Stickman's Weekly Column March 1st, 2015

The Final Strip


There’s a romantic charm about the Bangkok of old, when the people were said to be friendlier, the smiles came easier and the bars were more inviting. In Bangkok’s most historic bar area it’s not one of the old names drawing the punters, but a relative newcomer. The Strip barely rates a mention in Patpong’s illustrious history but the young bar – the current owner figures it’s about 8 years old – is today one of the best bars in Bangkok’s oldest bar area. It doesn’t boast the prettiest lineup of girls, the best music or even the cheapest drinks, but it does have something few other bars do, the atmosphere of old. This week I went to do my rounds at Patpong but it turned in to a disaster. I started at The Strip and I enjoyed it there so much that I never left The Strip.

Thailand gogo

Friendly hello girls have long been a feature of The Strip with a dedicated PR team outside the bar until closing. On the left, long-serving Ann has seen a few owners come and go as she has graduated from the stage to door duties. Dow, centre, and Ji, right, are more recent additions. Dao is a frisky number who is willing to do what it takes and has been known to make up numbers if there is a shortage of dancers. She will even perform a sexy shower show if need be…for a few extra baht, of course.

Thailand gogo

Make my dreams come true, says Dao’s tattoo. What are a Thai girl’s dreams? Would a house, a car and 40K baht a month send her to dreamland, I ask. I get an excited giggle that I take as a yes!

Thailand gogo

Can you remember when most had a big smile like this? What happened? The LOS (Land of smiles) moniker seems less appropriate these days.

Thailand gogo

Miss Ji is the star welcome girl. Early 20’s from Surin, she would make a fantastic girl of the week. North of 170 cm, she is tall for a Thai lady and works guys like a pro. She loves to sidle up close to those who are 50:50 on whether to go inside. Ah, the sales techniques Thai ladies use!

Thailand gogo

Sigh, the downside of being a good boy. This is what you miss out on!

Thailand gogo

Ann used to grace the dance floor but these days she runs the girls at the front door, but when it’s quiet she loves to fool about.

Thailand gogo bar

The legendary Thai female competitiveness comes to the fore. After Ann shows me what she’s got, Kwan grabs me, drags me outside and proudly boasts that she sports the biggest set in the bar. She jiggles them around and insists that I photograph them and tell the world about them. Done!

Thailand gogo bar

Seriously, you will be hard pressed to find a larger set right out of the factory anywhere in Patpong. No silicone which should be no surprise for she comes from an area where the maidens are known for being buxom.

Thailand gogo

The camera lies and makes the cashier look a little chubby. It’s deceptive and she isn’t. Please note that she is not available.

Thailand gogo

Like so many bars, The Strip has a mix of gogo dancers, coyote dancers and to confuse things, PR girls – a fancy term for hello girls, welcome girls or door girls. All are barfineable but in the case of the PR girls, they’re not the sure thing that those inside are. The difference in barfine rates is negligible; gogo dancer barfines run 800 baht while coyote and PR girls will set you back an even 1,000.

Thailand gogo

At just 38 kg, she is even slimmer than she looks here. Someone please take her over to Madrid in Patpong soi 1 for a pizza, preferably the large size. Small, slim and young-looking is a favourite look for many older guys – and that’s kind of creepy. What is it with old dudes who like small girls who look young? Why would anyone want to be with someone young enough to be their granddaughter? Why go for a 20-year old when there are plenty of 30-year olds who have more about them, who you can actually talk with and who will almost certainly make for a much better bedroom experience. What’s wrong with a 30-something like Nina, girl of the week, 30/11/2014? I’ve never been able to get my head around this thing some older guys have for small-framed girls who look young. Is it a manipulation and control thing? Are they latent paedophiles?

Thailand gogo

Cat has been a fixture at The Strip for a good few years. She might not be to everyone’s taste but Cat stands out as the best dancer in the bar and goes through a lengthy stretching routine before she gets up on stage. And I bet it’s not just up on stage where Cat could teach the younger girls a thing or two…

Thailand gogo

Whether this stretch was for the camera or part of her regular routine, I don’t know! Nice biceps, Cat!

