Patpong is an entertainment district in Bangkok, Thailand, catering mainly, though not exclusively, to foreign tourists and expatriates. While Patpong is internationally known as a red light district at the heart of Bangkok's sex industry, it is in fact only one of numerous red-light districts some catering primarily to Thai men and some others, like Patpong, catering primarily to foreigners.
Patpong 1 is the main street with many bars of various kinds. Patpong 2 also has many similar bars. Next to these lies Soi Jaruwan, sometimes referred to as Patpong 3 but best known as Silom Soi 4. It has long catered to gay men, whilst nearby Soi Thaniya has expensive bars with Thai hostesses that cater almost exclusively to Japanese men.
Most Patpong go-go bars feature women dancing on a stage. The dancers (and even occasionally the serving staff) are generally available to customers willing to pay a bar fine to take them out of the bar; the fees for sexual services are negotiated separately. Some establishments advertising "massages" are in fact disguised brothels, and a few famous "blowjob bars" offer oral sex at the main bar or in back rooms.
Several upstairs bars still feature (technically illegal) sex shows, with women performing various creative acts such as Ping pong show. Perhaps the most notorious of these features women performing exotic feats involving their genitalia and projectile table tennis balls. Some of these second-floor bars are run by scam artists who lure tourists with offers of low prices and later present a wildly inflated bill along with a threat of physical harm should the bill go unpaid. The Tourist Police, usually stationed at Patpong 1 and Silom Road, can help in these situations.
Some establishments in Patpong employ kathoeys (or "ladyboys") either exclusively or as part of a mixed gender staff. Unlike the kathoey bars in Nana Plaza, many of the staff at these Patpong bars are post-operative transsexuals.
With one or two exceptions, the gay bars in the Patpong area are not go-go bars, but simply traditional gay pubs, such as Telephone and The Balcony, which cater to both Thais and tourists. The commercial gay oriented go-go bars are mainly on Surawong Road or in small street Soi Pratuchai leading off Surawong.
Today, Patpong is increasingly turning away from the sex industry and providing other kinds of entertainment. There are now a number of live music bars that attract regular Thais and tourists as well as a number of very good restaurants.