that message on.

The girl will leave the viewing area to meet you in a massage room and then it's 'Up to you'.

If this sounds archaic, chauvinistic and downright politically incorrect, then it is – but that is how it works in Thailand and maybe it always will.

A normal night out for many Thai men, married or not, is to go to such a place and the interesting thing is that it's not full of old men.

There are young guys there as well as older generations, and they regard it as 'just a night out'.

Their partners know where they go and as long as they don't come home and give out the full details of the night, then all is well.

It's a difficult concept to understand for westerners, but that could be regarded as their problem, not Thailands.


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