The Soi Cowboy red light area of Bangkok is located on Sukhumvit Road. It’s one of the most famous adult nightlife spots in the world and has been featured in several films and movies. There are some great bars and Gogo bars on Soi Cowboy. The prices are good and the opening times are convenient. There’s also great mix of bar girls and coyotes available, too. Plus, some of the bars are great to just chill out in and take in the unique atmosphere.
The history of the place and its great reputation make it a classic red light district. Friendly, fun and entertaining. We also call it Bangkok’s safest red light area. There are police security available at either end, and it’s just about OK for visiting with the girlfriend. It’s become a tourist attraction in itself. Many holidaymakers visit just to see the area.
Read our full and updated guide to Soi Cowboy.
Address and Directions
Soi Cowboy is just off Sukhumvit Road, in Bangkok. The nearest metro station is Asoke Junction – a cross point between the BTS Sky Train and the MRT line. From here just look out over the roads for the large sign or walk onto the street level and it’s easy to find. If walking along Sukhumvit Road, turn into Sukhuvit Soi 23 and Soi Cowboy is 100 metres on the left. Any taxi driver in Bangkok will know how to reach the place quickly. Make sure that they put the metre on. Be careful catching taxis from the entrance to Soi Cowboy – these drivers like to triple or quadruple the cost for tourist who don’t ask for the metre.
Opening and closing hours
Soi Cowboy during the day is very quiet apart from street food sellers. Bars start to open around 5pm, and the Gogos kick into life any time after 8pm. Closing times are an ever-changing mystery depending on the current mood of the local police chief or the army. However, 2am is the general time for closing. In days gone by, some bars and nightclubs would stay open into the early hours but now most people who want to carry on the party have to drink at street bars or head to one of Bangkok’s late nightclubs.
Hotels near Soi Cowboy
A lot of the hotels near Soi Cowboy are really expensive. Remember, this is prime real estate in central Bangkok. It’s also not the best place to book a hotel purely with the sole purpose of being near the red light district. Book one near Soi 4 for that. However, hotels here are convenient for easy access to both the MRT and BTS lines. For budget options, Asoke Suites (£33 / night) or Red Planet Hotel Asoke (£37 / night) are good. Or for premium accommodation, the Grande Centre Point Terminal 21 (£120 / night ) or the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit (£137 / night) are both pretty classy.
Bars and Gogo bars
Soi Cowboy has some of the best Gogo bars in Bangkok. They are tourist-friendly and safe. The best Gogos include Suzie Wongs, Baccara, Spice Girls and Cockatoos for ladyboys. There’s also a large pool bar with live music that’s always busy called Country Road, several nightclubs, and some beer bars perfect for chilling out, eating food and absorbing the unique atmosphere. The beer bars also have girls that can be bar-fined and taken home. It’s a fun walk from one end to the other, seeing all the dancers in bikinis standing outside the bars trying to attract customers.
Soi Cowboy freelancers
There aren’t many freelancers or street girls in Soi Cowboy. Most of the girls are either bar girls (employed by a bar) or coyotes at the Gogo bars. That’s not to say it’s impossible to find them here. Sometimes the bar girls or dancers will go to a nightclub on the road after they finish work and do some freelance pick-up work. Or there will be a couple of friends visiout looking to snag a foreigner. But in general, outside the Nana Plaza or anywhere near Soi 4 is the place to get freelancers.
Soi Cowboy prices
Soi Cowboy is free to enter and so are the bars and Gogos. Beers cost around 100 baht. Lady drinks at the bars – buying a drink for a girl and chatting with them – are about 150 baht. The price paid to the bar owner to take the girl out of work is around 700 baht to 1,000 baht. A bar girl will then ask for money for herself. The price is minimum of 1,000 baht for an evening’s fun.
Lady drinks inside the Gogos to sit with a Coyote are a higher price, beginning at 150 baht and going upwards. Once you’ve ordered a drink for a girl, plenty of groping is allowed. That’s free, but the drinks aren’t. Be careful they don’t order double whiskies every time – it’s the oldest trick in the book and gives them a bit of a higher pay at the end of the night. Plus, the girls expect a minimum tip of 100 baht depending on how long you stay for and how enthusiastic the groping is. Bar fining a Gogo girl ( paying the manager to take them home) is about 1,000 baht. Paying the girl for bedroom activities could be 1,000 baht to 5,000 baht depending on negotiation skills.
Videos and photos
Don’t try and walk down Soi Cowboy while filming a video – one of the ladyboys will give you a good slap (don’t think I’m exaggerating, either). Selfies and smartphone pictures should be OK. But any kind of professional filming has to be given the green light from the police who keep watch at each entrance. Pictures inside the Gogos is banned, unless permission is given first by the owner or Mamma Sang. Never the less, there are plenty of pictures and videos online. But really, what could be better than visiting and seeing the real thing?
The Soi Cowboy film
Director Thomas Clay released the film ‘Soi Cowboy’ in 2008. It tells the story of a fat European man living with his pregnant Thai girlfriend. They get involved with some local mafia… and so the drama ensues. Dozens more movies have been filmed on the famous neon corridor over the years, and The Hangover 2 is possibly the most well-known. They closed everything and converted the street into a big movie set. Bars were totally remodeled and given new fascias, then taken down after. Korean and Japanese directors like to shoo some of their scenes there.