Have you ever heard of the ping pong show? These shows go hand in hand with some of the other shenanigans that go on in Thailand. Many people who live here, or visit here frequently have probably seen one, and that is probably about it. The question becomes whether these type of shows are a scam or not? Well I guess it depends what you consider a scam.
The ping pong show can be found all around Thailand; Patong Beach in Phuket, Bangkok and Pattaya all feature their own versions of the ping pong show. They usually aren’t too difficult to find either. If you are on Walking Street, you will be approached by hustlers who bombard you with fliers (as shown in the picture) and repeatedly say “lady show” “ping pong show” etc. They are trying to round up customers for their establishment. This is nothing new, every bar in Pattaya wants to attract customers to their respective bars, but the ping pong shows can be a little on the aggressive side.
If you decide to see a ping pong show, you may have to pay a cover to enter, although you should always haggle with them if they ask for one. They may even throw in a “free” drink for you. Just remember that nothing in these bars is truly free. Here is what you should expect to see once you enter. It will look very similar to other bars and usually has a large stage where the tricksters can perform their magic for your viewing pleasure. The crowd will be almost all foreigners, and you may be surprised to see average looking western couples there as well. Even they have that curiosity to see a ping pong show.
Count on being hassled for tips (continuously) and to buy drinks. The drinks (after your free one that you may receive) can be really jacked-up in price. If they are trying to rob you (which may happen from time to time) they may try to charge you something like 400 or 500 Baht. They might call that a “lady drink” so make sure you negotiate a price and don’t buy a lady drink in these places. I’ve heard of someone being charged 700 Baht for a drink in one of these places. Why he paid it I will never understand.
The girls in these bars don’t just do ping pong shows, they do other tricks as well. Using their cooter, they can blow out candles, insert a pen and write clever messages in English, blow whistles, use chopsticks, release goldfish into a fish tank, house a small bird and my personal favorite: shoot darts at balloons and pop them. They are damn accurate in this are as well which is rather unbelievable. I always wondered how they practice that. Do they have a personal trainer that teaches them the proper technique? Where do they practice? Oh yeah, they also perform the ping pong show.
So are ping pong shows a scam? Yes and no. Yes because they try and jack up all the prices and continually hound you for tips etc. No, because you actually see a unique style of entertainment. Just make sure you try to go in a large group (it is safer in numbers) and don’t be hammered when you go in, that way you are more aware of your surroundings. The women aren’t the best looking and this isn’t a place where you want to take a lady home for the evening. Ping pong shows are worth checking out at least once just to see what it is all about, but make sure you are aware of every Baht you have and don’t let yourself get scammed!