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The ''free entrance'' bit is something else that's unbelievable

Phuket, in the Steps of Rihanna

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
PHUKET: A friend has just breezed in from Samui so we decided to enjoy a Rihanna evening on Phuket.

Being well-brought-up Thai women, we've never seen a vagina take the top off a bottle of soda. Perhaps, we figured, it's time we did.

Vaginas doing extraordinary things was not exactly something that ever crossed our minds until Rihanna tweeted about her Phuket experiences last weekend.

Without the pop star telling her squillions of followers in a series of lurid tweets, the whole sex show thing could have stayed Patong's dirty little secret.

Touts seemed to be everywhere, selling tickets, and the one we buttonholed outside the Jungceylon mall wanted 500 baht a piece.

''What about a discount for us being Thai,'' we said.

That saved us 100 baht. However, he did warn us that Thais are not supposed to be admitted to these shows, so we pretended to be Bahamans, or something like that, for the night.

Inside the theatre was an audience of about 30 people, a mixture of Westerners and Asians. On the stage was a topless woman.

The performers quickly went from being topless to bottomless.

When I lifted my mobile telephone to take a photograph, the staff quickly told me: ''No pictures! No pictures!''

What would happen if I did take a photo?

''You will be taken away by the police,'' one of the staff says, crossing her arms in the ''arrested'' sign. How strange, when we'd heard the police couldn't find the place.

Well Rihanna didn't get arrested and we weren't keen to be arrested either.

The show went for just over an hour and for the sake of decorum, I'll skip some of the details. But yes, it is possible to take the top off a bottle with a vagina.

There were no turtles or birds in the show we saw but one woman did drop an egg into a glass, then pause to crack the egg to show it was real.

She offered it to the audience to taste. There were no takers.

Ping pong balls and darts fired at balloons certainly enlivened the evening.

But when one of the performers shot a banana at a man in the audience who had been misbehaving, his girlfriend appeared to be not at all pleased.

Lighted candles were snuffed with another vagina, but the most alarming moment came when a woman produced from inside herself a series of razor blades, all connected on one string.

''No, no, no!'' came the anguished cries from the crowd as the blades emerged one by one. When her act was finished she used one blade to slice two white drinking straws into pieces, to prove it was real and sharp.

The show appeared to be continuous. When we figured we had seen a whole rotation, we left.

We are modern women, and unlikely to be scarred by the experience. But the show wasn't uplifting. As Thais, we found it not so much shocking as saddening.

Outside, the slow lorises and iguanas were still being handed about by photo touts in Soi Bangla.

A freak show involving women, cruelty to animals . . . our Rihanna night in Patong had no uplifting moments. Is this how Thai culture is perceived by tourists?

The night was all too much for my friend, who happens to be a tour guide in Samui.

''Thanks, but that was terrible,'' she told me with honesty, the way that good friends do.

''I am never coming back to Phuket again. Everybody here only seems to be concerned about money. Samui is much nicer.''

Her home is in Krabi and her parents had been trying to encourage her to find a new job in Phuket, to be closer to them.

''I'm going to bring my parents to Phuket to see this for themselves,'' she said. ''Then they will understand why I am staying in Samui.''

We tried to cheer ourselves up by going to a nightclub but there was a row between the staff and a couple of Russian customers. We decided that we'd had enough, and went home.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


A very cleverly written article. Sums it all up in a nutshell.

I wonder if Rihanna was genuinely looking for a bit of artistic tasteful inspiration to spice up her show & got more than she bargained.

Until you have seen these shows once, you cannot begin to imagine what they are & how tatty.

I reckon on reflection that she was genuinely shocked, hence the tone of her tweets!

Posted by Logic on September 26, 2013 00:10


Why is it that people always refer to Phuket as being 'Patong'... there is so much more to this beautiful wonderful island than Patong.

I have lived on the island for years and rarely ever find the need to go to Patong.

Posted by DAVE W on September 26, 2013 04:44

Editor Comment:

Isn't that a bit like a person pretending they don't have a huge, cancerous lump on their nose? Corruption can't be corralled.


Interesting piece and my respect goes out to two Thai females willing to observe up close what's really going on in Patong Phuket instead of assuming the TAT marketing images are actually real.

Patong is definitely a cesspool and, unfortunately, it is a Thai cesspool, created, built, owned, operated and enabled by Thais, (100% of whom are probably "Buddhist") for the sole purpose of making money from farangs visiting Thailand.

