Soi Cowboy, Bangkok Thailand

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Soi Cowboy in Bangkok is something of a landmark and institution in the city. 

The Soi, which was named from the days of American GI’s, continues to have an amazing ability to re invent itself, just when it begins to look a bit tired out. 

This past year has been no exception with 3 or 4 of the clubs getting new facades and a re shape inside. 

Glitzy new stages, mirrors and lighting, plus the never ending flow of dancers or hosts from all parts of the country, make Cowboy a favourite for residents and tourists who continue to visit in great numbers. 

Soi Cowboy is simply one small street of about 150 metres long which runs from Asoke, very close to the underground MTR station, to Soi 23 at the other end. 

It doesn’t matter which end you arrive from because there is a feast of bars and go go dance clubs on either side of the street.
In the space between the streams of visitors pass by food vendors selling everything from barbecued chickens to frogs and kebabs. 

Novelties, clothes, flowers and all manner of items are paraded in amongst the welcoming invites of the girls whose job it is to lure visitors into their club or bar. 

One great thing about Soi Cowboy is that it is in the whole, very friendly and casual, unlike some of the other entertainment places where there is some pressure to go in and buy drinks. Smiles are the norm on Cowboy regardless of custom. 

Coming from the Asoke end, two of the best go go clubs in Bangkok are almost next to each other – LongGun and Rawhide. Both clubs are nearly always packed to the rafters every night, and both have dance shows. 

The rules about what girls can wear or not wear changes constantly and whilst a visitor might tell friends that at such a club, such and such happened, the chances are that all will have changed in a week or so. 

Down the right hand side the clubs continue, with Cactus, Toy Bar, Dundee, Spice Girls, Cowboy One & Two, Moonshine, Jungle Jims, Joy Bar and Our Place. Some of these clubs have been around with the same name for ages. 

On the opposite side of the street there is Baccarac with its glass dance floor, Shark Bar, Dollhouse, Fannys - the list goes on. 

A fairly new addition is the open Shadow Bar where there is no dancing, just a long narrow bar with three large TV’s on the side wall and one large screen at the end. 

This is a good place for sports fans – no hassle from anyone, and a happy hour up to 9.30pm. 

The most popular sport is the English Premier League on a Saturday night.

Onward back toward Asoke there is Black & White, Shebas, Apache, Five Star and at the far end Country Road which has live music every night. 

Five Star also has live music from a band who manage to perform despite the distractions, and a very small stage. 

At each end of Soi Cowboy there are open bars , and one English style pub, The Ship. 

The pub serves excellent food and has an open terrace for the smokers. 

All the bars are now non smoking so for those still on the cigarettes, time has to be taken outside for a smoke.

Beer and drink prices on Cowboy are competitive at 120 Baht for an imported beer with more and more places offering happy hours up to 9 or 9.30pm.

Drinks for a lady or hostess vary but are usually around the 150 Baht mark. 

Bar fines (compensation for a lady leaving with a customer and not working for the remainder of the night) are generally 500 Baht but some places charge 600 baht. 

One aspect of Cowboy is that it is not an entirely male dominated scene. Wives and girlfriends are often seen with their companions on Cowboy. 

The girls in the bars treat everyone the same, so no female should ever be worried about going into a dancing bar in Cowboy. 

Closing times are changing all the time. At the moment there seems to be a general ‘lights on’ time of 2am but this changes all too often as well. 

Depending on the local activity of the law, closing times may get earlier or later. For those who have no intention of finishing the night at 2am, open counter bars serve drinks outside the clubs until the last customer goes, and that can be 6 in the morning. 

No one is too bothered on Cowboy - as long as drinks are being bought!! 

Needless to say there are plenty of taxis on hand for the trip back to the hotel. 

Depending on where that hotel is located does have some bearing on the willingness of a taxi to provide a ride.

The earlier it is, the more likely the taxi driver will be selective. 

The rank of cabs on Asoke are very keen, but if the journey involves a trip out towards Rama 9 and Ratchada, cross the road (be careful) and take a taxi on the opposite side. 

For the shorter journeys down Sukhumvit there are plenty of taxis available. Do not take a ride from a taxi driver who tries to offer a fixed price rather than the metered fare. 

The only time this might is acceptable is if there is really heavy rain and taxis are difficult to find. Bear in mind the Skytrain finishes at 11.45pm, as does the underground MRT. 

Pictures of Soi Cowboy.

Soi Cowboy is famous for agogo bars and the nightlife.

Soi Cowboy is located in Sukhumvit 23.

Video of Soi Cowboy Bangkok

Soi Cowboy at Night - Video Guide

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