Stickman's Weekly Column May 21st, 2023

Stick Returns Part 2:  The Collapse (And Surely The End) Of Patpong



Once Bangkok’s best bar area and perhaps, for a time, the most famous street in all of Asia, Bangkok’s original foreigner bar area, Patpong, has fallen apart. It brings me no pleasure to describe Patpong today as truly awful. The Patpong area is in such a terrible state that I can’t see it recovering. Patpong feels like it is done and redevelopment of the area can’t come soon enough.

The first thing you notice about Patpong is how quiet it is. There are so few people around. From early evening until well in to the night, things did not pick up. It’s like Patpong has fallen off the map and visitors don’t even know about it. Or perhaps they do know about it and have been told to avoid it.

He Clinic Bangkok

The next thing you notice about Patpong is how dark much of it is. There are so many closed bars and boarded up shopfronts that there are dark spots throughout the area. First-time visitors would struggle to believe this was once the most famous road in Asia.

It’s not just the bunch of closed bars on Patpong soi 2 (The Strip, Bar Bar, Black Pagoda, Club Black, XXX Lounge, Delaney’s), most of the area feels like it never reopened after Covid. Classic old spots like Le Bouchon are long gone, as are many hardcore mongers’ sneak-away spots like Kangaroo and The Star Of Light. Superstar, Madrid, Safari and a multitude of the King’s Group bars have all closed. Most will never reopen and to make matters worse, hardly anyone wants to sign a new lease in the area. You know it’s bad when even the bag shops and convenience stores have closed. There are so many empty spaces, and so many bars boarded up that you can’t remember what they once were.

With so many bars closed, the remaining bars should be doing ok as those who do visit the area will be concentrated in a smaller number of bars, right? Most places had few customers. Many had none.

CBD Bangkok

Patpong feels sleazier than ever and it’s not the sex business that’s the problem. Many homeless are sleeping rough in the area and they are very visible. Some might say it gives the area character. I think it just makes it feel even more like a shithole.

Patpong can’t even rely on its rich history to enchant visitors because most of that history has disappeared.

Today, Patpong cannot seriously be compared to Nana or Cowboy. Patpong feels like it has slipped down to the second division.

The Night Market on Patpong soi 1 has become a threadbare bunch of vendors. The rickety market structure now lines about 2/3 of the soi, but perhaps only 1/3 of the “stalls” are manned. The majority are empty, adding to the feel that the area is long past its prime. There’s no energy at all.

Naughty boys have long hated it but the Patpong Night Market did attract visitors and many enjoyed haggling for knock-off Rolexes, Calvin Klein shirts and various Thailand-themed trinkets and souvenirs. It was tacky but many visitors enjoyed the market experience with the backdrop of the bars, the classic old neon and the sense of history.

wonderland clinic

Patpong differentiated from other bar areas with some bars attracting Thai males. But today the area has become so seedy that I cannot imagine many self-respecting Thai males would frequent the area.

Amazingly, there is still a small bunch of hardcore foreigners who  frequent the area. These brave souls seem to agree that King’s Castle 1 is the best bar of the few remaining gogo bars. King’s Castle 1 has been popular for as long as anyone can remember – it was considered the best bar for attractive ladies when I visited Patpong in the late ’90s. It has long attracted a mixed, but very much Asian-dominated (mainly Japanese, back in the day) crowd.

Today, King’s Castle 1 gets what I can best describe as a rowdy crowd, very different to what you get in the likes of Nana and Cowboy. A lot of young Asian guys, very casually dressed – some in what would pass for beachwear – screaming their lungs out in a language I don’t recognise, but which I strongly suspect was Korean. Admittedly, the bar had a line-up of attractive ladies and whether it was the light or not, I don’t know, but many appeared natural with less in the way of cosmetic surgery than you see elsewhere. At the same time, there seemed to be a real disconnect between the dancers and the music and some ladies seemed spaced out, like they were in some sort of trance. The combination of the rowdy crowd, the smoky interior (a high percentage of the young Asian crowd were smokers) and dancers in a trance makes for a funky vibe.

