*****Updated April 2015*****
If you travel through Patong’s famous “walking street” – aka Bangla Road – after sunset, it’s inevitable that you’ll be set upon by all sorts of hustlers and fast-talkers trying to tempt you into one of the many bars and shows to watch women gyrate and buy drinks at inflated prices. Actually scrap that…judging be our experience, you’ll be hounded both day and night in Patong!
If you like to be left alone for a leisurely stroll through the markets and want to know where to stay in Phuket, our advice is to stay as far away from Bangla Road as possible.
Ping Pong Show Thailand
Many of these bars are simple strip joints or pole dancing clubs where a woman will swirl on and around you for a few Baht (or dollars, depending upon what you have) but some are more scurrilous still. Of all the shows and nightlife available in Thailand, none are more graphic than the outrageous and downright bizarre Ping Pong Shows.
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What’s a stark contrast to what springs to mind when one mentions ping pong games, these particular shows are hugely popular in Patong, Bangkok and maybe one or two other cities around Thailand.
Generally taking place in the city’s strip club areas, the shows usually consist of local women using their pelvic floor muscles to retain and eject a variety of objects from their vaginas. While many of the objects are unsurprising – ping pong balls being a staple – others can be more than a tad more whince-worthy and may include chopsticks, darts, and razor blades (yep – I did just say razor blades!!)
My description of the show or anyone else’s will not be able to convey what the experience is like. It’s one of those things that has to be seen to be believed.
The ‘fun’ doesn’t stop at inanimate objects either. Many of the Thai girls – most of whom are pretty small in stature – will cram goldfish or Sapgreen Stream Frogs, which are indigenous to the city, into themselves to be expelled into a bowl of water some time later. A whole evening’s entertainment can be made of drinking beer while watching a girl pop balloons at what I would call a respectable distance, using only darts and the power of her pelvic muscles.
It seems that anything goes, and if it can fit, it will fit with a little easing and some KY jelly.
The neon is bright, the music is loud, the crowds are boisterous, and the drinks expensive but these shows are an experience not to be forgotten; it’s a kaleidoscope of sensory overload that would make even Marquise de Sade blush.
Thailand has a reputation for being a hedonistic sexually-liberated paradise for the traveler, but nothing can prepare you for this.
I’ve heard many people say that they’ll never be shocked again having visited the NieuwMarkt area of Amsterdam. I say to those people, come and see a Ping Pong Show in Thailand, and think again!
The Foreign & Thai Girls that Perform
While the girls are all mostly prostitutes, many of them might secretly dream of a career in theater. Sticking a frog or a razor blade inside their private parts may not be the most pleasant experience, but they do it with a smile and a cheerful abandon that makes it seem like it’s really not that bad.
Of course, concerns are raised all the time that the girls are coerced into it and there are even charges that some are Vietnamese and Laotian sex slaves who have been smuggled across the border, but the government chooses not to intervene in one of the countries more excessive industries.
Should you go and see a ping pong show in Patong?
Ok, we’ve been so we can’t judge and tell you not to go. Curiosity killed the cat and we gave into what seems to be the main attraction on Bangala road.
But, what we can do is share our feelings about our experience.
Yes, it was eye-opening (to say the least) and need I say, we were somewhat entertained at the time as we just could not believe what was happening on the stage before us. Having not experienced anything like this before, the shock factor definitely affected us and our night out at the show had us talking about it for weeks afterwards.
Having left the area of Patong and Phuket behind, we’ve since explored many other areas of Thailand that to us, are far more interesting and worthy of our time.
While we can’t discourage you from going (as we did it ourselves), we can tell you of the feelings that we have upon reflection of our ping pong in Patong experience.
Now, we don’t think about how different and bizarre it would be to see a Thai girl shove objects inside her, but instead we think about those girls having to degrade themselves in public for the entertainment of tourists – and all for very little pay.
We think about the poor innocent wildlife that are used in these performances. Yes, it’s completely shocking to see a girl put a frog in her vagina, but it’s even more shocking that people actually pay money to see these poor creatures being treated in this inhumane way.
On the surface, it’s all fun and a ‘must-thing’ do when visiting Thailand but once you begin to dig a little deeper, you’ll begin to realise that it’s far more sinister that what it seems.
Ultimately, the choice is yours but we’ll definitely not be returning to a ping pong show in Thailand (or anywhere else for that matter) anytime soon.