Tips for surviving first KTV

Hi guys, I’ve just relocated to Taipei recently and my colleagues are bringing me out for a KTV session this weekend. Haven’t been in a KTV in my lifetime before but i’ve done a bit of research so I kind of have an inkling. Even so, i’m still a little nervous about my “virgin” experience.

How does the whole process usually work?

What sort of drinks do people normally drink in KTVs? (Who decides the drinks? I’m a bit of a lightweight so i’ll probably die very quickly with hard liquor)

Are there any no-nos / practices that I should be aware of? My boss MIGHT be coming so would be great if I didn’t accidentally disrespect him because of my ignorance.

Thanks in advance!

You can tell your colleague you’d rather drink beer instead of a hard liquor beforehand, drinking preferences varies a lot so it’s hard to say.

The usual drink-when-your-boss-wants-to-drink-with-you still apply, especially for a local company.

If youre uncomfortable with singing, stuff your face with food :). Else, just for for it!

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Sing loud and sing enthusiastically, doesn’t matter how out of tune you are, in fact if you are a terrible singer you can revel in your inability to sing. It’s about having fun, not necessarily being able to pull off the performance of your life, so avoid singing like a mouse.

If you don’t want to drink just say so at the outset, say you are allergic to it or whatever. What other people do really depends on the crowd. You can also have an alcoholic drink and a soft drink choosing to drink the soft one and perhaps on occasion taking a tiny sip from the alcohol drink. Don’t let people pressure you into doing something you dont feel comfortable with.


Also, if a colleague has gone out of their way to help you in the office, make sure you have a drink with them too. If you want to avoid this, bury your head in the menu for food, however, if your Chinese isn’t great and your colleagues know this, this isn’t a good cover up :wink:

Don’t be the guy that can’t hold their liquor and spends half the evening in the bathroom. That’s the only no no I can think of.

The advice from @liub and @Mick are all very solid. You don’t have to drink hard liquor or beer, but make sure you’re drinking something other than water.

Some extra advice is, if you want to impress the coworkers or a manager, brush up on a mando pop song. One is enough. They know you can sing every English song the place has, but they WILL be wow-ed if you nail a mando song. If you nail any Jay Chou song, they’ll bow before you.

Be a bit prepared–drinking culture here is totally unlike back home. People don’t just go taking a sip of their drink willy nilly whenever they feel like it here. EVERY time someone wants to drink, they’ll toast someone and expect them to drink as well–probably you more often than not. It’s polite to do the same when you want to drink, and obviously totally rude to refuse. Depending on how hard drinkers they are, there may well be some ribbing of those who don’t keep up. Keep up appearances and take small sips or go for the tea :slight_smile: You may get ribbed for that, but beats getting sick. Then again, it’s almost expected for someone to get sick if they really drink so I wouldn’t sweat that too much if you let loose :slight_smile:

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Pro tip: order a cola, no alcohol. Secretly pour 2/3 out (or down your gullet), replace with water, stir. It will look exactly like a whisky on ice. You are now camouflaged and can toast safely.

Save the real drinking for the shots, if there are any.

Pro tip: This has major consequences.

Making it seem like OP can actually drink means next time when you are invited out (to other well lit establishments) you may not be able to do this.

Just don’t drink if you can’t drink.


When toasting hold the bottom of the small drinking glass they’ll give you for the beers with your left palm open upwards and use right hand for the swigging. Make a slight bowing head down gesture each time. Look them in the eyes for 2-3 seconds when toasting. Toast each and every single person there that night but especially your boss several times.
Make light happy (mostly childish) conversation, lots of gestures and smiles and sounds.
And sing baby sing!

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Top pro tip: avoid going to the KTV entirely.


Can you drive there?
That will get you off the hook immediately, you’ll be able to abstain totally
Not only is not drinking and driving accepted, it’s respected as a sign of responsibility and maturity


The prophets have spoken.

OP’s a virgin. Let OP pop OP’s cherry

A trick I learned from a call girl at a Vietnamese night club. Have 2 cups. One for you alcohol and one “water” or “chaser” cup that’s not clear. Drink from the alcohol cup and spit into the other cup. You can probably bring your own bottle and say it’s like soda or whatever.

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Aside from @Mick , does no one have tips for the singing portion of this activity?

Drink heavily


Which kind of KTV is it? The ones with girls?

If you don’t want to sing, since KTVs today use a touch screen to order songs, and most people would rush to the touch screen and spend a good 5-minute up there queueing up songs, just wait until everyone has been up there twice.

Usually by the time your co-workers realize you haven’t ordered any songs, and ask you to put in a few songs, your song won’t get played before time’s up. Unless they plan to be there all night, this usually works.

If you don’t mind singing, there is a very limited number of English songs. Every KTV in Taiwan uses the same KTV system, and they have exactly the same freaking songs. You can save the songs you want online and queue them up quickly.

You can browse through Cashbox’s entire English song list. However, the interface is in Chinese.

In the first pull down menu marked 選擇語言 (select language), click the check box and select 英語 (English), then click the button marked 搜尋 (search), and you can go through all 930 songs.

Most of the English songs, except for the newer ones, will have a crappy karaoke styled video.

Top English songs for New CB Party (星聚點)

Top English songs for Cashbox (錢櫃)

Top English songs for Holiday (好樂迪)

Just say no to drinking if you don’t want to. Or only drink when the boss asks you to drink. Sometimes people play drinking games in there as well. If you don’t mind the drinking you can join in, otherwise just say no from the beginning. Those games can really frak you up.


I hope so. Sausagefest KTV sessions are the worse.

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I just say no to singing. There are many things I can do very well…singing is absolutely not one of them!

The ones with girls can also turn it into a sausagefest which are much worse.