Stickman's Weekly Column August 13th, 2023

Stickman Weekly, August 13, 2023



He Clinic Bangkok


Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken of the small alley which connects Sukhumvit soi 6 with the sub-soi off Sukhumvit soi 8 where you find Lolita’s. This week’s photo shows what was once a glorious venue in downtown Bangkok that has fallen in to ruin. I used to love this place in the past and mentioned it quite a lot back in the day – but that is going back many years. Where is it?





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

Hellbent on living in Thailand.

CBD bangkok
Whatever they do with the retirement visa won’t affect the flood of disaffected Westerners hellbent on residence-in-Thailand for whatever reason. Cryptobros with more cash than brains, Ukrainians / Russians seeking refuge from cold weather and hot steel, Chinese citizens who prefer to stay in Asia but not in the land of Alipay. Some came here on holiday and remain enraptured, more than a few have never set foot in the Kingdom but “I heard great things.” Oft-cited as motivation for the mythic move: inflation, political correctness run amok, political poltroons pilfering the public purse, overweening crime, and the price of petrol. Can it be a lemmings-like stampede from all corners of the globe? “Enough!” cry the harassed masses, “let’s hie off to the Land of Smiles and survive on 30-baht noodle bowls!” Some will thrive, some will merely survive.

Mandatory health insurance for retirees.

I really hate the idea of mandatory health insurance. I can see that it’s useful for people who can’t afford a sudden emergency, but people who can afford things like this should be allowed to take their own risks. I’m sure someone’s getting kickbacks somewhere.

Getting assistance to navigate visa rules.

New visa rules? Yes, perhaps it will happen, but eradicating “bad” people should be the responsibility of both the Immigration Police and the regular Police. But, there are also “bad” people in the system. Note that the three 2-star Immigration generals making billions of baht involved in selling long-term visas to up to 1,500 Chinese along with (according to Big Joke) up to 102 other Immigration officers has pretty much disappeared from the media. If all those folks were doing their jobs corruption-free, wouldn’t that help? Add to that the ubiquitous “visa brokers” usually connected to or retired from Immigration. How can somebody applying for their retirement visa extension magically have banking records and other key proofs appear and accepted in getting their extension approved? The various law enforcement agencies aren’t blind. I’d assume they know who the bad boys are. There’s plenty of riff-raff floating around. I can recall a fellow who told me proudly he’d been here illegally for 16 years and even allowed his passport to expire. He was always in some type of low-grade trouble yet for some inexplicable reason when stopped by the police he was never asked to show his passport / proof of visa. Word is he finally stumbled somehow and was scooped up by Immigration and deported. I don’t know how long he mouldered away in the Immigration Detention Centre before finally departing. On the flip-side, I know of some outstanding elderly folks (mid 80’s) who use the bogus visa broker service since there’s no way they could afford paying for legitimate medical insurance or maintain the requisite 800,000 baht in the bank. They resort to visa brokers; 25,000 baht was the going fee to the broker plus the usual extension fee for Immigration.

wonderland clinic



More Readers’ Emails

Criminal record checks throw a wide net.

As a guy closing in on 50 with a record from some rowdy years in my early 20s, how far-reaching should a criminal record check go? Not even a speeding ticket since my blatant disregard for future consequences as a young 20-year-old working the door got me in trouble and sent away for a few months. I get the words you wrote in this week’s column came from a position of logic and sound mind, but there is no black and white, except when it comes to background checks. I felt a bit worried when you wrote that everybody with a record should be barred from entry, or at least any long-stay visa applicant. I felt worried because I love Thailand and my plans very much include someday wanting to retire there or stay in-country for half the year somehow. I am confident you came from a good place when you put down your opinion, and as a long-time follower I know you as a very sound and reasonable guy with your head on your shoulders. But it kicked my gut in a way that only my past has a tendency to do, and I am someone who likes to look forward.

Grand-dad’s origin.

You used the phrase “grandfathered in” when talking about retirement visas. You might be interested in the origin of that phrase. In 19th century America, when the slaves won their freedom as a result of the Civil War, they won the right to vote. The Southern States, in an effort to restrict the black vote, instituted ‘voting tests’. These tests asked questions that many whites couldn’t answer. However, if your grandfather voted, you were exempt from the test.

