Stickman's Weekly Column September 9th, 2012

Getting Inked in Bangkok



What would think if you saw a name like John or Lee or Dana or Steve tattooed on a Thai girl you were dating? What would you think if you saw the name of a bar tattooed on her? In edgy Thailand, where seemingly almost anything is possible, not only did I see a girl with the name of the bar she works in tattooed on her for life, I witnessed it being drawn.





Pattaya lady

Meet Miss Boom, a popular lass who can be found at Patpong's fetish house, Bar Bar, is keen to add to her existing collection of 3 tattoos.

Thais from rural areas can be superstitious and may have traditional markings that they believe will help to ward off evil. Boom's back features three tattoos of the traditional variety. Her next tattoo isn't what you'd call traditional.



Thailand horror

The moments before the main event are time for reflection. What goes through your mind just before you enter into something permanent, something that cannot – at least not without a considerable amount of pain – be undone? Is it any different to walking down the aisle, or being wheeled into an operating theatre?

tattoo preparation

Boom had approached her boss and mentioned that she would very much like for the logo of the bar to adorn her body forever, the logo of a fetish bar. And the chosen part of her body? Her ass!

The cape comes off and the tattooist checks which size tramp stamp is the best fit.



Thailand tattooist

The design is sketched out on sort of thermal paper. A solution is sprayed on to the body party where the tattoo will be drawn and the paper with the design is pressed up hard against the skin and held there, the design transferred to the body. That marks the spot where the tattoo artist will make it permanent.



tattooist

The dungeon where the tattooing will take place is laid out like a doctor's surgery, the artiste's tools sterilised ready to carry out the operation.

Bangkok fetish club

Boom is led into the tattooist's chamber in ceremonial style, a slave being led by the mistress.

Where the idea for ceremony came from I don't know, but many traditional markings in Thailand are done by Buddhist monks in a ceremonial manner so perhaps it was thought there needed to be some sort of ceremony?



Bangkok mask

It was suggested that the tattooist perform the tattoo while wearing a decorative fetish mask to add to the ceremony of the occasion. But such masks aren't designed for comfort and it was quickly concluded it might hinder his work.



Pattaya tattoo

With medical grade gloves on, the tattooist commences the procedure. The fetish mask declined, he prefers the comfort and familiarity of his favourite beanie.



tattoo Thailand

I received a look of utter scorn when I asked how it felt. Admittedly there were none of the nerves you'd expect when being inked for the first time, more a sense of resignation that what followed would be somewhere between general unpleasantness and bearable pain. Still, with plenty of blubber on the ass, you'd think it would be less painful than being inked elsewhere on the body, particularly somewhere close to bone. She swore it didn't hurt, but I didn't see her smile even once. Maybe this was all part of the ceremony and the role of the slave, to spurn the pain and put on a brave face?



tattoo artist

After just a few minutes, the tattoo starts to take shape and the outline of the bar's logo is clearly seen.



Bangkok tattoo

The tattoo needle's power unit and other contraptions struck me as being more like instruments of torture than tools for what some call "body art".



Bangkok tattoo

Quick strokes with the tattoo needle draw the odd drop of blood which is immediately wiped away, a process that is repeated over and over, laborious in nature, very much a stop start affair.



Patpong tattoo Bangkok

Less than an hour after she laid down in the dungeon, the tramp stamp is complete – the name of the bar on her ass for eternity.

Tattoos of the non-traditional variety on Thai women used to be the domain of those at the extremes of the socio-economic ladder, those whose position was secure and who could largely do as they please without their status being affected. Social mobility and Thailand seldom appear in the same sentence.

More than a few Thai women involved with Farang men have the name of their boyfriend, husband or regular customer etched on their body. Forever. A few daring foreigners have their teeruk's name permanently in tattoo green too. Why is it that I am amused when I see a Thai girl's name etched on a Westerner but feel genuine sadness when I see a foreigner's name inked on a Thai?

In this day of increasing political correct nonsense, judgments aren't supposed to be made about others, especially not based on one's appearance. But tattoos do make a statement. Often a very bold statement. Think otherwise? Let me know if you still think that way when you stand before a recruitment agent, an Immigration officer or a judge.



backside tattoo

A plastic bandage is applied to wound, a coloured in and decorative wound but a wound nonetheless. The plastic is supposed to stay on for a couple of hours and protect the wound from bacteria.



tattoo parlour Patpong

With her new tattoo out of sight and only to be seen by those who get close to her, will her life be any different? The cape goes back on. Tobacco and alcohol are sought. Life goes on….



