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Bar Boi Booty

Probably the most frequently asked question on the gay Thailand forums centers around the subject of how much you should ‘tip’ a guy for spending time with you. The answer isn’t easy. It will depend on where you are, where it is, what you do, and for how long. Then your own motivations factor in, too. So there is no hard and fast answer. Figuring it out, though, starts with an understanding of why it is up to you.

I’m not gonna give you an historical basis for that; I haven’t a clue. I think, however, in a large part it has to do with Thailand’s culture, the way Thais have been raised and how they think. First off, this isn’t the $20 for a blow job transaction between a whore and a john back home. To the Thai way of thinking, it’s more of an even trade. They are offering up something you need (their hot bod) and you are offering up something they need (your wallet). And you are not buying sex, rather they are going to ‘take care of you’ and you are going to do the same for them.

That may seem like it’s splitting hairs, but recognizing the small difference in motivation means the difference between having a great time and, well, feeling like you landed a dud. I think that’s where a lot of touri go wrong and get the dud experience. They enter the transaction as though they are buying a whore and that’s not where the guy is coming from. But if you treat him like a piece of meat for sale, all bets are off; he will respond in kind.

But there are no hard and fast rules here. It is Thailand after all! The guy who pushes you to off him and then quotes a figure for his time . . . well, he’s a hardened whore and has been burned enough times that it is now a strictly cash transaction for him. Sex for money. Hopefully lots of the later and as little of the former as possible. These guys will be a dud. Part of the reason they ask for a set fee up front, and a high one at that, is because they don’t plan on performing to a degree that would ellicit that kind of money in the first place. The majority of guys, though, operate on the ‘up to you’ basis. Which means they are going to rely on you doing the right thing. There’s a reason it’s called a tip. And there’s a reason you pay it at the end of your time together.

So how much? Getting a realistic answer on the forums is tricky. A lot of the posters are expats and they want to keep the expected tips low. Can’t blame them. And though you don’t hear from as many Bangkok expats, when you do it’s not unusual to hear that the damn touri are ruining it for everybody by over tipping. Then you’ll get the posters who try and tell you how they always manage to score for some ridiculously low price, but that’s always bullshit.

The range of tips is always going to be higher in Bangkok. With Phuket coming in close behind (Phuket for some reason doesn’t seem to know it is in Thailand and prices on everything are more in line of what you’d pay in Europe.) Then Chiang Mai, and the lowest range runs in Pattaya. For good reason. Lots of available guys, and Pattaya draws an even mix of cheap touri and even cheaper expats.

How much you tip will also depend on whether it is for short time or long time. Short time can be as little as an hour (or however quickly you can finish up) to several hours, but not over night. Short time bar boys sum it up with, “you cum, I go.”  Long time usually means over night. Not all guys want to spend the night. Could be you, could be they have friends waiting, could be they have to get home to their wife. Longtime usually finishes with or at breakfast. Though if it also covers spending the day together, well, that’s really a different proposition and you then have to take into account whether you are offing him for another night. If not, he still needs time to go home, take a nap, clean up, eat his type of food, and get back to work.

How much you tip when you off a guy for several days brings out a whole bunch of new opinions. The majority seems to believe you should get a ‘discount’. They usually base that on the fact that the guy is getting offed for more nights in a row than he would if he worked each of those nights. I totally disagree on this one. You are asking far more out of the guy to give up a week of his time than when you do an over-nighter. He is going to abandon his friends and family and spend all of his time with you. That alone should be worth the full tip. But in addition, you are going to get a tour guide, a translator, 24 hour companionship . . . much, much more than a quick roll in the hay. And I’ve heard the argument, “Yeah, but I’m paying for the room and his food .. .” Sorry. All of that was at your choice, not his. I do think, however, you should get a discount on the off fees charged by the bar. They are scoring more fees than they would if he worked nightly, and it is not costing them any additional effort.

What you want to do comes into play too. If you are offing a Tawan muscle guy and just want to strip down and do the muscle worship thing, that’s short time without  much effort on his part and the tip would be smaller than if you wanted to spend several hours and share an orgasm.

There also seems to be a belief that you have to tip more at some bars. Tawan always tops that list. Jupiter holds that reputation, too. I don’t believe this is necessarily true. I think it is based on a false assumption that tends to feed itself. But if too many people think you have to tip a guy from Tawan 1,000 baht more than other bars, and do, pretty soon it becomes the expected tip thanks to the customers, not because the bar boys demanded it. At the same time, hitting the top star at a bar on a Saturday night . . . well the tip may be up to you but the guy also knows he is in great demand and may not want to take a chance on his landing a cheapskate instead of a sugar daddy.

If you under tip, or the guy is greedy, he may ask for money for a taxi. Like 500 baht. I always tip with some small bills to ensure he really doesn’t need change for transpo, and then reply with a  ‘No, sorry’  if he asks (but I also tip at the top of the range so I know I’m not under tipping).

Before I get to the range of tips, which is really all ya wanted to hear anyway, let me also mention that if you are the generous, or gullible, type and buy the guy gifts (i.e., gold chains, cell phones, clothes, etc.) the cost for those do not come out of his tip. The two are totally distinct and sperate from each other.

So here’s my tip list. I used experience, others’ advice, and advice from several bar boys for these ranges. The ranges are the norm: what is acceptable. You may be able to go lower (and will be ignored next time you go into that bar) and of course you are more than welcome to pay more (and get bowled over by all the guys trying to get to you next time you hit that guy’s bar):

Short Time:

Bangkok: 1,000 – 1,500 baht

Phuket: 1,000 – 1,200 baht

Chiang Mai: 900 – 1,200 baht

Pattaya: 800 – 1,200 baht

Long Time:

Bangkok: 1,500 – 2,500 baht

Phuket: 1,500 – 2,000 baht

Chiang Mai: 1,200 – 1,800 baht

Pattaya: 1,000 – 1,800 baht

If spending the day together without an additional night’s off, the higher dollar value of the range is fine if you are feeding and entertaining him. Though throwing in an extra 500 baht if you were pleased is cool. If you spent the day in bed together, an extra 500 is a must.

Me? I pretty much stick to Bangkok bois and almost always go for an over-nighter. I tip 2,000 baht, make sure he gets breakfast in the morning if he wants it, and don’t demand morning sex (if I want another roll in the hay, then I’ll keep him for another night). I’ve never had a complaint with this and any guy I’ve offed is always pleased to see me again.

A Closing Note On Long Term Offs

Sorry, I know I ramble on so I’ll endeavor to keep this brief. But I thought it’d be interesting to share with you. On one of my more recent year end trips I brought along 3 friends. After hitting Bangkok, we went to Chiang Mai and Phuket. I brought along my bar boy friend, Noom, from Bangkok. None of my friends had been to Thailand before, so I played tour guide. Which also meant Noom played tour guide as he felt responsible for seeing my friends had a good time, too. By the time we reached Phuket, Noom was physically drained and ill from the stress of trying to keep four distinct personalties happy and ensure they were all enjoying themselves. This is what he calls ‘taking care’ of  his customer. And I realized, to a lesser degree, he goes through the same when it is just him and me. It really clued me in on what these guys go through internally when they accept a long term off. Discount the amount of tip you are gonna give? No way.

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