I spent this afternoon with 6 Thai ladyboys. No, don't go thinking that I tried them out. I didn't. I spent a few hours chatting with them, finding about them, trying to understand what makes them tick and learning about their experiences and the guys who utilise their services.
The 6 ladyboys are all with Ladyboy-For-You.com, a ladyboy escort service. We met up in a central Bangkok bar and over a pleasant lunch we chatted about life in general, and specifically, life as a Thai ladyboy. There are many rumours and much misinformation about ladyboys and I was interested in finding out about the real them, separating the BS from the facts.
5 of the 6 are escorts. 3 are from the north, 2 from the south and 1 from Isaan. 2 are brothers, or is that sisters, and yes, they really do have the same mama and papa. 5 of the 6 tower over me.
3 spoke good English, 3 spoke exceptional English. All 6 had a superior level of education to what you find with the vast majority of the girls in the girly bars and all had what I think I could reasonably describe as a minor level of sophistication. They were open, friendly, chatty and quite frankly, fascinating to talk with.
What follows is a brief 45-minute interview with them as a group. With most of the questions they agreed on an answer that applied to most or all of them and that is what I include here.
You all look like real ladies but obviously you weren't born that way. What changes are made to make you look the way you are now, more feminine?
Normally, most ladyboys take much care about their face. That is the most important part. Normally, we like to get a nose job. Most of the face can be changed by changing our nose and getting silicon injections in our face.
The second part that is very important for ladyboys is our body because we wish to have a body 100%, or as close as we can, to being the same as a lady. We like to have boobs. We all have had an operation on our boobs.
For cutting that, you know what, just some get it done. Most still don't want to cut it. When a ladyboy is born, she was a boy and she has probably hoped to be a real woman since she was quite young.
Right now, when thinking about the business of ladyboys, some want to operate, but they are not sure. Normally, if she still has the thing, she will be more popular than a post-op.
Why is that?
If the man is looking for a post-op lady, actually it's better that he takes a girl. That is why ladyboys with cocks are better than a ladyboy without a cock. So you see the ladyboy with a cock still has something already that a lady does not have!
Umm, yes, I see. So how much does all of this surgery cost?
For breasts, they start at about 45,000 baht. For a pussy it starts around 80,000. For everything on the body, the total is much more than 150,000 baht.
What about recovery from the operation, the boobs and the pussy. How long does it take?
For the breasts, it is about one night in hospital. After about two weeks, they are sensitive and you can touch and do everything! But for the pussy you have to stay in hospital around 7 or 8 days. You can use it maybe one and a half months after than that.
How many ladyboys get the "big cut"?
20% or so. Presently it is not so many. In the past, many more ladyboys had the operation than do now. Today it is not so many. In the older times, there were 6 major ladyboy bars in Bangkok and 5 out of 6 ladyboys bars across Nana Plaza and Patpong where the girls had had the full operation. Now it is maybe just some girls.
So how many of you have had the cut?
None. Not one.
What makes someone decide to go all the way?
First, to make yourself look like a lady as best you can. Second, we want to feel like a lady for real. For some it is more about the feeling. The feeling is very important but for others, actually after they have had it they are unhappy. We like to look in the mirror and check everything out about ourselves. For some of us, actually the most important thing is how we look so maybe that is the reason for some.
Are there Western guys in happy, loving relationships with Thai ladyboys?
Yes, there are many. They mostly live in other countries. Some marry gay guys and some get married to straight guys.
So if a guy likes a ladyboy, is he straight?
If the man likes to take a ladyboy, he is not gay. What does a ladyboy look like? She has long hair, big hips, big breasts and looks like a lady! He is not gay! If a guy wants to have sex with a ladyboy with short hair who looks like a man then maybe he is gay!
Many Thai ladies work so they can find a guy to look after them, have children with and live happily ever after. What about ladyboys? Are ladyboys looking for love?
Sure. If a ladyboy wishes to have a husband, some wish also to have a baby and have the feeling of being a family and have that whole feeling. We are also humans so whether it is a lady or a ladyboy is not important. We are ladies!
Who are your customers and boyfriends? I mean when it comes to ethnicity, age, socio-economic group, experience in Thailand. Are there any patterns?
Every age. Only a few live in Bangkok. Most are here for a holiday or business and just stay here for a few days.
Are there a lot of guys who try you out just once or are more guys converted ladyboy fans?
