Stickman's Weekly Column September 8th, 2019

Five Crazy Years: Memoirs Of A Gogo Bar Owner



Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

Five Crazy Years: Memoirs Of A Gogo Bar Owner is just what the title says, the memoirs of an American retiree who ran popular Bangkok gogo bar The Strip for 5 years. This week I sat down with the author to chat about the book and what it’s really like to be part of the Bangkok gogo bar business.

 

Tell me about the book.

It’s a chronology of my involvement in The Strip and takes place over 5 years. I didn’t actually run the bar every month of those 5 years but I was in charge for most of it.

The book goes in to detail about what it’s like running a gogo bar in Bangkok and my life over that time.

I know it’s covered in the book, but can you tell me a little bit about your background. OK, so we know each other but readers don’t know you. So to start with, when did you first come to Thailand?

I came here around 2008 on vacation. I had been travelling a lot, and had been to many countries. I wanted to see Thailand and it was on my list of places to visit. Not because of the gogo bars, the nightlife or anything like that, but to see an exotic land with temples. I was really in to photography at that time and Thailand being an exotic country is what brought me here.

So you weren’t a sex tourist back then?

Visiting Thailand wasn’t due to any sexual motivation. This is an exotic part of the world. The whole gogo bar industry and the beer bars and all of that was something different to my reasons for first visiting. I would go on to spend time in Pattaya, more so than Bangkok for a period, but eventually I gravitated more towards Bangkok because there were more attractions. Bangkok was more expensive but I was making good money then working in the insurance industry so that was not an issue.

In time I just wanted to go somewhere where I could just chill out and be myself away from work for a couple of weeks.

I come from a family which was very much internationally oriented. My Dad was American and my mother Norwegian. Dad was in the Air Force and we would move every 2 or 3 years. To Spain. To Germany. To Norway. I could say that I was a child of the world. For an American I was quite international so travelling was second nature to me.

So you visited a lot. When did you retire here? And how long after that did you get involved with The Strip?

I retired to Bangkok in June, 2012. Almost immediately I started attending a teacher training school which prepared people to be teachers of English. I thought that would be a nice, quiet retirement and a way to earn a bit of extra money. I quickly found out that it wasn’t for me, and I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t like the area I was living and the prospects for earning money weren’t great. It didn’t seem like teachers earned that much. It all seemed like a lot of work for minimal compensation. Some people who had been around told me that you had kids who didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to put up with what sounded like a lot of bullshit.

You’re lucky that you twigged on to that so soon – it takes some years before they realise what it’s really like! So when exactly did you start at The Strip?

I started in January, 2013, but as it explains in the book, I was trying to start a business with a fellow to open a nightclub / bar in Patpong at the opposite end of Soi 2 from where The Strip was. We were really intent on it but being a new business it was more complicated to get off the ground, and as much as we were working on it, by late Fall / early Winter, 2012, it didn’t look like it was going to materialize. That’s when Franz approached me with the idea of taking over The Strip. I started on the first day of January, 2013.

Was your decision to get involved in The Strip more from the heart or the brain? The reason I ask that is that I recall you were a regular there….so what causes a regular to go from customer to proprietor?

I was familiar with The Strip but I was not a regular. I would say my decision was business-oriented. I didn’t know any of the people who worked there other than a lady I had been seeing. I had no emotional attachment to the place then but to me, taking over an existing business and making it better is easier than creating a whole new business and building it from the ground up. With the latter you don’t know if that business concept will appeal to customers or not. Obviously a gogo bar is already there – you just have to make it better.

As a retiree who enjoys what I think could reasonably be described as a quiet life – you’re not really a big party animal, a big drinker or a big skirt chaser – why get involved with a bar? I think it’s fair to say that you’re brighter than most and you knew the risks.

To be honest with you, I did not really know all the risks. I was attracted by the glamour, and the excitement of the industry without looking closely nor doing much in the way of due diligence of the risks and potential downsides. I was blinded by optimism.

I think a lot of people jump in to things without really realising that there are downsides. By that I mean everything from attracting customers to getting good staff and importantly, knowing how to handle what I will term “external threats”. The book goes in to that. We had the red shirts, the yellow shirts, the bombings, the floods, the coup with all of the restrictions and curfew and so on. How do you operate a business in that environment? It was a political mess back then. You might run a business as well as you possibly can but there are always threats from outside which can have a major impact on your business. How you do deal with that? Or even can you? Do you wait until it passes and then get back on your feet? That’s what I had to deal with and it’s all in the book.