Regulars tell me that King’s Castle 1 is the pick of Patpong, followed by Pink Panther. We didn’t step inside the latter which schedules Thai boxing in the bar some nights, a clear signal that tourists are its target market.

As an aside, on Patpong soi 1 you will find King’s Castle and King’s Castle 1 which are two different bars. King’s Castle 1 and King’s Castle 2 are located next to each other while King’s Castle is further up soi 1 towards Suriwong Road. Unnecessarily confusing and symptomatic of Patpong today which has little going for it.

There are so few redeeming features about Patpong these days that the area hardly warrants a visit for a first-time Bangkok visitor. Once a must-see, the deterioration of the area is so dramatic that I can’t see it coming back. Some might say it has been this way for a while. I’d counter that while, yes, it has been in decline for decades, things have just fallen apart since Covid.

The one shining light in the wider Patpong area was Silom soi 4, known to some as the gay soi. Business was thriving with bars and restaurants full, which I am told is how the area is night after night. German Beerhouse G’s (more a place to eat than drink with its wonderful German food) was as good as it has ever been. But even on Silom soi 4 which is flourishing, there is pessimism about the future. Like the wider Patpong area, the businesses on that soi are on one-year leases that roll over year after year. There is no guarantee they will continue beyond the period of the current lease. And with major developments but a stone’s throw away, Patpong must be considered a prime area for redevelopment.

Patpong today feels like a car wreck, with casualties strewn over the road, gaping open wounds for all to see and passersby walking past the corpses. That really is the atmosphere of Patpong today.

If you haven’t visited Patpong for a few years, you’ll be shocked. It’s such a shame that much of the area’s history is disappearing with classic old venues boarded and the wonderful Museum Of Patpong closed.

Perhaps I should not have been so surprised. A good friend from home sent the following to me in the middle of last year. I guess sub-consciously I thought things would improve.

Patpong one is only a shadow of its glory days. Stunned to see the decline of the entertainment venue. Most gogo bars are closed and now a memory of great nights not to be repeated. The street was deserted on Saturday evening. No night market.

Business owners in the wider area echoed my sentiments. They agree that the two main Patpong sois are an embarrassment. Some cite the homeless living in the area and the stench of faeces and urine that in some corners is over-powering.

The impression I got from Patpong is that the area is confused. It is not clear what it’s all about and who it’s for. This is the problem when you have an entertainment area without a management team overseeing it. It almost feels like a highly modified car where each modification was made by a different person with a different vision, resulting in an end product that appeals to no-one.

The closure of several bars on Patpong soi 2 which were unfortunately linked to the underage scandal in Phuket may be a contributing factor but is only a small part of it. Covid is partially to blame but likely just accelerated things. The Patpong area has been in a slow decline for decades. It’s just now that it has reached a point where no-one can deny how bad it has become.

But some see a future for the area. The popular Mary Jane cannabis dispensary opened a new branch at the Suriwong Road end of Patpong soi 2, adjacent to Shenanigan’s. Shenanigan’s with its wonderful outside deck had a trickle of customers on the night I spent in Patpong, most glued to a live football match. Across the two Patpong sois, only King’s Castle 1 had more customers.

A year ago the biggest name in the bar industry wrote in an email to me, “Patpong looks finished to me”. He nailed it. Patpong’s done. Call in the bulldozers. Tell the girls to head over to Nana where they’ll find busy bars and eager customers. The time has come for Patpong to be put out of its misery.




Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken at Mega Bang Na, the giant shopping centre about 10 km or so from Sukhumvit Road. This week’s photo is not as obscure as it looks and I took the photo this week in a very central downtown Bangkok location.



Meet her at Dollhouse, Soi Cowboy.



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

Bar industry haves and the have-nots.