Thailand gogo

Three different Bangkok nightlife website webmasters agree this really is the best butt in the industry, but does it look so good up close?

gogo dancer

It’s still early and few punters are about. The drinks haven’t started flowing, the girls are stone-cold sober yet you still have that famous Thai playfulness. The Strip has gogo dancers who are employed by the bar, and coyotes on a day rate provided by an agency, two separate groups, yet they all play together on stage like a litter of excited puppies.

gogo dancer

A young Japanese guy comes in to the bar and a coyote dancer scurries off to adjust her makeup. She really likes the look of the guy. It works, he barfines her and they leave the bar hand in hand!

gogo dancer

One of the most photogenic girls in the bar, getting her to smile was beyond me.

gogo dancer

I tried everything from making funny faces to telling jokes in Thai but no matter what I said or did, she would not smile. It wasn’t me – she wouldn’t smile for anyone. And it wasn’t that she was averse to having her photo taken – quite the opposite actually – but she just would not smile! She’s another who needs a trip Madrid.

Thailand sex tourist

But then if people were doing this to you, would you be smiling? I can understand how some girls fail to smile after guys who look like they just walked off a farm think nothing of prodding them, poking them and treating them like a plaything. But then on the other hand it is the girls who allow themselves to be subjected to this when they have every right to say no.

Thailand sex tourist

He doesn’t last long, she gets a handsome tip and soon she is bouncing around the bar again. Her smile is back and he joins a long list of bad memories.

gogo dancer

She might not have the raw good looks, but she knows how to smile.

gogo dancer

The randy owner thought I should make this lady girl of the week. She was a lovely lass and had a really nice demeanour and was upbeat and bubbly, but she wouldn’t have been my first choice.

gogo dancer

This lady is consistently the most barfined lady in the bar. Month after month, I kid you not! Yep, she may be the biggest girl in the bar, but she is also the most popular. Visit The Strip and you will see why – she has a great demeanour, is sweet and friendly. The Strip has had a number of superstars over the years like First to Nina to Jubjang, all of whom have featured as Stickman girls of the week, but in terms of commercial success, this lady is the current star!

Thailand coyote dancer

Speaking of former girls of the week, Muay, girl of the week in the column of December 7, 2014, was looking good this week.

Thailand gogo bar

Yam was girl of the week in late 2013 and used to danced in Club Electric Blue. Some say that a Thai woman’s best feature is their long shiny hair. Even with short hair, Yam still looks great.

Thailand gogo bar

Some of these girls seldom see daylight, they’ve only been awake a few hours yet the smiles come easily. And it is that which sets The Strip apart from so many bars. What’s the secret? I reckon it comes back to the boss. As untypical a bar owner as you will find, the American owner runs The Strip like a business and not like his own private bar and harem. He has his eccentricities like high-fiving the girls before he goes home and is known for goofing around, something that goes down well with Thais. He has helped out girls with problems, handing out a thousand baht here or there if the girls are short. When one girl’s father could no longer walk he bought the old boy a wheelchair. Many of us felt that the girls initially took advantage of him, but they have come to see that while he is a soft touch, he has a big heart – and that is one reason The Strip is doing so well while at the same time many bars run by those with much industry experience are struggling.

Thailand gogo bar

The Strip has long been one of my favourite bars and is currently one of the most popular bars in Patpong. The last few months have been its best period ever. The Strip is far from the biggest bar in Bangkok, doesn’t have the prettiest girls nor the cheapest drinks. The booths are no longer in service, some of the seating could do with replacing and I really don’t like it that smoking is allowed. But despite all of this, there’s a good vibe, most of the girls have a ready smile and it’s easy to wile away the hours. Like so many bars these days, the girls come and go as they please and The Strip is best on Fridays and Saturdays when most turn up for work. My final drink in a gogo bar before I leave Bangkok is going to be in The Strip.

Where was this photo taken?

Bangkok

Last week’s photo was taken of the two red parrots which are a fixture behind the City Hall and between it and a small market. No-one got it right, not a single person. Hopeless! 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 – Surprising where you can’t do two.