They say that to make a small fortune in Bangkok to start with a large fortune and then get involved in a bar.

I came here with a nest egg, a finite amount of money that I had to make sure was put to good use. That’s why for me in the first few years at The Strip it was all business. I had to protect the principal and make that money grow while operating the business. It was all on me. There were no other financial backers or partners. It was a business I really had no experience in running. I only had experience as a customer.

There’s so much you have to think about. I mean, where do you best source your liquor from? What products do you hold? How do you prevent inventory loss and slippage? There are stock control issues. At first I was just counting the bottles but you can’t just count beer bottles to maintain stock control. You have to assess liquid levels in your Tequila and whiskey bottles. There are technical ways of doing that and to be honest, I got lazy and stopped counting bottles. And stock is just one aspect of the business.

Honestly, it all sounds like a bit of a nightmare!

You developed a bit of a reputation for throwing all manner of parties. Seldom did a week go by without a new, sometimes zany party at The Strip. Tell me a bit about that.

My thinking was to get away from the typical business model of gogo bars which is ladies all in the same outfit, each with a number. You buy her a drink, you barfine her and off you go.

None of our ladies wore numbers. They were individuals, human beings.

What I wanted to do was provide entertainment and to me it was interesting to do that with theme parties every couple of weeks, with a different theme and different outfits.

When we didn’t have the parties, the ladies could wear what they wanted and they were all in different outfits. They liked that and the freedom that went with it. They could choose the outfits that they felt best accentuated their look and their body parts and appearance. They could change them as they pleased. The only requirements were that they be sexy and somewhat revealing. Once we had a GI Jane party, after the movie GI Jane, and the ladies wore sexy combat camouflage outfits. The wait staff got in to the parties too and would dress up like soldiers. I even had a toy gun but we did away with that because it turned out the gun was a bit too realistic! The whole concept was one of escapism. Going in to the bar what is like going on to a movie set, a break from the norm and something different, escapism if you will. Each theme would have a component that was sexy like naughty schoolgirls, nasty nurses etc. Every couple of weeks we would do something different. What we were trying to do was keep the existing customers happy as well as attract new customers. No-one else was doing anything like that at the time. You have some bars like Angelwitch which put on a show but at The Strip you were walking in to the show which was happening all around you.

Did you ever have any problems in the bar?

I actually threw one guy out of the bar physically.

Well, you are a former Marine!

I know you think I am mild-mannered but like most people I have my breaking point. You light that fuse and it’s gone, baby! <We both laugh.> It’s kind of like becoming the Incredible Hulk and you think, man, what did I just do?! I didn’t turn green or big or anything like that though!

Tell me more.

It was one of the few nights I stayed late. It was perhaps 1:30 in the morning. I stepped outside, I cannot remember why, and there was this young guy blocking the doorway and refusing to let me back in. As I moved one way to try and get in to the bar, he moved to block me. So I moved the other way and he did the same thing again. It literally lit a fuse and I grabbed him and hurled him out in to the soi. It was like one of those incidents you hear about where a mother’s child is crushed by a car and she picks the car up to get her baby out. It was like that. I threw him out in to the soi. I felt guilty because what if there had been a car driving past or a motorbike hurtling by. As angry as I was, I hardly wanted the guy to get hurt or seriously injured. That would have been disproportionate to the situation. I think the guy didn’t realise I was the owner. He just thought I was some old guy he could fuck around with. He fucked around a little bit too much!

There are plenty of other stories like this in the book. Are there any other funny or colourful incidents that come to mind?

You know all about the story with First and what happened there. Every bar has its hot lady. In our bar it was First. You did a column on her which started the whole damn thing. It was all Stickman’s doing! <We laugh!>

I always thought First was nice, at least she was nice to me. She got a lot of attention from customers, particularly after you highlighted her. She was attractive but I think it really went to her head after you highlighted her. It ended up with – I didn’t know this at the time – bad blood building between First and some of the PR staff. One night, apparently First called one of the heavier PR girls a water buffalo. At the time I was thinking what’s so bad about that? But that is a real insult here. So the PR girls being the tight group they were banded together and got in a fight with First. It was 3 against 1 as together they stuck up for their friend who was a little overweight.

