Stickman's Weekly Column February 27th, 2022

Catching Up With Pattaya Bryan



Bryan Flowers heads up the Night Wish Group in Pattaya, a group of bars along the sleazy soi 6 strip. We first met in 2017 in Bangkok where I sat down with Bryan and interviewed him. Geography prevents us meeting up in person at this time so we did a bit of backwards and forwards by email and caught up on life, Covid and the bar business in Pattaya.


Let’s just recap a little bit for readers who may have forgotten you from the first time we met up in Bangkok all those years ago. Tell us who you are, what you do and how long you’ve been in the game in Thailand, so to speak.

I am from Coventry in the UK and I have lived in Thailand for 15 years. I have owned bars for around 9 years. I am known for the Pattaya Addicts Forum originally. We also have Bangkok Addicts and Philippines Addicts forums. I am also known for being behind The Pattaya News, TPN national news, Pattaya Unplugged and Phuket Daily news (TH). (Phuket Express News is being launched this coming week.) Since we spoke last, I have bought Rage Fight Academy which is a Muay Thai gym, launched a fight brand, Rage Fight Gear, taken on a visa firm (Fight Visa Thailand) and bought a law firm with a partner (Isaan Lawyers). Just one last thing, I started a real estate company (Bond Real Estate) with another partner, but it’s just a website and we don’t have an office yet.

Many people know me from Night Wish Group. We have 25 bars left after the coronavirus stuff, but I also have silent partnerships in other bars and groups.

 

Bryan. Photo supplied.

Bryan. Photo supplied.

 

What a shit-show the past 2 years have been, eh? How have you coped?

We were shut down by the local authorities because of Covid stuff, then we did live streaming to keep the girls getting paid. That was shut down and we were extorted. It was problem after problem. Then we were robbed by PayPal for 200,000 USD. We had to walk away from 6 bars because they were in a bad location and no rental discount was offered for those 6 units.

You were ripped off by Pay Pal for 200K US? Cripes? What happened there?!

I used all my savings/investments, borrowed money, but we got the girls working online to keep an income from them, but there was problem after problem. We were getting shut down and opened again, then chased away for live streaming. Eventually, after feeling down and being fed up with all the problems, I created a YouTube channel to save myself which has increased my network, connections and the amount of people willing to help and support me. It was overwhelming. From doing so well to earning nothing, then financial blows happened and they never stopped coming.

OK, so you lost 6 bars. How many bars are there now in your group and how many bars were there in the NightWish Group at its peak, which I assume was pre-Covid?

We had 30 bars in Night Wish Group. We walked away from 6 bars and got a new location. So our current number is 25 bars, but I don’t mention this number so much anymore as it winds people up knowing we have so many. They don’t see all the team, partners etc and all the people we are supporting.

And what about employee numbers? How have they changed?

We had around 450 girls, 30+ managers, 50+ cashiers, 7 security staff and a social media team including photographers. Right now we have just 4 bars open. We are struggling to get staff and keep them. I would say around 80 girls and 6 managers. We are struggling to get managers, cashiers, girls, basically anyone.

Our news team is growing but it’s nothing like that, we are just trialing a new national news writer, and we are already taking on another lawyer for our law firm.

Away from the staff situation, how do / did you manage the situation with rental agreements? 99% of bars have a lease and rent the space where the bar operates from. Less than 1% of bar operators actually own that space. How have landlords reacted to discussions about rental arrangements that were drawn up before Covid when such a lengthy disruption was never envisaged? Have landlords offered discounts? Have they given you free rent for a while?

Some offered 100% discounts. Some 50%. Some zero. It really was a battle for us, not just financially, but mentally. I was brought up in a kind and loving family where we cared about each other. I am always being criticized for helping people too much, but that’s my thing and I will keep doing it. But to be treated like this by other humans was bitterly disappointing. To be pressured and forced to come up with money constantly was a real drag. Before people say “but you had a contract“, they should get real. This has gone on for years and is still continuing. Some landlords truly needed money. Some took advantage to make as much as possible. To me, selfishness is the ugliest trait in a person and when you are subjected to it, you are driven to anxiety, depression and despair. It’s been a tough few years for me, but I am stronger and I have more resources. I have shot my load several times thinking we were at the end. I have been at the end of my tether several times and my wife has been under huge pressure from the landlords.

