Stickman's Weekly Column July 2nd, 2023

Stickman Weekly, 2 July, 2023




Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken in front of the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. This week’s photo might look obscure so let me confirm that it’s a location in downtown Bangkok that regular readers of this column who like to visit many of the nightlife venues walk past all the time. If your eyes are open when you’re out and about and you’re an observant type, you might just get it. Please note: This shot has NOT been Photoshopped in any way and what appears here is straight out of my iPhone with the only adjustment made being the image cropped for size.



Meet her at Mandarin, Nana Plaza.



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

Do you have a plan?

He Clinic Bangkok

10 – 15 years ago, an average Farang didn’t need to have a plan in Thailand. Life was so full of inexpensive delights and pleasant surprises that as long as you kept the finances in the black and didn’t do anything colossally stupid (e.g. move in with a gold-digger, overdo the alcohol or other drugs), not much else was needed. Regardless of age, a bulging belly, lack of style, manners, language ability or looking worse for the wear, a Farang would still get more hot girls in their 20s or early 30s than they could handle, more great food and nice places than you could want, and enough superficial respect from Thais. Why bother with a plan, self-improvement, looking sharp, and all that crap? Sure, there’d be major benefits, but if you’re already getting more fun than you can handle today and tomorrow, mitigating long-term health issues is hardly the #1 priority to arrange your life around. After the regimented life in the west, where you always lived for the future and never for today, the lack of structure and obligations in Thailand was so refreshing and liberating. This all gradually changed in the 2010s, with rising prices and the falling value of being a Farang in the eyes of Thais. Thailand is more or less a normal place now, where you can’t be a total slob and expect good outcomes but for long-term expats, old habits die hard. I still strongly dislike and resist having a plan in Thailand, not even where I’ll be or whom I’ll meet tomorrow, preferring to just go with the flow. That feeling is still strong, although rationally, I’ve long realized that these days in Thailand you’re better off preparing and deliberately choosing your pursuits.

The twin evils of boredom and loneliness.

Your article on Sukhumvit syndrome was well done. And, it applies to all retirees no matter where they reside. You must have a plan for life after work if you want to live a long and happy life. I have seen many friends and acquaintances live unhealthy and miserable lives because of alcohol abuse and the resulting bad diets. You are exactly right as to why many people fall into that trap. It is caused by the twin evils of boredom and loneliness. Hopefully, your readers will get the message that they can control their futures. Exercise plays a huge part in living a healthy life. Lack of flexibility is why so many people walk around hunched over and looking much older than their years. Yoga can dramatically improve both posture and attitude. Best of luck to all!

CBD bangkok

When you lose your compass.

You’re so right about having to take care of yourself, wherever you live! But that especially applies in Thailand due to the temptations as you mentioned, too much food, drink, and inactivity due to lack of drive and serious hobbies. When I go back to visit and see older expats meeting for lunch, having started their drinking session at 10 AM and chasing happy hours around town, I just think, “No way am I going to end up like that!” These guys are mostly my age, some much younger, but you’d never know it. I bet they couldn’t keep up with me for even a brisk one-mile walk. It’s sad to see because many of these guys had rewarding careers, families, etc. They just seem to have lost their compass. While living and working in Bangkok, I made sure that I was dry at least 3 days a week, and worked out at least 3 days per week. The workout included stretching, strength exercises, and most importantly, aerobic exercise. I’d also hit the pool when one was available, which is perhaps the greatest exercise in a hot humid climate … okay, the second greatest. I used to run 4 – 5 laps around Lumpini Park 3 days a week but 6 years ago I tore ligaments in my ankle so I’m restricted to hiking, treadmills, elliptical trainers, and weights.

The self-insurance risk.

“Self insured” is not recommended if you are aged 60+. And it’s a bit risky even for those aged 40+. It doesn’t matter how much money one has, an accident in the bathroom or out on the street can render a person requiring multiple surgeries and things could go south fast. Regardless of lifestyle, anyone can contract a mortal illness. Leading a healthy life is no guarantee. I acknowledge the cost of insurance for people with a long medical record, especially if they have reached a certain age. Best is if you are employed in a company and can get an expat insurance package. Or just visit Thailand for a limited time every year with travel insurance.

wonderland clinic


Meet her at Mandarin, Nana Plaza.


