The whole area is generally safe if you whatch your p’s and q’s, your more likely to get yourself into trouble with another tourist than you are with a Thai person but still be sure to keep your eyes wide open. Never carry drugs or get drunk and so out of control because you will either get taken advantage of or get robbed.
Years ago Soi Cowboy was very drab and dreary, as well as a place one would go to find young girls, but all of that has been cleaned up now and is much better than it once was. Some of the best go go bars in Thailand are now located in Soi Cowboy.
Why is Soi Cowboy called Soi Cowboy. Well legend goes that an american man who liked to wear a cowboy hat opened the first bar in the Soi back in the seventies, the locals called him the cowboy and somehow the name stuck.
Mostly all the bars in Thailand work on the bar fine system where you negotiate a price with the lady and pay the fine to the bar, the fine of the bar in some cases can be negotiated but mostly it’s fixed and usually around the 500 baht range. Rather steep compared to places like Pattaya and Chiang Mai.