I was inside the bar and I heard all this commotion and shit, it’s like a major fight involving my girls right out front of the bar! One of the PR girls had a strong hold on First’s hair and they were slapping her while one girl had grabbed hold of and was pulling First’s hair. People were yelling, it was a real commotion! I went outside, saw what was happening and yelled to get them to stop. That didn’t do anything, so I had to pry the girls’ hands off First’s hair. These girls were so angry that I thought they were going to pull First’s hair right off her scalp!

I took First back in the bar and in to a booth. I tried to calm things down because I didn’t want to lose her but the damage had been done. It was like a glass that had been broken – you cannot put it back together again. First never came back to the bar after that. And that all happened because of the popularity First got from your column! <We laugh, again>

You’re probably the most untypical bar boss I know. You’re not a lech and you didn’t screw the girls. You treat people with decency and you seemed to put the well-being of your staff – the girls – before profits. For you the bar was actually a business and not your drinking parlour that was open to the public. In many ways that set you apart. A lot of bar owners have a hard edge to them and sometimes I think it helps in this industry. What would you say to that?

My question back to you would be, how would that help?

It’s prostitution, it’s alcohol, it’s dealing with people who have issues, sometimes serious issues like substance addiction, people who had troubled upbringings, people who are used to be being treated badly, controlled psychologically and who may have been abused physically.

I operated with a two-edged sword. Deal with people respectfully – treat them well, pay them decently which is all positive reinforcement. The negative reinforcement is that if you embezzle from me or break the rules you’re out and there’s no second chance. Anything egregious and I am not going to put up with that shit. That’s the Marines background coming out, I guess. I want them to think do I really want to jeopardize this good job? It’s a combination of positive and negative reinforcement. I guess some of it comes from reading the Schulz book about Starbucks where you train your employees well, you treat them better than well and they will go on to treat customers well and ultimately that’s why people will going back to Starbucks.

You were involved in the bar industry for a while. The industry has changed a lot recently. Did you see many changes over the time you were involved?

There weren’t any radical changes. I did notice some bigger bars emerged. I didn’t really see others adopting anything like entertainment concepts that we did. I think a lot of them just stuck with the same premise where everything was leading towards the barfine. We focused on drinks revenue and 80% of our revenue was from drinks as opposed to barfines. To keep the customer in the bar and buying more drinks for both themselves and the ladies there had to be some entertainment which explains a lot of what we did and why we did it.

Getting back to the book, how long did it take to put it all together from start to finish?

It was remarkably fast actually. Maybe a month or two.

That’s really fast.

The reason is that it’s all information I had in my head. I didn’t have to do any research. It was just all there and I had to get it out in to written form and the book gave me the chance to tell the story.

The paperback is 134 pages and the e-book version is about 220 pages. Oh, and there are 61 photos too and some of them are sexy. None of you in your Speedos in the booth though! <We both laugh>

Ah, the good old booths!

Looking back on your time at the helm of a Patpong gogo bar, would you do it all again?

I would say yes, simply because I have the benefit of experience. With what I know now, I think yeah, I would go back again. I think I now know how to do it right. I enjoyed it and it was fun – and I like physically throwing people out of the bar <big smile on his face and we both erupt in laughter>.

So we might see you running a bar again?

If given the opportunity……..

 

Five Crazy Years: Memoirs Of A Gogo Bar Owner is available now in both e-book and print from Amazon.

 

five-crazy-years-memoirs-of-a-gogo-bar-owner

 


Billboard Bangkok

 

 

Mystery Photo

bangkok-mystery46

Last week’s photo was taken at The Golden Mount AKA Wat Saket. It’s a small hill in the old part of the city with a viewing platform on top offering nice views. Take your Thai lady there for a look…she probably won’t like the walk up but she will like the views – and odds are it will be here first time there.

Nana Plaza
 

Stick’s Inbox – the best emails from the past week.

Are Western concepts applicable in Asia?

This comment is about cultural context. The terminology you use, such as social responsibility, fairness, and sustainability, are in my experience, predominately “western” concepts that have very little foothold in East Asia. China and the ASEAN countries all pretty much have a “dog eat dog” approach to business and life in general. So this raises the question – how much headway could these concepts truly make, given that implementation would be dependent on the local populace?

You can fool some people some of the time.

We’ve read that the number of Chinese tourists is down, but it might not just be because nearly 50 of them were drowned in a boating accident while in Thailand. A niece, daughter of my wife’s sister and her Chinese ex-husband, several months ago started work as a guide for Chinese tourists in Bangkok after studying at a university in China. And she is quitting, because she is embarrassed at telling her tourists, over and over again, that such-and-such a place is wonderful when in fact she knows it’s crap. A job she’d dreamed of, and she’s quitting because she doesn’t like lying. Maybe the tourists know it as well, and go back home and tell everyone that Thailand isn’t what it pretends to be and they should visit somewhere else. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but…..