*Where* was this photo taken?

Bangkok

Last week's photo was taken out the front of Central World near one of the Hindu shrines. There are two prizes this week, a 300-baht voucher for Sunrise Tacos and a 500-baht voucher for Firehouse in Sukhumvit soi 11, known for its excellent hamburgers.

Terms and conditions: The prizes are only available to readers in Thailand at the time of entering and are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per calendar month. You only have one guess per week! You MUST specify which prize you would like and failure to do so will result in the prize going to the next person to get the photo correct.



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.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK – Nana, short and sweet.

Nana is a horrific shithole. It should be a message to the farangs walking in there, "We do not like or respect you so come on in and pay for our low-level prostitutes and leave!"

Nana, my kind of shithole.

Your piece on the ongoing decrepitation of the Nana Complex is timely, although you could have written it several years ago. I was just telling a buddy what a fxxxing dump Nana is while standing out in front at the Nana parking lot. But then again, contemplating the matter further, I realised; this is exactly the way it should be! Ok, maybe they could pass a broom or a damp rag here or there. But that would put the dump squarely on top of a slippery slope. I mean, that could lead to a Soi Cowboyization effect, and we already have one of those. No! Don't want that. A proper walk of shame sometimes, somehow, requires filth, clutter, stench, along with the attendant sleaze. Nana embodies and engenders this sensation to a T. Don't mess with it, I say. Nana is a shithole, yes. It's my kind of shithole.

Clean it up and make more money.

Nana is a dump! I always wondered why they don't take better care of the place. I mean, it must be a goldmine for the owners, so why wouldn't they want to protect their investment? Considering the low cost of labour in Thailand, you'd think they could hire a couple of dozen workers to clean the place up in a nanasecond. It is such a shithole that I don't enjoy going there any more. And how much would it cost to fix the neon sign out front, or even put up a new one? The place needs a giant overhaul. To think that a couple blocks down the street is a gorgeous, modern mall at Terminal 21, spotless and attractive to all. I can't imagine how much more business Nana would get if the place was cleaned up and modernized.

Nana, behind the makeup.

The entrance to Nana Plaza is a real mess! Not only does it look bad, it's a pedestrian nightmare with wet floor, bad pavement, hot cooking stalls, too many people trying to squeeze into a metre of walking space, gawkers standing still deciding whether to enter Nana or not and then there are the ladyboys. Having lived in soi 4 for over a year, I hate walking past the place. Whereas Cowboy is a continuous street of bars, covered in neon makeup, few eyesores (as seen at Nana) are encountered by the public simply because they are out of sight (and mind). No-one will take responsibility and do some basic house cleaning at Nana, because they just don't see or accept the eyesore as it is but no problem, it does not matter because no-one complains or cares. Give the customer what he needs, a bit of neon, some pretty girls, maybe a TV or music and beer and he's happy! Once he is in his little bubble of happiness he won't care about the crap around him and the eyesore is soon forgotten! Is the pretty girl in the bikini going to clean that window? I don't think so, not her job, forget about the food carton going in the bin, have customer! What about Mr. Somchai on the doors? Will he pick up the rubbish or chase away the flee-bitten dogs? Not his job! Who's job is it to clear that cupboard / hall way? Not mine! Who's job is it to tell the boyfriends on motorbikes to stop hanging around and piss off? Bar owners are interested in making money, not spending it, and I think most people would agree the place needs a facelift, but if the investment is not there then surely funds must be made available for a bit of a make-over. After all, the girls are constantly applying new makeup! So isn't it time the owners took responsibility for a bit of house husbandry or some delegation? Paint is not that expensive! Initiative costs nothing. How about collectively employing a permanent in-house caretaker to clean the place up and maintain a clean environment? Someone that can say it's my job to do this. Someone behind the makeup!



Dirty plaza, not so dirty girls!

I note two seemingly incongruous claims in last week's column. On the one hand, you rightly deplore the run-down state of Nana Plaza, replete as it is with garbage, foul odours, vermin, old appliances, and signs in various states of disrepair. On the other hand, you note, again, correctly, that Thais place a tremendous importance on making a good appearance, and that being clean-cut and well-presented goes far in Thailand. Why then is Nana such a dump? Isn't the sorry state of the Plaza exactly the opposite of what one would expect to find, knowing how highly Thais value making a good appearance? Don't the owners want their venues and the public places to be in excellent condition? Is the culprit the uncertain future of the venue, a lack of funds, or simply apathy? Whatever the cause of Nana's ills, punters should at least be grateful that most of the ladies employed there are stickers for good personal hygiene!

