No matter where you are in Bangkok — the markets, subway cars, restaurants or bars — you’ll see elderly male tourists with young Thai men and women. It’s no secret that gay or straight, sex tourism is a huge draw for many Westerners visiting Thailand, especially Bangkok.
Prostitution is a part of most cultures, but for me, it’s not nearly as the empowering or liberating in Bangkok as it is in a place like Canada or the US. I first learned this after watching Michael Glawogger’s film, Whores’ Glory, which features Thailand as one of its subjects.
I’ve wandered through one of the straight red-light districts in the city, Patpong, where women in lingerie are out in the streets luring men into their bars. There is a gay red-light district too, on Soi Twilight (or “Soi Pratuchai” in Thai), which I recently went to for the first time.
It’s a small alleyway northeast of the Patpong Night Market, but it’s so small that it doesn’t show up on Google Maps. As I approached via Thanon Surawong, I was assaulted by a clutter of neon signs reading things like, “Dream Boys,” “Hot Male” and “Fresh Boys.” A reddish-purple turned pinkish glow radiated on street level; it was like being on the set of a steam-punk thriller.
Credit: Mike Miksche/Daily Xtra