Thinking about the 6.

About soi 6 in Pattaya, my opinion is bar owners opening up all the bars was a big mistake. When you walk down soi 6 now they are more or less all big, open-plan bars with loud music playing as loud as possible, even at 4 PM in the afternoon. For me, the old King Kong bar was behind closed doors and that’s what soi 6 used to be. You’d go sit inside the bar in near darkness with just dark red lights and you would sneak into a corner, have a play and then go upstairs. On soi 6 you can’t do this now as they’re all open plan bars which in my opinion changes the whole soi to suit young hip-hoppers…..who are no longer here!

A trip to the supermarket.

In my homeland if you go to a supermarket, when you go to pay, if the price on the shelf is lower than what comes up on the cash register – they give you the item for free. You know what happens in Thailand? This is what happens: I went to a supermarket in Pattaya to buy a bottle of wine. I can’t find the price, but a helpful lady shows me the sticker for the price – THB1199. I take the bottle to the counter to pay and it comes up THB1350. I say, no it is not, I just confirmed it is THB1199. The cashier would not have a word of it. So I go back to the wine section and the girl who showed me that the price was THB1199. I said to her, the cashier is saying it is THB1350 – please come to the cashier and show her it is THB1199. She talks to another guy and then says, Oh, the price has changed. Then, she asks me, “You want the THB1199 price?” So I say, yes, that is the price on the shelf, so I want to pay that price. She says, “I have to pay”. She takes out her wallet, and goes to take THB150 to give me. I say, no, it is not right that you must pay out of your own pocket. So I left the wine with her, and walked out. That is exploitation in its worst form. The girls working those types of jobs get an absolute pittance anyway, and then if there is a mistake like that they must pay out of their own pocket? Disgusting. I will never buy another thing from that supermarket ever again.

More TM issues.

With all the hoo-ha over the TM 30, people are overlooking the TM 28. I know Richard Barrow reported that Immigration are not requiring the TM 28. So what? For 10 years we did my visa extension with no issue. In year 11 they fine my wife 800 baht for failure to comply. When she asked why now, the curt answer was, “You should know the law”. The law requires a foreigner on a non-immigrant visa to notify the local immigration office if at a new address for more than 24 hours, per section 37(c) of the same act as TM 30. So you decide to go to Khao Yai for a long weekend. You arrive Saturday. Sunday, or Monday before you leave, you look for the local Post Office to submit the forms to the local Immigration Office by registered mail. You have prepared all the forms, but is there even a Post Office at Khao Yai open on Sunday? Monday you get home. The wife is back to work Tuesday, so you take a taxi to the nearest mall with a post office, round trip 350 baht and a good few hours spent. Nah, they aren’t enforcing it. 10 years down the road, they add up all the times you didn’t submit a TM 28 and stick you with a 30,000 baht fine. Pay, or no visa extension. With TM 30 down pat, they have all the evidence you didn’t comply with TM 28. The wife suggested a trip to Khao Yai a couple of weeks ago. I simply said no more domestic travel until this nonsense stops. Fining a wife for not reporting that her husband returned to the marital home after going away together on a short holiday abroad must be the height of stupidity. I’m not inclined to indulge this nonsense at all.


Spankys Nana Plaza Bangkok

 

Billboard was closed on Thursday night due to a technical issue. It was nothing more than that and it was business as usual the next day.

September is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year for visitor numbers, with usually only May quieter. But visitor numbers on Sukhumvit don’t feel anything like low season this week, even if in two of the three bar areas they did. It’s the same old story on Sukhumvit – the profile of visitors has changed with more couples, more families, more females…..but fewer naughty boys. This weekend Nana Plaza was buzzing. There were heaps of people about, they were smiling and amongst the crowds were small of groups of Asian females – 2, 3 or 4 – who were daring enough to venture inside the plaza for a look. Most looked to be Chinese, probably some Koreans too. The overall vibe in the plaza was good. No, that’s not right. It was very good. Soi Cowboy on the other hand, hmmmm. What’s happened? It felt flat – and even that is being kind. Last night Soi Cowboy was lacking in energy and nothing like the plaza. There were people around but there were plenty of free seats outside most bars and inside the bars all I ventured in to were quiet.