What has become of the Nana Hotel? Last Saturday I booked two girls from Bangkokescort.com. Having stayed in the Nana for many a year and had numerous liaisons, what was there to worry about? At the agreed time (in fact, early) the two ladies arrived. The first I knew was when the phone rang in my room with reception saying “Your lady friends here”. Never had that before as room number had been given. When I said ok just send them up, reception replied, “No, you have to come down”. Somewhat surprised, I jumped in the lift to find two immaculately presented girls sitting in the lobby. I asked what was wrong. Reception at the Nana had called the girls on entry and questioned where they were going. Having given my room number, they were declined entry and, according to them, spoken to very badly in Thai to the point they felt embarrassed. Upon my arrival, they told me the story. So I go to the guy to see what the problem is. He replies that only one lady is allowed in the room. I offered him a thousand baht to waive this, which he declined! In the end we had to leave Nana, jump in a tuktuk and go to another hotel (which cost me 1,600 baht) for 4 hours of fun. I have never had this problem there before. And the girls (who were superb, but rightly pissed off) pointed out they go to 5-star hotels without problem. The first time they visit Nana they get treated like this. I was shocked.

Hooking not taking off in Soi 12.

I walk past The Den getting outta my soi several times a day and have no idea how they make money. I did talk to some of the ไก่หลง (lost chickens), the Thai phrase for freelance streetwalkers and they said there aren’t many customers. A lot of the girls bail at 9 PM and go hug a chrome pole in Soi Cowboy. I asked one fairly cute girl in Thai how much short-time was and she said 3,000 baht. I replied, “I asked about short time, not lifetime!” Did you happen to notice the big waterfall “screens” they put up which blocks the entrance of the short time rooms from view of the street. I talked to the workers and it appears they cost a pretty penny. Funny how they could do that, yet they still they haven’t managed to change the sign which hangs off the back of the house which faces Insanity’s entry door. It still says “Monaco Gentlemen’s Club”. At close to 300K a month rent, we’ll see how long it lasts. I’d say you’re right on the money with the poorly marketed observation. Soi 12 is not the whore haven that the sois on the other side of the Sukhumvit are, or even that Soi 8 is.

Working girls are tech savvy.

Tech is what most gogo bar owners have not embraced and how to leverage it beyond a system to track the alcohol they serve. Meanwhile, minimally educated young ladies from small towns are using mobile phones to build their own proprietorships. The bars need the girls more than vice versa, yet owners keep applying the old model, increasing their costs by paying ridiculous salaries to coyotes and increasing salaries for dancers. Then they try to make up for it by charging high prices for customer drinks, outrageous prices for lady drinks, obscuring the fact coyotes cannot be barfined or even which girls are coyotes, and having ladyboys work without clearly revealing their gender status. Even the most minimally tech savvy punter can easily circumnavigate the system. The level at which these businesses treat their clientele with disdain encourages them to do so.

The smiles have gone.

I think the biggest change in Thailand has been the general attitude of the Thai people. I don’t know if it is the constant political upheaval or what but it is no longer a happy place.

Prettier or not?

We all have our likes and dislikes about what appeals to us in women. I often see couples that could be brother and sister in the way they look. An ugly guy with an attractive woman often means she has been “rented”. I have been to Thailand five times, have visited all the major cities and seen the country change over the period of 2001 to 2010. I have also spent time in Cambodia, Laos, China (Pearl River Basin), Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore (the five floors), The Philippines (but not Angeles City) South Korea, South Vietnam over the period of 2001 to 2014 and will be visiting Northern Vietnam next month. I seldom saw a fat Thai woman from 2001 to 2003. I think I can speak from experience about changes in South-East Asia. I do not like the looks of: 1) Obese women. 2) Tramp stamp tattoos and tattooed eyebrows. 3) Dyed hair on Asian women. In 2001 I seldom saw such women in Bangkok or Pattaya but by 2005 tattoos started to appear and the beautiful long hair was being displaced by bleached blonde and brilliant red. The only other place this happened was Hong Kong. By 2010, the last time I visited Thailand, the women were fatter, had more tattoos, and natural hair was no longer the norm in the bars. From your photos I would say that fewer than 10% of the bargirls, including coyotes, filled my requirements to be called attractive. Then there are the manners. Politeness has gone from the norm in Thailand to downright rudeness in the bars. I have been asked for a tip just to be seated at the back of a bar. Girls in the streets and shops do not smile as much. LOS has given way to LOG (Land of Greed). However, Vietnam and the Philippines are still nice places to visit.

1,500 rides gets you your own ride.

I know a freelancer who worked the Golden Bar for many years. She was once a stunner with a 10 plus body but is now a drunk with a wide ass. She bought this small car years ago and told me she had to do 30 short-times a month to make the payments. Simple math tells me she has done 1,500 short-times and probably more to pay for the car. Now I think her brain is pickled in Thai whiskey. She starts her shift off with numerous Thai whiskies and Coke and drinks until someone short times her, day after day. I believe this lifestyle is common on Soi 4.