More Readers’ Emails

Cross-cultural and cross-generational relations.

When I visit a bar, I tend to buy lots of lady and staff drinks, because I appreciate my seat has to generate revenue, plus I enjoy chatting with the women. I cannot claim to be a stud muffin, but women are asking to be barfined and even promising long-time. I have to assume other customers are getting the same offers. Heck, even lady drinks are getting more dear for what looks like a majority of women on the increasingly crowded stage. While I decline the generous offers of barfining and long-time, I have taken on a regular arrangement with one lady. A bar like Billboard is about fun and fantasy, something all are well-advised to keep in mind. Sometimes, however, fantasy can morph into simply unrealistic. That is how I would describe my current situation. Sometimes people of diverse backgrounds just get along, for reasons no-one can explain. It’s one of the great beauties, and puzzles, of existence. It’s real, though one cannot fool oneself about its sustainability. Unrealistic eventually comes into the fore and cannot be ignored. It will end, but while it lasts both parties can enjoy the human connection. That is one of the unique things Thailand offers, cross-cultural and cross-generational relations. It’s not just for Al Pacino, Leo DiCaprio, or Mick Jagger, at least here. Since everything is temporary – even life itself – there’s no harm in making the best of it. Embrace it while it lasts.

Tijuana is not Bangkok.

The guy who wrote singing the praises of Tijuana, Mexico, couldn’t be more wrong. I grew up in San Diego and have been to Tijuana hundreds of times for lots of reasons, and not just nightlife. I wouldn’t go near that place now. Cartel crime is rampant and you could easily get caught up in gun violence at any time coupled with the corrupt police. No bueno and definitely not worth it!

Bangkok vs. Tijuana.

Regarding the reader’s letter favoring Tijuana over Bangkok, I would like to suggest that readers Google “world’s most dangerous cities”. Bangkok is never on the list, but Tijuana is always on the list and many times it is number one!

First Patpong visit.

I’m a regular visitor to Thailand and when venturing out in Bangkok I normally find myself in either Nana or Cowboy. In all my dozen plus visits to Bangkok I have to confess, I’ve never hit the bars in Patpong, that is until now. After having dinner in the neighbourhood with friends, I found myself in King’s Castle and must confess I was pleasantly surprised. What did I see? An 80-something year old man in a 3-piece suit in 32 degrees and 80% humidity. A bar manager who ensured that customers were looked after and happy. A stage full of girls who smiled and danced and finally, a very attractive, friendly and grateful bargirl in my bed the next morning. I know that Patpong is seemingly slowly dying, but if every night is like the night I had it’s worth reviving. Not once did I have a bargirl saddling up to me pestering me to buy her a drink. Everyone seemed to understand that their purpose for being there was fun and in the end I had the pick of the litter, so to speak. It reminded me a little bit of the Bangkok I first visited, 20 years ago. Patpong I’ll see you next time I visit, if you’re still there?



The new Dollhouse sign was delivered to the Soi Cowboy bar at lunch-time on Thursday.


This Week’s News, Views & Gossip

The replacement Dollhouse sign was installed on Thursday. What’s the big deal about this sign and why has it had so much coverage in this column? It’s just another gogo bar sign, right? Wrong! It was Dollhouse with its giant sign that set in motion the neon war as bars up and down Soi Cowboy set about improving their respective bar frontages and transforming what for so long was a dark and dingy soi in to the vibrant neon-lit lane it is today. The new sign was powered up on Friday night in front of a packed house. “It’s been a long and winding road,” manager Dennis said of the effort to make, mount and light the 2.75-by-2.75-metre icon. Indeed, the sign was supposed to have gone up a month ago, but a Pattaya contractor who promised more than they could deliver forced Dollhouse to find another company that could do the job. They eventually turned to the maker of the new signage for Pattaya’s Tree Town Market, the same one that tumbled down in a storm 2 days after it went up. That didn’t inspire much confidence, although the contractor blamed Tree Town for skimping on the construction of its gate.

A kilometre up the road, Soi Nana is the place for those of you who prefer African women. Soi Nana feels like a small slice of Africa with dark-skinned beauties found up and down the soi. When I was in town there was a cluster of them lingering around the Novotel and the soi 6 turning but word is that they have ventured further up the soi, almost as far as the entrance to the plaza. Unlike the Vietnamese ladies who linger on Soi Nana, the African ladies don’t exactly blend in. One imagines a crackdown is imminent. In other words, if you fancy African, best to get there quick because the boys in brown can’t be far away.

Some say that Saturday night – as opposed to Friday night – is the night to hit Patpong. On Saturday night there were lots of folks on the sidewalks of Silom, but Patpong, soi 2 was dark and described by a former Patpong bar boss as largely dead except for Bada Bing, Octopus, and some of the gay bars around Pink Panther which had a few punters coming and going. But otherwise, it was dead.

Patpong Soi 1 was much better. For starters, there is reasonable lighting on the soi and the outdoor eating area is a magnet for mainstream visitors. The old Thigh Bar appeared to be doing reasonable trade – most likely tourists as today it is one of the few bars left with a ping-pong show. At the other end of Patpong soi 1, the night market was quiet.

Still on Patpong soi 1, Radio City, King’s Castle I, King’s Castle II and the un-numbered King’s Castle further down on the same side were all said to be doing reasonable trade. Patpong refuses to die.


God’s view of the new Dollhouse sign, Soi Cowboy.


Patpong soi 2 has been moribund since all those bars closed at the Silom Road end. Talk of these bars reopening has not been matched by action. And Patpong soi 2 looks to get even darker and plunge further in to the depths of despair with the Patpong branch of Foodland said to relocate to the new Park Silom before long.

Of course, one of the bright spots on Patpong soi 2 is the Patpong Museum which I cannot say enough positive things about. I seldom say anywhere is a “must-visit” but for fans of the nightlife, that’s exactly what the Patpong Museum is. What is happening with the Marijuana Museum, the proposed venture from the same team who created the fabulous Patpong Museum? The Marijuana Museum remains up in the air with the creator of the Patpong Museum still behind bars down in Phuket and interest dwindling amongst some who were previously keen to be involved.

I received an encouraging report from a regular reader who tells me that he is seeing more women in gogo bars who are not tattooed. He says that Billboard has a number of new staff with no ink whatsoever. To say this is refreshing is a huge understatement. Here’s hoping it’s the start of a trend.

As I wrote in a recent column, when I was in Bangkok recently I tried to enter Nana Plaza before it was open and was turned away. Security pointed to a sign that said Nana opens at 7:00 PM. I am told that that ticked off the management of the Stumble Group, which runs the Nana Beer Garden inside, which has always opened at 5:00 PM. (Lollipop technically opens its outside patio at 5:00, but in practice, not really…) Visit Nana today and there’s a new sign that says “Nana opens at 7. (Except for Nana Beer Garden)”.


The Nana Beer Garden, 6 PM Thursday.


Last week I mentioned that a guy bringing fried chicken into Nana Plaza was denied entry unless he ate or tossed the food. I now know why: Food is available in Nana Plaza, any of the front beer bars and at the Nana Beer Garden. (There’s also cheap Thai food available that employees order if you know where to go.) A group which has a kitchen and serves food to bars inside the plaza insisted that the “no outside food” rule be enforced.

Thai land owners – everywhere, not just in Bangkok – have a tendency to hold on to land and buildings, leaving them undeveloped or vacant – until they get the price they think their asset is worth. That can run into decades, as evidenced by large, valuable tracts of land laying fallow in downtown Bangkok and Pattaya. But, apparently, the woman who owns the shophouse where Lighthouse used to be on Soi Cowboy is losing patience as she watches every vacant / dark spot on Neon Alley light up again. A large “for rent” banner went up this week. Lighthouse famously told the landowner to go jump when she demanded exorbitant key money and rent increases as Covid was ending last year. They gave back the keys, walked away and have never looked back.


The space that was Lighthouse in Soi Cowboy is available for rent.


Lighthouse in Pattaya now has a “for sale” sign on its door. But it’s no longer owned by the folks who had Lighthouse Bangkok. It was bought by the owners of Palace A Gogo.

The Game’s 11th Anniversary Party, its first big bash since before Covid, was a monster event. Both floors were full of people at 8:30 PM, Thursday, a rare sight as few people ever venture up the stairs except to use the toilets. There was a free buffet until the food ran out, although there were still tasty Buffalo wings until after 10:00 PM. Joe Delaney, who became collateral damage and lost his Delaney’s pub in the Patpong bar implosion, has formed a new band, the Holy Hooleys, which made its debut performance at the party. A few lucky folks also won bottles of liquor and The Game t-shirts in lucky draws.

The moon is nearly full and that means it’s time for the monthly Full Moon Party tonight, Sunday, July 2, at Red Dragon in Nana Plaza. And starting this month, Full Moon Madness spreads to Shark in Soi Cowboy and Fahrenheit in Pattaya, which also will have parties tonight. Glow-bands and shows are the usual at Red Dragon, but the Fahrenheit fest will see a lucky draw for customers and sexy shows.


Party time!


Want to buy a gogo bar? I’ve mentioned it before that Whiskey & GoGo in Nana Plaza was on the block, and this week one of the partners in the bar posted an ad on Facebook. The photo used is old and the bar looks nothing like this anymore. The price is 8,000,000 baht + security deposit plus other one-time fees. The rent on that space is 200,000 baht / month.

Also being openly marketed this week is Strikers Sports Bar in the Nana Hotel, with the asking price a cool 10 million baht. “The bar is one of the symbols of Soi 4. One day, the shop will have hundreds of customers visiting!the advertising copy reads. Hmmmm…..! Strikers has jumped around Soi 4 until signing its own death warrant by opening upstairs, at the back of the Nana Hotel’s parking lot. The best iteration of Strikers was the version in the Raja Hotel car park. That bar had a very cool lay-out and for a while had an unbelievable team of ladies for a sports bar / beer bar. They would not have been out of place in a top-tier gogo bar.

Still nursing the party hangover, The Game starts its July 4th celebration today (Sunday, July 2nd). A 3-day barbecue is underway, with great deals on American favourites or should I say “favorites”. On July 4th proper there will be a party with Elvis Presley impersonator Elvich performing.

The Eden Club might be history but its Pattaya equivalent, The Devil’s Den, is set to make a comeback. The former owner expects to reopen the popular adult fun venue at a new location. Details to follow when it reopens. Devil’s Den was profiled in a photo essay on this site 10 years ago.


Celebrate Independence Day at The Game.


How popular are Western men with Thai women today? Does our popularity endure? There was a time when any Western man would do well with Thai women – not necessarily bar ladies – and meet a lady who most would consider to be out of his league back home. There has been much chatter in recent years that things may have changed and some say that Western men are not looked upon as fondly as they once were by Thai women in general. There’s also been a lot of chatter about how today it is Korean men who get Thai women’s juices flowing. I raised this with a bunch of middle-class, urban Thai women. What did they personally think about Western guys and had attitudes towards Western men changed amongst Thai women in general. To be clear, only one lady at the table had ever dated a Westerner (my other half). The first point they made was that to them – and they felt to their peers – Western men don’t appeal simply because he is a Westerner. It comes down to the guy himself and how he conducts himself. Any guy who is clean cut, takes care of himself (without necessarily being in tip-top shape or especially good-looking) and places some importance on his personal presentation appeals. When pressed, they admitted that they would prefer a guy who does not have a belly and, surprisingly, they were in agreement that they prefer a man with a full head of hair. If he has an easy smile, deports himself with a quiet confidence while remaining unfailingly polite, he will – and these were their words – have his choice of a Thai woman. They could not impress more the importance of being polite. One lady said that she felt one area where foreign men let themselves down is frequent cussing or talk of sex in polite company, both of which are huge turn-offs. As for Koreans, they felt that the popularity of Korean phenomenon is mostly with younger Thai women. Most Thai women, they say, just want a decent man with the previously mentioned traits. These are the things they look for in a Thai man – and it would be the same with foreign men. They did not once mention the man’s financial situation although I think it goes without saying that he should be financially sound.

In April, the British Honorary Consul in Pattaya Bert Elson retired. This week the UK embassy’s once official office in Pattaya reopened as a weed shop. It’s a sign of the times.


MBK is much improved.


I prefer to avoid shopping malls if I can but with that said, I stopped by Mahboonkrong when I was in town for a look for old times’ sake. I used to live just a few minutes’ walk away and was a regular in there 20 – 25 years ago so the place holds many memories for me. On previous visits, Mahboonkrong had become a bit depressing and I hadn’t stopped by for 5 or 6 years. I was pleasantly surprised to see how it had improved. There are lots of new shops, many smaller independent shops – which I always find more interesting than branches of big chains – as well as a huge number of new eateries. Where MBK felt like a tourist trap for so long, it was mainly Thais when I stopped by. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you stop by, but it was a lot better than it was and I enjoyed exploring.

It is 13 years since I drove in Thailand – actually drive a car and not just ride as a passenger – and while I did not drive this past trip, I thought the driving standards were better than they used to be. When I first started driving in Thailand in 2003 it felt like chaos on the roads but this past trip I got the impression that while there are still some incredibly reckless drivers in Thailand, driving standards are perhaps not quite as bad as they used to be. If you’re a long-time driver in Thailand, do you find that to be the case? Of course the other big issue with driving in Thailand – and especially in central Bangkok – is finding a parking space. That was every bit as difficult as it used to be, perhaps even more so!

Thailand’s largest expat forum is for sale. Asean Now – once known as Thai Visa – is for sale. I wonder how that will go given that most Thailand-centric English-language forums and websites have seen a very large drop in traffic as people increasingly gravitate towards YouTube, Facebook and other social media. Asean Now is peppered with adverts so I imagine that it generates decent income but what sort of projections are there for future income? While there are always better ways to do something, I can’t imagine that there are any genuine projections to grow the user base, and therefore the site’s income.  The obvious question, of course, is just how much do they want for it? Best of luck to the owners.


Meet her at Red Dragon, Nana Plaza.


One of the teeny weeny niceties about visiting Thailand is the prices of food and drink at some airport eateries. Sure, air-side there are many outlets with prices that are much higher than you’d pay downtown – but if you look around there are some decent deals for a busy international airport. I wiled away the time before my flight home at the Zurich Bread Cafe where a coffee and an almond croissant was 185 baht. Very reasonable when you consider it wouldn’t cost much less in a decent outlet downtown – and it is significantly cheaper than I’d pay in a basic cafe here in New Zealand for the same two items.

Thais are becoming much more sophisticated and discerning when it comes to international food. Out with the same group who I talked to about the popularity of foreign men, one of the other topics of conversation was pizza. I told them about how myself and a Canadian friend were regulars at the Pizza Hut 65 baht buffet in the late ’90s and we’d chuckle when we saw Thais putting ketchup on pizza. They all laughed, admitting that they used to do that when they were younger. Today, they wouldn’t dream of it. And they were very clear in their preference for pizza, Italian-style and absolutely not American-style. Yep, they know the difference. Bright girls! Incidentally, Pizza One, the new pizza delivery outfit I mentioned last week is revising its menu, adding some new items that should be available this week. The number to call to order is: 02-000-4206. You can also order on their website or via Line.


Napoli-style pizza at Pizza One, Sukhumvit soi 7/1.


Thailand-Related News Article Links

Quote of the week comes from a friend, “There are very few bar managers who work in the industry long-term who don’t end up suffering from it in some way.”

Bloomberg reports fewer Chinese than expected are visiting Thailand.

Dave The Rave looks at the new Dollhouse sign which went up at the Soi Cowboy bar this week.

A horrific accident at Don Meuang Airport this week where a female’s leg gets stuck in a travelator and had to be amputated there and then at the airport to free her.

An American Internet personality got kicked out of a restaurant in Bangkok and arrested after the manager found him giving lap dances.


Meet her at Red Dragon, Nana Plaza.


Closing Comments

Pretty lady in the photo above, eh? I am very pleased to work with Digital A Gogo and run their fantastic photos of bar ladies in the column every week. Not only is Digital A Gogo capturing images of ladies in the bars as good as anyone ever has, the photos featured here are current. All of the ladies featured in this column were photographed this week. Every one of these photos is no more than 7 days old. If you see a lady you’d like to get to know better, rest assured these aren’t old photos and these ladies are current employees in the bars. Fancy one of these ladies? Go and see her! Don’t be slow though, another Stickman reader might beat you to her!


Your Bangkok commentator,



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nana plaza