Glamour on Patpong soi 2 offers a free drink on the spot to those who post a review of the bar on their Google profile. Drop by, enjoy one of the best bars in Patpong and write them a glowing review – the bar genuinely deserves it!

Long-popular Patpong soi 1 gogo bar Kings Castle now offers an extensive food menu with flat-screen TVs cycling through images of what’s available with everything from Thai to Italian to seafood. And apparently ordering food has proven popular and not just chicken wings but actual meals.

It has been observed that there are more Mandarin-speakers entering bars in Patpong. Bangkok’s oldest bar area is diverse in every way. Some see it as a nightlife area, some as a night market. Some say it’s for visitors, others say it’s for expats. Bars for straight guys sit next door to bars for gay guys. BJ bars girls call out to passersby or gesture exactly what’s on offer while nicely-dressed diners enter the French restaurant next door. Bars once popular with farangs now market exclusively to the Japanese. Patpong can be baffling.

Some 4+ years ago I mentioned that one of the bar groups in Patpong was working on a Patpong Museum. Work continues on the project, albeit slowly. I’m looking forward to seeing the final result which is soon with a soft opening planned for September 23rd. The Patpong Museum will be in the same building as Black Pagoda on Patpong soi 2.

Just around the corner from Patpong, at the large Hooters branch on Silom Road some of the girls are saying that it will close at the end of this month. Girls at the Sukhumvit soi 15 branch have been saying the same thing…so it really does look like Silom Hooters is about to be goneburger. Apparently, the girls at the Silom branch will have the option to work in other branches of Hooters in Bangkok, if they so wish. Why is it closing? No idea, but with rumours of a 7-figure (yes, SEVEN) monthly rent, that’s a lot of burgers and beer to sell just to break even.

I also hear the Korean coffee shop, Holly’s Coffee, in the great location on Sukhumvit Road near soi 15 and Robinson’s is to close soon.

Down in Soi Cowboy, number 7 in Dollhouse has an awesome body that would have taken a hell of a lot of gym time to get as tight as that. If you like a lady well in to her 30s who has not a single tramp stamp, puts a lot of emphasis on health and fitness and works hard to stay fit, drop by and say hi.

Billboard will celebrate its 4th anniversary under the current owners Saturday after next, September 21st, with a massive buffet, drink specials and more. The fun starts on the top floor of Nana Plaza at 8 PM with a buffet prepared by Billboard’s own managers featuring genuine Italian-style pizza baked in a pizza oven imported from Italy. There will also be chicken wings, salads and buy-1-get-1 deals on selected drinks. Billboard’s anniversary parties get rave reviews so if you’re in town, do stop by.

 

4th-anniversary-h-girls

 

I understand the reluctance of many bar owners to invest in their bar with so much uncertainty – but there are some areas where a little money can go a long way. Take dancers’ outfits, for example. Sexy dancewear is cheap in Thailand and there’s a huge range available. An hour or two trawling Pratunam Market would uncover all sorts of sexywear that could set a bar apart. Not enough bars feature signature outfits and too many bars deck the crew out in the same outfits girls working in the bar wore years ago. The imitation leather the ladies featured in the Strikers photo essay last week would be a great start.

Do you feel like you’re being hassled for lady drinks more than usual? While many bars pay the girls a commission of 50 baht for every lady drink bought for them, one long-running Bangkok gogo bar pays the ladies just 20 baht commission per lady drink. No wonder some girls ask for more and more.

The Aussie Bar 39 baht beer special finished at the end of August. I wonder if it will make a comeback.

For the first time in a long time I heard this week from someone about to marry a barlady. It used to be common and there was a time when perhaps half of the foreigners in Thailand married to a Thai woman had married a barlady. That’s neither here nor there. What I will say to anyone contemplating this is strongly consider a pre-nup. The success rate is not great and there is a long history of such relationships breaking down. Marry her in Thailand and get the pre-nup all done in Thailand. It’s not bullet-proof but it is another layer of protection.

 

jimmy-white-shenanigans-dave

 

Snooker fans can meet one of the greats, Jimmy White, at a meet and greet event at Shenanigans this coming Tuesday. Shenanigans is at the Suriwong Road end of Patpong soi 1 and has taken Patpong by storm since it opened. Details on the poster above.