If the man has tried a ladyboy already, you find about 80% of them are only interested in ladyboys. Girls don't interest them any more. There are some guys want to try ladyboys. There are many choices. Everyone is different.
What is better about ladyboys than real ladies?
A ladyboy can do everything that a lady can do but a lady cannot do everything a ladyboy can do!
Do ladyboys do long time?
Most guys like short time. They like short time because he has a family or wife and he just wants to try something different but not have all the feelings of love. Some men are very interested in ladyboys. He likes to change ladyboy. Some like both. He might have a lady today and a ladyboy tomorrow. Long time, maybe 3 or 4 times a month.
Have you ever had a threesome, with one guy, one girl and one ladyboy?
I hear that ladyboys charge more than girls – is that true?
It's up to the ladyboy and her customer. 2,000 short time is about average and long time is 3,000 – 4,000.
Are some guys scared of you?
If it is his first time, he is very nervous. He might even be scared. If he has already had sex with a ladyboy, then he is ok.
I like to consider myself a gentleman and hate to be crass, but exactly what happens in the room?
First time they have to take a shower. If the feeling is really good, no shower, immediate kissing. After that, have to check that. It is much more than oral sex.
OK, so I assume he fucks you. Umm…what about the other way around?
Many customers like to get fucked by a ladyboy. They really like it.
How many? I mean what percentage.
80% (they're all in agreement until a debate follows with some saying that it is closer to 90%).
I had always heard that ladyboys take hormones to make them look more like a woman but the hormones make it hard to get it up?
Yes, sure. We use Viagra.
How many ladyboys use Viagra?
80%. Same same! We need to take it almost every time. If he is not a young customer then we need Viagra. If you have an old customer you need to take it. Some ladyboys can't find real Viagra to use. Only some of us know where to get it.
OK, I imagine you must have had some wild experiences between all of you. Can you tell me any funny stories?
One man came to me with him. He was very handsome and his body was like a muscle man. Absolutely like 100% man. When he went to the short time room, he wanted me to be on top and him on the bottom. He wanted to be fucked but did not want to fuck me. I was so disappointed!
Another guy who looked so handsome asked me to dress him up to look like a lady as much as I could. I had to shave him and then paint his nails! After that I did not know who was the man and who was a lady!
After having sex with one guy, he wanted to pee pee and have me drink it. Many men like to drink pee from ladyboys.
One customer liked me very much and took me to dinner. He wanted me to stay with him. We went to the hotel and he got a surprise. He didn't know I wasn't a lady! We never pretend we are a lady. We are ladyboys!
In a bar, a customer came in and he looked really nice. He had a necktie and suit and he took me and we went to the short time room. I was really excited! He took off all his clothes and he had had an operation and he had no cock! I got a big surprise from that!
Some customers have so much sex but he does not come so he asked me to put a plastic bag over his head and try to suffocate him and then he explodes! Two times this happened to me!
One story we heard from a friend, a man took a ladyboy to a room. He did not want to have sex with her. He just wanted to see a ladyboy and look at her body and then he wanted her to insert his entire hand up his ass, his entire hand!
There was one guy who said he had never tried before but when I got him in the room his asshole was like this (hands wide showing a huge round shape). It was like a large pipe!
Some men come to look at ladyboys first and then they don't look at the face or the body. They look only at their feet. One guy sucked my toes and refused to let me wash my feet first.
Do you have any hints for a foreigner who wants to try a ladyboy?
Every customer who comes to meet a ladyboy for the first time doesn't say what he wants and is shy. We have to figure out that it is his first time. We have to present special ideas for him. If you come to Bangkok but you have never tried with a ladyboy it means you have not arrived. Thai ladyboys are the most beautiful in the world.
What about sex safe? Do customers want to go without?
Always safe. He must use a condom. If there is no condom, we can use our hand.
Is there anything you would like to say, anything I have not asked you about but you would like to tell me about.
Come and see us! If you have had a bad experience with a ladyboy, please try again! We are professionals. Come and see us! Absolutely, if you try with a ladyboy who is professional you will come back again and again and again!
All ladyboys have their own style. We are all different. Some like big, some like small. (Big smiles and laughter all around.)
We are good at taking care of you! We will give you a big present! Whatever you want, we can do! Anything you want to try, we can do! ANYTHING! Make your dreams come true!
And so on that note I signed off.