The bars are beginning to truly separate themselves into the haves and have-nots. It seems there are fewer dyed-in-the-wool punters, and those who are here gravitate to the same venues. Billboard and Butterflies in Nana are going gangbusters, while other bars a few feet or one level away are largely empty, the women looking forlorn. Billboard is now so well-known it is drawing Chinese tour groups (much to the chagrin of dancers who are looking for lady drinks or barfines in seats occupied by those who just look). Soi Cowboy seems to be Suzie Wong, and maybe Baccara, Dollhouse and Crazy House. None, however, comes close to the trade Billboard sees nightly.

Surprising Pattaya.

Pattaya has come as my biggest post-Covid surprise, as it feels less sleazy and more upscale. Go from Naklua to Bali Hai on Beach Road and one notices lots of stylish renovation, plus a different customer mix than before Covid. To some extent it is finally becoming a ‘family’ or couples destination. It has a long way to go, but it is different than pre-Covid. Just as gogos have separated themselves in Nana, so, too, have those in Pattaya. What Billboard and Butterflies are to Bangkok, Pin-up and XS a-Gogo are to Pattaya. Both are packed every night and have become destinations in themselves. Oddly, the business approach between the two Bangkok clubs and the two Pattaya clubs couldn’t be any more different. The Bangkok clubs are reasonably priced and relatively more subtle in terms of the ambiance. Relative is the proper term, because all shoot toward sensory overload. The Pattaya clubs overshoot the senses, and charge dearly for it. Personally, I think the Bangkok approach has more staying power, but at present both city’s top clubs are making good money. (I couldn’t believe how quickly I ran up a 20K baht bin in XS with no barfine; lucky I’m not just a two-week flush sort of guy.)

Changing Bangkok.

It is so assuring that you have found the vibe of Bangkok unchanged. We don’t want to lose the sanuk vibe. Besides that, I particularly like the massive expansion of the mass transport networks (BTS, MRT) that made a wide area easily reachable. I hope this will popularise new areas and venues. About the old lower Sukhumvit area, I observed rapid real estate development, and shrinking bar areas. Even 6 or 7 years ago, there were many bars with a handful of pool tables on Soi Nana. Now, most of them have either cut down their floor area, moved to a different place, or closed altogether. Hence, that relaxed afternoon vibe has lost its sheen a bit. So, I believe the time is ripe to open more venues, a bit away from old favourites, to maintain that relaxed vibe. Even places like Bangna or Udomsuk are easily reachable these days. Do you think those have the potential to become next favourites? <These areas *may* have the potential to become hubs for venues popular with foreigners although perhaps not outright bar areas as these areas, especially Udomsuk, are densely populated residential areas and I cannot imagine residents would like a bar complex in their neighbourhood. But like you say, it’s only a short ride from downtown on the skytrain and rents are much lower than downtownStick>


Meet them at Red Dragon, Nana Plaza.


More Readers’ Emails

Beware of locations on Google Maps.

There is one thing I have noticed here in Bangkok, that is a right pain. All over the world there has been a lot of shift in businesses closing or moving over the years that the pandemic threw everything up in the air. The one thing that hasn’t changed is how much we rely on tech stuff. It seems the Thai ethos of just dropping things and moving on also applies to Google Maps. The amount of businesses that still exists on the map but are long gone is amazing. Just today I’ve had to remove 5 restaurants from Google Maps.

Cannabis here to stay.

A few thoughts regarding the elections and cannabis laws. Any changes will take a long time to be implemented given the nature of how difficult it is (for the various individuals) to agree on anything. The dispensary owners have been planning for this possible switch in law since cannabis was made legal and the backlash that has followed, with many getting medical certificates / registration by the buyer. The investment made by farmers will not be in vain as there will always be demand for cannabis, regardless of its intended end use. Cannabis will always be available, particularly since it is very unlikely they will change the laws regarding inter-province transport of cannabis, so weed can always be shipped to the consumer. I have contacts all over Thailand and have samples and orders sent to me by courier regularly.

Face mask thoughts.

Yeah, no one busts balls about masks at all. I think it’s more a case of monkey see, monkey do. My wife’s friends will roll up wearing a bloody face nappy when they meet us, only to see us not doing the same and they then remove theirs altogether. I think it’s also a concept of face-saving so as to not stand out. A complete mystery to me as I think they’re the worst thing to come out of the pandemic.

