Pandemic rubbing out Pattaya massage parlors

Honey Massage Parlor in North Pattaya re-opened for services on Nov. 19, claiming adherence with the government’s social distancing measures.

While the plight of Pattaya’s bars has grabbed the headlines during the coronavirus recession, the city’s naughty massage parlors are suffering just as badly.

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The “soapy” massage parlors – think glorified brothels – catered mainly to Asians and Indians. But with nearly all international tourists locked out of Thailand, the bubbles have dried up at the soapy palaces.

The Honey 1 massage parlor on Soi Honey in central Pattaya is closed and sandbagged, a sign that its Chinese and Indian customers are not coming back anytime soon. Photo: Bob James

While one of the Honey Group’s large soapies in North Pattaya re-opened Nov. 19, its Honey 1 massage on Soi 11 – better known as Soi Honey – is dark and barricaded with sandbags against flooding. The soi’s landmark Honey Inn has gone out of business and the building is up for sale.

Masseuse Maywadee, 25, said she used to work in massage palaces like PP and Honey and had as many as seven customers a day. She would get a cut of the 1,500-2,500-baht fee. That’s now down to four or fewer customers a day.


Maywadee said she gets some Thai tourists on holidays, but Pattaya western expats don’t use her services and there are too few Chinese and Japanese to go around now.

The Chiang Mai native said she has picked up some work online, but may return to her native Chiang Mai to sell handicrafts.

Honey Inn is up for sale.