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There is no denying that the go-go bars, girly bars and sex shows are a very visible aspect of the nightlife scene in Patong and to a lesser extent Karon and Kata.
In this section we will not attempt to judge the sex industry or the people involved. It is a complicated issue so we only try to describe it to give you an understanding of what is going on. See our nightlife page for information about Phuket's non-naughty nightlife. Some people find the girly bars distasteful. For others it is all part of the colour and vibrancy of the nightlife scene, while for some it is the main reason for coming to Phuket.
The sex tourism sector in Phuket is not near the scale of that found in Bangkok or Pattaya but it is still an attraction for a large number of visitors. You do not need to be an active participant to go to the go-go bars. Couples, families and tour groups mingle with the sex tourists wandering around the bars. For many visitors to Thailand, a visit to a go-go bar or sex show is on their must do list. If you are not offended then it is a great place to drink and people-watch.
Everyone is welcome in the bars. If you go as a couple or make it clear that you do not want the attention of the girls then they will leave you alone eventually. However if you want to talk to the girls in the beer bars they will be happy to have a chat or play bar games such as connect-four or dice games.
If you want to reward them for their time, then buy them a drink or give a tip. Prostitution was made illegal in Thailand in However, the Thai government was never keen to criminalise a profession that has flourished in the country for centuries and they only did so under political pressure from the UN and US at the time. The legislation was replaced in by a new piece of legislation called "The Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act".