Although Hat Yai is a major town, it is no Phuket, Pattaya or Bangkok in the bar girl stakes. There are no go go bars in town and the vast majority of prostitutes, which are predominantly northern girls, work in massage parlours, karaoke joints and ‘lounges’. They cater mostly to visiting Chinese Malays, who prefer this type of setup.
First of all, you’ll notice that there are enough bars in Hat Yai that cater to farangs (foreigners), but they are typically regular bars serving beer and playing live music, as opposed to Phuket-style girlie bars. The only real option for Hat Yai bar girls and prostitutes is within the Pink Lady complex, a section of which has the quintessential bar girl setup.
Prostitution goes from this and the bathhouse brothels to dingy karaoke bars, the latter of which you wouldn’t really want to frequent. Most foreigners looking for a bit of action typically head to the Pink Lady as it has traditional massage and ‘soapy’ massage, as well as the bar girls and a lounge downstairs where girls prance around on stage. Pink Lady’s main offering is the ‘goldfish bowl’ for sex massage. See more on massage parlours.
As with anywhere in the kingdom, and despite being right in the south, the vast majority of Hat Yai bar girls and prostitutes are from the Isaan region of northern Thailand, along with white-skinned Chiang Rai girls. There are very few actual southern girls working the trade.
For freelancers, streetwalkers ply the roads and lanes about the city centre by night, particularly near Lee Gardens Plaza. Although cheaper than bar girls and massage sex – being typically 500 baht for short-time (usually two hours) – these girls are not worth the risk due to the potential for strife. Hat Yai is not as bad Pattaya on this score, however, and some swear by them.
Cheaper short-time still can be had between the railway bridge of Phetkasem Road and VL Hotel. Prostitutes hang around this area at night and will approach you, offering short-time for about 400 baht (cheaper for Thais). You get what you pay for, however, and these girls are not the best, as one could imagine.
Karaoke is a better option than freelancing, where you can pick up girls easily and more safely. You sit watching awful singing on stage, while hostesses pour your drink and/or sit with you and/or go home with you. One of the best areas is Late 8 towards the south of town. It is situated around the bustling Hansa Plaza, where there are bars, clubs and even a ladyboy cabaret.
Many of the bigger hotels also have karaoke bars with a similar setup, where a lounge is given over to dressed-up girls and hostesses on stage and roving the room. Some hotels also have disco-style clubs and massage parlours with Hat Yai bar girls and prostitutes. Those into boys should head for Thai Akarn Road.
Popular Hat Yai Bars and Karaoke
Hansa Plaza: Rambling setup in the south of the town featuring a disco, karaoke and bars. Also has a ladyboy cabaret and gets exciting later on, though best for those who know the lay of the land. Hansa Entertainment Complex, 1 Hansa Pattana Road, tel: (074) 363 777, fax: (074) 363781, website.
Pink Lady: This is your best option in town for clean bar girls and onsite short-time. Quite expensive but has a good choice of girls, some of which are stunners. Also has soapy massage, a nightclub and a posh high-up lounge. Expect to pay 1,500 baht for short-time for the bar girls, more for the soapy massage girls. 24/11-12 Saneha nusorn Rd, tel: (074) 230 960-4, (093) 780 1134.
Chao Phraya 4: Popular massage parlour and bar that is good for foreigners and Thais. There are many sexy girls here, although a little overpriced for Hat Yai, yet cheaper than Pink Lady. Pretty dead in the daytime. 520 Thamanoon Vithee Road, tel: (074) 262520-34.
Sakura Hotel: Farther south, amid bars, massage parlours and karaoke joints, this is your typical buy-garlands-for-girls place with expensive beer, though they do it well. You can also take girls home, about 1,000 baht short-time. 186 Niphat Uthit 3 Road, tel: (074) 355 700, fax: (074) 355 722.
Other options are on Phetkasem Road and near Diana department store, plus there are cheap and easy-going massage parlours dotted all about the city environs. If you’re unsure, have a tuk-tuk driver take you around them; they don’t rip you off in this neck of the woods.