Bangla Road in Patong is the notorious heart of the nightlife and entertainment on Phuket Island. The legendary road is considered a true paradise by hedonists and tourists seeking the wildest fun or infamous inferno from everyone else. However, no matter who is right and without any possibility of denial, it is one of Phuket's main attractions and attracts large crowds of visitors throughout the year. Bangla Road and its several Sois, Thai alleys, are filled with a frenetic mix of world-class discos, live music clubs, pubs, restaurants, Beer bars, Go-go bars, Ping Pong shows, shops and some vast entertainment complexes which combine high-class restaurants, beer bars, pool rooms and night clubs into a single venue. Bangla Road is the ideal place where one can spend good times with friends or make new ones, drink strong cocktails or frozen beers, eat good seafood or international dishes, listen to music, both live and DJ style, dance, play billiards, enjoy a relaxing massage and obviously meet beautiful and “friendly” Thai girls. As many people know, prostitution in Thailand is illegal but tolerated as in Patong' case, so it’s not surprising that sex workers are one of Bangla's main attractions. Strolling around, you'll see hundreds of sexy women or transsexual, the famous Thai ladyboys, employed by the numerous bars either as coyote dancers or simply as hostesses who will encourage customers to buy them drinks. Apart from sex tourists and curious voyeurs, the street also attracts many "regular" tourists, couples and young disco enthusiasts, as for most visitors to Phuket it's normal and customary to spend the night in Bangla, especially because here are the finest discotheques on the island, but also for the folklore, the improvised performances offered by street artists or just to take a photo with the ladyboys dressed with their colorful costumes in Rio Carnival style. Located in the heart of Patong, Bangla Road itself is only 400 meters in length and extends from west to east between Thaweewong Road, the road which runs parallel to the beach, and Rat-U-Thit Road. The road is closed to vehicle traffic once the sun sets and becomes a 400-meter-long festival of neon lights and loud music. Beer bars occupy most of the street's length along with a few pubs, live music bars, discos, shops and pharmacies, while almost all go-go bars, ping pong show and restaurants are on its side alleys. Most beer bars are outdoors or open-fronted, so the music from each one blends into a mess of mixed beats. Near the western end of Bangla, closest to the beach, are set the old iconic bars such as Sunset Bar, The Honky Tonk Bar and the huge Aussie Bar, as well as the White Room disco, which is inside the Soi Gonzo, and Hollywood Phuket, which is one of the oldest and most popular nightclubs in Patong. Near the eastern entrance of Bangla, closest to Rat-U-Thit Road, you'll find the biggest and most popular nightclubs in Phuket, including the world-class Illuzion disco, the Seduction Complex that combines three night clubs and a high-class restaurant into a single venue, and the New Tiger Disco Complex, a three-story building dominated by massive tigers that includes a huge disco, billiard rooms and a lot of beer bars on ground floor. On the Rat-U-Thit Road, just opposite the Bangla Road, you’ll find the old but still popular Tai Pan disco, and the very popular live music venues Rock City and Red Hot. There are at least a dozen of sois that branch off of the Bangla Road. These small alleys are almost all located on the north side of the road. The most important or better known from west to east are: Soi Easy, Soi Gonzo, Soi Crocodile, which is also called Soi Katoey as it is a meeting place of ladyboys, Soi Freedom, formerly Soi Eric, Soi Sea Dragon, which houses most of go-go bars, Soi Sea Lion, Soi Tiger, and Happy Road.
Important Note about Touts: Never follow a tout in Bangla Road with his little card of whatever he says you will see in the hot-live shows! They are not working for Go-Go bars, what they promise is often not real and you will be charged an extra price. Bangla is very small and it's easy to find Go-Go bars by yourself.
Prostitution in Thailand: Many Thai people and tourists themselves believe that prostitution and tolerating other’s lifestyles are a necessary part of Thai culture, so the ‘oldest profession in the world’ has flourished in Thailand. Although, female sex tourism exists in smaller numbers, most clients involved in sex tourism in Thailand are men, while a majority of the sex workers are women, including the famous ‘ladyboys’. Sex tourism in Thailand is an industry worth billions of dollars and is estimated to have at least two millions of sex workers involved. Unfortunately, a large number are prostitutes through human trafficking, although the industry is often well regulated and the sex workers are there by choice.
Current legal situation: Prostitution is not strictly illegal in Thailand, though solicitation and public nuisance laws are in effect. In practice it is tolerated and partly regulated. The Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act is the central legal framework prohibiting prostitution. It was written with a particular focus upon child prostitution and trafficking. Section 8 penalizes customers who engage in sexual intercourse with sex workers under the age of 15 years with a prison term of two to six years and a fine of up to 120,000 baht., while for sex workers between the ages of 15 and 18 years, the prison term is one to three years, and the fine is up to 60,000 baht.
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