Hibernation or blogicide?

Going through the readers’ emails the last couple of weeks, I see that a segment of longstanding Stick readers and Bangkok nightlife enthusiasts are in “exit mode” emotionally. It seems that the news of your departure from this landscape has triggered some sort of soul-searching in them. Economy, market conditions and all other indicators are not what they were a decade ago so they’re probably right in calling it a day. But there are many late joiners like me who didn’t seen those golden days, and are at the beginning of our tenure in Sukhumvit Night exploration who will terribly miss your weekly column. For a newcomer, Stickman Weekly has been a “Wisden”, a must-read to know the culture and history of the field, to know the key players, to quickly get up to speed and most importantly to prevent avoidable injuries. Your timely updates and advice will be truly missed. In my humble opinion, selling the website in order to keep it alive while you pursue other interests has probably not been materialized for the fact that the site loses its “Praana” (or maybe the charm) as soon as you step aside from Editor-in-Chief position. The site carries your philosophy, your aesthetics, your interest in people and your sweet-&-sour relationship with Thai culture. This makes the site unique. I don’t believe anybody will be able re-create the charm ghost-writing. In that sense, I’m kind of relieved that the site hasn’t changed hands. I would like to think that the weekly column is going to hibernate, only to give you a well-deserved break. People can change career, but can’t change their core so easily. So, I would like to believe that a revival is inevitable. All the best for your future endeavours but I will be waiting for the Stickman Weekly to come back!

Girl of the week

Tanya, escort with BangkokEscort.com Mid 20s from Ubon Rachathani, she is tall and slim.

 

For several months a small number of uniformed policemen have milled around each end of Soi Cowboy chatting amongst themselves, playing on their mobile phones, and letting their presence be known from shortly after the sun goes down until late in to the night. This week members of the local constabulary were not to be seen, conspicuous by their absence. The Soi Cowboy police presence is similar to that at Khao San Road. What is perhaps mildly surprising is that you don’t see a similar visible presence at either Nana Plaza or Patpong. Of course, each of those areas has their own security in place, but that’s something rather different. The boys in brown were seen inside the plaza this week, going about some bars checking girls’ ID cards i.e. checking that they are Thai citizens and of legal age to work in a bar. A good weekend started early in Nana Plaza with good crowd numbers on Thursday, Friday the busiest night since January and Saturday not bad either. A new eatery, Lemon Grass, will open next to Dubai Restaurant on Soi Nana soon, and serve Thai and Isaan food. Hopefully it will be better than the other eateries on the soi – Soi Nana is not known for its dining options. This coming Wednesday is Macha Bucha Day, a major Buddhist holiday, so there’s a good chance the bars on Sukhumvit will be dry. Alcohol is usually available in Patpong although nothing is certain in these times of stricter law enforcement. Word going around Nana Plaza this weekend was that it would be closed but these things change from day to day and the only way to know is to turn up on the day and see what’s going on! Bar owners tell me that while it can be quiet early in the evening, bars are doing better later at night. Expats typically don’t go out late – at least not when they have work the next day – so maybe quieter early evening means fewer expats are out and about? What happened to the oldies played at Dollhouse? Did the girls complain that they don’t like old music? The ’70s and ’80s hits played early evening seem to have been removed from the list.

In Shark Bar this week there was an entire set of dancers on stage without a single tramp stamp to be seen. Amazing! With that said, a number had eschewed the au naturale look with about half sporting auxiliary headlights.

An ongoing theme which goes back to the occupation of major intersections downtown in late 2013 by protesters which crippled the city is how tough Bangkok’s bar industry is doing it. At the same time, it should be noted that there are a handful of bars that are booming. I’d estimate there are 3 or 4 gogo bars in Bangkok making a 6-figure dollar monthly profit – and yes, I mean profit, not turnover. I imagine there are a few bars doing similarly well in Pattaya but am less familiar with that market so won’t stick my neck out. There IS big money to be made and the big players are doing extremely well. A word of warning for those driving from Bangers down to Sin City. Plan your journey well or consider postponing it…for 3 years! Work has started on the new underground tunnel on Pattaya’s Sukhumvit Road which it is estimated will take up to 3 years to complete. Some roads will become one-way, some u-turns blocked off, some roads leading off Sukhumvit have been blocked, all of which could make driving in Pattaya a right headache. The madness started this week and word from a long-time Pattaya resident comes word that it’s total chaos around Sukhumvit. It is going to be mayhem at weekends as Bangkokians head to the beach. Just how bad will it be at Songkran? One big change in the bar industry is in the freelancer sector. There once was a time when many freelancers hit bars without barfines a night or two a week to supplement their income. These days the freelancers are every bit as mercenary as the girls who clutch chrome poles.