For those of you who are interested in trying something a little different…
Last week's photo
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken of the large Krung Thai Bank branch (the HQ?) between Sukhumvit sois 1 and 3. I bet a lot of us have walked past it. The prizes were claimed quickly but actually, only a few people got it right. The first person to email with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British fish and chips restaurant. The second person to correctly guess the photo wins a signed copy of Stephen Leather's superb Private Dancer, which many refer to as "the bible". It's widely regarded as the best novel set in Thailand's bar scene! The third person to get the photo correct wins a 500 baht voucher from one of the very best farang food venues in Bangkok, and the home of Bangkok's best burger, in my humble opinion, Duke's Express. Duke's is very conveniently located in the Emporium shopping centre in central Bangkok.
Terms and conditions: The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. To claim the book prize you must provide a postal address within Thailand now. Prizes are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per calendar month. You only have one guess per week!
FROM STICK'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.
Land of extremes.
It never amazes me how Thailand is a land of extremes. My Thai girlfriend has finally agreed that sitting at home all day watching TV, drinking and eating isn't the best thing for her. So at 27 she has gone back to work after 6 years of basically doing nothing. Now rather than just go to a factory and work, in her first week she is going to do over 80 hours work. Where's the logic in this? At no point did she need to go and actually earn money. I explained it to her a 100 times. I don't want her to work for the money – it's the principle. Now she thinks she should be at work 24/7 and get overtime! I can't understand the thinking at all. Maybe my rather hard approach has actually sunk in and I'm now considered as a bonus, not in fact her God-given ATM machine. Her parents are delighted about her going to work. I do feel a strange guilt though. I knew she should work but shit, she is doing 12-hour shifts in a factory for £4 a day. It's really a head screw when that's nothing to me.
Do you trust Thai banks?
A very good friend recently lost 280,000 baht from his debit card account with Siam Commercial Bank. After 3 months of negotiations they won't refund him one satang. Has anyone been successfully reimbursed by a Thai bank from stolen funds from an ATM using a Thai debit card? Whilst updating my Siam Commercial Bank account at my local branch in Phuket, I was shocked to find out that all my funds, 280,000 baht, had been stolen from it. This happened in March and since then following masses of communications with the bank they still refuse to credit my account with the stolen funds. To date I have followed all the correct steps and procedures of reporting this theft to the main Police Station in Phuket Town, along with the main Police Station in Pattaya where the stolen funds were withdrawn. At the moment I'm trying to get a hold of their Terms and Conditions in Thai and English, and I also believe there is a Thai banking act that has a code of conduct over such matters. After 3 months I am becoming quite disheartened, so if anyone knows of such a case, I would be most grateful to hear about it at : [email protected].
Do you have a penny to your name?
I don't know if it is just a different circle of friends I have now, but the sheer number of westerners I have met that are on the verge of being broke and wouldn't have $2,000 of liquid cash or assets to their name is mind boggling. Sure, I simply refuse to work for Thai wages. I mean, 30,000 baht a month working full-time as a teacher, well I can't bring myself to do it, nor do I need to, but if I wanted to stay here and was broke, you do what you have to do. Thailand is a hallucinogenic drug to many westerners. Many who come here forget about reality.
(Temporarily) healthy in Bangkok.
A friend of mine from who was here for work during the violence and curfews a few weeks ago just returned. We were talking yesterday and he said that the last trip here was the healthiest one he's ever had in Thailand, thanks to the curfew. He got lots of sleep, had few hangovers, and generally felt healthier and well rested. That said, he's back to the same old tricks now that there's no curfew to interfere with his night-time activities.
Panthip Plaza, proof that nothing changes in Bangkok.
I hate Panthip Plaza but I needed some adapters and I knew I could find them there. I found some software I liked the look of and bought it for 200 baht. The DVD was corrupted and returned the next day. I got very poor service and they didn't believe me! I had to be firm and ask them to check the DVD which they did and yep, it was corrupted! No apology, just a shout of "15 minutes". I was handed a new DVD and told it was ok. I went home tried it and it was no good again. I had the files checked by our techies at work and they confirmed they were not the correct installation files. Thai price is 100 baht for software. I overhead this while waiting in my limited Thai. The salesperson clearly stated that the farang price is more. I think I'll stick to downloading from the internet which is far more reliable!
More thumbs up for Chefs XP.