When our bars were ordered closed, I was in hospital having surgery at great expense. It was a bad start to the financial onslaught. I can’t get insurance due to personal problems.

I am sorry to hear that you cannot get insurance. That’s one of the worries of life in Thailand I reckon and something I have come to realise this past year….the body doesn’t last forever no matter how well you look after it!

OK, so you have sold or let go of some bars. What was the reason behind this – or am I asking the obvious there?

Due to the landlords acting illegally, we ended up walking away from some leases. Sadly for us, our team won’t break the law and we didn’t want to spend 8 months in court. But lessons learned, don’t do business with a landlord that is prepared to break the law. The next tenants will find that out. They didn’t do any due diligence, yet I’m easy to find.

We sold a few bars for next to nothing. 4 bars were on soi Chaiyapoom and 2 were on Soi Bongkot 8. They aren’t good areas for our business model. Most of the surrounding bars are marketing by price. It’s nothing but trouble trying to rise above in those areas, not to mention the girls not wanting to work there, but I wish the new owners luck. They are all decent guys.

Your businesses are largely concentrated along one strip. It seemed like at one point most of Pattaya’s Soi 6 was bars in your group and there was a pretty good case for renaming it Soi Nightwish. Was it intentional to have so many bars in one strip as opposed to say branching out to Walking Street, Soi Buakhao, Soi LK Metro etc.?

It’s easier to create a hot spot and make your soi or area stronger. This is key. People tell me certain sois are dead, I can light them up with the right amount of money, time, effort.. Having all your bars in one soi has so many advantages, but what I learnt is you need different groups if you are going to do different areas or styles of business. I should charge a fortune for that advice! NightWish Group is just on soi 6 now, but I also have interests in other sois, but I will let my partners be the faces there.

Soi 6 has always had a reputation. Do you think that reputation is deserved? Do you think it has changed much since you first came to town? How would you describe soi 6 these days?

Soi 6 had a sleazy, short-time reputation which I liked as it felt like the underdog, I watched it die a death and I ran a save Soi 6 Campaign on Pattaya Addicts. Eventually I bought a bar there because I loved it and wanted to be part of it. I was surprised by the sales and I continued to buy bars and do what customers wanted us to do. Other bars owners and ourselves started opening the fronts up due to popular demand and the soi became a party soi with all the stuff you could do before. People try to spread rumours that there are fewer people getting laid and people only drinking, but it’s not true. It’s not true that it’s full of young thugs. You see more younger guys posting pictures on soi 6 Facebook pages – the older guys tend not to.

I personally think soi 6 is safer and busier than ever and I believe when things are normal again, it will be very good. We have tons of YouTubers now and they mention and promote soi 6 often. We also do a lot of social media stuff to get the soi promoted.

I am hearing incredibly mixed reports about how things are in Pattaya. Some people say business is ok in some areas while others say it’s dire. I have seen photographs taken showing bars full while I have also seen photos taken at prime time in areas that two years ago would have been pumping which show a ghost town and not a soul to be seen. How are things currently?

Even during normal times we had aggregate news sites putting photos online taken at 4 AM on Beach Road saying how dead Pattaya was. You can paint whatever picture you want and it depends where people hang out. The most popular businesses always do well, all year around.

Have you ever thought of branching out in to Bangkok? You’re one of a success story in Pattaya but Pattaya is not Bangkok, is it? Have you ever thought about taking on a lease in Cowboy or Nana Plaza if one became available?