I heard an interesting theory this week and having thought about it, reckon there is some truth in it. A fellow who is a sideline player in the industry believes there is an inverse relationship between the bars in Pattaya that Pattaya discussion forum members like and the bars that are a commercial success. The bars that forum members like the most don’t necessarily do that well whereas the bars forum members like the least (often because drinks prices are high / they may have a high number of coyote dancers who are not available or who command lofty barfines) are amongst the busiest and most successful bars. One thing that can be said of the bar industry in Pattaya is that the middle ground of bars is getting smaller. These days – and again, this is Pattaya we’re talking about and this mightn’t apply to Bangkok – many of the more successful gogo bars seem to be priced at the higher end of the market where a beer might set you back, say, 175 baht and barfines can run 1,000 – 2,000 baht. There are still many inexpensive beer bars where drinks cost little more than 5 years ago and neither do barfines. Bars that were once in the middle seem to have been squeezed one way or the other – either premium priced (and not necessarily offering premium quality) or they have been forced to compete on price. This is a big change from the old days where, generally, bars competed on music style, bar size and atmosphere with prices much the same across the board. Bar bosses are trying to figure out what happened to the big spenders, those who visited regularly and would drop 10K, 15K or 20K+ a night. They made a big difference to a bar’s nightly take, and are often creatures of habit, returning night after night. Not only are there fewer big spenders these days, things have gone the other way. I heard a funny story this week about a fellow who refused to buy a drink in a ground floor Nana Plaza gogo bar. He told staff that he didn’t want a drink, but just sit and enjoy the show. The farang manager went over and explained he could stay and enjoy the show but had to buy just one drink. Even a coffee or water would be ok, it doesn’t have to be alcoholic. The guy retorted that he worked at the Bangkok Post and in what seemed to be a veiled threat that if he was ejected it would appear in the newspaper…which is a total nonsense. The Post doesn’t hire fools. Which all leads on to an observation I have long had – why do some expats when threatened or feel things aren’t going their way say they work at the Post? I’ve witnessed this more than a few times.

With the average spend per customer down and some reluctant to even buy a drink, one Soi Nana bar has imposed a minimum of one drink per customer per hour. It is not heavily enforced but the policy was there so bar staff can deal with anyone nursing one drink. While there are stereotypes about certain nationalities visiting bars in a group, ordering and sharing a single drink, bar bosses tell me that these days those who are cheap transcend nationality and you can’t generalise and say it’s this group or that. The one commonality is that they are always middle-aged or older. While we’re talking about how much people drink, which bar manager used to drink up to 40 gin and tonics a night? Really, that’s no exaggeration. Actually, it’s kind of scary because that’s 6,000 calories+ and a truckload of sugar. Sometimes at the end of the night the staff would tell him how many he had had. Now it was not 40 every night, of course, but he is well-known for his love of the G&T – and the choice of drink should give it away. Nice guy, and I hope he had shares in Bombay Sapphire or whichever company produced his favourite tipple. There’s much talk about changing attitudes in the bars these days. It should be noted that it’s only the bars for foreigners where some girls are openly rude and disrespectful to customers and where the behaviour of some is actually – I hate to say it – almost deserving of the term whore. You don’t get this nonsense in venues for Thai men, be it the opulent places where a naughty can cost several thousand baht or the low-end places where a bottle of beer costs little more than in 7 Eleven. In the middle of last year I raved about Fight Night where Thai boxing fights were held between the National Stadium BTS and MBK. Not long after I put that column together the season ended. MBK Fight Night is back and the fights are every Wednesday from around 6 PM. But just to really confuse things, this coming week Wednesday is a Buddhist holiday so this week it takes place on Tuesday.