I always use Chefs XP. I have had a lot of mishaps with them and their delivery. Every time I call, I get an English-speaking Thai or am transferred to one of the co-owners of the company (usually calls me back) and everything is always resolved fast and with a reward. Last November I ordered Mexican from Tacos And Salsa. It was missing the guacamole and one pita. They sent another driver to get me a full order (so a free meal) and gave me a coupon for 400 baht. Two weeks later, it was raining and I ordered a pizza. It was late…about 2 hours. It turns out it was the restaurant that was full of orders and the driver was just waiting there for a really long time. I got another free 400 baht. Both times I did not ask for anything free, nor did I tell them I would not use their service again.
Sticky blocked in the politically correct UK!
Thought you might like to know that it's not only dodgy / tin pot Middle Eastern and Asian countries that block the Stickmeister. Here in sunny England you are blocked by the good people at Surrey County Council on the public computers at my local library and also by the Royal Mail on the terminals that are for staff use. The reason given by both is along the lines of adult content. The laughable thing is that my canteen at work sells a large range of newspapers including The Sun, Star and most notably Daily Sport, which if you haven't seen it, verges on, or some would say is, soft porn. Goodness knows what can be found among the thousands of books and DVDs in the library. You don't even use naughty words or pictures!
I've spent precious little time in Nana recently and vowed to myself that I would give what was once Bangkok's premier farang bar area another chance. Just wandering around, getting a feel for the 2010 version, and trying to note any changes, I couldn't help but find it decrepit. Nana Plaza looks old, feels old and hell, it even smells old! With cracked vinyl on the bench seating in a number of bars, many venues wreaking of a musty smell tinged with cigarette smoke, surface damage in many bars such as cracked mirrors and chipped paint that just isn't worth repairing and crappy old sound systems, Nana reminds me of an old car – you know it was once the newest product on the market and someone's pride and joy, but it's now so far past its prime that a comeback isn't possible so no real effort is made. Nana is dying a slow, and frankly very painful death.
On the top floor of Nana, and what I believe is Nana's most populous ladyboy bar, Cascade can have as many as 100 ladyboys on any given night. During decent times the venue averages what I thought was a rather high 30 barfines a night. As if proof was needed that times are tough, Cascade is currently averaging just 3 barfines a night.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Monday this week was the quietest I have seen the bars in Bangkok. EVER. I was at both Patpong and Cowboy and both were totally dead. Many bars had NO CUSTOMERS. I have never seen it this bad.
With that said, the odd bar is bucking the trend. Spanky's 3 in Patpong has started to pick up, perhaps in part because the Nana branch has over 60 girls and the owner sends 5 – 10 girls over to the Patpong branch every night. Despite many Sukhumvit businesses reporting trade being way down, Spanky's in Nana's numbers have been up in the last two weeks.
One of the most popular gogo bars on Walking Street and home to many fine fillies, Peppermint has reopened, on the ground floor, below the previous location. It's said to be smaller but there are still a stack of pretty dancers.
Guinness went out of stock in some pubs recently and fans have been wondering if this was the end of the popular Irish drop. Worry no more, it will officially become available again in Bangkok from later this month.
From now until the July 31st, Patpong's fetish venue, Bar Bar, is offering discounted memberships – a 50% discount on both the 3-month and 12-month memberships. Check out Barbar-Bangkok.com for membership details.
World Cup fever has hit Soi Cowboy with the No Name Group bars erecting large scoreboards outside the bars and Tilac Bar has a full listing outside of all of the fixtures.
If you find yourself in Thailand over the next month, yes, the World Cup is being broadcast on free to air Thai TV – but the commentary is in Thai only. If you want English commentary, you cannot get it on either Thai TV or the major cable provider, True Visions. You will have to go out to one of the pubs which has an international feed. Alternatively you could listen to the commentary in English online.
It should be noted that some venues picked up over the past couple of days and are already doing a roaring trade related to World Cup custom. One should note that the sometimes erratic service levels in Bangkok pubs can become even more erratic as staff deal with swelling numbers of punters. To get around this problem, The Londoner has implemented a coupon system whereby for anyone ordering drinks during World Cup matches, they must first have bought coupons which they exchange for a drink.
Is it customer disgust or the anti-smoking law that is responsible for the removal of the pussy smokes cigarette show at Raw Hide?