Mask use much more relaxed.

I think you’re about spot on with your mask observations. This is my 5th visit since July 2022 when I returned after the enforced break due to Covid. Mask use is a lot more relaxed now. I’ve noticed more and more Thais going maskless on the BTS. It is very different from July 2022 when I even had to wear one for the entire duration of the flight over from London and the plane change in Dubai.


Meet her at Dollhouse, Soi Cowboy.


This Week’s News, Views & Gossip

Popular PDT Bar, which was among the beer bars recently demolished on Sukhumvit soi 11, will rise again. Its new home will be in the Trendy Building on soi 13. Opening is scheduled for June 1st, maybe sooner if things go smoothly. Reincarnated PDT Bar will feature pool tables and live music. What does PDT stand for? Please Don’t Tell.

A few owners of what I will call “big-name gogo bars” have told me they are keen to sell up and get out of the industry. Why? Business is getting tougher and while they didn’t say it in so many words, I got the impression that where once they could predict customer patterns throughout the year, now they can’t. The mix of customers has changed things and the only formula they know doesn’t work nearly as well as it once did. One bar operator admitted to me he just doesn’t know how to respond. Some bar operators have done very well and made more than enough money to exit the industry, kick back and enjoy the rest of their life. In terms of the total number of owners who want out, it’s small – but as I say, we’re talking big-name bars. Interesting ramifications for the industry going forward although with that said, bars for sale often sit on the market for years – and may never sell. Remember how Angelwitch had a for sale notice in the bar’s toilet for many years before a deal was finally done.

There have been multiple reports of bill padding the past few weeks at two Soi Cowboy bars, Spice Girls and Déjà Vu. Keep a close eye on your bill in these two bars.

For many years, Soi Cowboy was the busiest of the three major bar areas early evening. This was partly due to many bars on Soi Cowboy having happy hours. The popular spots included Dollhouse, Lighthouse, Tilac and Shark – for a long time 4 of the most popular gogo bars on the soi, all of which had lots of girls on stage from 7:30 PM and drinks priced under 100 baht. Some of the smaller, single-shophouse bars also attracted expats who preferred to perch on the deck outside. But all that has changed and my efforts to relive a lively early evening on Soi Cowboy failed. Cowboy seems to get going much later and is not the early evening party it once was. Covid killed Lighthouse and that space is still empty. Tilac did away with its happy hour. That leaves Dollhouse and Shark as the two major gogo bars with early evening happy hours. The best deal is at Shark where almost the entire drinks menu is just 95 baht before 8:30 PM. Dollhouse’s happy hour runs through until 9:30 PM with a smaller selection of drinks priced 95 – 110 baht.


Soi Cowboy, 9:45 PM Friday night, just as I was leaving. The busiest night of the week did not feel that busy to me.


The latest in the saga of the closed bars in Patpong soi 2 continues, but this week there might be good news. Word is that the Museum of Patpong may well reopen. Nothing concrete yet, and more as I hear it….but there is genuine optimism.

These days it seems that Monday isn’t a great night for most gogo bars. So to say that Nana Plaza was slow on Monday should not be a big surprise. But there’s always something interesting happening in the Plaza and Monday was no different. There was a spot of rain early Monday evening. Not really enough to require an umbrella but apparently it was enough to short out most of the lights in Whiskey & Gogo. So around 8:30 PM, as customers were climbing the stairs at Nana, all the Whiskey girls were heading out, and off home. No lights means no show. A literal washout for an entire night of business at Whiskey.

Things were barely better a little later as Angelwitch had exactly 3 customers inside. At the same time, for once, girls outnumbered customers at Billboard. That said, Billboard has a lot of girls!

Around the same time, things were pumping at perennial favourite, Spanky’s. It’s not a big bar, so it doesn’t take that many punters to make it feel busy. But the energy level never subsides in Spanky’s and Monday was no different.