Ladyboys and straight guys.

They have tested how gay and heterosexual men react to pictures of ladyboys, using MR scanning. Certain areas of the brain get increased blood flow when people think of sex. And as you point out, there is little reaction from gay men when they are presented with photos of ladyboys. When ladyboys reach middle-age they sometimes start looking like a sweet, old (fat) lady. I remember a mamasan who had had so much hormone treatment in her life that it was impossible to tell that she had once been a man.

Higher prices spreading in Pattaya.

I’ve been saying to people for several years now that if you like to “indulge” in the gogo bars then it’s now more expensive to do so on Walking Street than in many bars in Bangkok. I’ve not been down to Pattaya for a while now, but I’m reliably informed that some of the prices associated with Walking Street are now spreading to Soi LK Metro as well <One expects that when the number of Koreans and other Asians gravitating to LK Metro reaches critical mass, exactly the same thing will happen there as has happened on Walking Street alreadyStick>.





This Week’s News, Views & Gossip

The Biergarten is gone, but the word is that its remains might not disappear altogether. It is believed the plan is to keep the exterior fascia on soi 7 of the Biergarten while one or two exits out of 7 Center Point (AKA the soi 7 beer bar complex) will be added with a new bar / bazaar complex inside what was the Biergarten.

What is going on with Sukhumvit’s biggest group of beer bars where staff have not been paid their salary? Girls worked July, in some cases almost every day from morning to night, and as of yesterday still have not been paid for last month. It might seem amusing to those who have had a bad experience with a Thai working girl to see the shoe on the other foot, but there is nothing hillaryous about it for everyone who is yet to be paid. What is unusual is that the girls are very tight-lipped as to why they have not been paid which begs the question: what’s going on?

In Soi Nana, the African girls are again floating around in numbers with African men seen lingering close by. These men appear to be their pimps and unlike in the past where they stayed in the shadows, these days they seem to be making little effort to hide.

Some bar bosses have commented that customer expectations are high and there are more and more customers exhibiting a very self-entitled attitude. If things don’t go how they expect, some customers are very quick to tell bar bosses how they will get online and tell the world about it. Who’d want to be a bar boss?


Random II features a new, colourful frontage.


The Random bars in Nana Plaza have always had a colourful frontage, but the owner of Random II ripped it out earlier this week and replaced it with what has been described as a colourful checkboard. Is it better than what was there before? Was it done to differentiate the different Random bars? Who knows what goes on the mind of Thai gogo owners?!

Angelwitch has become the second Nana Plaza bar to introduce “real” pole-dancing shows. For a couple of weeks, the bar has had a professional pole dancer working with the showgirls and putting on solo shows on weekends. On Friday, she was joined by her gal pals from the Embrace dance squad for a full-on chrome-pole acrobatic show. As I noted a couple of months ago, Butterflies also has real dance shows on from Thursday through to Sunday nights, performed at 10:00 PM, 11:00 and midnight. As far as I know, these girls in the pole-dancing troop cannot be barfined which begs the question as to why the bars brought them in? They provide entertainment that many of the mainstream visitors enjoy.

“This bar needs a smoke machine,” Joe Delaney, the manager of Angelwitch, remarked this week while watching an early show at the middle-floor Nana Plaza gogo bar. Angelwitch has had a bit of a decorative upgrade this month, with some colourful paper lanterns hung around the bar, adding some colour to the historically all-black bar. More renovations are planned in coming months that should see Angelwitch get a very much-needed refresh. But, no, a smoke machine is not on the cards.

Does any gogo bar in Bangkok have a smoke machine? Yes! Actually, Tycoon A Gogo & Lounge added one before the start of its Techno Tuesday theme nights last month. While the bosses think it’s cool, the girls most definitely do not. Why? The smoke jet is only a couple meters from the stage and right at eye level. No-one has seen so much coughing, hacking and face covering among Thais since Covid!


Patpong soi 2, what was The Strip is now Kinky Girls.