Posted by Raymond on September 26, 2013 05:21


So, what does Rihanna rhyme with then?

Posted by smik on September 26, 2013 08:14

Editor Comment:



A great article and it's especially refreshing to see it written from an educated Thai woman's point of view! As always, Phuketwan, well done!

Posted by Anonymous on September 26, 2013 09:02


I went to my 1st and only show last year. & I was also saddened.....using small birds is just flat out abuse of the animals.......Now theres shootouts in jungceylon ....

Posted by Saddened on September 26, 2013 09:27


It's interesting to note that the comments that always show up when a decently educated thai woman writes something, be it here on PW or on other forums. There is always some people gushing out compliments, as if something extremely exotic just happened..Wow a thai woman that have a good command of english! Who would have thought it possible?

Posted by christian on September 26, 2013 11:53


Good read and nice article.

It is time though the Thai tourguide gets to know Samui. Pretending these things are Phuket only is naive at best.

Posted by stevenl on September 26, 2013 12:36


Stevenl is right. Of course you can watch these shows on Samui too. And Krabi's not really completely innocent as well. But I agree they don't 'advertise' that strong. It's like parents who (used to) send their daughters to work in Bangkok, were send lots of money each month but were so surprised their daughter was working as a prostitute. I wouldn't call it naive; they're just plain blind and don't want to know.

Posted by sam on September 26, 2013 13:34


Really Sam ?? Having spent a month or two mat years on samui for the last 5 or 6 and having been into every gogo samui has, I have never seen one of these shows there, or seen it being touted anywhere..

I can't think of anything much more of a turnoff than the idea of a woman with razor blades in an intimate place !!

Posted by Livinlos on September 26, 2013 14:30


My step mum wanted to see a ladyboy show in Bangkok a few years back. A tout directed us to a bar, drinks were ordered, the lights dimmed to the sound of the Star Wars theme tune. "Ladies and Gentlemen - BIG C@CK SHOW!". Revealing eight muscley farm boy types with, well, you get the picture.

Dad was less than impressed when he found out - although mum did mention to me "they're not as big as your dad, you know...".

They went to Barbados the next year.

Posted by Barry on September 26, 2013 17:54


One time seen such a show, no need for repeating, but in my opinion, its a FREE world. Why not? To perform in such a show, are most times older and not so beautiful women, it brings them more money. Money they could not make easy otherwise. And - Is to be performing in such a show more bad and sad and more disgraceful than to have SEX with a complete stranger day by day often twice and more their age as Thousands of Bar Ladies have in Patong?
The Tour Guide from Koh Samui will sure also find a work on Phuket without she has to come near to the shunned Soi Bangla.
=Barry= Regarding they went to BARBADOS for holiday the next year, if MOM would see such a BOY - SHOW in Barabados, good possibility, she would not say than, "they're not as big as your dad, you know...". Possibly more the contrary. ;-)

Posted by Alfred on September 26, 2013 22:46

Editor Comment:

It's a matter of drawing a line somewhere, Alfred, between what's commonly accepted these days and what brings Thailand's reputation into disrepute. We understand that there was a time when live sex acts were part of the shows, but that doesn't happen any more. What people do behind closed doors is their own business. But what happens at a performance where tickets are sold to tourists sullies the image of Thailand and undermines the country's future. The argument that it's a job for someone is an argument you could use about jet-skis and taxis, too.


Great lighthearted story about life as we know it really is regardless of where. The same story could have been written about Tijuana Mexico and donkey shows....

Posted by Anonymous on September 27, 2013 06:32


So I leveled some critisism at the author and her " modern woman" friend, no foul language was used and I exposed a fair amount of ridiculous things in the article. And I was blocked? Ed seem to think the modern woman author needs "protection", how very thai

Posted by christian on September 27, 2013 09:00

Editor Comment:

Your sexist, xenophobic and offensive comments would be unacceptable anywhere, anytime, christian. Bigots are not welcome here. Goodbye.


Live sex acts do still occur, the show behind Jungcelyon is back up and running and with the amount of bus activity seems to be doing a roaring trade.

Posted by paul on September 27, 2013 10:42


My comments were far from xenophobic or sexist. Critical of misinformed people, yes.