The energy level for young manager Matthew, however, seems like it was running a bit low. Spanky’s has been trying to bring in a Thai woman assistant manager for months. Matthew was rubbing his palms together in anticipation of some well-earned time off. But, at the 3-month mark, the trainee and management agreed that things weren’t working out and she was let go. It is back to the starting line for Spanky’s and a new Thai woman has started in the trainee assistant manager role. Her first night was Monday and to say she looked a bit overwhelmed by the Spanky’s experience would be an understatement.


Would you? (If yes, let me know and I’ll tell you where to find her.)


Anyone walking into Crazy House on Monday, even if they speak decent Thai, might have been confused by the goings-on there. The DJ was announcing names and numbers, girls were screaming and clapping, and running up to the DJ’s booth before running back, clutching an envelope. No, it wasn’t payday, but it was “Good Attendance Day”. For years, on the slowest night of the week around the middle of the month, Crazy House hands out rewards to girls who worked the most in the past month. Good attendance pays at Crazy House – and pays very well indeed. The four ladies who clocked in and worked the required number of hours for the most nights that month are entered in a lucky draw, with two winners each taking home 2-baht-weight in gold, which is currently worth close to 70,000 baht. The next eight ladies also get entered into a lucky draw for cash prizes and then those with decent, but not excellent, records can win a couple of thousand baht each. The lucky draw goes on far too long for customers who have no interest in droning DJs and screaming girls, but it’s one reason why Crazy House consistently has so many ladies on stage.

Things on Cowboy picked up substantially by Wednesday night with Dollhouse and Suzie Wong both doing good trade from 10:00 PM or so onwards. Suzie Wong was light on dancers late, but the ones still in the house were taking good care of all the guests. No scrolling phones outside or in a corner to be seen.

I was out on Cowboy on Friday night but left relatively early. I’ve always been an early out, early home kind of guy. Certainly the days of Cowboy being busy from early evening feel like the the past with the area still relatively quiet after 9:45 PM.

The mamasan in Moonshine Bar was having her own little party Wednesday and, by midnight, had long passed the point of “I should have stopped a few drinks ago.” So, while her intentions were good, her offer of a free shot of Tequila to a well-known customer as he walked in quickly went sideways. The customer stopped to say hello and mamasan held up a shot-glass full of the Mexican devil’s juice right to the customer’s face. But her motor skills weren’t up to the job and she shoved the Tequila up his nose. The customer nearly crumpled to the ground shouting, sneezing, coughing and in obvious distress. It seems Tequila inside the nose is quite the irritant! As soon as he recovered, he turned around and bolted away from Moonshine.


Meet them at Red Dragon, Nana Plaza.


No Idea, the popular bar and restaurant on Sukhumvit soi 22 which refers to itself as a gastro pub, closed abruptly last Sunday. But fear not, No Idea will reopen in a few months’ time, not far from the venue’s original location.

In last week’s column it was mooted that the Huntsman, the English-style pub in the basement of The Landmark Hotel, might make a comeback. Quash that, hotel staff say it’s not going to happen. The basement area is going to be redeveloped with a food court style area. The return of The Huntsman rumour proved to be false.

Talking with a waitress this week I used to chat with regularly 15 odd years ago in Tilac, we talked about Covid, how it had been for her and her fellow waitresses, how they coped being without work for a long time and how things had changed since the bar had reopened. Much quieter was the word when talking about Tilac’s fortunes with many regulars gone. Perhaps just a third of the old regulars remain – Tilac used to have a very strong expat following. She told me about a couple of the bar’s regulars who succumbed to Covid. It comes down to three things she says – age, weight and luck. If you’re older, heavier or unlucky, you might die, she said in her very matter of fact way. No problem for me, I told her. I’m not old, not overweight and various Indians on Khao San Road have told me I’m a lucky man – so Covid won’t be claiming me. But on a serious note, I wonder how many Westerners Covid claimed in Thailand? Are such stats collected? There has long been a legion of ageing Westerners in Thailand. How many didn’t make it through Covid?


A lovely spot to relax, across the road from Pattaya Beach.