And the driver fled the scene…

The incident with the Ferrari killing the policeman is getting a lot of coverage outside of Thailand. No doubt he will get a slap on the wrist like the teenager that killed 9 in the minivan crash. If anything, I feel it will keep the focus on the disparity in treatment between the haves and the have-nots. I was just thinking the other day about that lunatic in the Porsche that split that poor Lao girl in two and then drove for several kilometres with half a torso in the front seat. The fact that these people can just leave the scene after being involved in such horrendous accidents really makes me not like this place more and more.

Even Singapore has el cheapo expats.

Only tourists pay full freight at Orchard Towers. Yes S$200 is the going rate and there are more Vietnamese and Philippines than Thais these days. But locals go for "tea dancing". It starts around 2 PM on Sunday afternoon at most Orchard Tower bars. Local Philippine maids go on their one day off to shake their booty. If you buy them a few drinks and wait for them to get their blood going, they will usually go home with you at no charge. Let me repeat. No charge. These are just regular girls with regular jobs who are horny as hell and just want a cuddle.

Banged up in Bangkok.

There is a National Geographic series called "Locked Up Abroad". Each episode is about a foreigner, usually American, who is locked up in a foreign prison, usually for trying to smuggle drugs. I just saw the episode "Busted in Bangkok". This should be mandatory viewing for anyone who contemplates trying to carry drugs out of Thailand (or for that matter ANY country!). The lessons are many: drugs can be your downfall, whether transporting them or using them. Be wary of tell-tale signs such as unexpected change of plans, dealing with Nigerians, being told that the packages (bricks) are invisible to airport security. This episode showed life inside a Thai prison and would dissuade most folks from attempting to smuggle anything!





Nana Plaza security


The opening piece of last week's column highlighting the state of Nana Plaza has resulted in immediate action from the owners. The food vendors who have operated in the plaza for years have been moved with explicit instructions that vendors are no longer allowed to operate within the corridors in the plaza. Existing vendors are being relocated to what they are calling a food court in what was the enclosed beauty salon on the top floor. The corridors feel wider and the plaza is that little bit easier to navigate. It should also mean fewer food scraps which may help with the rodent problem. And the plaza now has a uniformed security guard who is posted near the steps leading from the ground floor to the middle floor. His duties aren't clear, but he is there, in uniform with a large security badge and is officially on duty. It's hard to imagine a more challenging role for a solitary security guard whoClub Electric Blue presumably only speaks the local lingo and is charged with keeping an eye on a bar area full of liquored up foreigners cavorting with women who probably come from the very same part of the country as he does.

But it's not all fun and games in Nana Plaza. I hear rumours of fighting and a bloodied face of one of the big boys from one of the groups of bars in Nana Plaza. What was that all about?

Few bars have attracted as many rumours over the years as The Dubliner, the popular Irish pub on Sukhumvit Road near Washington Square that often seems to be on the lips of those who love scuttlebutt. The latest rumour is that The Dubliner will relocate to soi 33/1, somewhere between the Royal Oak and the Robin Hood – a decent enough location if it turns out to be true.

Club Electric Blue, on Patpong's soi 2 just along from Foodland, will host a party next Saturday, 15th September. House drinks will be 99 baht all night long and all of the sexy Club Electric Blue girls will be in turbo-charged party mode.

Zen Bar is the name of the new beer bar on Sukhumvit soi 4 which will open underneath the Hollywood Inn in the space that was previously home to Raja Fashions. The venue is still under construction but the owners are confident of a soft opening next Saturday, September 15th.

The happy hour at Shark Bar in Soi Cowboy has been cut short by half an hour and now runs through until 8:00 PM, not 8:30 as previously. Other than fancy imported beers and lady drinks, all other drinks are a reasonable 70 baht. Girls are on stage from as early as 6:30 and Shark currently has a very impressive line-up and a good vibe. I'd go as far to say that only Bacarra has a better collection in Soi Cowboy.

Long-running dating and social networking website, ThailandFriends, will celebrate its 9th anniversary on September 15th at 8 PM with a party at Det 5 on Sukhumvit Soi 8. Free beer and wine will begin at 8 PM and run until the TF tap runs dry. To avail yourself of free drinks A) Your TF account must be active and B) You must have made a forum or blog post within theCheckinn99 Bangkok last 60 days.

