Stickman Weekly, August 28th
Last week’s photo shows the small soi on the south side of Nana Plaza, looking east back at the Landmark Hotel. It was taken from an upper floor of Nana Plaza, peeking out the back, hence the unusual perspective. This week’s photo is taken in an area I would describe as not far from central / downtown Bangkok. Yes, it’s challenging.
Stick’s Inbox – The Best Emails From The Past Week
Devoured by baht-starved, sexy piranhas.
As an expat who has lived here in Bangkok through the entire pandemic, I’m thrilled to have the 2-week millionaires back. You have no idea what a pain in the ass it was to go into any bar and get absolutely devoured by these baht-starved, sexy piranhas. I can’t tell you the last time I was able to go into a bar and enjoy a cold beer alone for 5 minutes. What an absolute pleasure it is now, although we are not out of the woods. Since we live here and can have any bird we want 24/7, it is an absolute joy to have some peace for a change. Heck, I even help them out occasionally, directing them to their next sex-starved millionaire!
Mask-wearing a silent protest?
With regards to the mask situation, I wonder if the Thais’ reluctance to give them up is a kind of protest? After all, Thailand is well known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, and smiling at any given situation is a cultural trait that is ingrained from an early age. However, due to the current economic and political situation, the average Thai has very little to smile about. I wonder if they are persisting with the mask wearing to hide the lack of the customary Thai smile?
An Indian’s thoughts on Indian visitors.
Let me second your very accurate observations on the Indian travelers, “Those who may not be that worldly and may even be on their first adventure outside their homeland.” Since there is no concept of gogo bars or daytime girlie beer bars in India, most of those Indian guys visiting Thailand for the first time possibly don’t understand the practices and etiquette to follow. Maybe applying some kind of deterrents like enforcing a cover charge at the gate, or asking customer to buy a drink before he decides to take a seat would help all parties. As an Indian myself, I believe we can expect a steady or even a rapid increase in the number of tourists from India to Thailand in the days and years to come. By air, Thailand is only a couple of hours away from many Indian cities. Hotels in Thailand are of a similar price and may even be cheaper in some places than in India. Moreover, Indians like the sea and beaches which are aplenty in Thailand. So here are some thoughts for the Thai nightlife industry in case they’re interested to get more business from Indian tourists. Indian guys love to dance to Indian music. Unfortunately, discos aren’t plentiful in India, and most of them don’t allow stag-entry. A guy must be accompanied by a lady to enter a disco. Luckily, this is not a problem in Thailand. So, here lies the business opportunity. Just open a bunch of discos, let unaccompanied guys in, and play a good amount of popular Indian music. You’ll soon see very good footfall. Believe me as an Indian, for Indian guys it’s more exiting to be able to try their dance moves on the floor of a disco than to watch bikini-clad ladies dancing on centre stage inside a gogo bar.
Those who Thailand attracts.
Your comment about the sort of Indian visitors that Thailand attracts mirrors the kind of Chinese visitors that used to swamp the tourist areas. Thailand tends to attract the lower end of the market, and the more cultured / wealthy / polite go elsewhere to places like Europe or Dubai. Not all Indians are Cheap Charlies and not all Chinese are buffet vultures.
Thai ladies will adapt and follow the money.
Westerners need to get used to sitting beside an Indian or 3 until Pattaya develops its very own Little India. It’s a case of Thai Immigration doing their homework and understanding that their main source of tourist income from China is drying up. Starting with the virus and now extending into financial issues in China, while India is an emerging economy with GDP growth twice that of China over the past two years, hence it is easy for Indian tourists to enter Thailand. Of course all these Indian mongers will return home with wonderful tales from the Land Of Smiles while their mates listen on and instantly start planning their first trip to Thailand. And while the Western mongers grumble into their beers about the Indians taking their seat at the bar, the Thai ladies will adapt and follow the money. For bargirls, race, colour and creed will be irrelevant. So best not to go judging the Indian male in the same bar, at the same time, on the same street, drinking the same beer and looking at the same girls. He is a mirror image of yourself, only with a little more suntan and perhaps a little more money.
Asking the impossible.
Can you do an article – just one time – with photos of girls that have no tattoos? Just once, like the old days, when girls had no tattoos. If I want to look at ink art disrupting the beauty of a woman’s body (and the fact that some dingle-berry touched the girl and left a permanent mark), I just look at a wall. The clean, non-marked breed are there, mostly in the high-class soapies away from Sukhumvit, but at a higher premium.
This Week’s News, Views & Gossip
A few comments have come in about the new Penny Black on Soi Cowboy, and not a negative comment amongst them. Reader comments are that the renovated venue is a winner. With Country Road – directly across the soi – booming for months, all the vibe on Soi Cowboy these days is at the Asoke end of the street, the very opposite to how things were pre-pandemic when all the vibe was at the other end.
