Stickman's Weekly Column July 16th, 2023

Stickman Weekly 16 July, 2023




Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken of some of the historic shophouses on Bamrung Meuang Road, numbers 223 & 225 to be precise. This road is located a few hundred metres from the Giant Swing which in turn is a short walk from the Khao San Road area. Bamrung Mueang Road is perhaps best known for its many shops selling Buddha images. I was pleasantly surprised that quite a few of you got it right as I thought it was a particularly challenging shot. This week’s photo was taken in a very central location in downtown Bangkok.



Meet her at King’s Castle II, Patpong soi 1.



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

Bangkok this week.

He Clinic Bangkok
I’ve been back in Bangkok for a couple of nights. It’s quieter than when I was here in May as one would expect being low season and the start of the rainy season as well. That said, both my flights from London to Dubai, and then Dubai to London were full. The route from Dubai to Bangkok pre-Covid was one of Emirates’ biggest sellers on the A380. That said, I have noticed that quite a few Emirates legs have been changed later in the year from A380s to smaller Boeing 777s. So perhaps the spiraling cost of living in the UK and Europe (plus the high airfares) is finally starting to effect the numbers traveling.

Pattaya this week.

Pattaya is a lot quieter compared to when I left in early April, but it certainly ain’t dead. I’ve noticed some remarkable things regarding the demography of the visitors though. The (East-) Asians and Indians are the only groups that are around in decent numbers, although there are fewer Indians than last year, when just after Thailand re-opened the Indians descended on Pattaya like a locust plague. There are very few farangs around (apart from the regular expat population) and there are almost no Russians at all, not even in Russian strongholds like Wong Amat Beach in Naklua. Maybe they all got an invitation for Uncle Vlad’s fine army? There is a noticeable lack of Thai tourists. In all of my 3 previous long trips after the opening of the country in July 2022 there were lots of Thai tourists in Pattaya, especially in the weekends. Late afternoon / early evening in the weekends the beaches were packed with Thai people, so I thought that during the pandemic the Thais had discovered Pattaya as a mainstream tourist destination and it would stay like that post-Covid. So the lack of Thai tourists is quite surprising and I’d guess it’s not even 25% of what it was before. If you visit the areas where the Asians and Indians hang around you can’t be blamed for thinking Pattaya is doing OK during this low season. If you stroll around North Pattaya for example, between the start of Beach Road and the Hard Rock Hotel, you’ll find restaurants and terraces with decent numbers of customers at night. But if you walk on further, and pass Central Road, you’ll notice the difference. That’s the area the naughty farang boys usually hang around and they’re certainly not around in big numbers.

Boys in brown and black men.

CBD bangkok

This morning I sauntered down to Robinson’s to buy some clothes. On the way back, on the corner of soi 13 at 11 AM, there were 3 suspicious looking black men. Note: This is not to deride black people. If they had been white or brown, they would have been equally suspicious. They were talking to a black prostitute standing nearby. I surmised a connection, but as I passed I heard one of the men say to her in English, ‘So where do you come from?’ I sensed her apprehension at responding. Seconds later, I saw 3 beefy looking boys-in-brown walking briskly in their direction. I didn’t stop to see what happened next.


Meet them at Mandarin, Nana Plaza.


More Readers’ Emails

Qualities sought in a Thai woman.

I don’t distinguish between women from different cultures. For me it’s the same for all. Like yourself, a deal-breaker is financial independence. I look for women able to take care of themselves who aren’t looking for a man to support them. I have no problem if she’s pursing goals to make money. But if she just sits there and does nothing, that’s not my cup of tea. I believe in the ‘man takes care of his woman’ mantra. We’re in this together. Another deal-breaker is sex. Yes, it’s very clichéd but the person I’m with needs to enjoy the physical part of our relationship as I do. So a 10/10 looking star fish still gets dropped by me. And one last deal-breaker is if everything is about looks and appearances. I don’t need somebody who is superficial. As for qualities, it can be anything. I’ve learned I can be attracted to different things in different women because that makes a lady unique in her own way. Having dry humour goes a long way with me.

What I want and have in a Thai woman.

wonderland clinic

Absolutely no tattoos. Attractive and does not wear “cake” makeup. Likes to dress fashionably when out and about. Is employed outside the bar and restaurant business (my lady of 6 years is a manager for an international company.)  Always polite to each other and people she comes in to contact with.

Horses, pigs, chimps, and the Yakuza!