Down at Patpong, Black Pagoda has installed a large, new neon sign on each side of the bridge on which the bar is located which lights up Patpong's second soi like a Christmas tree.

Checkinn 99 seems to be developing a real following amongst Stickman readers and the next party will be next Saturday, 15th September, with the Memphis Belle Night featuring '40s swing. The venue will be done out as a B17 hangar and Heineken draft jugs will be on special for Stickman readers at just 199 baht each, reduced from the regular price of 350 baht. The Memphis Belle flick will screen with dinner from 6 PM and music will get going at 8:30.

#37 in Tilac is as cute as they come and is very photogenic with a look that sets her apart from most other girls in the bar – but does she have lemons every day for breakfast? I can't remember one so cute who seemed totally incapable of smiling.

The best view in Nana Plaza can be had from the balcony bar with stools at the ledge outside the Hollywood Inn. All drinks – and that really does mean all drinks and not just cheap local beer but the likes of Jack Daniels, Canadian Club etc. – are just 59 baht, all day, all night long.

For more than 10 years The Londoner has run a generous happy hour from 4 – 7 PM with cocktails and house beers at 2 for the price of 1. That long-running promotion finally ended this past week, replaced with a new happy hour that is not nearly as happy. Some regular customers were disappointed at the change, but positively annoyed at the cheeky promotional material which stated the new happy hour offered bigger discounts when in fact the opposite was true!



American Citizens Abroad country representative Frank G Anderson would like to remind all US citizens in Thailand – and those going to or in other destinations – that the US Department of State, through embassies abroad, maintains a volunteer warden system in each country. It's a network that provides information and other assistance to US nationals living and working in these countries. If you are a US citizen and wish to contact your local warden (wardens are usually available in geographicalFetish Patpong Bangkok regions such as Thailand's Isaan, the South, etc.), please send an email to Frank at : [email protected]. After you indicate that you are a US citizen and that you wish to take advantage of the warden network, he will, with your approval, put you in touch with your local warden. Public information about the warden system is available online. Frank also encourages Americans who have not yet done so to become a member of American Citizens Abroad.

The next event at Patpong's fetish venue, Bar Bar, will run for 3 days later this week, from 13th – 15th September. Being called 10 Little Piggies, all sorts of adult fetish fun is planned. If you've never been to Bar Bar, you've got to check it out – and if you would like the see the feature of today's opening piece with your own eyes, ask for Boom. Just say her name once though; saying her name twice might get more than you bargained for…

I used to enjoy chit chat with taxi drivers. In the old days especially it was a good way to practice Thai and learn more about the country. Most drivers were friendly and from time to time you'd met some real characters. But ever since the red shirt occupation of downtown Bangkok I've found that all too often once they realise your Thai is ok they pull the conversation around to politics and given that my political beliefs and their politic beliefs are at opposite ends of the spectrum, it doesn't make for a fun ride. I've found that the best thing is just to tell the driver where I want to go and keep my mouth shut.



A naughty boy's night out in Bangkok costs more than it used to and it appears some naughty boys are feeling the pinch. I heard a most humorous story this week of a fellow who had been out on the prowl, found a lass he liked in a chrome pole palace and took her to the nearest short-time hotel to get to know her a little better. At the very least he had had a drink or two himself, bought one for her and paid a barfine so he'd already parted with at least 1,000 baht, and likely a good deal more. And with Bangkok prices what they are these days, a few minutes of passion with her would have set him back at least another 1,500 baht. At reception of the short-time hotel he was told the fee for a room was 350 baht. This means his total outlay would have been, at minimum, close to 3,000 baht. He tried to bargain the price down to 300 baht but was told room prices were not negotiable. He explained to the receptionist that there was a short-time hotel a few streets away for 300 baht to which she responded that ifPrivate Dancer Pattaya 300 baht was his budget then that is where he should go. After much attempted haggling followed by some huffing and puffing, he stormed out of the short-time hotel's lobby with his newfound darling in tow and presumably dragged her on foot to the short-time hotel a few blocks away, all to save 50 baht. Over a measly 50 baht he killed the mood with the lady he was about to get to know better, and I bet her enthusiasm in the short-time room was not what it may have been. Walking a few blocks in her high heels was probably more than she had walked all week and the extra time it took to get there wouldn't have thrilled either – many girls watch the clock, keen to get back to the bar ASAP so they can snare another customer before the bar closes.

