It’s no secret that Thailand is home to one of the largest ladyboy scenes in the world. In fact, it could even be described as the ladyboy capital of the world. Even when you go to other countries like Singapore you find a lot of ladyboys from Thailand and few, if any, locals. The northern city of Chiang Mai draws millions of visitors every year. But unlike Pattaya and Bangkok, the city has a limited adult entertainment scene. Most of what does exist is focused on locals. Only a few places really aim at bringing in farang.
The main action for foreigners is the strip of bars and massage parlors along Loi Kroh Road. That road only contains two ladyboy bars. I have already reviewed Friend’s Corner. The other bar is a little less obvious if you are just passing by.
Marina bar isn’t exactly hidden. It’s just not the kind of place you would spot on a quick walk or drive through the area. The bar is nestled in the corner of an entertainment complex on Loi Kroh that contains a large boxing ring. Muay Thai kickboxing matches are held their pretty regularly. If you’re there watching a fight you almost couldn’t miss the bar. The bar itself is pretty small, but it has a large seating area outside. There are some bench seats along with some picnic tables. I guess they make most of their money when the fights are going on. People who don’t want to sit in the audience right in front of the ring can instead sit at one of the picnic tables in front of Marina bar and enjoy a cold drink while the fight goes down. The bar has a huge drink menu that contains most mixed drinks ever imagined.
When fights are not happening there doesn’t seem to be much draw to Marina bar. Since I’m not a fan of watching people beat each other up, that it means it doesn’t haven’t much draw for me at all. It is not that the place is necessarily bad, there just isn’t much going on.
Besides a male bar tender, the bar is very lightly staffed. The last time I visited there were only two women working. One was a rather masculine looking ladyboy in regular street clothes who looked more like a waitress than a ladyboy bar worker. The other was a very exotic looking dark skinned ladyboy in a pantsuit. They were both nice enough once I went over and talked to them, but they are hardly the type that one might expect in a place like this.
I get the feeling that I could have hung around for hours without either of the ladyboys even talking to me if I wouldn’t have made the first move. That’s how laid back the place is. Sure, at least one of them would have come to take my order, but that would have been it. In talking with the ladies I realized that they both have boyfriends and purposely chose to work in Marina instead of Friend’s Corner. Apparently Friend’s Corner has a high level of competition. That makes sense since it’s the only other ladyboy bar around. It’s also packed with ladyboys considering the size.
So the ladyboys at Marina are more about hanging out and maybe making some small talk to practice their English than anything else. They don’t wear sexy clothes or come on to or even really approach customers. Their is little to no playfulness in the bar at all and if the place has a bar fine system they don’t make it known.
It’s not a bad place to relax and have a drink, but it’s surely no major draw either. The place distinctly lacks excitement. I guess for some that would be a point of attraction.
Marina, Loi Kroh, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Open every day from 7:00P-1:00A. Click here for the bar’s Facebook page, which includes a map.