Stickman's Weekly Column March 10th, 2013

Stick’s Favourite Gogo Bar


I recently visited a bar in Nana Plaza that I liked so much that the next day I found myself thinking about how good it was and that I wanted to go back. I have never felt that about a bar before! So I went back and I enjoyed it as much the second time around. And the third, and the forth! I've visited several times this past month and every time I've had a great time. I've taken friends along and they've all agreed. The bar, Pretty Lady, reminds me of bars of the past – and that can only be a good thing.





Bangkok gogo bar

Pretty Lady Bar opened in its current location in April, 1994, after a pharmacy was converted into a single unit gogo bar. The following year the wall was knocked down and the bar doubled in size, taking over the coffee shop next door.

In those days the ground floor of the plaza was a car park so the owner parked a small bus selling hamburgers in front of the bar and placed plastic tables and chairs into the space next to it. The Pretty Lady beer bar was born.

A couple of popular bar bosses cut their teeth in Pretty Lady with both Ricky – who has managed a string of gogo bars over the years in Bangkok and Pattaya – and Dave The Rave, listing Pretty Lady Bar on their respective resumes.

Pretty Lady was renamed to Bottoms Up, changed again to Pretty Girl, and then changed back to Pretty Lady.

In 2006 the bar was occupied by a group who tried to take it over by force. The fun and games that followed ended up in court where the owner eventually won.

Last year Pretty Lady Bar was expanded from 2 to 3 shophouses, taking in what was Red Lips Bar.

The Western owner has been in charge for the last 19 years.



Bangkok gogo bar

Like most ground floor gogo bars, Pretty Lady has a beer bar outside. It is currently being run independent of the main gogo bar.



Bangkok gogo bar

Inside Pretty Lady Bar proper the venue features two main dance floors which the girls can move between using ceiling mounted-handles, kind of like monkeys jumping from one tree to another. Around the edge of the bar are mini stages with mirror tops where the girls dance and flirt with customers.

Mirrors, the bar is full of mirrors! Not just mirrors on the walls, but countertops. The two main dance floors feature mirror countertops. The mini dance floors around the edge of the bar are made of mirrors which provide an alternate view of the knickerless dancers. The concept isn't unique but elsewhere the girls often aren't in to it. The dancers in Pretty Lady love to tease customers using the mirrors.



Bangkok gogo bar

Pretty Lady Bar is a typical gogo bar, featuring 2 sets of dancers, each set dancing for 5 songs before it is replaced by the other. It also features the classic body paint shows of the '90s where girls are painted before doing a slow, sensual dance.

Two televisions feature amusing European adult-themed cartoons which have been a feature of the bar since the '90s.

The bar was recently renovated so everything is new, the sound system is good and the music play list should appeal to most punters aged 40 up.

The restroom deserves a mention. Little different to better hotels in the area, it's clean, features individually torn tissues and there's even an hourly cleaning schedule. Bunches of flowers in the men's room help mask the inevitable foul smells.



Candidography



Bangkok gogo bar

Like Tilac, another venue I once announced as the best in town, Pretty Lady has an Alcoholics Corner. It's a sad aspect of the industry, but the reality is that many girls hate what they do and need to drink heavily to deal with it.



Bangkok gogo bar

But despite the fact that no girls want to do this, the bar has a nice vibe.



Bangkok gogo bar

Pretty Lady Bar features a floor-mounted wind machine which the DJ turns on without warning, causing the girls' skirts to be blown up. Shrieking and laughter follows as the girls quickly push their skimpy skirts back down to maintain their dignity.



Bangkok gogo bar

The current Pretty Lady crew are a fun bunch and it is the attitudes of the girls and the general atmosphere of the bar that sets it apart. The hottest girls in town they may not be, but their attitudes more than make up for it.


Bangkok gogo bar

Pretty Lady has a very friendly, honest mamasan who seems to be as interested in customer satisfaction as she is her girls' well-being. She is adored equally by the girls, the boss and those customers she befriends. She has that classic trait of the best managers – she is conscious of each party's respective needs and does everything she can to ensure that they are met and everyone is happy.