I have thought about this many times and I have spoken to some current bar owners who were looking for an investor. But when you have so much going on and limited money, you are better off investing in locations close to your current locations. I already have business interests in Hua Hin, Phuket and Korat. I will be expanding the news into Hua Hin soon and the plan is for the law firm, bars and real estate business to follow each location the news is started in (currently Pattaya, Phuket and Bangkok).

I made over 6 visits to Phnom Penh and had decided to buy a bar there. Luckily I changed my mind at the last minute. That was right before Covid. I wanted a better location than I could find.

I am interested in doing business in different areas, but it’s all about going to a location first to build a network, find people to work with, figure everything out, then commit. It takes time and money and sometimes those factors are limited. Also, I have to make sure everything is going well before I commit to other projects.

I think it’s fair to say that come the middle of the year it will be easy to get back to Thailand. The one bottleneck might be flight availability but I am confident all the testing and isolation hassles will soon be a thing of the past. How do you see things playing out in the coming months?

My concerns are the war going on now in Ukraine and increased flight prices. I really try not to think too much about it or it leads to anxiety or depression. I would say that we should be ok soon, but I have said that many times already. I am hopeful. I feel like we are on the final run, but with no fuel left in the tank.

That’s a couple of times you’ve mentioned anxiety and depression. The disruption to life by Covid these past two years has caused anxiety and depression to spike all around the world. Do you see evidence of this amongst expats in Pattaya? I imagine it’s widespread. Let me be clear about this before you answer, there is no shame in it after all we have been through.

One of my friends of 15 years here hung himself. I see other expat suicides in our news. I have seen so much tragedy. I sat online pleading for Thailand to open up or to allow bars to open as I have seen people lose everything, people dying and getting sick because of no money. One of my long term friends / partners had real bad stress /anxiety. He had a stroke and no money to pay.

I saw the reports online about that. Very sad. I hope he recovers.

I am running a gogetfunding for his friends / community to help, but this is just one of many. There will be more tragedy following this. I’ve never had anxiety like  this. Any time a landlord calls and puts the pressure on I instantly feel depressed. But saying all that, despite the pain and destruction, it has tested us all, it has tested our friendships and our family. We are all in a better position to know who our real friends are, who was selfish when they could have helped, who was here in our time of need. I get depressed easily but my fix is doing shit, because that’s ultimately why I feel most of us get depressed – it’s a sign we are not doing what we want to be doing. It’s a signal we shouldn’t ignore, but people dumb it down with tablets or take time off. I am not talking about serious cases but my case. We are all different.

I actually did a video about depression.

I’ve also have two family members in the UK who are seriously ill and I have been unable to travel back due to my financial situation and commitments here.

I’m really sorry to hear about that. Here’s hoping that when the Covid situation improves so too will many people’s mental health.

 

Bryan at his Muay Thai gym. Photo supplied.

Bryan at his Muay Thai gym, Rage Fight Academy. Photo supplied.

 

Looking further ahead, how do you think the industry will change in Pattaya? Any changes coming to the bar industry in general? Any changes or new trends with staff? What about the makeup of punters?

Right now it’s very, very hard to get staff and keep them. This is my biggest concern because of the way people work. Our existence is only because of social proof and people trusting each other, so it’s like a snowball effect but you need a tiny snowball to start the recruitment machine.

You’ve been in Thailand for 15 years. I lasted 17 before I returned to New Zealand. Life here in Kiwiland is not perfect, but it is peaceful, relaxing and largely hassle-free. Do you see your future in Thailand or at some point will you return to the UK?

I often thinking about what it would be like living in USA for very short periods, but in reality I am stuck here whether I like it or not. I have built my empire here (YouTube, news, forum etc). I have my network in Thailand which is bigger than ever (business owners, influencers, suppliers, landlords etc) but saying all that, I think if things go to plan, I may be able to pivot into a full-time investor. In fact I am looking at investing in an American company as a B investor right now. I have grand long-term plans, but I also don’t like the slow lane and I don’t like stopping still otherwise depression hits me like a freight train. Let’s say if I could live off dividends comfortably, I would do more travelling, possibly live between Koh Phangnan, Pattaya, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. But I will always be a Pattaya warrior with a deep loving of Thailand!

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Yes, I would like to promote my Muay Thai gym Rage Fight Academy. I bought it to help people get fit and lose weight. I really want to see people get better and stronger.


Bryan Flowers YouTube Channel

Links to many of Bryan’s websites

 

 

 

Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken inside the Patpong Museum. 4 clever readers got it right. Interesting spelling on the sign in this week’s photo, eh? But that amusement aside, where was this week’s mystery photo taken?

 

patpong-specials

 

Stick’s Inbox – The Best Emails From The Past Week

Never again.

Back in 2017, I was in my favourite haunt, Sexy Night Bar. Great ‘60s and ‘70s music and lovely ladies. I was having a few beers with a workmate from Western Australia. I finished my second beer, and as I put down the bottle it occurred to me that I didn’t really enjoy it. Without any plans of giving up drinking, I told my mate that I thought I’d lost the taste for it, and on the spur of the moment I told him that after 50 odd years of drinking, that was the last drink of alcohol I would have. In my life. That was 5 years ago, and I have not touched a drop since. I haven’t missed drinking. I still go to Sexy Night whenever I am in Bangkok and drink non-alcoholic drinks. I have been surprised how easy it is to go without alcohol and still enjoy the night, talking to the ladies and buying them a few drinks. The plus side of not drinking is not waking up the next morning with a taste in my mouth like a country shithouse and wondering if I had married last night’s girlfriend. My anxiety levels have plummeted, my mind is clearer and sharper than ever, and I can now spell big words like aeroplain. I can honestly say that in all the years that I drank I never once got aggressive or argumentative while drinking. I just got silly, like I thought everyone was my friend. I grew up in in the 50’s and 60’s in West Auckland. Yes, I’m a Westie! You left school as soon as you could, got an apprenticeship, played rugby for your local club and drank beer. It may have been peer pressure but either way I look back on it now as a waste of time. Although I had a lot of good times drinking and have the physical scars to prove it – my legs, knees and head read like a road map of my adventures and travels, I wish that I had never started. I have been asked if I will ever drink again. The short answer is, No. The long answer is, No fuckin’ way! It just isn’t worth it.

Alcohol for display purposes.

I hear you on alcohol. I almost never drink. My girlfriend and I opened a bottle of wine on Valentine’s Day and ended up pouring half of it out as we didn’t want to finish it. At my condo I have almost 20 bottles on display which haven’t been touched in years. I really should dust them off at least.

On top of the world.

It’s good that you wrote about sobriety. I think Thailand is a great place, but going out to bars every night is no way for a middle-aged or senior citizen to treat themselves physically or financially. They might be on top of the world in that moment, but they will not go out on top.

Regrets.

Once upon a time in Bangkok, when I was an ignorant newbie, a young, cute waitress refused to go with me, I got pissed (I was already drunk) and started showering her with Tequila shots. I hope the drinks were watered down. The bar should have kicked me out for abuse.

Pattaya bar boss report.

Business has been surprisingly good since we were able to open in Treetown in December. We’re busy most nights, even with restrictions on how late we can stay open and without being allowed to open our pool tables (we finally did last night). We had a full house for our Super Bowl party. We’ve held off on an official grand opening party until we’re able to stay open later. In addition to our loyal customer base of Pattaya expats, we’ve been welcoming back tons of guys we hadn’t seen since before Covid. What has surprised me, though, is the number of first-time Thailand or first-time Pattaya guys we’ve seen. And what is interesting about many of them is that while they were locked down during Covid, they spent so much time watching Pattaya YouTube channels that they were just as enthusiastic about getting here as were the Pattaya regulars. Our new bar has been very well received. It’s more than twice the size of the old bar in Made in Thailand, with eight TVs and as many as 15 girls working some nights.

Pension detention.

I chose to leave Australia to live in Thailand 5 years ago because it’s the greatest place on earth. I had travelled to all corners of the planet previously. These 5 years have been the best of my life, just as I knew that they would be. It is therefore with anger that I must soon pack up and return to Australia for 2 full  f*^%ing years in order obtain a portable pension to secure my financial future back in Thailand, after serving my time. I wonder if you’ve ever done a column on other expats forced to do the same? For example, where did they leave all of their belongings in Thailand? Where did they leave their car in Thailand? What about their Thai partner / wife / kids? How did the 2 years apart affect their relationship? Did it even survive? What about their detention time in Australia? Where did they live? What did they do every day for 2 long years? Do other countries have similar rules? What are other expats’ experiences?

 

Nana complex

The soi 7 bar complex. Photo credits: John Mango.

 

This Week’s News & Views

The beer bar complex in Sukhumvit soi 7 is the one bar area in Bangkok that did consistently decent trade in recent times. Note the deliberate use of the word did. Has soi 7’s time come…and gone? When there were no other options, the beer bars at soi 7 were the hottest spot in town. But with other bar areas having reopened – and more bars opening each week – can soi 7 realistically compete? Beer bars work best when they come with a view. Think Pattaya with the various beer bars scattered along the length of Beach Road. Ditto the old beer bars on Karon Beach, Phuket. You could BS with the girls with the ocean as a backdrop and cool winds mediating the hot tropical nights. Soi 7’s bars don’t have a view – unless you count a view of other bars. I was one of those who thought soi 7 wouldn’t work but I was wrong, at the start at least. When Covid closed everywhere else, soi 7 continued to rock and for a time it blossomed. The biggest praise I heard about Bangkok’s newest bar area? “You’d never know there was a pandemic on Soi 7.” What was for a short time the busiest bar area in town appears to have passed its peak – and from some accounts, that is being kind. What does the future hold for soi 7?

Nana Plaza “2.0”, as some are calling its current iteration, has been a boon for bars with outdoor patios. One of those is Lollipop on the ground floor on the immediate left when you enter. Lollipop has always been known for attractive women but many gave the indoor gogo a miss in the past due to the tendency for ladyboys to be mixed in with women who were actually born female. Now, however, the ladyboys are gone and all the Lollipop lasses are out on the patio or tables in the main Nana courtyard to check out before committing to a drink. The drinks are still incredibly cheap for Nana: All local bottled beers and standard drinks are 120 baht. Soft drinks are 80 baht. Lollipop opens at 5:00 PM and would be a great choice to get your evening started.

The African freelancers are back – or did they never go away? – lingering in a few favourite spots along prime Sukhumvit.

Black Pagoda, The Strip, XXX Lounge and the Patpong Museum are all within a stone’s throw of one another on Patpong soi 2. This coming Tuesday, March 2nd, is being hailed as Fat Tuesday where it’s free-flow at all of these venues from opening until 9:30 PM. Free-flow meaning FREE DRINKS.

On Soi Cowboy, the most happening bar at this time is Country Road. It is said to actually feel like a party bar inside Country Road. At the other bars on Soi Cowboy that are open things are rather more staid.

It looks like Raw Hide won’t reopen with space that was the Soi Cowboy bar of that name now up for rent. Raw Hide has been around since the ’90s and while it hasn’t been one of the better bars for a long time, if it is taken over and the name changed it would still be something of a loss.

 

Raw Hide, Soi Cowboy.

Raw Hide, Soi Cowboy this week.

 

And opposite Raw Hide, Deja Vu this week had a pile of fixtures from inside the bar strewn around outside – so something is going on there too. Just what, I don’t know. What is interesting about Deja Vu and Raw Hide is that they were both operated by the one we know as The Arab. I wonder what he’s up to….

In Nana Plaza, the owner of Spankys is trying to innovate and make the best of things. The bar has a bunch of new girls and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights there is a saxophonist who plays with the DJ. It has been described as fun. Despite the pandemic, the party is still rocking at Spankys.