Building work continues at the new Private Dancer A Gogo (formerly Toyz) with a new Jacuzzi, playmat and seating installed in what was Easy Room bar next door. The adjoining wall between both bars will be removed this week meaning Private Dancer will be closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to allow time for the builders to work and the clean up. And the worst kept secret in Pattaya can now be talked about publicly. One of the best bar bosses in the industry, the ever prurient Ricky, is in charge at Private Dancer A Gogo. The bar will offer customers happy hour prices ALL NIGHT on Monday while boss Ricky, new mamasan Da and all the girls will be back on Friday. Once the work is finished – which should be a couple of weeks but who knows with Thai builders – the bar will hold an official opening party. Whether you're looking for bad girls or good chat with Ricky, stick your head in Private Dancer A Gogo. The Private Dancer A Gogo website is up but like the bar, it isn't quite 100% finished.

Anyone who has dabbled in internet dating in Thailand knows that plenty of local women think nothing of turning up late – often very late for a date – even a first date when you think they'd want to make a good first impression. A mate arranged to meet a lady from a dating site at Terminal 21 last Saturday. He was sitting there waiting when an SMS arrived informing him that she would be late because of the rain which had caused traffic to snarl up. 15 minutes later….30 minutes later….45 minutes later and still she hadn't showed. At that point he'd had enough and went for a wander around the shopping centre, bought a couple of things and had a bite to eat. Just as he was about to head home, she called, 1 hour 45 minutes after the appointed time to tell him she had arrived by skytrain – so traffic wouldn't have been an issue! Realising that she had just played the bad traffic card as an excuse for being nearly 2 hours late, he met her for a few seconds, saying to her, "I just wanted to see your face, and see if you have any shame!" She stood there, silent. "OK, I am off now, see ya!" and with that he was gone. I say stick by the 15-minute rule. If they really want to meet you, they will be on time.


Club Electric Blue Patpong


I've commented many times in recent months how many businesses are struggling to recruit and I note that KFC is offering new recruits the generous (by local standards, it really is!) rate of 45 baht per hour. It's not that long ago that they were only paying 28 baht an hour. That just goes to show how desperate companies are for staff.Glitterman

If you find yourself in London anywhere near the Wimbledon Broadway, keep an eye out for a colourful figure in a golden costume riding an elaborately decorated bicycle. The eccentric Brit who went by the name of James Bond and is known to many as Glitterman has departed Sin City and returned to his native England. The bikes were packed up and shipped back to the UK and the show as he calls it, which has delighted visitors and residents in Pattaya alike for years, is now being performed in London. Yep, if you find yourself in London or are one of the many Londoners who reads this column, keep a look out for what was one of Pattaya's most colourful characters. I wonder what the traffic cops will make of him? Knowing how crazy things are in the West, the show will probably be curtailed in London before it develops a following.

Big Greg of Subway, Sunbelt and Sunrise fame is as friendly as he is large, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a more genuinely nice guy in Bangkok, nor anyone with as big a personality. There are few people I enjoy hanging out and shooting the breeze with more. Greg was the guy who brought Chiang Mai's famous Duke's to Bangkok in the form of Duke's Express in Emporium. Duke's closed down a couple of months ago due to the lack of foot traffic that has seen business at Emporium plummet. Greg had hoped to open up a new, larger branch of Duke's but that didn't work out. Like many foreign residents of Bangkok, I really miss Duke's Express. Their pizzas were great, their burgers were voted the best in Bangkok and pretty much everything on the menu was really good. What can be done to convince Greg that there's sufficient interest amongst expats in Bangkok in Duke's reopening again in Bangkok? If like me you miss Duke's, drop Greg an email and let him know. Also, drop the owner of the main Duke's in Chiang Mai an email and let him know too. If enough people do, who knows, maybe Duke's will return to Bangkok and we won't need to jump on a plane and go to Chiang Mai to enjoy it. The easiest way to get Greg would be at : [email protected]


Big Mango


Reader's story of the week comes from controversial Thai writer, Jayson, "Farang Men Who Hate Farang Women".

The grandson of the Red Bull founder struck a police officer in his Ferrari on Sukhumvit Road, killing him.

You would not expect Thailand to be a country with a problem of killer student gangs, but it is an ongoing problem.

A shocking TV report shows a young Australian claiming she was raped in Phuket and then told to withdraw the complaint.

In this 3-minute video report, the BBC asks if sleazy Pattaya can change its image.

A depressed Thai woman checked out of life by jumping in with the crocs at the Samut Prakarn crocodile farm.