Bangkok gogo bar

I check that exposure and colour balance are ok in the tricky and ever changing light and the DJ peers over my shoulder, looks at the photos and asks me why the girls look so good in the camera when they look so ugly for real. I'm speechless, but he really means it. What can I say?!



Bangkok gogo bar

But as good as Pretty Lady Bar is, it's not without its faults. I've never been a fan of the practice of selling ping pongs for customers to throw which girls retrieve and exchange for money. And while the adult cartoons are a laugh, I wonder if the bar really needs them. And who is a fan of so many male wait staff?



Bangkok gogo bar

Perhaps what really sets Pretty Lady apart is the interaction between girls and customers. The girls always seem to be flirting with customers which makes things fun.



Bangkok gogo bar

But as good as the bar is, Pretty Lady Bar is not that busy these days. It's a bar you seldom hear talked of or mentioned in the forums. Most nights there aren't that many visitors and the bar is in fact up for sale.



Bangkok gogo bar

In so many venues today grimaces have replaced smiles and bitching has replaced laughter. Going to some bars is like visiting the dentist – it ends up costing way more than you thought it would and is no fun at all.

Pretty Lady seems to have missed that memo and many girls retain an infectious playfulness.



Bangkok gogo bar

I'll get bored of Pretty Lady Bar. Sooner or later it will enter that phase all bars do when the best girls move on, the premises become worn, current chart hits are added to the playlist or things go stale. It's all part of the bar life cycle. But I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. I haven't found another bar that plays the sort of music I like, has such genuinely friendly girls but more than anything, is just good plain fun. The 2013 version of Pretty Lady Bar really does recapture the fun of the bars in the good old days!





Where was this photo taken?

Bangkok

Last week's photo was taken of Denny's Corner, the bar at the soi 22 entrance of what is left of Washington Square. 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 WEEKThe game is almost over.

While it hasn't gone unnoticed in your column in recent months, Thailand, in contrast to many countries in the West, is making great strides economically. Today Thailand has been upgraded to BBB+ by ratings agency Fitch and is now in a much better position than many European countries. This shows how the markets are rewarding Thailand for its recent performance. Despite the costs of the flooding and the volatile political system, growth has remained robust in recent years and Thailand has a debt to GDP ratio most countries in the West can only dream of. As Thailand continues to develop, the middle class will continue to grow, and prices will go up. Pensioners living in Thailand will no longer be able to afford enjoying a comfortable retirement in the land of the smiles. Thailand's growth is also going to open up many new opportunities for its young and the number of girls who look to the bars will inevitably plummet. If you are an old geezer who likes to spend his time hunting bargirls I guess it's time to realise it will soon be game over. Enjoy it while you can.



Cluelessness.

I travelled all over Thailand in 1993. In 2 days in Udon Thani I saw two other farang. I spoke essential Thai only, and just blagged my way through. When you met travellers, they were experienced. There were some clueless types who'd head straight for Khao San Road, but even the guys in gogo bars were seasoned and few were under 50. As time passes, I can hardly believe what it was like – and I'm sure you know the feeling. People see Walking Street on YouTube and book a flight. Yes, it's lowest-common-denominator now. When I was in Bangkok staying on Sukhumvit soi 11 and watching dozens of people I could never have imagined I was in Bangkok. Young women in black gowns dodging tuktuks, or sitting at those pathetic VW van bars. They looked like they belonged at some party in LA or Melbourne or…I dunno where. I'm not sure why these people make the trip, but we're dealing with mass tourism from a lower-level strata of the tourist pyramid now, and we didn't before. To be honest, this is part of the reason I head straight for Pattaya. I found soi 11 distressing. It's so hard to walk, especially at night, and these squadrons of wide-eyed white bread farang…strange. There's a lot of cluelessness out there.

The Internet is to blame.

The reader who said that the people he left the west to get away from have followed him here sums up how I feel and is one reason why I now gravitate towards the areas of South-East Asia less frequented by the worst of the West. The Internet has made more and more people aware of Thailand and there are a *lot* of stupid people on the Internet – unbelievably stupid – an increasing number will end up in Thailand. Forget who said it now – but I paraphrase – when you open the window to let in some fresh air, you'll get flies coming in. As more people go to Thailand, you'll get more idiots too.

Rich Aussies, poor Brits.

I'm an Aussie and I've been to Bangkok and many parts of Thailand every year since 1997 and I think some people need a reality check. I hear Brits bitching about beer prices. They should come down under where in the city centres of Sydney or Melbourne you will pay $9.50 – $10 for a pint. My watering hole in Lismore is a bit cheaper at $7.20 a pint. I've found lots of bars, not gogo bars, around Thailand and in Bangkok where in Aussie dollars I pay $1.98 to $3.20 for a stubby and to us Australians that's great value. And while I'm having a bitch, I have taken a few girls home for the night and I find most girls are happy with 2,000 – 3,000 baht for the whole night. I really think some blokes need to look in the mirror and buy a toothbrush and deodorant. Thailand is not what it was but what country is these days?



The Pattaya sewer.

I spent 2 weeks in Pattaya 4 years ago and swam every day. The water wasn't clean but it was acceptable. This December I visited Pattaya again and as soon as I checked into the hotel I headed down to the beach. I was in for a shock. The beach was crowded but the water was incredibly polluted and looked more like a sewer overflowing with garbage and plastic bags. Disgusted, I took a taxi back to Bangkok the following morning and took a train south to where finally I could enjoy the ocean. I've been visiting Thailand for 25 years and swimming is not the only reason but it is one of the attractions. Reading your story on Pattaya I was telling myself it is just as well you didn't have enough time to take a dip!

Some things are better rented.

Your comments about farangs buying girls out of the bar, buying hair salons and massage parlours struck a note as I know 3 long-term expats who think they know 'oh so much' about living here and they did exactly what you warned against; and of course it ended badly.

No lies, no customers!

You mention about old girls straddling the stage. How about this: When I was playing, I would read the adult adverts in my local newspaper here in Wellington. On 3 occasions I went to visit ladies with ads that read Asian, sexy, good body, 30 years old etc. These girls were advertising they were anywhere from 28 – 32 but when I met them they were all over 40 and one was older than me – and I'm 52! When I asked why they lied they said that if they told the truth they wouldn't get a customer!

The perfect gift.

Buy a bunch of Thai silk scarves – two grades: big and expensive; thin and cheap. Take a bunch home every time you visit. Leave them in a box at your Mum's or sister's place. Keep them as presents. If in doubt, wrap a cheap scarf in an expensive one. Let the recipient sort it all out while you enjoy the free champagne at their party. My 14-year-old daughter wrapped a PDR Lao key ring in a thin silk scarf for a 13-year-old friend's birthday today. Her parents were so impressed – thoughtful, special, modest, appropriate and no rubbish to dispose of. We still have a cupboard shelf full of Thai silk scarves 7 years after leaving Thailand.



Last weekend saw elections for the Bangkok governor take place just a few days after salaries had been paid – which would typically make it the busiest weekend of the month. Bar bosses knew they could not sell alcohol on Saturday night and word was out on Friday that the police had warned them that they could not sell alcohol until midnight on Sunday, despite voting ending late afternoon and the official election count tallied up and the winner announced at 9 PM. Selling non-alcoholic drinks just doesn't get punters into the bars. Venues considered selling alcohol surreptitiously but knew that all it would take was a foreigner who had brought a drink from his condo or hotel to walk in to a bar with the drink in hand and the bar manager could find himself in the gun, notwithstanding that the venue had not sold the customer the drink. The cops gave bars plenty of warning and word was that they would be particularly harsh on anyone breaking the prohibition. Most bar bosses took the cops good advice on board. Some didn't. The inevitable happened and the cops swopped, picking up amongst others the managers of Golden Beer Bar, Lucky Luke's, Bully's and Pickled Liver. Some of those caught serving alcohol became irate that they had been busted while others who sold before midnight weren't.

Willem Weber, former owner of Cathouse in Nana Plaza, a Sukhumvit late-night stall and current manager of the Green Parrot on Soi 33 died on Tuesday in the Police Hospital of complications from a lung infection. He had been hospitalised for two weeks, the last 5 days in intensive care. Willem was originally from Holland and was well known and liked in the Dutch community. He had been living in Thailand for about 10 years at the time of his death. He is survived by his son in Holland, his wife, Porn (recently recovered from a chest tumour) and a 200,000 baht hospital bill. If anybody would like to chip in to cover the outstanding bill or the cost of his cremation, a collection bucket can be found in the Green Parrot. Contact Dick or Peter at the Green Parrot for details.



Q Bar underwent a major refit and expansion not long ago which transformed the venue, expanding it and improving on what was already a winning formula. What I like most about the new Q Bar is Le Derrière, French-themed quiet rooms out back which you reach via the only rotating doors I've seen in Bangkok. Le Derrière is like being transported directly to Paris. Partly open air with a roof that can be slid back, it offers a unique atmosphere in this really cool space with views of tall buildings all around you. Despite all the effort that went in to the upgrade, the days of cover charges at Q Bar are over. Entry is free for boys and girls, every night of the week. The new Q Bar really is worth visiting.

The ladyboy bars in Nana Plaza are booming, so much so that every night there are between 70 – 90 girls in Cascade. Are there any real girly bars in the plaza with so many dancers? Maybe only Rainbow 4 has that many.

The snake show disappeared from The Strip after the snake died, but it is hoped that snake shows will resume later this year. Before she passed away, Mama Python had a baby which is coming along and when he is of age he will become the next star of the show. The Strip is a responsible employer and very much against underage performers.

The Sukhumvit Road frontage of Washington Square is being decimated shophouse by shophouse with just a few bars at the soi 22 entrance of Washington Square still in business. If you find yourself in the last vestiges of the Square, be careful. The burned out shell that remains of the large massage parlour along from Denny's Corner is not safe. One guy parked his car there and returned to find a huge piece of cement had fallen off the building and crashed through the car's windscreen.

How will Sukhumvit soi 22 develop over the next few years? Will it be the next up and coming soi, perhaps the new soi 11? Soi 22 features lots of smaller businesses (small massage shops, beer bars, travel agencies, fruit and vege stands) which won't last forever and are likely to be replaced by larger, more interesting outlets as rents go up and smaller businesses get squeezed out. With Washington Square now a great big hole, and speculation that the area will become low-rise retail and condo buildings, soi 22 is likely to go much more upmarket.

Not much news from down Pattaya way this week, apart from mention of the birthday bash for boss Tony of M Club. Tony's a fun guy to party with and the party will be an all day affair this coming Friday, March 15. The bar actually opens at 11 AM and the ladies arrive around 2 PM. There will be heaps of food and it's all you can eat for 150 baht. Bottled beers are 70 baht all day and mixed drinks 100 baht. Rum and Coke is 89 baht for all of March. There's no need to bring a gift – a smile and an empty stomach is enough. M Club is on Third Road and the map to get there can be found on the bar's website.

Black Pagoda in Patpong soi 2 is doing something new, starting with expat nights every Sunday and Monday. Expats and regulars get 20% off all drinks, free billiards with a host, and other special deals and cool surprises. You can also apply for the 2013 Black Pagoda Expat card which will get you special deals through the week.


Black Pagoda Bangkok


Following on from a reader's comment in last week's column that Tilac should be renamed to UFO, an acronym for something not very nice, in fairness to Tilac a visit this week showed there were more pleasant looking ladies than there have been in a while. Superstar Miss Pla is back from Surin and there were a good few pretty girls dancing.

I note that the approach girls use with customers in naughty bars has changed somewhat. Not that long ago girls would ask a customer where he comes from, where he stays / lives and what his job is. These days they tend to skip these questions…..because, I assume, they don't care! They just want to convince the customer to take them to the closest short time hotel and get the business done and over with as quickly as possible.

And another change I notice is that there are few venues where girls wear knee-length boots, once the norm. Nowadays they wear all manner of shoes. Bikinis and knee-length boots were a great match.

Bangkok isn't getting any cheaper but if you've been to Singapore recently you won't complain about the going rate in Bangkok. Naughty girls in the Lion City are asking for plenty, knowing full well that the island is full of moneyed up expats. At Brix, the bar in the Grand Hyatt frequented by many working girls, a mate was quoted $SGD 1,000 this week for a night of passion with what he describes as an old boiler! She was so average looking, he said, that it was just as well the lights were dim. Not because he didn't want to see her face clearly, but because he didn't want her to see his reaction when she quoted her price! Singapore has never been cheap for drinking out, but at $27 for a beer in Brix, you'd better make a trip to the ATM machine before you go inside. $1,000 is not the going rate everywhere. In Ipanema in Orchard towers, Vietnamese lovelies will rock your boat for $200. And according to my pal, who knows Asia well with a couple of decades under his belt, there's no difference between the standard of what's on offer – it's just the surroundings that differ. Few Thais can be found there these days, it's predominately the domain of Vietnamese and Indonesians.


The Strip Gogo Bar Bangkok


Las Vegas


Arguably Bangkok's best laid out gogo bar is Las Vegas, a beautifully designed and built venue that ought to be the benchmark by which other bars are measured. It's immaculately clean, has a great sound system, efficient air-conditioning and features subtle touches like the decorated dance floor which imitates a casino table. What I really like is the layout of the seating which puts you at the same level or higher than the girls. I'm no fan of bars where the girls are above the customers, forcing guys to look up at them. Las Vegas got the design spot on.

I wish more bars would put ice cubes in the urinal, especially the big ice cubes, not the piddly little ones, you know the sort that melt in mixed drinks really fast. It's fun when you have a few drinks in you that you need to release and you play that game where you see how many large ice cubes you can dissolve with your water cannon. I'm not sure what my record is but I think it's 4 full-sized ice cubes. Aw, don't tell me I'm the only one who does this…

2013 marks 180 years of United States / Thailand relations. To celebrate, AMCHAM and the US embassy will be highlighting American businesses in Thailand in the inaugural American Restaurant Week 2013 from March 18 – 24. It is based on the successful restaurant weeks that take place across the US and it is hoped this will become an annual event in Bangkok. Participating restaurants have to provide a unique prix fixe menu or deal for the week not ordinarily offered. Boss Hogg and his team at Bully's will feature the following dishes: Bully cheese burger with US fries at just 180 baht. 18 chicken wings with US Frank's hot sauce for 180 baht. Big John's dog US Oscar Meyer hot dog loaded with chilli and slaw and served with US fries regular for 180 baht and Budweiser beer is 2 bottles for 180 baht. These special prices are for dine-in only

.

No-one wants to see a repeat of the red shirt occupation of downtown Bangkok and the destruction of property that followed. Business owners in Bangkok are especially nervous about anything kicking off as they cannot get riot insurance. Fire insurance is available, but try getting riot insurance in Bangkok. A business owner friend contacted local insurance companies and many insurance agents and the answer was the same every time – mai me!

I was pounding the pavement on Sukhumvit one morning this week between Emporium and Asoke when I saw two cops on a motorcycle cruising very slowly in the left-most lane, right near the sidewalk. They were obviously checking out all the pedestrians. I was the only foreigner around. The cops saw me and at the same time I fixed my eyes on a spot in the distance and continued walking. Their motorcycle slowed to a stop just past behind me and I kept my eyes fixed in the distance. Out of the corner of my I saw one waving, presumably at me, but I didn't acknowledge it and pretended I had not seen it. I kept walking. I had earphones on and was listening to music and feigned not seeing them. I never looked around. They never followed.



Sunrise Tacos is not just great Mexican food but has a diversified menu offering hamburgers, steaks and salads. The marketing department has a funny photo on their Facebook page comparing their hamburger with that of a competitor. Check it out!