Trade on Soi Cowboy may have lagged behind Nana Plaza this year but things are looking promising. Crowds are picking up and Cowboy continues to get busier despite it being the rainy season, one of the quieter times of year. One point of difference for Soi Cowboy is that it is diverse. It’s not just gogo bars, but live music venues and eateries too. Oasis, in particular, is quickly becoming a favourite place to perch for many.
There are more girls on Soi Cowboy now than there have been at any time over the past 2.5 years. As one friend said, it looks like most Soi Cowboy bars have a full contingent of staff.
The continued closure of the short-time hotels at Nana Plaza has become an operational problem for the bars themselves with no resolution in sight. Three different bar owners said this week that girls who traipse up Soi 4 to the broken-down guesthouses renting rooms by the hour do not go back to the bar after they have done the business. When they used a short-time hotel on the premises within the plaza, they would return to the bar 99% of the time. On Thursday, one bar that operates with a little over a dozen girls had six ladies barfined by 9:30 PM. Five of those ladies did not return to the bar, wiping out business for the night because if there are no girls on stage, customers walk in…..and then walk straight back out!
One Thai bar owner is baffled at the police keeping the bonking rooms closed. First it was thought to be due to Covid-19 which almost made sense. Then it was said to be because of the underage antics at the Soi 7 bar complex which felt like a typical Thai knee-jerk reaction that made little sense but would soon pass. But what are the reasons for the short-time rooms being closed now? No-one knows! Those wielding power aren’t even asking for more contributions to allow them to reopen. Bar owners used to penalise girls who didn’t return to the bar after doing the business (which makes a mockery of the barfine, but that is a whole other story) by docking their barfine commission or even their whole pay for that day. But, with the girls now holding all the cards in this market, the owners have been left with no hand to play.
Girls have all the power in the bargirl / bar owner relationship right now because there still are not enough of them in most bars. While the likes of Billboard, Spanky’s and Twister have loads of ladies, some second-tier gogo bars are really struggling. And, as noted above, bars can’t afford to lose half their staff to barfines early in the night. In response, barfines in Nana Plaza, which (unlike Pattaya) have remained at or near levels where they’ve been for a decade, are going up. One small bar has raised its barfine to 1,000 baht to discourage customers from taking the girls out.
When will the pendulum swing back in the bar owners’ favour? Operators are hoping it will be in November or December. Despite rain 3 nights this week, Nana Plaza teemed with punters. Friday night – despite long, heavy rain – Billboard was like 2019 all over again, while Thursday, hit by intermittent showers all night, buzzed like a weekend night. Other bars also reported strong business across the week, with only those thin on girls feeling glum.
The buzz is building for the biggest party of the year, Billboard’s 7-Year Anniversary bash on Saturday, September 10. The bar will be giving out a special, limited-edition gift to the first 100 punters. Until now, the bosses kept the specifics of that gift under wraps, I can now reveal to you that it is a top-quality drink tumbler with the signature “7” for the event and the Billboard logo etched into the glass in colour. It’s a solid glass that fits well in the hand and is emblematic of the quality that runs throughout the Billboard operation. Doors open at 8:00 PM, with a free buffet and Billboard Babe of the Year contest. Is there anywhere you’d rather be?!
A reminder that there is one bar in Nana where drinks can still be had for 100 baht: Erotica. On Mondays and Tuesdays, at the outside bar, Leo, Chang and Tiger beers, along with Sangsom, are just 100 baht each. Regular prices at the outside bar also remain lower than anywhere else in the Plaza at 140 baht or less. Erotica has taken on a gaggle of new ladies who are worth popping in for.
Meanwhile, a handful of bars raised prices this past week, pushing up beers from 160 to 180 baht, clawing their way back to pre-pandemic price levels.
Blondie, on the ground floor of Nana Plaza, doesn’t have the most girls of any bar, but I am told that most of them are lookers. Owner Marc has been very selective in the women he allows to work in the flash, lounge-style bar, with that selectivity extending to even the DJ! The new lass spinning club music at Blondie may not be the cutest DJ in Bangkok, but she may well be the best looking DJ in any naughty bar.
There’s always been a lot of rumours and trash-talking in the bar business and word from elsewhere is that Patpong is doing miserable trade. At the same time, bar owners in Patpong I’ve been communicating with aren’t complaining. One Patpong bar owner I absolutely trust tells me his bars are making more money each month than the month previous in a clear trend over several months. It’s not all doom and gloom in Bangkok’s oldest bar area.
The old manager from Bada Bing, Julien, who was considered to be one of the better bar managers around, is now running The Pink at the Suriwong Road end of Patpong soi 2. Things seem to have been picking up there and the team of girls gets bigger each week.
I imagine Julien is happy to be at The Pink after what went down at his old bar, Bada Bing, where there was a nasty altercation between the farang manager and one of the girls – and things got ugly. The girl’s nose was broken and it whipped up quite a storm on social media – which is increasingly a place where the girls talk about their bar work.
The Strip is shining again. Some say that, once again, The Strip is Patpong’s best gogo bar. Others point to King’s in soi 1. Kings on soi 1 has the best collection of ladies and the highest lady count. The Strip is said to be its old self, a lot of fun. Whichever you prefer, there are happening gogo bars in both Patpong sois.