The houses of ill-repute on Sukhumvit soi 24/1 are operating as per normal. The outlets are particularly popular during daylight hours and into the evening. Favourites for some of the city’s Japanese and Korean expats, they have arguably cuter ladies than you find in a lot of other places – that is cuter ladies to those who prefer an archetype preferable to Asian men i.e. fairer skin, fewer or no tattoos, and ladies with a figure as opposed to being skinny.

In the last two weeks I have heard two separate reports of Thai females being approached on sois in the Nana area and asked to show their ID, having first been asked if they are a Thai national. The questions come from two guys on the back on a motorbike who claim to be police – but they are not in uniform. Are they police officers or aren’t they? Police on the back of motorbikes hassling foreigners has been a problem on the other side of the Asoke intersection for years – but Thai women being approached like this is not something I have heard about before. What’s it all about?

 

The new Bully's will reopen very soon.

The new Bully’s will reopen very soon.

 

Bully’s, on the main Sukhumvit Road between sois 2 and 4, will reopen very soon. The building has changed a lot from the Bully’s of old. The massage joint that was upstairs is long gone; another floor has been added to the building and Fitness24Seven has been open for a while. The new Bully’s will open in early March as a more modern American pub with a larger patio / terrace outside. It should be another good spot to perch and watch the world go by. It’s the same owner behind it and yes, the iconic bull survives.

Juicy on Sukhumvit Soi 11 is the newest and most exciting new venue to open in Bangkok. Created by the Panthera Group, Thailand’s #1 nightlife operator, Juicy opened its doors February 1. The high-end lounge and pre-club showcases the icons of 80s’ and 90’s hip-hop mixed with the best of today. The polished black interior is illuminated with black light and neon highlights. Photos of hip-hop and R&B legends share space with iconic, neon-lit quotes of the decade. Juicy’s walls feature work from Bangkok graffiti artists Omeka and Dave Horgan. Standup arcade machines offer 80s’ and 90s’ classics from Pac Man to Donkey Kong. Despite its cultural vintage, Juicy is aimed at Thailand’s 90s Kids, the twenty-somethings who weren’t even born when Ice Cube and Cypress Hill hit the scene. Operating on the ground floor of the Sugar Club Complex, Juicy retains the outdoor patio. But now, it gleams with polished tables and padded armchairs. Inside, plush sofas and throw pillow line each wall, with a glowing, neon bar dominating the centre area. Needless to say, the venue features a top-of-the line sound system. With the biggest clubs on Soi 11 still shuttered, Juicy is the place to grab a bite and have a boogie. At this time, Juicy opens at 6:00 PM and it’s straight in to happy hour with 95-baht bottled beers, 120-baht wine and 195-baht standard cocktails with “fishbowl” cocktails planned for the future. Juicy is in the Sugar Club Complex on Sukhumvit Soi 11. For more details, check out their website JuicyBangkok.com or their Facebook.

 

Juicy, Sukhumvit soi 11's newest venue.

Juicy, Sukhumvit soi 11’s newest venue.

 

Down in Pattaya, I am told that this week the once-were-gogo-bars open on Walking Street are Skyfall, Fahrenheit, Glass House, Tantra, Palace, Pin-Up and Windmill. Obviously they are not operating in the manner they used to. For live music and discos, Stone House, 808, Candy Shop, Lucifer, iBar and Insomnia are all open.

A few more bars are said to be planning to reopen soon with rumours that Baccara is one such bar. It is said that only the upstairs part will open.

Dollhouse and Club Electric Blue will reopen this coming Tuesday, March 1. Club Electric Blue is now on the 2nd floor of the building with Dollhouse.

The owner of Sensations has completely refurbished what was Living Dolls Showcase and that should be opening soon so all in all, things are looking up in Pattaya.

On Soi LK Metro, a new gogo bar opened this past week. Pure is the first gogo bar in Soi LK Metro as you enter from Soi Diana and is next to Champagne. Is that the space that was previously Lisa Bar? Pure is run by Englishman Lee, a newbie to the industry.