Bangkok isn't known as a place to buy electronic goods cheap and some items are considerably more expensive here than elsewhere. But when it comes to photography gear, Bangkok IS a good place to buy, especially if you factor in the 7% VAT refund for tourists. Case in point, a Canon EOS 6D camera body. At B+H Photo in New York, a reputable store, it sells for $2,099 or around 63,000 baht. That is the online price if purchased from out of state. The same camera can be had in Bangkok for less than 60,000 baht – and that is before the 7% VAT refund. In fact, you can get this particular camera for as little as 50,900 baht online in Thailand. I'm not saying Bangkok is the cheapest place to buy, but you can get gear with an official Nikon or Canon warranty, an international warranty on some items, at no more, and often less than you would pay at online stores in America – traditionally amongst the most competitive places to buy camera gear. Of course you could always go to Phnom Penh where camera gear is cheaper again, but it won't come with a warranty.

But one thing that isn't cheap in Thailand is exotic sports cars, yet there are more and more supercar showrooms popping up. What amuses me is that some showrooms spring up in very average neighbourhoods and may have a noodle stand outside or an old-style mom and pop convenience store across the road. It's not entry-level models like say a Porsche Cayman, but top-end models like Ferrari 458s, Lamborghini Gallardos and even RUF-modified Porsches, cars which in Thailand will set you back north of $1,000,000.

Please, please, please do NOT refer to yourself as Khun John, Khun Michael or Khun <whatever your name is>. While it is indeed polite to refer to other people by using the honorific before their name, you NEVER refer to yourself that way EVER. To Thais it makes you sound quite preposterous.


ladyboy Bangkok


Quote of the week comes from Mr. Confused, "She is not my girlfriend, she just lives with me in the house I am renting!"

Reader's story of the week comes from Shady, "Is She a Hooker and Are You a Sucker?"

A 93-year old Aussie accused of raping young girls in Thailand complains about life in a Chiang Mai prison.

A woman finds a bag with 700,000 baht cash, hands it in to a policeman, and the bag and the copper disappear!

Reuters reports that Thailand is struggling with a high teen pregnancy rate.

A Norwegian accused of murder in Phuket refuses to accept the translator and has to wait another 5 months for his say.

Not for the first time Hitler and Nazi symbols are being used in fashion in Thailand in 2013.

CNN look at dual-pricing in Asia, which they refer to as the white man tax.

A Thai woman recounts her sexual slavery ordeal in Hong Kong.

Across the border, Gavinmac gives 7 Reasons Why You Should Never “Friend” Cambodian Women on Facebook.


Big Mango




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 bought a house which I hold in a nominee name and a condo in my name before I met my wife so we both know in the event of a divorce she has no claim. However, if I sell one or both of these properties and use the proceeds, adding to them if necessary from my own funds, to buy a bigger house, in the event of a divorce does she have any claim on the house even though she is aware the funds came from the sale of the old property of which she has no claim? If so, what if I again buy the property in a nominee name rather than a company's? Can I deny in court I own any property as I would not be registered as a director in the holding company?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: If you executed a pre-nuptial agreement before registering your marriage then if these assets were listed in the agreement there would be no claim. However, if they were not or you did not execute a pre-nuptial agreement then in the event of a divorce through the Courts (as opposed to one that is based on mutual agreement between you both and enacted at the District Office) then you would need to verify that such assets were owned by you personally before the marriage.

If you were to sell your condo and wanted to purchase a new one you would either have to transfer in money from overseas for the new purchase or send the sale money out of the country and transfer it back in to purchase the new condo. You would need to prove that this money came from personal assets held prior to the marriage.

As for the house (held under a company), it is the company's property, money derived from the selling of company assets will belong to the company. But please note that should the company distribute dividends to you (as one of the shareholders), the dividend received will be considered as a marital asset.

If you use another person to acquire a property (instead of using the company), please be aware even though the property is in neither your name nor that of your spouse, he / she could still make a claim and if he / she could prove that you are using a nominee (through funding records), apart from losing half of the property, you may get yourself into trouble for using nominee and violating the Land Act as the Thai authorities are cracking down on companies formed with nominee shareholders simply to purchase land.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can assist you in the event of a divorce or for those who are not yet married and want to draft a pre-nuptial agreement before marriage.

