Every time I come to Khao San Road in Bangkok I hear them. It’s hard not to. They make the noise right into your ear, a cross between a smooch and a pop. It’s always been an alluring yet disturbing sound.
This trip I decided it was finally time. I answered the call with a triple “smooch pop” so loud that half the street turned in my direction.
What followed was a perspective altering night full of scorpions, tarantulas, popping ping pongs, live sex, a whole lot of Thai beer and the weirdest part of all, well dressed Thai pensioners clapping passionately throughout it all.
Although it was an epic night of heinous debaucheries, I definitely wouldn’t pay good money to see that ping pong production again.
But if you’re like me and have to experience things for yourself, the following Runaway Guide will teach you everything you need to know.
How To Prepare For A Ping Pong Show
First things first, large libations in the form of Chang beers are in order. Pop into the 7/11 and pick up two 650ml for 53 Bhat or 1.65$ each.
Second, remove 1000 Bhat from your wallet and then leave it along with all your other valuables in your room (the reason why I don’t have any good photos to offer).
Now it’s time to rally the troops. Walk around hostels and implore fellow backpackers to join your cause. Not only will it be cheaper to go with a group but it’ll always be safer and definitely more fun.
Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to have travel insurance to prepare for the unexpected. I’ve been using world nomads for years and can highly recommend them.
I somehow managed to recruit 3 Germans, 2 Americans and 1 Canadian into my ping pong posse.
How To Get To The Ping Pong Show
I always thought the show would be right on Khao San Road. To my surprise it was actually a 30 minute Tuk Tuk ride into some Bangkok Ghetto.
To get there you need to find the ping pong tour organizer or that guy who very non-discreetly goes “smooch pop.” Answer him with a “smooch pop” or simply say let’s go to the show.
He’ll swiftly lead you off the main road and down a back alley. On the way, stop by the bug bar and eat a Scorpion for good measure. Although you can choose from full grown fried tarantulas, cockroaches and beetles, the Scorpions are believed by Thai’s to grant one physical and mental power.
It tasted just like chicken if chicken tasted like dried out crunchy dung with a hint of rusting rebar, so don’t forget to ask for salt and pepper (not that that really helps).
How Much Does The Ping Ping Show Cost?
When you arrive at your underworld tour guide’s Tuk Tuk be sure to set the price by the lord Buddha before you get in.
After some negotiating, I managed to haggle a price of 350 Bhat/person for round trip transport, entrance to the show, and 1 free drink. Be sure not to pay anymore than that.
When it comes to haggling, a good method is to propose slightly more than half of the asking price and then meet somewhere in the middle. Remember, these are tough and talented business men. You know you’ve gotten a good price if you can sense genuine disappointment. For more tips, check out How To Haggle Like A Pro.
About The Ping Pong Show
The Ping Pong show is, in a word, disturbing. Ping Pong balls fly, silk ropes seemingly flow without end and a large western dude makes an appearance towards the end. It challenges your conceptions of physics and, at least to me, degrades the sanctity of sexual organs.
But the performers take pride in their skills. You can see it in the way they move and through their confident gaze after every applause. More, you can sense a degree of respect for them from the Thai audience, who are largely composed of well dressed middle aged couples. They clap with passion and vigor, and aren’t the least bit bashful.
Ping Pong Show Tips
- Drinks at the show cost 200 Bhat per beer, so if you have a flask, fill it up before you go.
- If you haggle with the bar maid you can get the beer price down to the Thai price of 100 bhat/beer.
- Remain respectful towards your Thai hosts and performers
- Be sure to secure a ride back to Khao San road
After The Show
After the show I ended up hanging out with two British couples over too many shots of vodka and I told them about the ping pongs. As I recollected, their faces became as queasy looking as mine had been.
Although it was a new experience and an epic night, the show left a sour taste in my mouth, no double entendre implied. And I definitely won’t do it again. Not because it contributes to Thailand’s sex tourism because in fact more Thai’s frequent the show than tourists, but because of that one scene when she put the…well, that’s all I can really say.
One thing’s for sure, I’ll never forget that night or the hellish hangover the next day.