I can't work out why Country Road 2, above Foodland in Sukhumvit soi 5, isn't busier – they are still offering free pool all night long, right through until 4 AM. Beer is reasonably priced, the staff are friendly and the pool tables are plentiful and good quality. The thing that seems to keep the place quiet is that the entrance (to the left of Foodland) is hard to find and not well signposted. The girls can often be seen hanging out of the window pointing the way! I hear the lease is up in August.
Construction on Hollywood on the top floor of Nana continues albeit very slowly. It might not be that far to get to the top floor of Nana but the truth is, there are so many bars to pass before you get there – so the bars on the top floor really need to do something to get punters up there. From time to time, Hollywood has offered an early evening happy hour which is one way to entice customers up. Given that Hollywood was dead when I passed by earlier in the week, this is one venue that really needs to consider putting a happy hour back in place. In fact all of Nana could do with a happy hour. Compared with Cowboy, which has throngs of punters from around 6 onwards, there's not much going on at Nana until around 9.
Next to Hollywood in the back left-hand corner of the top floor of Nana yet another beauty salon is being built and looks close to completion. One has to ask the question though – with there being a number of beauty salons in Nana already, both inside and out, and the area in serious decline, is there demand for another salon?
With customer numbers so low at the moment, logic has it that bar staff would go that extra mile to keep punters happy. Be a little bit more pleasant, polite, smile more and generally do one's best to satisfy the customers you have so they come back again and again would be logical, right? Unfortunately logic and Thailand don't always go together and this philosophy does not seem to be shared by some in the bar industry. A good mate was at a bar in Sukhumvit's soi 4 which shall remain nameless. He entered the venue and was the only guy there, a lone customer. He saw a girl he liked the look of and generously offered her a girl a drink. She said that he *had to* buy a drink for every girl in the bar – all 5 of them. He explained that he was not interested in the other girls, only the girl his was talking with and reiterated that he would like one drink for himself and one for her. She became sulky and said that no, if he was not going to buy a drink for every girl in the bar then she did not want to drink with him. A wise man he is, he left the bar never to return! I've said it before an I will say it again. The service levels in many of the naughty bars are crap and the bullshit level ridiculously high. Fortunately not every guy is weak and some, like my pal, refuse to play the game.
And with many of the naughty bars clearly in the doldrums, a combination of the low season and less arrivals due to the recent Bangkok protests, Thai working girls are spreading not just their legs, but their wings. For years, Thai women have been flocking to Orchard Towers in Singapore, also known as "the four floors of whores", where they can often make around 100,000 baht and save 60 – 70K of that in the two weeks that the visa they receive on arrival gives them to ply their trade. But Singapore is not the soft touch it used to be and the Singapore Immigration officials are no fools. Single Thai women travelling to the island state multiple times get hassled and may eventually find themselves turned away. Ever the opportunists, these girls are now turning to Hong Kong. Syndicates – and that word bothers me – are taking Thai women to Hong Kong where they are told they can make 300,000 baht in a single month. Of course, the syndicate takes their share – 70,000 – 100,000 baht of that. There are no indications of planeloads making it down there yet, but quite a few who work in Nana, where recruitment is currently taking place, are making the trip. Incidentally, ladyboys also make it to Sing and Hong Kong seeking to make some extra money, particularly in the low season. But in Singapore the punters who prefer ladyboys are discerning and prefer post-op ladyboys. So the post-ops go to Singapore and the pre-ops to Hong Kong!
I am clearly a luddite, hauling my too old to mention Nokia around with me when I do the rounds. In the past week I have seen one taxi driver with an iPhone and another with a Blackberry. Who said that times were tough for cab drivers?! Oh, and as best as I can tell, neither had a rigged meter in their cab. On the rigged taxi meter front, I have not seen a dodgy meter for a couple of weeks now!
Bank of Ayuthaya has relented and is the last Thai bank to impose the 150 baht fee for withdrawals at an ATM machine from a foreign bank account. The only ATM machines that don't charge the fee are apparently the few foreign banks with ATMs here like Citibank and HSBC as well as Aeon – which frankly are small in number and not always easy to find or get to. While I have no idea what sort of costs the banks incur on these cross-continental transactions, I maintain that 150 baht seems rather high. Consider that those who use a Thai ATM card abroad are not charged by the foreign bank and are only charged 15 baht by the Thai bank. That means that foreigners are effectively being charged 10 times the fee that Thais, or the holders of Thai bank accounts, are.
The ever popular Robin Hood bar doesn't seem to have suffered any drop off in business and seems to go from strength to strength and has all sorts lined up for the World Cup. They have a novel promotion, doing a World Cup passport, listing all games with kick off times. Get a stamp for every game viewed in the Robin Hood and there are prizes for every five stamps and an overall prize for the most stamps collected throughout the tournament. They have a happy hour from 4 – 7 PM and then from 7 PM until close every night they are offering Magners Cider pints at 200 baht, San Miguel jugs at 250 baht, Tiger Crystal Light bottles at 99 baht, Dwyers Cream Stout pints at 160 baht and Snakebite (Magners / San Mig) at 185 baht. All these prices include VAT. Everything you need to know about what's going on at the Robin Hood can be found at their Facebook page.
Sunrise Tacos is best known for its really excellent Mexican food and it now has a growing reputation for its pies. The most recent addition to the menu is fresh rhubarb pie. I'd never tried rhubarb pie before and have to admit that it was rather good, a kind of tangy sweet flavour. It's only been on the menu 10 days or so but the owner tells me it is selling well. Rhubarb pie is available at the original Sunrise Tacos branch at Sukhumvit soi 12 as well as at the branch of Villa supermarket on Sukhumvit soi 11.
Bradman's Bistro on soi 23 now offers doughnuts for sale. A very reasonable 15 baht each, they're a good way to soak up (excess) alcohol.
Bangkok nightlife columnists are a dying breed and this week I was sad to read in the latest Baronbonk epistle that it may be his last. The charming Englishman has been writing his column for approaching 10 years and in recent times hasn't had quite the energy of old. Despite an increasingly irregular publishing schedule, his bulletins have always been a must read. He felt that approaching the 10-year anniversary of his column was as good a time as any to retire.
Thai Airways is doing its bit for the dwindling tourism industry with what it calls special fares to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Truth be told, they're really not that low – Thai Airways always seems to be more expensive than the alternative carriers. Of course the one advantage Thai has over a lot of other carriers is that the flight is direct to Bangkok.
I have to admit that I am thrilled to see that Dutchman Joran van der Sloot has been taken into custody over the murder of a girl in Peru. The reason I say this is that he attempted to sell a Thai girl who was the girlfriend of a friend of mine to a sex ring in Amsterdam. He was caught on tape offering to find girls for payments, and saying to the girls they would be going to a club to be dancers. Luckily at the time this was just investigative reporters doing a story on his activities. The girl in question could have found herself in goodness only knows what sort of situation. At the time she was told to stay away from this guy, and it was clearly explained to her what he was attempting to do. The guy is good looking and suave and she refused to believe it, insisting that he was a nice guy. Even having been told that she was in potential danger, and having the Natalie Holloway case explained to her, she would not believe a word! He even had the audacity to talk to her about that, claiming he did not do it. I am just glad she did not end up as the poor girl from Peru did. A YouTube page has been put up with more on this.
A new restaurant has opened on Sukhumvit between sois 21 and 23 called Banana Pasta with a pasta and pizza-based menu. Given its location and what is on the menu you would think that its target markets is Westerners, yet this week they had an older Thai woman outside who was attempting to welcome passers by inside. But she could not speak English! After saying a few words in Thai to Western passers by who understood not a word of what she said, she resorted to the old favourite, "You sexy man, come in!"
Quote of the week comes from a long-term expat – "The farang bar owners are Thai in their mentality!"
Reader's story of the week comes from The Yobbo and echoes many Western men's feelings towards Western women today in the aptly titled, " The Pendulum".
The Bangkok Post revisits Sukhumvit and discovers more of a jungle than ever.
It has been revealed that the Brit who threatened to burn down Central World once worked for HM The Queen!
The Brit Savage was back in court in Bangkok this week.
From the Daily Mail, a British Airways cabin crew caused a fatal inferno in the Amari Atrium.
The Sun newspaper checks out Pattaya and suggests that Brits are the kinkiest!
An Aussie who killed an American in Chiang Mai will be deported after serving 2 years of his sentence.
The best guide of where to watch all the World Cup matches in Bangkok is on CNNGo.
From the Sydney Morning Herald comes some interesting commentary on the recent Bangkok riots.
A 21-year old Aussie fires a gun in a Pattaya hotel.