The streetside balcony outside the branch of Cafe Amazon next to Pattaya’s sois 6 and 6/1 is a fantastic spot to enjoy a coffee, and relax. This week, despite the temperature getting close to 40 degrees Celsius, the sea breeze kept us cool and the foliage of trees kept the sun off our back. It’s a really lovely spot and I could perch there for hours. It’d be a great spot to drag the laptop along to, and work on the column. The balcony is sufficiently high above street level that you get a nice view across the road, unobscured by traffic with the beach making a great backdrop.

One of the great things about Pattaya is the way you can – currently, at least – park right next the beach for free. Visiting Sin City very briefly this past week, there were heaps of parking spaces right on the beach. It’s really amazing that you can park right at the beach in what is a wildly popular international beach holiday destination and there is no charge. It may be a small thing, but all these niceties add up and just make the place that bit more desirable to visit. This was a flying visit but I do plan to return for a couple of nights so more thoughts on Pattaya to follow in a subsequent column.


The beach was looking inviting at Pattaya, this week.


I may be in town at present, but I’m the first to admit to being seriously out of touch with what is going on in Thailand and at times I feel blind, with a few friends ever so helpfully telling me what they see with their own eyes. One thing I have observed since I have been back is that the rates for work earned by some foreigners haven’t moved much in a very long time. It strikes me that some folks are working hard for not a lot of cash. I have a couple of friends producing high-quality work and their client (in most cases, a fellow foreigner) is getting a great deal. I guess it’s a supply and demand thing with a lot of foreigners here willing to work for just enough money to allow them to stay here. Some of you should be asking for much more. I guess it’s competition and with many foreigners desperate to stay here and willing to accept paltry rates, it suppresses some people’s earnings. I plan to expand on this with a lengthier article in the future but certainly the initial impression I have is that some Westerners living and working here are paid miserably for the work they do.

Bangkok is really developing and it feels like there is so much more money around these days. Gourmet Market, a high-end supermarket with stores in the likes of Siam Paragon and Emporium, recently opened a new store out beyond Mega Bang Na in what is technically Samut Prakan province (although most would probably still think of it as greater Bangkok). This large store has a wide variety of imported products including many items that are quite pricey by the time they reach these shores such as king salmon from New Zealand which sells at 2,800 baht / kg (we pay 850 – 900 baht / kg for it back home so someone is making out like a bandit). Gourmet Market is not your usual Thai supermarket and is what I imagine a supermarket would be like in wealthier parts of Asia like Japan or South Korea. Many fresh / imported items are beautifully packaged with the likes of kiwifruit individually packaged. What really struck me was just how busy it was. Late in to the night, there were heap of customers. There seems to be more people with money spending up in Thailand these days (95% of the customers were Thai) and there is much more demand than I remember for premium imported products.

At the same time, there seems to be more homeless about, or at least more homeless folk than I remember seeing in the past. At the very least, homeless are more visible in Bangkok these days. A result of Covid, perhaps?


The Churchill breakfast at The Old English Pub. Could you manage all of that?!


In the never-ending contest to serve the best breakfast in Bangkok, former champ The Old English Pub has an offering for the unofficial title of Bangkok’s best English breakfast with its new Churchill Breakfast, a Full English for big boys (and girls). Pictured above, the Churchill has 2 Cumberland sausages, double bacon, 2 hash browns, bubble & squeak, black pudding, beans, toast, double tomatoes, and 2 eggs. It’s a giant plate, priced at 395 baht, and is available all day long. It also comes in medium and small sizes.

This coming Friday, May 26, it’s time for the all-you-can-eat Paleo caveman meat-eating fest known as the monthly Buddy’s BBQ at Buddy’s Bar & Grill, on Sukhumvit Soi 22. It’s crazy-good value at just 380 baht. There’s roast chicken, pork ribs, spicy Italian sausage, rib-eye roast, hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad, garlic bread and more. The feast starts at 7:30 PM at Buddy’s, opposite the Holiday Inn on Soi 22.

