Stickman Readers' Submissions February 27th, 2024

February 2024 Trip Report


I have just returned from a month or so in Thailand so I’ll provide a little trip report for what it’s worth. It started out quite unusual weather-wise. I arrived mid-day instead of the usual midnight time. I noticed right off when exiting the airport that something was missing. It was not the normal stepping into a blast furnace feeling. I greeted my taxi guy and his cohorts awaiting their passengers and when asked how they were they all replied NOW!!! as in cold. It was a pleasant 25 C. Coming from a northern climate, this was a welcome relief. Those mild temps lasted most of the first week which was at the end of January.

I managed to get to the big 3 nightlife areas. Nana was at peak and Bunnies had an ass in every seat. The atmosphere in the plaza was electric.

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Next I headed to Patpong which is unusual for me but the recent reports had me curious. I was surprised at the liveliness and had a pretty good time. The girls were pleasant and fun.

And then there was Cowboy to fill out the evening. That place is becoming to me like the Patpong of old. The girls looked jaded and the street scene was deceptive. There was more action out on the soi than inside the bars.

I repeated the routine the following week, and there was a noticeable drop-off in crowds. Patpong was even better the second time around but that was because I had a fun-loving wingman. Cowboy was dreadful.

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I won’t name the bar because the owner could be unaware of what a few unscrupulous employees are up to but I got scammed like a newbie in a Soi Cowboy bar even though I was aware mostly of what was going on. The bar had 3 or 4 other customers but I was already seated before I had a good look around otherwise I would have just left. An older lady in a dress who looked neither like a dancer nor a service girl came over to me and asked what I wanted to drink. I asked for a beer and as soon as she left a service girl came and asked to take my order. I told her I had ordered already. I saw her walk towards the bar and stopped and talked briefly to the first girl who took my order. They both came back with an open beer. I knew right off that something was going on because I saw them talk and there was no good reason for the mix up. The first girl began fake crying and saying she would have to pay for the beer. I shrugged and to avoid any issues I told her I would buy it for her. After that I could not get her off me and now the dragon lady of a mamasan comes over and asks for a drink. I told the mystery girl who brought the extra beer I would buy her one drink because she said she couldn’t drink beer. She leaves again and comes back with a lady drink and then out of nowhere the dragon lady is giving me a cheers with a drink in her hand. I knew that was going on my tab. I took one more swig of my extra beer and asked for the check, willing to let a full beer and another half sitting there as I just wanted to cut my losses. The mamasan brings back a bill for 1900 THB. I told her to explain to me how that was even possible. She left and came back with a 1200 baht tab and said she thought I was paying a barfine even though I had not given any inclination that was what I wanted!

Maybe they are going to have to go the way of the Patpong bar where you sign for every chit. Those types of places do not care about disgruntled customers not returning since there are planes filled with new guys landing all the time. The bar scene doesn’t matter to me any longer and it is more of an observational ritual these days. A good time can still be had even at today’s prices but a few bad memories can make one avoid them completely.

The rest of the time I spent in the Northeast and Khao Lak which was magnificent. There are still a few hidden gems off the well-worn tourist track.

I got to see an old friend from back home who chose Pattaya as his retirement place. He is not a drinker nor interested in bar-hopping so we mostly have great meals and good conversation. I fail to see the attraction of Pattaya. Even after the improved infrastructure, the place literally smells like shit. Everywhere. I am never at ease walking in the streets with constant traffic and the class of people that fill the place range from the annoying to the downright disturbing. There are some wonderful places nearby that I manage to get away to. A new one for me this year was a place called the Sanctuary of Truth. A magnificent place made entirely of wood but not a temple they said. The main tourist group there were Chinese. Never mind the usual diatribe because they were well dressed and well behaved from what I observed. I think as the socio- demographics change they will be more like any other group.

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The author of this article cannot be contacted.

nana plaza