Police in Goa are looking into the problem of Thai women being trafficked to Goa to work as sex workers.

David McMillan, the only foreigner to escape from a Bangkok prison, is back behind bars in the UK.

A female police officer pulls her gun and fires it at a car dealership in Chonburi over a dispute with staff.


Ask Sunbelt Asia Legal



Sunbelt Asia's legal department is here to answer your questions relating to legal issues and the law in Thailand. Send any legal questions you may have to me and I will pass them on to Sunbelt Legal and their response will run in a future column. You can contact Sunbelt's legal department directly for all of your legal needs.

Question 1: I have a condo in Bangkok and I want to know who is responsible for the repair of the balcony in my unit (the railings on the balcony). The railings are made of wood and are now rotten due to sun and rain. They need to be replaced. Who should pay for the repair? Juristic persons from the annual fees? Or do I have to repair at my own cost? There is also a balcony at the back of the condo block that is along a shared walkway. Who is responsible for these?

Sunbelt Asia Legal responds: The juristic persons are responsible for the balcony at the back of the condo block as it is along a shared or public walkway. However, usually the balcony in your condo is considered private property and as such you would be responsible for its repair. You need to check the regulations handbook and with the juristic manager as to whether or not it is considered private property. If it is, then you could ask the juristic person to undertake repairs but you would be liable for the costs.

Question 2: I am staying in Thailand long-term (more than 183 days in each individual Thai tax year) on a non-immigrant 'O' multi entry visa and I am not employed in Thailand for the whole of my stay. I leave the country at least once every 3 months to satisfy the visa conditions. My only Thai income is bank interest of circa 140,000 baht per annum from fixed term deposit savings with Kassikornbank, Bangkok Bank and CIMB Thai. At present each of these institutes deducts a 15% withholding tax from the interest payments and I have not been required to complete an annual Thai tax return ever.
1. Is it possible to reclaim this withholding tax from the two previous tax years?
2. Is it possible for me to register to receive future interest payments gross (i.e. without the withholding tax deducted)?
3. If completing a Thai tax return, would I need to disclose worldwide income (i.e. non Thai income) that is not brought into Thailand?

Sunbelt Asia Legal responds: 1. It is possible. You will need to have the document issued from the bank (original withholding tax document). Personal Tax ID is needed. Have you ever submitted P.N.D 91 or 90 before? This PND 91 and / or 90 is the Personal Income Tax Filing). Please note that the process of claiming a tax return requires a lot of detail. Once your claim has been submitted, the Revenue Department would initiate the consideration process (i.e. investigating the applicant's income).
2. It is not possible, as you are receiving the interest from a bank in Thailand. If you wish to receive interest without 15% withholding tax, you have to put the money in a current account. But then you will not receive the interest.
3. It is not necessary. Unless you are applying for an extension of stay based on retirement / marriage then you would need to disclose.

Question 3: My apartment's rental rate is increasing. It is going up from 3,200 baht per month to 3,700 baht per month (or between 15% and 16%). Is there a maximum amount and / or percentage that a rental rate can be increased in a single time period? On a side note, the apartment management simultaneously raised the water rates from 20 THB per unit to 25 THB per unit. The management said that the reason for the increase was because "the Water Authority of Thailand has announced the increase of every water unit used in apartments and hotels." I contacted the MWA and someone responded that they have not raised their rates since they last set them in 1999. Thus, the reason why I'm querying about the rental rate increase amount / percentage.

Sunbelt Asia Legal responds: There is no law governing rent increases. It should have been negotiated in your lease contract. Most times it is 5% per year on a renewal or 10 – 15% on a 3-year term. But this is strictly up to the tenant and landlord. Sunbelt Asia Lawyers have heard of some cases of the landlord getting 100% higher increase. Always be sure to have a lawyer review the lease before signing.



Soi Cowboy


It's been rain, rain and more rain in Bangkok this week. It's that time of year where instead of being drenched for an hour or so any time from mid-afternoon to early evening with a torrential monsoon downpour, we've had scattered showers throughout the day or light drizzle that has fallen for hours and hours on end. When you know that traffic is a mess and you're not sure if the rain will stop, sometimes the easiest thing is just to stay home. Thursday saw rain fall from late afternoon and throughout the evening resulting in the bar areas being quiet. Friday was dry and the bar areas did massive business for a low season night. We've still got another month and a half at least of precipitation so do bring a good umbrella if you're visiting Bangkok any time soon.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick