Same girl, different bar – movements in Pattaya

When it comes to sticking with an employer there is a saying, “if you want loyalty, get a dog.” There are different categories of people who come to Pattaya for work- long term, short term, etc. Some stick with one shop for their whole career. One owner we have spoken to takes pride in the longevity of his workers. Several of his ladies have been with his group of three soi 6 bars for a year or more which is a long time by Pattaya standards. Others stay only a short time. It is far more common especially in soi 6 and other beer bars such as soi 7 for girls to hop around between bars every couple of months. The exception would be where there is a family connection and this is not uncommon- a mom or aunt, or even sister working in the same shop (note. when a lady says a woman is  her sister this might not always mean a biological sibling. it could be a cousin, close friend, step-sister, half-sister etc.) There are very few barriers to exit and entry in this market- although monthly salaries are available, it is also common for casual paid arrangements of daily or weekly agreements to work in a particular shop.

For Walking Street and LK Metro bars a contract typically denotes a 10 day period. Although, it is also common to find 30 day contracts as well. It is more common to meet dancers who  have been working at the same bar a long time at the agogo bars compared to beer bars. There is a fairly good chance that if you only visit Pattaya once per year, when you come back you might see the same dancer again. This is also true of soi 6 to some extent though on average the turnover is greater. Remember that agogo bars typically maintain 2-3 lineups on a rotational basis which means anywhere from 30-40 to over a hundred dancers with clubs like Baccara maintaining two floors with a second stage upstairs.

In terms of soapy massage this is generally the shortest in terms of duration of employment as people tend to move on more quickly, though there are of course exceptions. For example in Chiang Mai there are only three venues which tend to have some longer term employees. In Pattaya the turnover is higher.

Sometimes ladies drift in and out of the industry. We have heard of entrepreneurs leaving to start their own  businesses such as clothing stall or coffee cart but losing money and eventually returning to Pattaya when the business doesn’t work out. There is also seasonal drift- of course the time of peak demand is during high season and slower during the hot summer and rainy season but tourism is now year-round especially the Chinese market. During the harvest season ladies from rural areas of Isaan  may return home to help on the family farm. As a Buddhist country Christmas and New Year are still peak periods due to western visitors and Thai people also have a long public holiday of typically four days over the new year period.

richard coxley

Richard Coxley is a business consultant with over 12 years experience in Asia. He enjoys playing golf. He has travelled extensively in Thailand and currently resides in Pratumnak, Pattaya.

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