A few things turn me off respectable Thai women or indeed Asian women in general. I once dated a rich and very respectable Japanese lady who was great until she put on a pair of high-heeled boots. She transformed into a cross between Galin the chimp off Planet Of The Apes and Shinto the Japanese sniper when her legs suddenly looked like they needed an urgent injection of vitamin D when she became as bow-legged as a poor woman with rickets. I don’t mind some tattoos as long as they are tastefully done (as you would see on a Yakuza lady) but nothing excessive. Other turn-offs are:
1.  Being needy for attention (screams insecure).
2.  Being pretentious (especially for designer labels).
3.  Really bad teeth, such as those borrowed from a horse.
And finally, the absolute killer for me every time was:
4.  Having a vagina like a pig’s knuckle.
Any of these will see me run for the hills and no-one wants a girl who has had more men run through her than a traffic light on amber.

Thai girl desired qualities list.

The qualities I seek for a respectable Thai woman to date are comparable to that of 1/ a motor vehicle service history and 2/ the requirements for a Thai girl to visit her boyfriend (me) in Australia. Service history: I want to know and verify how many “servicers” there have been. I’m happy with her having had an ex-Thai husband and one falang ex-boyfriend, but no more. Tourist visa : she needs to have stable employment in a respectable industry, savings in a Thai bank account and have personal assets and property/s.



Meet them at Tanoshii, Patpong soi 2.



This Week’s News, Views & Gossip

Business is said to be generally down in bars around Bangkok. Some bars do well some nights while other bars don’t do well most nights. But don’t take this to be a negative, quite the contrary in fact! I’ve always thought that when things are quiet is the best time to head out and about.

Why is it so quiet, especially when compared with this time last year when things were unusually busy? Best guess is that most of the pent-up demand from naughty boys not being able to visit over Covid has been expended. It’s now the middle of the year, traditionally one of the quieter periods and the bar industry has reverted to type and is back to the seasonal patterns of old.

Since Wednesday of this past week, if you thought Sukhumvit soi 7 felt quieter than usual but couldn’t put your finger on why, you’d be right. The street bars on Sukhumvit Soi 7 have been told that they are no longer allowed to operate on that soi. It’s unclear whether this is due to the new office building being close to completion or, perhaps, another reason. The soi 7 beer bar complex, Center Point, is open and it’s very much business as usual.

Monday night is not usually one of the better nights in the bar areas and so it was this week when the boys in brown ordered all of Soi Cowboy to shut down at 1 AM. Customers up and down the soi were told to pay their bill before 1 AM with many bars keen to get customers out of the bar early. As the lights came on, the music was turned off and the fun came to an early end in what has been described as muscle-flexing by the Thonglor police. Everything was back to normal the next night with bars in full swing until late, some open until 2:30 AM. What was that all about?

And it hasn’t been great down the road in Chonburi with multiple reports that Pattaya is, a few bars aside, quiet. As one reader put it, “Pattaya was stone dead over the weekend, and felt more like, July 2020.” Are naughty boys finally saying enough is enough with sky-high airfares?


Meet any of these ladies at Shark, Soi Cowboy.


In last week’s column I mentioned that I had received a number of complaints about bill padding and mentioned that reports from readers and friends indicated that it was particularly prevalent on Soi Cowboy. This week I heard more reports from more bars. In one case, a little surprisingly, it was the foreign owner who told me that bill padding was happening in his bar. Said owner caught a lady he considered one of his best staff to be padding bills. She had been with him for 5 years. In fairness to that unnamed bar, I’d never heard a peep of any dodgy bills there. Needless to say, she no longer works in that bar.

And I’m sorry to say that despite multiple reports a couple of months ago about bill padding, there is still an issue at Red Dragon. What is ironic is that some staff from Red Dragon left for Shark in Soi Cowboy and it just so happens that over the last month I have received more reports of rip-offs in Shark than in all other bars put together. I really do NOT want to be talking about this sort of thing in the column while at the same time when a clear pattern emerges, I am not going to shirk reporting on it. I want this column to be positive. I want to write positive things about the bar industry and talk about new bars opening, bars with special shows, bars with promotions, bars hosting parties, bars with particularly attractive ladies etc. so I can recommend bars to visit. I’d be happy to never mention bill padding and scamming again. However, when people I have known, for in some cases two decades or longer, are screaming in frustration at this crap happening over and over again, I just can’t ignore it. In Red Dragon in Nana and Shark in Soi Cowboy, dodgy bills are an ongoing issue that management does not appear to have got on top of.

It should be noted that Red Dragon in Nana Plaza was a bar I thought was particularly good when I was in town and the recommendation I made to drop by stands. Just be clear who you are buying drinks for, and keep a close eye on your bill each time it comes back.


Meet her at Mandarin, Nana Plaza.


Do you get glances and friendly eyes from Thai women, a look that lasts a little longer than it should, in the bar areas these days as much as you used to? I noticed this past trip that fewer ladies in the bar areas made eye contact and even fewer gave you that knowing look that she was up for it. It was a few years between trips and perhaps I have aged for the worse but I don’t think that’s the reason. It seemed to me that so many ladies in the bar areas don’t make eye contact with punters like they used to.

Many of the ladies working at Whiskey last month were expected to submit their applications at Tycoon upstairs, although only the finest and fittest were going to be accepted. Meanwhile, Whiskey is expected to close for renovations.

Speaking of Tycoon, the bar on the stairs between the middle and top floors (where Erotica most-famously was at one point) is humming along with dozens of women (and more on the way, apparently). Business is solid, although the bar’s owners admit they have Billboard to thank for the good trade, as many of the customers are either going to, or coming from, Billboard on the top floor. Tycoon is starting theme-music nights, starting with “Techno Tuesday” – with foreign guest DJs – starting as soon as this week.


Meet her at Red Dragon, Nana Plaza.


Also on the sales front, down in Pattaya, Pacha A Gogo has been sold to a Japanese group. They take it over from the Palace Group, who in turn bought it from the Fahrenheit / Shark Club owners. Palace ownership is still trying to unload Lighthouse. Many of the Pacha girls can now be found (again) in Bliss.

So, what would it take for you to buy a Walking Street gogo bar? A lot. A group of 4 Pattaya bar owners chewing the fat around a table of drinks recently discussed the amount of baht it took for the owners of Pin-Up to open their newest gogo bar, XS. And the numbers are eye-watering. XS was leased on the usual 3+3+3-year contract / renewal cycle. (It should be noted that there is some conjecture as to whether the second and third 3-year leases are enforceable under Thai law). The first three years required 27 million baht in key money (which at current exchange rates is around US$800,000) plus rent of 450,000-baht a month. The second three years sees key money increase to 32 million baht and rent of 500,000 with both increasing again in the final three years. Is it any wonder that barfines and drinks prices at XS are getting up there?

A classic Pattaya gogo bar will not be reopening. I noted a couple months ago that Angelwitch Pattaya had been gutted. Former Angelwitch manager Dave the Rave this week revealed that the building – what’s left of it – has been leased to a group of investors headed by the owners of nearby Sapphire Club. The plan is to transform the site into Pattaya’s next super club disco. Hopes are to have it open by January, but Dave The Rave is dubious.


The space that was once Angelwitch Pattaya. A lot of work would be required to rebuild this!


Another Pattaya gogo bar everyone is hoping will reopen may or may not. Champagne Club on Soi LK Metro is closed indefinitely with the owners earlier stating that some renovations will be done with hopes of reopening in time for high season. When asked last week about it, however, one partner shrugged his shoulders and said there’s no guarantee it will reopen. Their Rise club next door, said to have closed again, actually has not shut down and is open on Fridays and Saturdays only. Champagne was the first gogo bar to open on Soi LK Metro way back in 2005 – it’s been there as long as anyone can remember. Champagne feels almost like an old friend and with that in mind, it would be a real shame if it didn’t reopen.

When it opened with two floors, LK Angels, on the same street, was thought to have naughty stuff going up on the second floor, much like the sleazy Kink bar down the road. Not so. It’s well-lit and cosy, but not raunchy. Drink prices are reasonable. It’s worth checking out.

Another new Pattaya gogo, this one on Walking Street, is Club 79, which took over from Abbe’s beer bar. When mentioned to a couple of competing bar owners, they described it as “awful” but your mileage may vary. The Thai-owned bar is long, narrow and cramped, about as comfortable as an old Boeing 757. The stage is a low, translucent stage, with “Club 79” neon underneath each clear square. There are some topless lookers, and a few not so good-looking. Drinks have been described as “Bangkok prices” which won’t go down well in Pattaya.


Can you recall a bar with a worse name?


It would seem that naming a bar with a sleazy term like Slutz wasn’t such a good business strategy after all. The chain of Pattaya gogo bars that began on Soi LK Metro and quickly expanded to the Tree Town Market, Soi Boomerang and Soi Chaiyapoon has hit the skids, largely due to the debacle surrounding the Warehouse disco on Soi Buakhao, which the group also owned. Since they were forced out (and replaced with Matador Buakhao music bar), the partnership reportedly has fractured. Slutz Chaiyapoon is up for sale before it even opened. The Boomerang location also has a large “for sale” sign out in front.

Away from the gogo bars, despite showing much promise post-Covid, word is that Pattaya’s once riotous beer bar area, sois 7 and 8, is pretty much dead again. And further along Beach Road, Soi 6 is not doing so well either. As I said earlier, from all accounts it feels very much like slow season in Pattaya.

But it’s not all bad news in Sin City. The beer bar complex at the corner of soi 8 has been revamped with new flooring, new bars, new barstools, new roofing etc. So despite some comments from Pattaya locals to the contrary, it seems those bars are not going anywhere, at least not just yet.


Shortly after the shooting on Sukhumvit soi 11 last Sunday.


Back in Bangkok, shortly after last week’s column was published, there was a shooting on Sukhumvit soi 11. Apparently there have been turf wars on Sukhumvit soi 11 between the taxi and tuktuk mafias. One tuktuk driver was said to have been shot in the groin. Ouch!

Speaking of transport options in Bangkok, I found the Grab app worked really well when I was in town. Apps have been a revelation in Bangkok, making some things that at one time were rather difficult so much easier. If you find yourself out in the boonies and want to get back to town but can’t see any taxis or motorbike taxis, just fire up the Grab app and bingo, there’ll be a driver with you in no time. The app works particularly well in this very scenario, where you’re in an area you’re not so familiar with.

Chatting with the other half on the subject of house insurance – which doesn’t seem to be nearly as popular in Thailand as it is in the West – one family member has a modest house with a replacement sum insured of 850,000 baht. How much does insurance cost? 2,100 baht. That’s not for a year’s cover – that’s for 3 years. What a bargain!

11 years ago I wrote a column opener about Boom, one of the ladies at Bar Bar who I photographed as she received a tattoo of the logo of the fetish bar on her derrière. It seems Boom was not unique amongst Thai fetish bar workers in choosing a tattoo that reflected her place of work. One of the ladies currently working at Octopus – previously known as Bar Bar – has a tattoo on her back that says BDSM. See the photo below.


Meet her at Octopus, Patpong soi 2.


I really need to write an article on the experience of going out with Thais and their views on tipping in restaurants and bars. Some foreigners in Thailand – mostly Americans – have strong views on tipping that some are not shy to try and force on others. It’s an odd topic that I prefer to avoid as it has been my experience that some people can get genuinely nasty if they think a fellow foreigner doesn’t tip as much as they personally tip / deem appropriate. This past trip I spent most of my time with Thais – my girlfriend, members of her family and their friends. Most of this group are Bangkok-born and -bred. They grew up middle-class but today they would probably best be described as “urban upper-middle class”. They’re all doing well for themselves, with relatively high incomes but they’re certainly not high society types. This group would be big tippers, right? You might be surprised. When tipping, for the most part, these ladies tip coins only. A 185 baht bill paid for with 2 x 100 baht notes would see them leave 15 baht. A 1,981 baht bill paid for with 2 x 1,000 baht notes would seem them leave 19 baht. So what is the rule with tipping? Their take – and they believe that most Thais feel this way – is that in most cases you leave a few coins and generally, a tip of around 20 baht is plenty. What about leaving a percentage of the bill as they do in the USA? 10%? 15%? 20%? No, they never think of it that way. But there is a clear occasion when they will tip more. When in a bar where the staff are frequently topping up drinks, adding ice and generally acting as their personal waiter / waitress, they will tip much more. In cases like that, they’d still leave the same tip in coins in the tray, but they would directly tip the service staff who looked after them 100 or 200 baht each. Of course, how much you tip is entirely up to you.

Many readers have read Stephen Leather’s Private Dancer novel which is widely regarded as the best novel set in the bar industry. But were you aware that Steve is one of the world’s top thriller writers and has a large catalogue of really brilliant novels? You can grab the eBook of The Chinaman by Stephen Leather for just 77 pence / $US 1. This is a special promotion at Amazon available for a very short time so be quick!


Great reading at a great price!