How much has the reopening of The Strip – renamed as Kinky Girls – in Patpong helped Bangkok’s original red-light district? Not much. A couple of friends did the rounds in Patpong on Thursday and found that it’s not as depressing as it was a few months ago, but still pales in comparison to Nana Plaza, or even Soi Cowboy. Kinky Girls, which has retained its bright red-orange exterior, brings much needed illumination to otherwise dark and gloomy Patpong Soi 2. That the Patpong Foodland branch remains open – which was in doubt for a while – also helps to throw some light over the soi where many venues remain closed and in darkness. Soi 2 would be awfully bleak without Foodland. Some of the old crew from each of The Strip and Black Pagoda are now dancing in Kinky Girls. It’s still early days but Kinky Girls is said to get busier later in the evening so try it after 11:00 PM.

Hands down, my friends agreed, the best-looking girls in Patpong are at the three Kings Castle bars on Soi 1. Having said that, visiting KC 1 or 2, or just the unnumbered Kings Castle (which used to be the ladyboy King’s Corner) is a waste of time for white guys looking for company. In King’s Castle 1 & 2, in particular, whitey gets ignored just as much as they do in Baccara at the weekend. If you aren’t Asian, don’t expect to get much attention. The Kings bars also leave those paying attention awkward as many ladies look much younger than their ID cards would say. We shouldn’t forget that King’s 1 has been raided more than once for underage girls.

One surprising thing about the King’s bar, despite being dominated by Japanese and Korean customers, is that smoking isn’t allowed inside. You’d think that would be a deal-breaker for most of their client base.



Stepping into the Kings bars, it becomes starkly obvious why Patpong has become the ugly stepsister to Nana and Cowboy. The bars are old, look old, feel old and for me, worst of all, smell old! The lighting is harsh, furniture is broken and the sound systems are a joke. In King’s 1, speakers are located in one end of the bar. Sit at the other end, and the music plays at background level, a bizarrely low-volume for a gogo bar. If you’re trying to have a conversation it’s great, but it also saps Kings of any sort of vibe. Compare this with, say, the superb sound system and vibe of Billboard which feels more like a high-end club than a gogo bar.

It’s not all bad in Patpong and one bar Bada Bing, is worth going out of your way for. Many regard Bada Bing as the classiest chrome pole bar in Patpong. The French owner is on-site, ensuring good service. The agency girls, although not as young and slim as their Kings sisters, certainly are of legal age, have better English and are still very attractive. A lot of effort is made to maintain standards at Bada Bing to the extent that the upholstery of the plush, comfy sofas is ripped out and replaced every year.

Bada Bing has installed a new LED display which has been described as quite impressive. That part of the soi has been quite dark since a handful of bars were closed some months ago so all new lighting on the soi is welcome.



The other Patpong soi 2 bar worth stopping by is at the other end of the soi, Pink Panther. Pink Panther is also managed by a Frenchman (who used to pilot the defunct Glamour) and the bar has long had a team of attractive dancers. Visit early and you may wonder why so many lovely ladies continue to work the poles at Pink Panther rather than find riches in Nana or Cowboy. Early evening in Pink Panther can be quiet but like Kinky Girls, it gets busier later.

It sounds like things may have turned around at the Patpong Night Market on soi 1. Visitors are predominately Western families as well as young groups from Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, and a few from Japan.

Speaking of the Japanese, the relatively weak Japanese yen has been attributed as one reason for a decline in Japanese visitor numbers in the nightlife areas.

While the bars in Patpong are better than they were, it’s not the same for eateries in the area. From a popular restaurant in the wider Patpong area, the owner tells me things are slow and in his words, “Low season is pretty low this year.”



In recent months there have been a number of comments about issues with Soi Cowboy bars padding bills. This should not put you off visiting Soi Cowboy, rather it’s something to be aware of and a reminder to keep an eye on your bill. If you’re looking for a good night in Soi Cowboy trouble-free, I’d recommend any of Dollhouse, Baccara, Rainbow or Suzie Wong.

The Rugby World Cup kicks off next month with the opening match to be played between heavyweights France and New Zealand. The final will be held on October 29 so it’s a long tournament. For rugby fans in Thailand, matches will be shown live on beIN SPORT. The challenge for rugby fans is that many matches kick off around 2:00 AM Thailand time. Tough if you have work the next morning! And for those keen to head out to watch Rugby World Cup matches in the bars, most bars will be closed. While the Thai authorities have tended to look the other way when the Football World Cup takes place and allow bars to stay open late, rugby doesn’t have anything like the same following in Thailand as football. At this stage it’s not clear which bars plan to stay open and show the matches. I’ll include more info about where to watch matches nearer the time.