Posted by christian on September 27, 2013 11:41

Editor Comment:

Your comments were xenophobic, misinformed, and blatantly sexist. This kind of attack is totally unwarranted. Denigrating women seems to be a characteristic you share with pingpong shows. Just so readers get the chance to understand what's not acceptable and now that the context is appropriate, I'll publish your original comment in full:

Yes, the authors friend is clearly misinformed in making such stupid remarks about Samui being such an innocent place. But, lets say for the sake of argument that Samui does have less lewd shows on offer (possible). I guess that this oh-so pure and and innocent "lady" and her oh-so conservative and childishly protective family (is she 12 years old or something?) would balk at their precious daughter getting a nice well paid job in Bangkok too? Since their are ALOT more ping pong shows on offer there? Not to mention ever going to work in Chonburi Province, since just like Patong is one city in the PROVINCE of Phuket, there is a little place called Pattaya in Chonburi..I'm amazed this woman can bring herself to work anywhere actually, just ridiculous. It's not like you will have a ping pong show thrown in your face as soon as you cross the Sarasin bridge. And the author have the audacity to call herself and this friend of hers "modern women"? More like childish, overprotected and unindependent types if you ask me.



I would have written the exact same thing had the author and her friend been male..You see, I don't use different standards based on the gender of a person, and don't hold back on critisism or change tone because somebody is a woman. I treat stupidity equally regardless of ethnicity or gender.

Posted by christian on September 27, 2013 12:49

Editor Comment:

What we want from commenters is additional information and their own experiences, where relevant. Your unfair criticism is the work of an ill-informed ratbag. I won't publish your comments in future unless you add value. Your guesswork and bigotry has none.

''More like childish, overprotected and unindependent types if you ask me.'' We didn't ask.

As Thai women, their views on the topic are relevant. Yours are not. To argue that the Phuket sex shows must be ok because there are others elsewhere in Thailand is, if you give it just a minutes' thought, something no intelligent person is likely to argue.


@christian: you are stupid or an idiot.

How can you write something like that as a comment on this article. Ah, I forgot. Your are stupid or an idiot.

No problem in sharing your inside knowledge about Thai wide distribution of full body artistry. You seem quite the expert for lewd behavior. But I can't help but wonder, if you show quite perfectly while it is a good idea to close all this awful shows. Because it turns men like you into some kind of thing without any decency left. Attending repeatedly shifts your perception of normal into crazy. "More like childish, overprotected and unindependent types if you ask me". No, they are normal and modern and open minded but not lost women. With some great sense of humor and tragic.

Posted by Lena on September 27, 2013 17:50



Nowhere in my comment do I condone sex shows, DON'T put words in my mouth. I never said sex shows are "ok" or anything remotely like that. I questioned however the silly remark that the Samui friend couldn't bring herself to work here because of the sex shows on offer in Patong. I then highlighted the fact that sex shows are prevalent in many parts of Thailand, including in the Bangkok.


I have been to exactly one ping pong show in my whole life, and it was in Bangkok around 15 years ago. And like most normal people, I found it both weird and disgusting. You don't know the slightest thing about me, so the idiot here is clearly you. An idiot with a very vivid imagination, seeing things written in posts that just aren't there.

Posted by christian on September 27, 2013 19:59

Editor Comment:

So if you are condemning the author of the article and her friend for their views, having never met them and having no reason to object to what they are saying, that makes you . .. what, christian? Let me hazard a guess (and I hate to make guesses but in this case feel obliged to do so): a compete jerk. Goodbye.


The only thing that bothers me the most is to see the animal exploitation that is happening with those poor animals who are exploited in a very unhealthy and noisy environment the only thing i could do at that moment is let the tourists know the truth behind this exploitation and i did,most of the reactions were that they didnt know about the background in wich those animals are brought in and treated to gain profit,to be honest it brought tears to my eyes to see these poor animals be treated this way and i could not understand why people could do such a thing and i never will either,dont get me wrong i love Thailand and the people who live there i just hope that someday in the name of buddhism in wich they are live by to hold up there believes and live by it not only be good in there heart for themselves and towards mankind but especially to harmless animals who didnt ask and can not defend themselves to the cruelty in wich they are exposed too,Thats all i have to say.

Posted by Thailand Fan on October 18, 2013 14:41


i am just curious, do you know when ping pong show was started in thailand? why does the girls do the show? how do they practice?

Posted by Sarah on September 30, 2014 15:25

Thursday May 23, 2024
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