Lucky 9s are tomorrow and Sunrise Tacos will celebrate with 3 tacos for 99 baht, delivered to you free. That’s not a misprint – 3 Tacos for 99 baht, which is just over US$1 each, delivered free to your home by Food Panda from 9/9/2019 to 31/9/2019. For 23 days, it will be raining tacos! There are heaps of options to customize your taco. First you choose your taco shell – crispy, soft flour, soft corn. Then you choose your taco topping, then salsa and then your meat or veggie where you can choose from grilled chicken, shredded chicken, ground beef, barbacoa (shredded beef), carnitas (pork), tacos al pastor (pork), chorizo and potato (pork), pork in chili sauce, fire-roasted bell peppers and onions, refried pinto beans and cheese. All you have to do is download the Food Panda app, search for Sunrise Tacos, scroll to Tacos, scroll to Build Your Own and you’re good to go! Making it even better, these tacos are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Free delivery is within a 5 km radius of Sukhumvit soi 33 – in other words a large swathe of the area in which expats live. It starts tomorrow, September 9th…99 baht for each set of 3 tacos. Fantastic deal!

Bourbon Street is one of the longest running farang restaurants in all of Thailand and will celebrate its 33rd anniversary this coming Saturday. As is customary, they will throw a buffet featuring many of the venues favourites dishes, priced at just 333 baht ++. There are drinks specials too. It can get busy so get there early.

 

bourbon-street-33-year-anniversary

 

I remember when the pound Sterling fell over a period of time from around 60 down to the 50 baht or so level. Many retired Brits used to getting 60 baht to the pound struggled when it fell to 50. Obviously things have got much worse and Brits today get around 37 baht for each pound. As I understand it, Brits retired in Thailand do NOT qualify for the inflation adjustments to the national pension so unfavourable exchange rates and price increases hit them especially hard. There was an exodus of retired Brits some years ago from Pattaya as the exchange rate hit. But what about today? Has there been another exodus of retired Brits from Thailand? I get the feeling that Brit retirees with only a state pension and / or a small private pension or supplementary income make up some of the real hardcore who won’t depart unless they are forcibly removed.

The Brits and the Aussies are the ones you hear screaming most about the drop in the value of their currency against the Thai baht, but share a thought for the Swedes. They used to get 5 baht to the kroner, now they get just 3. That’s a big hit.

The exchange rates are having a very real effect on everyday life and many expats are just plain broke – but they refuse to return home, and cling on to their semblance of a life in Thailand. One old friend doesn’t even have the money to pay for an Internet plan on his SIM card. He knows where around town he can get free wi-fi and you can only get hold of him when he is in range of free wireless Internet or in his hovel where he has a net connection. Given how cheap some mobile phone packages are in Thailand, it’s crazy when someone gets to that stage.

You don’t hear the Amazing Thailand slogan used much these days. The slogan was adopted by many expats to explain some of the crazy stuff that happens in Thailand in the same way Bernard Trink used to say TIT (meaning this is Thailand). Amazing is a word I have written about before, a word which is overused these days (predominately by younger people / Millennials) and a word I find grating. I’m pleased that you don’t hear it used in the marketing of Thailand like you once did.

 

he-clinic-banner-stickman-new

 

Reader’s story of the week comes from MZungu, “Introspection And Reflection In Sin City“.

Quote of the week comes from a regular contributor to this site, “Well yeah he’s not a bad bird actually.”

New laws that come in to effect at the end of September legalise dual pricing at Thai government hospitals so expats will pay a roughly 50% premium and retirees and visitors will pay twice the Thai price.

Thailand Joint Chambers of Commerce issue a statement calling for a rethink of the current TM30 requirements.

The South China Morning Post looked at the issues of hazing and abuse at schools in Thailand in what should be a wakeup call for the authorities.

Bangkok is the most visited city on the world, again.

A thief was caught on camera stealing from an elderly Brit’s bag in Chiang Mai.

Down in Chonburi, the neighbours aren’t happy that one family is keeping a leopard as a pet.

 

sukhumvit-soi-8-sunset

Early evening on Sukhumvit soi 8.

I currently find myself in Bangkok. It doesn’t feel like September in terms of the crowds, but more like March – a busier month. Plenty of people around and most people seem upbeat and enjoying themselves. It’s hard to know what is happening in the bars but my early impressions are that Nana is doing well; Cowboy not so. Patpong I have yet to visit after dark but I am scratching my head at the changes in the area which is something I will write about in more detail next week. One thing’s for sure, there has been a lot of change since I was last in town and Bangkok sure ain’t standing still.

 

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Stick can be contacted at : [email protected]