As white men in each of Angeles City and Pattaya rant about the influx of free-spending Korean men pushing up the price expectations of ladies in the best bars, so too do white residents of Phnom Penh feel the same way. Not about Koreans, but about white guys from Thailand who head across the border and throw money around in an equally free-spending manner which raises the local ladies price expectations.


Milk, Soi Diamond, Pattaya.


Down in Pattaya, I used to frequently mention Le Pub in Soi Diamond, run by long-time bar boss, Mister Egg. The egg-headed owner tells me Le Pub has been doing well. In fact, post Covid it is doing better than before. The bar has new seating, new TVs and an improved social media presence. Not one to rest on his laurels, when Mister Egg received a phone call from his landlady asking if he was interested in taking over the space next door which had been empty for 3 years, he jumped at the chance. Mister Egg opened Milk which he describes as a “closed topless bar” – think attractive, gogo-bar-quality girls who don’t dance but rather chat and engage with customers. There is no smoking and the music is played at a much lower volume than your typical Pattaya gogo bar. Stop by and check it out.

Is Walking Street better known as a place to see sexy girls dance in bikinis, or a place to get high? The numbers suggest that it’s a close run thing with – at current count – 19 gogo bars and 16 cannabis shops spanning what was once Pattaya’s nightlife ground zero. Has the prevalence of cannabis stores caused a reduction in the number of gogo bars? Not at all. There have been plenty of leases available recently for any would-be gogo bar operators but as was often discussed in this column, many spaces on Walking Street remained vacant for months. But perhaps the question that needs to be asked is whether the proliferation of cannabis stores has changed the vibe and the character of Walking Street. From bargoers, the answer is a very clear yes.

From a long-term Pattaya bar industry figure comes comment that Walking Street really isn’t the same. Andy selling Dollhouse was like saying goodbye to one of the last of the old guard. Which other long-running Western gogo bar operators on Walking Street have been around for a long time? Other than David from Windmill who bought Dollhouse, I can’t think of any!


Party time in Soi Boomerang.


At Heaven Above on Soi Boomerang, owner Greg and manager Captain Hornbag share the same birthday, so this coming Wednesday, August 16, Greg and the Captain will celebrate together. Captain Hornbag tells me the vault is full – the bar has 50 – 60 ladies most nights, many of them recent imports from Dollhouse, Electric Blue and XXX.

Is IvyGo open or is IvyGo closed? The latest I have heard is that stop-start-stop-start Walking Street gogo bar is open again. For how long, who knows?

Following on from the comments a few paragraphs earlier about weed stores on Walking Street, back in Bangkok I hear many weed shops get very few customers throughout the day as more people comment that most seem to be empty. The exceptions seem to be those in prime locations on Sukhumvit, from Nana down to Emporium. I imagine that things will shake out over the coming year as those with the best product, service, location and price will survive while many others disappear.


Sale time at Zippbike Warehouse.


Are you a fan of small-label English beers? ZippBike, the Bangkok delivery company, this week will have a warehouse sale featuring crazy-low prices on Adnams, and craft beers Cranbourne Poacher, Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, Wicked Wyvern, Tangle Foot, Old Peculier and Fursty Ferret. Prices start at just 60 baht for 500 ml bottles of the imports when purchased in cases of eight or 12. The sale runs Wednesday through Friday from 10 AM to 7 PM at ZippBike’s Sukhumvit Soi 6 warehouse and features deals on San Miguel Light and Two Trees Irish craft vodka and gin, as well as a 350-baht Chinese buffet from Wokstar Express on Wednesday and draught pints of Irish Stout each day that will decrease in price each day, until the supply is exhausted. The English beers also are available at similar sale prices on ZippBike’s website while supplies last.

