Soi Cowboy is near Sukhumvit Road, between Sukhumvit Soi 21 (also called Soi Asoke) and Soi 23, within walking distance from the BTS Skytrain’s Asok Station and the Bangkok MRT’s Sukhumvit Station. The Grand Millennium Hotel is nearby. The first bar opened in Soi Cowboy in the early 1970s, but it was not until 1977 that a second bar opened on the street by T. G. “Cowboy” Edwards, a retired American airman. Edwards got his nickname because he often wore a cowboy hat and the soi was given its name in reference to him by longtime nightlife columnist Bernard Trink. The number of bars grew to 31 by the end of the century, all located on the ground floor.
Soi Cowboy has a more laid-back, carnival-like feel to it than Patpong or Nana Plaza, but is still just as much in your face. Flashing neon lights up a colourful streetscape of 20 or so A go-go bars that line its sides. Don’t be shy, it’s pretty easygoing and open-minded, entry is always free and drink’s prices are fixed. Soi Cowboy is just next to Terminal 21, a very popular new shopping mall, so just cross the street and see it for yourself, or use Terminal 21 as an excuse to have a quick peek. Remember, you might not see this again anywhere else in the world.
Be prepared to be tugged on by dozens of ladies as you enter the threshold of Soi Cowboy. This widely popular red light zone was just recently renovated and enjoying a surge in visitors as a result. When I first arrived it looked like it was on the verge of being run down. Today it has a totally updated look and it doesn’t look like it will be losing any momentum.
Soi Cowboy is popular with the expat community in Bangkok and that’s a good sign. Going where the experienced locals go is a good indication of where the good restaurants are and the same goes true for go go bars. The drinks in the go go bars at Soi Cowboy have gone up in price. But don’t worry it’s still not bad compared to western bar prices. The best thing of all is that most of the bars in Soi Cowboy do have Happy Hours or drink specials such as a 2 for 1 or cheap draft beers.
Some of the go go bars in Soi Cowboy are unique such as Baccara where you can watch girls dance above, beneath a glass ceiling. Sometimes in bikinis and a couple of times in the nude, which is technically illegal, but so is prostitution. There are loads of girls who are dressed in school uniforms which I’m sure are fulfilling a lot of male fetishes.
Speaking about unique bars, there are two specialty bars to check out. I hope you’re not shy though because in Afterskool customers can have a beer while a lady gives gives them oral sex. Believe me you’re going to need the beer because almost anyone could watch as there really is no privacy. Just a part of the bar they call the naughty corner. Toy Bar on the other hand (no pun intended) only provides hand relief. But to be honest anything pretty much goes inside.
If you’re not interested in Thai food there are some pretty good restaurants in Soi Cowboy with menu items such as hamburgers which are excellent at Sam’s 2000.
Another great place to hang out is Country Road where they have live music. My friends and I always have fun there. You can also head right across the street to Penny Black to shoot some pool eat some pub fare and check out the loads of girls that hang out there late into the night.
Here is the list of Go Go bars on Soi Cowboy, on the left side:
On the opposite side:
Rio Cockatoo (Ladyboys)
Location: Located just opposite of Terminal 21 and less than 100 metres from Sukhumvit Road, between Asoke Road and Sukhumvit Soi 23 (the nearest Skytrain station is Asoke, or MRT station Sukhumvit).
MRT: Sukhumvit Station
Guest Friendly Hotels Near Soi Cowboy
Here are a list of recommended hotels within easy walking distance to the go go bars of Soi Cowboy. These are also ideal hotels to stay in if you’ve got only 1 night to visit Bangkok’s red light districts.
And these hotels will not charge a fee if you wish to invite a lady to your room. But they may ask for your companion’s Thai ID card to check if they are not underage and to keep and hold until she leaves the hotel.