Is this YouTube video of some foreigners having bad luck in Pattaya for real?
Ask Mr. Stick
If I receive any interesting emails to which I think the answer could benefit other readers, I may include the question, and my response, here.
Question 1: I have an iPhone. What kind of SIM is best to buy in Thailand to have a Thai phone number and also that I can surf the web? Do you think out in the countryside (besides weak signals) this should actually work or do you think it's not worth taking the iPhone with me? I am sure in Bangkok it's not a problem but where the family of my girlfriend lives. I don't know. I am sure no one has an iPhone there.
Mr. Stick says: For sure, picking up a Thai SIM card phone and using it in your phone from home while you're in Thailand is very useful indeed. There are three major mobile phone carriers in Thailand – AIS, DTAC and True. As far as simply using a phone to make regular calls go, they are all fine. In urban areas mobile coverage is good, in rural areas AIS has slightly better coverage than DTAC which in turn has better coverage than True. What I would recommend you do is go to either the AIS or DTAC shops which are in the arrivals area at the airport, right after you pass through Customs and Immigration. They will set you up with a SIM card with some credit for calls and also for internet usage. There are all sorts of deals on Internet SIMs and they are very cheap, usually working out at around 3 or 4 baht an hour for internet access. I note DTAC has a deal at the moment where you get 100 hours to be used within one month for a very reasonable 199 baht. AIS and DTAC allow GPRS and Edge protocols meaning relatively slow but reliable connection which are fine for browsing the web or checking email. For high bandwidth activity like downloading files or watching videos then this type of connection isn't fast enough. Now your IPhone has 3G capability which allows for significantly faster Internet access. However, in Thailand 3G has not been rolled out fully. True seems to be the major 3G provider but at this stage I believe it is mainly only useable in central Bangkok – which may or may not suit your needs.
Question 2: While visiting Bangkok, if stopped by the boys in brown on the street or in a club that is being raided – what is the minimum acceptable for ID? This is not driving, just walking or in a club or any place else. Do I need to have my passport on me, or is a drivers license or state ID card from the USA enough? Carrying a passport is bulky and dangerous as if lost, it's a big problem – yet, I don't want to get caught up without having "valid" ID and being hauled off to jail.
Mr. Stick says: This is a very good question and one to which there is not an absolute answer – as is often the case in Thailand. If stopped by someone in a brown uniform, you need to provide them with ID that is acceptable to them. A passport is best, but admittedly it is a bulky document, and few people carry theirs on them at all times. Some people have a laminated copy of the main page of their passport in their wallet which may be accepted. A local Thai drivers licence works and on the few occasions I have been asked to show ID that has always been accepted. A foreign drivers licence would probably be ok – but it depends on who stops you. I guess the bottom line however is that if you are stopped by anyone from Immigration, or a particularly officious policeman, they may want to see proof that you have permission to be in Thailand – and in the case of 99.9% of foreigners, that means they would need to show their passport.
Question 3: My bargirl treats me with a cold shoulder. Is there any way to win back her heart? Whatever I contribute, household allowance, daughter's (not mine) school fees etc, I feel that she still treats me as an outsider. I don't have the under one roof feeling. The daughter doesn't belong to me but I contribute. And now another guy has made her pregnant. She likes him more than me. For me I am not her husband because I only contribute to her financially and have not given her any baby. Is there any cure?
Mr. Stick says: It is you who needs the cure. Reading your email, you are your own worst enemy. This girl is treating you like filth but you're still with her. Why? Some guys totally lose the plot in Thailand and frankly, they really shouldn't be allowed to get involved with Thai bargirls at all. They go from disaster to disaster. The problem is not always the bargirl at all, but just as often the guy. You have chosen to ignore all of the accumulated advice and wisdom on this website and have throw yourself at a tiger. This girl has zero respect for you. Cut her loose.
From time to time I read back over past columns, scanning columns that I thought worked well, looking for commonalities in the better columns that hopefully I can replicate in the future. Reading recent columns there has been one constant trend, something that is mentioned almost every week – and that is that business is bad. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it's bad and it is getting worse. Many venues are running at a loss, owners forced to put their hand in their pocket at the end of the month to pay salaries. If he is farang, staff will most likely get paid. If he is Thai, it becomes something of a lottery. I simply cannot reiterate how bad business is in some venues.
Your Bangkok commentator,