How much can one single social-media post help a Bangkok gogo bar? If that post goes viral – not just normal viral, but nuclear viral – it can be revolutionary. On August 3rd, Digital Mints, the Pattaya photography & marketing agency that is a partner of Digital a-Go-Go in Bangkok, posted one in a series of videos shot in Nana Plaza’s Red Dragon last month. And, for reasons no that one-can explain, the video exploded. While other videos in the series did respectably – tens of thousands of views each – the viral Red Dragon video, as of Friday, had had 11 MILLION views! Red Dragon was “tagged” in the post and, as a result, the gogo bar, in one week, has picked up 11,000 followers (it had 3,000-some prior to that), and had 6 MILLION visits to the Red Dragon Facebook page. Needless to say, Red Dragon’s owners are beside themselves happy. If you’ve got a bar (or other business) that could use that kind of exposure, contact Digital a-Go-Go at:



Following on from the opener in last week’s column where I suggested that if the Thai authorities were genuinely interested in preventing foreign gangsters from living in Thailand, they should enforce the existing law that anyone who has served a jail term cannot enter Thailand. It can be confirmed that the Thai embassy in New Zealand and the Thai consulate in Los Angeles each require proof of a clean criminal record when you apply for a non-immigrant O visa (which you need to then apply for a retirement visa extension in Thailand). Do other embassies and consulates require this?

There is another option for those wishing to stay long-term in Thailand which has not been mentioned in this column before – the long-time-residence visa. This visa only became available from September of last year. There are various categories through which you can apply and for retirees, if you are aged over 50 with an annual retirement income of at least 80,000 USD, you qualify. You may also qualify if your income is over 40,000 USD and you have 250K USD in Thai stocks or property. This visa differentiates from other visas in that it is a ten-year visa. The cost is 50,000 baht which, when you consider the length of the visa, that there are no 90-day reporting requirements or re-entry permits needed, sounds like a very good deal. It should be noted that the long-time-residence visa is applied for in Thailand at the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), and not at an embassy or consulate outside the country as is the case with other visas. Once you have the BOI’s approval, they then take you to Thai Immigration. For those who qualify, this could be a very convenient visa option.



Sometimes I forget how long this website has been around, and how long I have been writing this column. I was reminded of that this week when a long-time reader emailed me with an exchange we had when his passport was stolen back in 2003. In an email from 2010, said reader said that each time he arrived in or exited from Thailand it would take an extra 5 – 10 minutes as the Immigration officer had to get approval from a supervisor to let him in or out. When this fellow applied for a non-immigrant O visa in the USA recently, he was told that there’s a red flag in the visa system and that he is on some kind of blacklist due to reporting his passport as stolen all those years ago. Despite that, he has had no problem coming and going from Thailand over the past 20 years during which time he has made dozens of visits including two earlier this year. He has been told to contact the Immigration Department in Thailand to get a letter saying that everything is all clear related to the lost passport. Hopefully he can get it sorted out. I know a few people who have lost their passport in Thailand – and no-one else has ever mentioned such an issue when applying for a visa at an embassy / consulate. My best guess – and it is only that, a guess – is that back in the day if you reported a passport lost or stolen a note was put in the Immigration computer. At some stage that note probably should have been removed but it never was – and it is only now when said reader applied for a visa that it is causing a problem. Has this happened to anyone else?



Thailand-Related News Articles

Reader’s story of the week is a nice self-reflection, Jimmy’s Return to Bangkok, Part 2.

A Thai bought a brand-new house in Khon Kaen and has discovered mould spreading throughout.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is opening more offices around the world.

A Brit is left with one leg 3 inches shorter than the other after surgery following a motorbike accident on Ko Samui.

A Brit father and son get in to fisticuffs with security at Matador Bar in Soi LK Metro, Pattaya.

Indians brawl in the early hours in Pattaya in the fight for a local lady’s attention.

A Spanish chef who killed and dismembered his boyfriend is the son of a two famous Spanish film stars.




Closing Comments

The next several weeks are typically the quietest time of year in the naughty bars, the trough of the low season. But that absolutely does not mean it’s a miserable time to visit. There’s a pretty good argument that this is, in fact, a very good time to visit. For naughty boys, there are fewer punters around which means much less competition for ladies attention. The downside, of course, is that it’s the rainy season. Seasoned visitors know that the rain is generally not that much of a problem. Get a hotel as close to the action as possible such as the Nana Hotel and the rains can be largely avoided. If you visit primarily for the nightlife, now really is a great time to visit. If I was a naughty boy, I’d be on a plane.


Your Bangkok commentator,



Stick can be contacted at :

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