This month’s Playboy Magazine Australia cover page was shot in Patpong, with photos taken in Black Pagoda and also at the Museum of Patpong. The Playmate Party will be held on September 10 at 7:30 PM at Black Pagoda. It’s strictly RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Twister Group from Nana Plaza has taken out a new lease on Patpong soi 2, the location that was the former “King’s Garden”, right under the Museum of Patpong, opposite Foodland and the Erotic Library. Twister Group is Thai-run and professional, and they have found themselves very welcome at Patpong. This big group has the muscle to bring in large numbers of girls and other bars in the soi are excited as they know it will draw more punters back to Patpong.
Those behind The Strip and Bar Bar are cleaning up Patpong soi 2 from its entrance on the Silom side up past those bars, all the way to XXX Lounge. A ceiling of warm lighting, funky wall designs, street art, and an extended beer bar on the raised sidewalk outside The Strip and Bar Bar fill the stretch from The Strip to Silom Road, as they strive to create a warm welcome to the area.
Joe Delaney, legendary Bangkok host and musician (Gong with Pong, The Paddy Field and recently Brownstone and Geckoblasters) signed a lease for the old Tavern II property on Patpong soi 2, right next to Le Bouchon and The Old Other Office. Delaney’s will be a new Irish pub with live and recorded music. Expect the new Delaney’s to be open in time for the high season.
At what is now The Paddy Field, one of Holland’s top gallery operators is opening together with the Museum of Patpong a gin bar, hosting one of the world’s largest erotic art libraries with more than 2,000 books about sex, nudity and the arts. Highlights will include excerpts of Andy Warhol’s Nude series.
Patpong Museum has established itself with visitor numbers running several times what they had up until a few months ago. Last week, the real Nadine Gires came for a visit and Le Monde newspaper interviewed her at the museum about her memories of Charles Sobhraj and her role in uncovering the Serpent’s killings of innocent backpackers.
There are many events planned for Patpong over the coming months, among them French Cartoonist Stephff will be exhibiting in December at the Patpong Museum a suite of drawings dedicated to Patpong and all it is famous for.
Another new cannabis shop is due to open in the heart of the farang nightlife zone, just round the corner from Nana Plaza, next to the Majestic Hotel, and not even a stone’s throw from the police box. The new shop will be called Mary Jane and is due to open this coming Friday. More details about Mary Jane Bangkok can be found at their Facebook page.
The Greenleaf & Partners (from Amsterdam and Vienna) is opening a Marijuana Competence Centre together with the Museum Of Patpong, on Patpong Soi 2. A fully licensed and academic approach is being implemented, looking at marijuana as medicine.
There have been a lot of comments in recent columns about the proliferation of outlets selling cannabis, be they stalls on the street to genuinely fancy and in some cases almost upmarket feeling stores. Much of the comment has been about Sukhumvit Road, Soi Cowboy and the Nana area because that is the area this column tends to focus on. But this explosion in weed stores is spread far and wide – and it seems that wherever you go, you’ll have no problem stocking up. Down in Pattaya weed outlets are popping up all over with the relatively small Soi LK Metro home to several weed stores already.
I have to admit that I am still scratching my head at how, almost overnight, Bangkok has become the place in Asia for recreational drug users. The world really is changing fast.
A reader has recommended a recently opened eatery on Soi Nana. Fallabella Express appears to specialise in bagels. From the photos the bagels look good but blimey, they’re not cheap. Prices are higher than you’d pay here in my part of the world for a bagel which is curious given that most people generally feel that New Zealand is pricey to the point of being over-priced. You can get to Fallabella Express through the gap in the concrete wall (pictured above) opposite Morning Night, and it’s behind the little pharmacy.
Don’t you love these expat venues with a menu and sometimes a sign advertising their breakfast is available from 8 AM – when the place doesn’t open until 9 AM except at the weekends, and even that might be optimistic!
Escort site Smooci has launched in Phuket. The popular platform which allows punters to meet up with working girls has been a hit in Bangkok for many years and is now available to naughty boys in Phuket. If you find yourself lonely, horny or both in Phuket, check out Smooci Phuket to see what, or should I say who, is available.
Thailand-Related News Article Links
Reader’s story of the week comes from Deks,”July 2022 in Pattaya“.
A court suspends the Prime Minister of Thailand after a legal challenge to his term.
Horrified tourists call the cops after spotting what appears to be a dead body on Bang Sean Beach which turns out to be a blow-up doll!
An elephant tore its handler in half at a rubber plantation in Phangna province.
Airfares to Bangkok from my part of the world have stabilised and are now what I’d call reasonable. Pre-Covid we paid around $NZ1,000 whereas now flights are running $1,400. It’s obviously a lot more than we used to pay, but it’s not the $2,500 fares that were the norm until recently. Now, do they have any tickets available that would get me to Bangkok in time for Billboard’s 7-year anniversary party….
Your Bangkok commentator,
Stick can be contacted at : email@example.com