A couple of very pleasant observations from the past couple of weeks: crowds on the skytrain don’t seem to be as bad as I remember them nor does traffic appear to be quite as snarled up as I remember it. OK, so my memory might be playing tricks on me and I’ll be the first to admit that I might have this totally wrong, but I have been taking the skytrain between the same stations at roughly the same time as I did in the past and I am sure it was much busier. Could it be that the opening of many new skytrain lines has spread passengers out across a larger network resulting in some lines being less busy? Could trains be more frequent? I’d love to hear what locals think.

Business owners on Sukhumvit tell me that business took a noticeable dip around Songkran – but that doesn’t mean elsewhere took a dip. Chinatown this week was thronging on a week night, as busy as I ever remember seeing it. We were regulars at Chinatown back in 2014 and early 2015 on Sunday nights where we would head out for dinner after I had published the column. It’s definitely busier than it was back then. We stopped by on a week night which is not usually as busy as the weekend when Thais flock to Chinatown after dark. Chinatown is booming.


Mary Jane Patpong is open now.


On Suriwong Road, between Patpong sois 1 and 2, and right next to Shenanigans, the second Mary Jane dispensary has opened, following on from the great success of the first branch on Sukhumvit Road, just around the corner from Soi Nana.

What, if any, effect will the election result have on the medicinal cannabis industry with many political parties having campaigned on reversing the decriminalisation of cannabis? Much investment has been made in the industry, both in terms of farms and growing the weed as well as networks to distribute and sell it. It will be months before there is any clarity so for the time being it’s very much business as usual.

Bangkok is a very easy place for foreigners to live these days. There are so many choices of places to stay. It’s so much easier to get around. Whatever food you want, you can find. Most products are available locally without the need to have to import them from elsewhere. But there is one somewhat negative aspect to being an expat that hasn’t changed – and this would be near the top of the list of things that would potentially put me off moving back to Thailand one day. The whims of the Immigration Department. While Immigration at the airport operates well, I keep hearing stories from friends and readers whose application to extend their stay has been declined. This past week, two friends had their visa extension declined. They had to scramble to find an agent to help them out. One is a 19-year resident, the other has been here for more than 10 years. In each case they have had to leave the country, go to a Thai Embassy abroad, apply for a non-immigrant visa, travel back to Thailand, and lodge fresh paperwork with Immigration. Each has retained an agent to help them, the cost of which is not insignificant. Ok, one could argue that it’s nice that such an option exists. Each believed all their paperwork was in order and they are unsure why their visa extension was declined. (Both speak almost zero Thai which makes it challenging for them.) This having to extend your visa each year while knowing that there is a chance – albeit a very small chance – that it could be declined, is not something I would be comfortable living with.


Meet her at Suzie Wong, Soi Cowboy.


Thailand-Related News Article Links

Quote of the week comes from Dave The Rave, “Bangkok never changes, it just rearranges.”

A Polish man is alleged to have murdered and dismembered his Ukrainian girlfriend in their rented Bangkok condo.

An American tourist was found trapped in a stormwater drain in Pattaya.

Thailand is facing what is being termed a “scamdemic“.

What is happening to Bangkok’s robot building?

A 17-year-old British lad is said to be missing in Pattaya and a 10,000 baht reward has been offered for return to his family.

Thailand has welcomed almost 10 million visitors already this year.


The heat was intense at Ampawa, this week.


Closing Comments

It has been really hot in Bangkok this week. Thursday, Friday and Saturday were all forecast to hit 39 degrees Celsius. Choosing to visit in May raised a few eyebrows. It is, after all, the second hottest month of the year and this is probably part of the reason it has traditionally been the quietest month for visitor numbers. I first visited Thailand in the month of May, 1997. I moved to live in Bangkok in May of 1998. I genuinely enjoy the heat although that wasn’t the reason I visited at this time. It all came down to airfares being a bit more reasonably priced this month. I have to admit that I haven’t experienced heat quite like this in a while.

Your Bangkok commentator,



Stick can be contacted at :

nana plaza