Thailand/Malaysia(Expats) Milonga Reviews


Today I am reporting on milongas I have visited in Thailand (Bangkok) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur). Before I give ratings, you might be interested in something unique to these milongas. That is, both in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, milongas are basically supported by expats. This is particularly apparent with leaders. The leaders I have met are either moved from other countries or visiting on vacation or on business. The reason for the lack of native leaders is due mainly to either cultural or religious in nature. In Thailand, from what I have discerned is that men do not dance. In Malaysia, the predominant population is Muslim who do not dance. Consequently, the potential pool of tango dancers are limited, and the tango community is relatively small in relation to the total population of either city.

Now, the ratings:

Name: Tango at Dream Hotel; Place: Bangkok; Date: November (Friday), 2016; Accessibility- 4.0; Ambiance-4.0; Organization -4.0; Floor-3.5; Music/DJ -3.5; Dance Quality -3.0. Recommend-yes (only Friday night milonga in town). Plus(+):Friendly host, nice selection of  free buffet. Minus(-): Gender balance – women> men; more men dancers needed.

Name: Red Pepper; City: Bangkok; Date: November (Saturday),2016; Accessibility-4.0; Ambiance -4.0; Organization – 4.0; Floor -3.5; Music/DJ -3.0; Dance Quality -3.0; Recommend? -yes (only milonga on Saturday). Plus (+): friendly organizer; good floor/seating balance. Minus(-): Extra  charge  for snack/food . Gender balance – women>men.


I skipped over to Perth, Australia for a weekend and attended two milongas. I would call the Perth experience as the milongas for couples. Most guests were couples (80 percent?). They came in as couples and stayed together during the milongas although they did dance with other couple partners.

Name: Friday Milonga; City: Perth; Date: November(Friday), 2016; Accessibility-3.5; Ambiance-3.5; Organization-4.0; Floor-3.5; Music/DJ-4.0; Dance Quality-3.0; Recommend?-yes (only milonga on Friday). Plus(+): Welcoming hosts (Ross and Elena); low entry fee; lots of danceable music. Host mingles with guests. Minus(-): Dark lighting.

Name: Monthly Saturday Milonga; City: Perth; Date: November(Saturday), 2016; Accessibility-3.5; Ambiance-3.5; Organization-4.0; Floor-3.5; Music/DJ-2.5; Dance Quality-3.0; Recommend? Maybe (not if attended Friday milonga the night before). Plus (+): Friendly hosts; low cost entry fee. Minus (-): Difficult music to dance to; mixed traditional and nuevo music; dark lighting.


Tokyo Milonga Reviews

I knew that Tokyo has a vibrant tango community. But  I did not realize how much until I made a tango focused visit recently (October and November, 2016). In twelve days, I visited 10 different milongas taking all kinds of metro lines and climbing stairs umpteenth times (What a way to get some exercise!). But, it was all worth it for someone who is driven to experience that unique milonga  feeling at every possible venue around the world.

My general impression of milongas in Tokyo, and  it probably applies to other cities in Japan, is that tango is thriving by the number of milongas there are. One can go to a milonga every night for a month and still not cover all of them. Japanese are as much as addicted  to milonga experience than the rest of the world tango community.

Now, couple of things stood out as I made the round of milongas. First, entrance fees are one of the highest I have encountered. Average fee is $20 – $30 with soft drink and simple snack included. There are less expensive ($7.00- $10) milongas but they tend to operate at local community center halls. One can explain away by saying that the living expenses are higher than the rest of the world. But still! Another note of distinction is that fair number of milongas have relatively young Argentine resident teachers. These teachers seem to attract young Japanese women who are enticed to learn tango. These teachers’ expenses could  also add  to entry fees, perhaps?

Now to the specific reviews from the milongas I have visited.  Please note that these milonga venues generally cater to salon style  tango dance and play traditional tango music.        ———————————————-

A) Name: Vedado,  City: Tokyo (Tamachi),  Date: Oct./2016(Friday),  Access: 4, Ambiance: 3.5,  Organizer: 2.5, Floor: 4.5,  Music/DJ: 3.5, Dance Quality: 3.0………………(plus +): large floor, nice sound system, well laid out tables, traditional music/tandas, low entry fee.  (minus -): welcoming attitude was missing; drinks/snacks  are not provided; dance level is mixed/poor navigation, gender imbalance (women>men). Recommend for all levels of dancers even with poor navigation as the floor is spacious.

