The Neon Lights of Nana Plaza, Bangkok
Nana Plaza is one of the three main entertainment areas in Bangkok, catering exclusively to foreigners. The other two (in)famous venues are Patpong and Soi Cowboy. For quite a few years Nana Plaza was most likely the most successful nightlife entertainment spot, when judged by the number of visitors, number of bars, and number of working girls. Patpong is in eternal decline. Soi Cowboy on the other hand is giving Nana Plaza stiff competition. The simple fact is that Nana Plaza looks like past its prime, the bars seem to have stopped investing in upgrading what is on offer. The girls have a more professional attitude than necessary.
Furthermore, prices have been raised rather at a faster rate than inflation and exchange rates (the baht is getting ever stronger) would require. Since a few years there is also a well maintained ban on nudity and explicit shows (while this is not the case at Patpong or Soi Cowboy, due to different police jurisdictions). All this being said, thousands of people come and visit Nana Plaza every night, so the place is not quite moribund yet.
Giant neon lights in front of G-Spot Bar. G-Spot is located in the far right corner on the second floor of Nana Plaza.
Nana Plaza is located in soi 4, just 100 meters from main Sukhumvit Road. To get there, you will have to negotiate your way on a footpath overcrowded with vendors and beggars. The entrance to the Plaza is narrow, also crowded with 'freelancers', ladyboys, and occasionally even an elephant (a real one, really).
Hello Girls in front of Mandarin Bar. Located just in front of the escalators on the second floor (right side of Nana Plaza).
Nana Plaza is horseshoe shaped with a ground floor level, a second and a third floor. Around the entrance, and in the atrium of the plaze, a lot of large beer bars are situated, allowing for a place to sit, enjoy a drink and the general atmosphere of the place. When entering Nana Plaza a staircase on the left, and an escalator on the right, can take you to the second floor and higher up. The format at Nana Plaza bars is a go-go or pole dancing, with the girls wearing bikini-like outfits.
Scene in front of AngelWitch. Located on the second floor (left) of Nana Plaza. Shows all night. Notice the bags, the garbage and the beer cartons, all placed on the roof (of the bars below). The Hollywood sign refers to the bars on the third floor.
There are persistent complaints on various websites and forums that Nana Plaza seems to experience an eternal 'low' season. However, what we observe is that their are still thousands of visitors every night. Admittedly, not all bars are crowded, and some bars are clearly more popular than others. Around Nana Plaza there are no less than four Rainbow Bars, and these seem to attract a large part of the visiting crowd. Angelwitch, the only place giving almost continuous choreographed shows, is rather small, but attracts also a lot of customers. Bars charge almost identical prices for drinks (whether they are popular or not) of between 120-140 baht for drinks. Lady drinks (the drinks you can buy for the girls) are similarly priced. In some bar, the girls mainly request tequila shots. Often, they will gulp down the minuscule drink and disappear shortly thereafter.
Actually the very successful Rainbow bars charge slightly less than other bars (maybe there is a message here). This is rather typical for entertainment places in Bangkok. Whether successful or not, the bars charge the same. Price competition would be advised for less successful venues, but maybe there is some kind of control system behind the scenes, that we are not aware of.
Rainbow 4 bar, most likely the most busy bar at Nana Plaza. Located on the second floor of the plaza (right side).
As for Soi Cowboy, we advise regarding some health concerns. Most bars create a deafening noise, so ear plugs are useful. Smoking is allowed in the bars. Especially in the smaller bars, this creates often a smoke-filled environment, that can leave you coughing the next day, if you stay too long. However, having a drink outside is also possible, and less hazardous.
Animated neon lights in front of the rather new Spankys Bar. Located on the left side of the second floor, to the right when coming off the stairs.