Question 2: I recently did a visa run with one of the local visa run services in Bangkok. I have a non-immigrant B visa and I was unsure about the fee this time around. The fee was the same as before the new visa policy with Cambodia that accepts both Thai and Cambodian visas as valid to enter Cambodia. I did not make a fuss because this was my first visa run under the new rules and I was thinking it would be better to be safe than sorry and would sort it out later. Noting that several people on the run said they already had a Cambodian visa at the fork over the cash part of the trip and paid a lot less, can you please tell me what applies and if there is anything special I need do. Noting also that a new Cambodian visa was placed in my passport on that trip as well, so I know the money was spent.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: Thailand and Cambodia have instituted a new visa agreement but this applies only to the ACMECS single entry visa that you must apply for specifically from either a Thai or Cambodian embassy or consulate. It is essentially a dual tourist visa offering 2 months in Thailand and 1 month in Cambodia. If you apply for this visa from the Thai embassy then you will need to pay entrance fees at the Cambodian side of the border and vice versa, if you apply at a Cambodian embassy you will need to pay fees at the Thai side. On the Thai side it would be 1000 baht.

The ACMECS visa is available to nationalities of the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bahrain, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, India, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Luxemburg, Netherland, New Zealand, Norway, Omar, Portugal, Qatar, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, UK & Northern Ireland, and USA.

However as you have a Thai non-B visa you must obtain a new visa for Cambodia separately unless your country has a special treaty with Cambodia which allows you to enter the country without a visa.

Question 3: I am interested in purchasing a condo in Thailand and understand the process of transferring the purchase monies through a Thai bank to demonstrate that the funds originate from overseas. From the bank, do I have to transfer these funds to my Thai solicitor acting for me, the seller's solicitor or direct to the seller on completion? The reason I ask this is during a property transaction in the UK my funds are 100% insured by "The Law Society" when they are in a solicitor's hands, be it my solicitor or the seller's. Do they have a similar umbrella in Thailand as it must be of a worry to most buyers sending over large sums from the relative safety of their home country to a country where corruption and a slow, difficult court system exists!

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: By sending it to the solicitor it is not 100 % insured as in the UK. At Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors, we have done thousands of transfers with no problems. If you sent funds directly to the seller and they failed to oblige to the terms and conditions stipulated in the purchase agreement, there would be a basis for a case in Civil Court for breaching of the agreement, however, it may also be possible to go to Criminal Court with a case for fraud.

Please note that the recipient of the transfer funds will need to contact their bank in order to obtain a Foreign Exchange Transaction Form (also known as Thor Tor 3). If the funds were sent to your Thai solicitor, your seller, your seller's solicitor or even the sales agent, please be sure to correctly and clearly specify the purpose of the funds being transferred, such as TO PURCHASE A CONDOMINIUM UNIT NUMBER_______ FROM_______ IN THE NAME OF________.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors has extensive experience in advising on the transfer of funds and drafting purchase agreements for our clients buying condos and can assist you through every step of the process so that you can own your condo 100% legally in your name.




Bangkok gogo bar


A brown envelope did not pass hands with regards to today's opening piece. Accusations fly when I talk up venues or products or services which I guess is understandable to some degree when I talk up venues which happen to also be advertisers. Pretty Lady Bar is not and has never been an advertiser. One reason I feature bars which advertise on this site is simply because I know the owner and they are willing to let someone they know shoot in the bar. There's a show bar I have wanted to profile for ages. I've been emailing one of the managers outlining how I would like to shoot shows in the bar in black and white and then write a big profile on the venue. I have no doubt that it would be well-received and be great exposure for the bar. Such an article would be better than advertising, but you know what? They don't even bother getting back to me. Well, they did, once and then when I went to clarify details, nothing! No response, no nothing! I had pretty much begged to do the piece and even made suggestions to help overcome some of the obvious challenges such as people in the bar and so forth. You don't know how hard it is trying to work things out with some bar managers and owners – and that's why I often stick with those I know as it is so much easier.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Firehouse

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