B) Name –Baldosa; City -Tokyo (Ebisu)); Date- 10/2016 (Thursday); Access – 4.5; Ambiance -4.0; Organization -3.5; Floor -4.5; Music/DJ -3.0; Dance Quality -3.0…………….(plus+): close to metro, lively crowd, soft drinks included; (minus -): tight seating, static tanda music.  Gender imbalance (women >men). Recommend for high energy dancers who enjoy tight space.

C) Name- RADA; City – Tokyo (Nihonbashi); Date -10/2016 (Thursday); Access -3.5; Ambiance – 4.0; Organization – 4.0; Floor -3.5; Music/DJ-3.0; Dance Quality -3.5…………………(plus +): very close to metro, friendly hosts, lively crowd; (minus-): 4th floor-no elevator, no cortina, tight dance floor . Recommend but be aware of rotating DJs and their music genre.

D)  Name- Black Velvet; City – Tokyo (Ikebukuro); Date -10/2016(Sunday afternoon); Access- 4.5; Ambiance -4.0; Organization – 4.5; Floor -3.5; Music/DJ-3.5; Dance Quality -3.0…………..(plus+): Very welcoming hosts, they dance with guests, elegant dress scene; (minus-): small floor, music is  sedate.  Recommend for older age group (40- 70) with relaxed, comfortable demeanor. Gender=Women>Men.

E) Name- Efecto Tango; City- Tokyo (Shinjuku area); Date- 10/2016(Sunday); Access- 4.0; Ambiance- 4.5; Organization – 4.5; Floor – 4.5; Music -5.0; Dance Quality -4.5…………..(plus+): Overall excellent milonga;  well organized, nice tango ambiance, strong mixed  danceable music (tandas/orchestras are projected on the wall), and quality dancers in general. Recommend for tango aficionado. (minus -): not enough dancers to enjoy the milonga venue. Gender=Women>Men.

F) Name- Suiyoukai; City- Tokyo (Yotsuya); Date- 11/2016(Wednesday); Access- 4.0; Ambiance – 3.0; Organization- 3.5;  Floor- 4.5; Music/DJ – 2.5; Dance Quality -2.5………………..(plus+): large floor space, low entry fee, posted tanda music, pleasant night view. (minus -): esoteric music for dancing, no set tanda or cortina, generally lower dancing level. Recommend for casual after work dance social for beginners and for practice.  Gender=Women>Men.

G) Name-Salon de Tango; City-Tokyo (Asakusa); Date- 11/2016(Monday); Access- 4.0; Ambiance- 2.5; Organization -2.5; Floor -3.5; Music/DJ- 2.5; Dance Quality- 2.0………………..(plus+): low entry fee, free drinks and snack, evening milonga for after-work dancers. (minus-): spotty tango music, generally low level  dancing, make-shift gym floor with limited seating. Recommend for quick after -work tango embrace to reduce stress. Gender=Women>Men.

H) Name- Asaka Tango; City- Asaka (Metro Tokyo); Date – 11/2016 (Sunday afternoon); Access – 2.5; Ambiance – 3.0; Organization- 3.5; Floor – 4.0; Music/DJ- 2.5; Dance Quality-3.0……………………(plus +): low entry fee, separate free drink/snack area, large floor, good seating arrangement; (minus-): far from Tokyo central, non-standard tanda music format, spotty danceable tango music. Recommend for Sunday afternoon activity for couples seeking afternoon delight embrace. Gender=Women>Men.

I and J) Vedado and Baldosa venues were visited second time during my visit to Tokyo. The overall reviews do not alter significantly from the first time visits. For both venues, second time visits had slightly higher music and dance quality ratings.

I am headed to Malaysia and Thailand next. I will review their milongas in few days.