With the bar industry doing it tough for the last couple of years, some bar bosses have branched out in to other businesses like PattayaOffRoadSafari.com, Route66Pattaya.com and BigBikeTouringCo.com. Big Bike Touring Co Ltd is an official partner of BMW Motorrad. If you’re looking for big bike tours or big bike rentals, get in contact with them. Their second location will open in Chiang Mai in the next few months.

 

Spankys, Nana Plaza. Photo supplied.

Find her at Spankys, Nana Plaza.

 

I enjoy catching up on what is happening in Thailand by watching the Channel 3 morning news on weekdays. But geez, do they have to show the aftermath of car accidents? It feels like every other day there is a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle. It turns your stomach, especially the way they replay the CCTV video over and over again, which is more often than not followed by video of the relatives howling over the body of the victim. The final scene – most reports follow this pattern – has family members of the deceased at the police station the next day where they berate – if not beat – the person responsible for the accident. I guess so much recent coverage of these accidents, particularly those where a pedestrian is hit by an out of control vehicle or big bike, can be tracked back to that poor young Thai female doctor who was hit and killed on a pedestrian crossing by a policeman riding a big bike on Phyathai Road a few weeks back.

Online shopping is all the rage in Thailand these days – it was humming along and then came Covid and online shopping really took off. One of the more amusing things about online shopping in Thailand is the detail to which some buyers use when providing their delivery address. Anyone who has tried to find a specific address in Thailand knows that the street numbering system can be confusing and it’s not simply a case of going to a street and finding the house or building number. Just finding the right sub-soi can be a mission, which might only be reached by navigating various other sub-sois and intersections along the way. Thais are well aware of the difficulty finding addresses in the country and some write extremely detailed instructions when making an online order. The lengthy address details are then printed on the courier label. So instead of an item being addressed to say, Somchai Dingdong, 23 Sukhumvit soi 4, Klong Toey, Bangkok, the label might say something like, “We are at #23 on Sukhumvit soi 4, in the purple building behind the 7 Eleven and diagonally opposite the billboard with the two pretty ladies and the two handsome foreign men who look like movie stars.” Some of the address locations / instructions Thai people use when ordering online are a hoot!

Former Bangkok bar manager Dave The Rave had the year from hell last year, undergoing four operations that ultimately saw his left leg amputated. Dave is writing a book about what he went through and will enlist the services of a company to help him write and publish the book. He is looking for people to help him finance the project and has set up a GoFundMe page. A percentage of profits from the book will go to a children’s charity.

 

Find her at Lollipop, Nana Plaza.

Find her at Lollipop, Nana Plaza.

 

This Week’s Thailand-Related News Article Links

A Pattaya councilman has suggested a specific zone for hookers be created in Sin City.

A foreign man in Pattaya causes a major disturbance and locks himself in a massage shop before being arrested.

Thailand will collect a new 300-baht fee from all tourists arriving in the country.

 

 

Soi Cowboy. Two photos. Two completely different stories.

Soi Cowboy. 2 days this week. 2 photos. 2 completely different stories. Photo credits for photo on the right: Marty.

 

What is really going on in Bangkok? What do I do when one trusted friend tells me such and such a place is booming and another trusted friend tells me that it’s dead, the complete opposite?! The photos above of Soi Cowboy illustrate this point. Two readers kindly sent these photos of Soi Cowboy this week, each of which tells a very different story. One shows Soi Cowboy dead. The other shows reasonable crowds. I’d love to be there on the ground so I could be 100% confident in what I am reporting, but getting back to Bangkok is, realistically, probably still about 3 months away or so. I’ll get back as soon as it’s practical to do so. I always do what I can to get things right….but if I get the odd thing factually wrong, don’t be too hard on me – and do let me know so I can correct it!

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Stick can be contacted at : stickmanbangkok@gmail.com