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Patpong (Thai: พัฒน์พงศ์, RTGS: Phat Phong) 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 with some catering primarily to Thai men while others, like Patpong, cater primarily to foreigners.
A busy night market aimed at tourists is also located in Patpong.
Location and layout
Patpong (location: Coordinates: ) consists of two parallel side streets running between Silom Road and Surawong Road and one side street running from the opposite side of Surawong. Patpong is within walking distance from the BTS Skytrain Silom Line's Sala Daeng Station, and MRT Blue Line's Si Lom Station.
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.
History and ownership
Patpong gets its name from the family that owns much of the area's property, the Patpongpanich (or Patpongpanit), immigrants from Hainan Island, China, who purchased the area in 1946. At that time it was an undeveloped plot of land on the outskirts of the city. A small klong (canal) and a teakwood house were the only features. The family built a road – now called Patpong 1 – and several shophouses, which were rented out. Patpong 2 was added later, and both roads are private property and not city streets. Patpong 3 and Soi Thaniya are not owned by the Patpongpanich family. The old teak house was torn down long ago and the klong was filled in to make room for more shophouses. Originally simply an ordinary business area, the coming of the bars eventually would drive out most of the other businesses.
By 1968, a handful of nightclubs existed in the area, and Patpong found some use as a R&R (rest and recuperation) location for U.S. troops serving in the Vietnam War, although the main R&R area was along New Petchburi Road. In its prime during the 1970s and 1980s, Patpong was the premier nightlife area in Bangkok for foreigners, and was famous for its sexually explicit shows. In the mid-1980s the sois hosted an annual Patpong Mardi Gras, which was a weekend street fair that raised considerable money for Thai charities. In the early-1990s, however, the Patpongpanich family turned the sidewalks of Patpong 1 Road into a night market, renting out spaces to street vendors.
The consequence was that Patpong lost much of its vibrancy as a nightlife strip, becoming crowded with tourist shoppers who ignored the nightlife. Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy drew away many of Patpong's thrill seekers. Patpong became a designated "entertainment zone" in 2004, along with Royal City Avenue (RCA) and portions of Ratchadapisek Road, where the largest commercial sex venues are found. This designation allows its bars to stay open until 02:00, instead of the 24:00 or 01:00 legal closing times enforced in other areas.
The movie Baraka features several shots of strippers in Patpong.
Patpong opera is a collection of songs written by Kevin Wood, manager of Radio City, to tunes of modern rock songs. Together they tell the story of the people in Patpong.
Patpong serves as part of the setting in Tom Robbins' book Villa Incognito.
- Michael Backman. The banana plantation turned sex zone, The Age, 2005-09-21
- Itthipongmaetee, Chayanit (2018-02-13). "WHY BANGKOK'S FUN IS ENDING AT MIDNIGHT AGAIN". Khaosod English. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
- Odzer, Cleo (1994). Patpong Sisters: An American Woman's View of the Bangkok Sex World. Arcade Publishing. ISBN 1559702818. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
- Nostitz, Nick (2001). Patpong: Bangkok's Twilight Zone. Westzone. ISBN 0953743829. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
- Aldous, Susan; Sereemongkonpol, Pornchai (2008). Ladyboys: The Secret World of Thailand's Third Gender. Maverick House. ISBN 9781905379484. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
- Wood, Kevin. "Bangkok". YouTube. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
- Media related to Patpong at Wikimedia Commons