I cannot imagine what the inflation rate is for medical care in Bangkok, especially in the so-called international hospitals. It used to be that having a minor ailment dealt with and leaving with a bag or two of pills you’d get change from 1,000 baht, even in the best hospitals. These days it can cost a few times that. A good example of how expensive local hospitals are getting comes from a Farangland visa agent. For those applying for a long-stay visa, he recommends getting the required medical done in that country. The cost for the medical at one of the big Bangkok hospitals runs 10,000 – 12,000 baht – depending on hospital – but in this Western country, it’s around 4,000 baht. Dental may remain a bargain in Thailand – but like so much in Thailand, some medical treatment is not quite the bargain it once was. The final episode of the BBC series Bangkok Airport screened this week, a series which has painted a decent picture of Suwannaphum Airport. At times it is so positive that you find yourself wondering if it was something of a PR stunt. Contrast that with the last episode of Anthony Bourdain in Thailand (from perhaps a year or so ago) where he is in Chiang Mai, ventures about and samples a lot of Thai food. Frankly, if I had seen that episode before I had visited the country it would have put me off Thai food for life. I live downtown and seldom have reason to venture out to the suburbs. This past week was an exception and I had to go out to Bang Na beyond Central Bang Na, and also found myself out in the complete opposite direction, on Rama 2 Road. In each case it felt like I was still downtown and there were farangs everywhere! They were of all ages and most were male. What surprised me is the living conditions with many in very low rent housing – around 3,000 or 4,000 baht per month. I’m all for saving a few baht but that seems extreme. I guess they are a mix of retirees, digital nomads and probably a few teachers. Many seemed to be doing not much of anything, just milling around. Everyone knows there are way more foreigners here these days but I had no idea there were so many living way out on the edges of the city too.

The Strip A Gogo

Quote of the week comes from a Bangkok Post editorial, “Thailand continues to do what we do best, play one side off against the other.”
Reader’s story of the week once again comes from Steve Rosse, “Every Word Matters“. Air Asia is launching a pass which offers a discount on airfares across the ASEAN region. Fake police arrest a gogo bar employee in Pattaya and make off with 40,000 baht worth of belongings. A court ruling in Phuket may mean that 30-year leases popular with foreigners are not legally valid at all, and are in fact void! Automated Immigration clearance machines are coming to Bangkok airports soon.

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: My Thai wife would like to make some of her photos in to postcards to sell. Does she need a signed release from people in the pictures or from property owners? Some photos are quite funny but might be embarrassing to the people in the photo. Some photos show alcohol and smoking, but no nudity. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: If the pictures were taken in a public area, the rights over the photo would belong to the photographer, but the content of the photo must also be taken into consideration. Even if you have taken these photos in a public area, if the photo is embarrassing to the person who was photographed they may be offended and could file a lawsuit against the photographer. It is best to have the subject sign a release form as well as the owner of any private property where the photos may have been taken.   Question 2: I have been working for a large Thai firm and recently accepted redundancy and a financial settlement. My work permit and visa are valid until the end of this year. Under the terms of the settlement, my termination date is effective April 1st. What are my visa options after then? Does my visa get automatically cancelled or is it possible to ask the company to retain the visa even though I am out of contract? Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: Once the work permit is cancelled so is the non-B connected to the work permit. After your work permit is cancelled you can either leave the country immediately and get a new visa or apply for a 7-day extension at Immigration. After that you have several options. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors offers a sponsored non-B visa for those seeking real investment opportunities in Thailand. Please feel free to contact us should you need more information. Alternatively, you can apply for an education visa and study Thai or apply for a tourist visa which is valid for two months. All new visas must be applied for outside the country.

sunset in Bangkok

I expect to put together 5 more columns with the last column most likely published on April 5th. I’ve been reflecting on things and I wonder how they may have been different if I was living elsewhere in the country i.e. outside Bangkok and if I wasn’t doing this column. If I was living in Chiang Mai, for example, and doing something completely different, would I be so keen to leave Thailand? Am I bored of Thailand, or is it just that I have had enough of Bangkok? If I was not chronicling an industry I have little interest in, would things be different? They are questions I cannot answer. What I do know is that I can’t wait to get away from Bangkok and I don’t think I am going to miss writing the column. I will miss taking photos in the bars and miss all the email feedback. Still, I’ve get 5 more columns to get through first before I can think about relaxing.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick