There are in fact a number of red light districts in Bangkok , but Patpong is the most famous of these amongst international visitors and is the only one which is located within the official entertainment zone of the city. This means that coming to Patpong should be safer than any of the other red light districts because there is a Tourist Police presence here.


The grand reputation of Patpong may give visitors the impression that it covers a huge area, though in actual fact it covers just two small side streets which run parallel to each other. The streets are owned by the Patpongpanich family, hence the name Patpong, and space for the premises as well as the famous night market is leased out by the family.

The area started to be developed in the 1960's when there were a couple of nightclubs here and U.S. soldiers on leave from the Vietnam War were amongst the regular customers. Patpong was at its height in the 1970's and 1980's when it was most renowned for its explicit sex shows, and, though these are technically illegal now there are still a few places in Patpong that you can find these shows.


Mostly the go-go bars now feature girls, or ladyboys, scantily dressed and dancing on stages, though there are back rooms available for those visitors who want more. Patpong is diversifying in competition with some of the other popular nightlife areas, and is developing the live music market.

The sale of sex here is far more in your face than the relatively discreet windows of Amsterdam , but like Amsterdam , many tourists are attracted to Patpong to have a look and maybe have a giggle and a drink or two, but nothing more! Patpong is really staying alive for the tourists and the tourists are keeping Patpong alive.

Patpong is in the Silom area of Bangkok and is a short walk from the Sala Daeng Skytrain station.

back to top