While I haven’t been there for a good few years, count me as a long-time fan of Ranee’s, a lovely little pizzeria / pasta restaurant off Khao San Road. During Covid, their business, like many, suffered badly with no visitors and hardly any foreign customers. So what did they do? They shifted their focus and promoted themselves to the local Thai market. This brought them to the attention of several Thai food bloggers and suddenly, to their amazement, their business exploded in popularity. This new-found success has led to the opening of a second branch of Ranee’s at Bang Ramat, Taling Chan. If that area doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because it’s on the other side of the river in a part of Bangkok most foreigners aren’t familiar with. You can still stop by the branch in the Khao San Road area. Stories like this are becoming more common and there are a number of eateries which were once popular with a foreign crowd and later moved to a Thai area and / or targeted the Thai market and found that their business improved. Bourbon Street is perhaps the best example. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – in many eateries, the yield per customer is much higher with Thais than it is with Westerners. (And Chinese spend even more again.)

Even after all of these years I still chuckle at some of the amusing mistakes Thais make with English, as per the menu below which we encountered at one of the eateries we enjoyed when we were in town recently.


No have = out of order = mai me!


One of the big news stories this week out of Thailand was that of a long-time German resident of Thailand being murdered and dismembered, allegedly by fellow Germans. A lot of digging online revealed that the victim himself was a nasty piece of work. 5 years ago the nonce had been found in a room in Pattaya with a naked 15-year old girl. This report in the Thai-language Daily News newspaper looked at one of those accused of murdering and dismembering the body. It was discovered that one of the accused, “Olaf”, is a member of the notorious Outlaws gang and is alleged to have been involved in various illegal activities including protection for Germans doing business in Thailand. To paraphrase my girlfriend’s words as we watched the news reports on Thai breakfast TV, “What the fxxx are these foreign gangs doing in Thailand and how are they allowed to operate?” She has seen what our brutal gangs here in New Zealand are capable of and despises these criminals. She had no idea that foreign gangs were operating in Thailand. Will a crackdown on foreign gangs follow? Could foreign gangs in Thailand come under greater scrutiny? Few will shed tears if that happens. Fortunately, these days in Bangkok these gangs have a very low – or even no – profile. It’s a decade or so since members of the Outlaws strutted around Soi Nana like they owned the area. In fact there was a time around 2011 / 2012 when they threatened to get a foothold in Nana Plaza. It didn’t happen which is just as well as it would have been a disaster for the complex. They’re seldom seen these days, and they’re not missed. Late note: Prior to publishing the column, I see that top Thai cop Big Joke has indeed ordered intelligence-gathering on foreign gangs in Thailand. From the article, “He ordered that information be gathered about all gangs in the Pattaya area and living in Nong Prue, Chonburi Province and that foreigners who come to live in Thailand without a job, riding a Harley Davidson, posing in a gang tattoo, and on a retirement visa be monitored. Immigration officers should revoke their visas and return them via immigration processes.”

The Swedish Smorgasbord is back at Buddy’s Bar & Grill’s Sukhumvit Soi 8 location this coming Saturday, July 22. As before, you get a crazy amount of quality food for just 480 baht including marinated salmon with dill sauce, three kinds of herring, fish fillets with tartare sauce, hard-boiled eggs with caviar, boiled shrimp and real Swedish pork sausage, smoked ham, salami, liver pâté, roast beef, tartelettes, roasted pork, Swedish meatballs, Swedish hash, potato salad, boiled dill potatoes, assorted cheeses, bread, crackers and assorted fruit. The feast starts at midday. It really is a fantastic deal and would be ideal for anyone on a keto or carnivore diet.


Smorgasbord time at Buddy’s.


Thailand-Related News Article Links

Readers’ stories of the week from Arthur are for fans of Angeles City in the Philippines: Part 1Part 2Part 3.

The investigation following the disappearance of a wealthy German in Pattaya who was found dismembered in a freezer in his friend’s house has revealed the victim had a very dark and sinister past. More here.

A Bangkok highway under construction collapses.

Burger King has launched a new burger in Thailand, called the real cheeseburger, which comes with a bun filled with 20 slices of cheese and nothing else.

Tourism operators are nervous about the possibility of protests that could detrimentally affect their businesses.

Dave The Rave offers his thoughts on the current political situation in Thailand.

Thailand’s legal weed stores are luring droves of curious but cautious Asian tourists.


Meet them at Shark, Soi Cowboy.


Closing Comments

In last week’s column, a friend asked that I put the question to readers about the qualities you look for in respectable Thai women and any traits which may be deal-breakers. There were a heap of replies – thank you – and the emails I published in the Emails To Stick section of today’s column are but a small cross-section of what came in. Some responses were amusing, some thought-provoking while some were positively head-scratching. As always, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback. The Emails section proves to be a popular part of the column. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to drop me a line and offer your thoughts.


Your Bangkok commentator,



Stick can be contacted at :

nana plaza