Stickman's Weekly Column August 27th, 2023

Stickman Weekly, August 27, 2023



Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken at the top of Sukhumvit soi 11, a part of town that has been featured in a number of mystery photos this year. This week’s photo was not taken in the Sukhumvit area. Do you know where it is?





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

Decades on, Long Gun continues to delight.

He Clinic Bangkok

While in Soi Cowboy I had a look in Long Gun, for old times’ sake. The place is like a time capsule, just like Sexy Night in Nana Plaza. Nothing has really changed there over the last 25 or 30 years, but somehow I prefer these bars over the new, flashy places. Got the regular questions. What your name? Where you from? And then someone asked if I had visited the bar before. When I confirmed that I had, she asked how long I had been visiting the bar. ”Oh, just over 30 years or so….” The ladies were surprised, saying that they weren’t even born then, and became very curious. They asked me whether it had changed a lot, especially the shows. I told them that absolutely NOTHING had changed there, and even the shows were from the late ’80s / early ’90s! Thank God the ladies have been refreshed though! Anyway, the girls I was chatting with were a nice and polite bunch and the vibe was good. Of course they appreciated it when they got lady drinks – they have to make a living too – but they weren’t the typical lady drink hunting sharks you see so often nowadays. They were really grateful for each and every drink and didn’t down it in one gulp, and immediately ask for another. Maybe I was lucky that I met a bunch of the nicer ones, but good times were had. Even a nice and polite mamasan joined the conversation, so they’re not all ruthless money hunters. I thought I’d have just a drink or two, but ended up staying for a few hours through to closing time, with girls and bar staff really making an effort to give me the best time possible. The quality of the girls in the looks department was average with some good-looking, some average and some who might like to look for another job. Music was decent, old school rock during the shows and quite a few Thai songs in between, with even some Morlam thrown in (always good to get the girls in a cheerful mood). And it wasn’t played at ear-splitting level.

Stickman spices up the muesli.

Stickman is always a good Sunday read and it makes my breakfast muesli more appetizing once a week. Just three comments arising from the 20 August edition.
1.  On possible retirement visa changes, you are right that agents could handle 1.2 million baht as well as they do 800,000 baht. But what if all applicants (unless bed-ridden) had to turn up in person at Immigration with their documentation? This was recently hinted by Big Joke, deputy police chief who was formerly Immigration commander for a few months.
2.  As you say, comprehensive medical insurance is very problematical for retirees over 70. Still, it’s worth noting that virtually all publicized cases in Thailand of foreigners unable to pay hospital bills have not been elderly retirees but young tourists involved in motorbike accidents or being stupid on condo balconies. They would not have been covered by notional insurance policies anyway because they had taken alcohol or drugs, or were not wearing a crash helmet, or were otherwise voided by the fine print of the policy.
3.  How right you are about the market for Elite visas. Even if 20 years were to cost 5 million baht, that’s peanuts to the mostly Chinese or Russian “investors” who are keen to be free to travel here whenever they wish without hassle.

CBD bangkok



More Readers Emails

Check-in troubles.

Just some information to maybe pass onto your readers. I was flying out of Bangkok this week on my way to Vientiane on Laos Air. Due to the fact that my passport and current Thai visa were due to expire in two days’ time, I was refused check in. I explained that I had a valid second passport with a current e-visa, which I intended to use on arrival in Vientiane. This was not good enough for the airline staff who insisted that Lao Immigration would want to see my exit stamp from Bangkok. Even when I explained I would just show the two passports, this was not acceptable to check in staff. To cut a long story short, a visit to Lao Airline’s office and a call to the powers that be allowed me to get on the flight. I had to sign a paper saying I would take responsibility for all outcomes and would buy another Lao visa. I arrived in Vientiane, showed two passports, and was accepted without any problem. I did not buy another Lao visa.

Fond Nana memories.

It was interesting to read about that space above Tycoon finally being used again. Erotica, the former occupant of Tycoon, was for a very long time one of my favourite bars in the plaza. I remember way back in Erotica’s early days in the “aughts”, that space used to be their upstairs gogo stage similar to how Mandarin and Baccara had two floors. It wasn’t open in that capacity for very long and then it simply became the girls dressing room (I wasn’t even aware about the karaoke space – that must have happened between my annual visits!). But I do remember making my way up those narrow stairs a few times back in the day.

wonderland clinic

Heavies on the look-out for runners.

On the topic of “runners”, it explains why a number of Pattaya gogo bars have highly visible security guys inside the bar. Strong guys standing around, and despite sometimes standing in front of your view not much of a hinder. I guess they do watch if you order, and if there are problems with payment. However, when I left one bar after paying for a number of lady drinks, they were more than friendly in welcoming me back on my next visit.



What is Optimus Prime doing in Bangkok?


This Week’s News, Views & Gossip

One of the things I like so much about Bangkok, and Thailand in general, is that anything can happen next. Expect the unexpected. And it’s not just that almost anything can happen, it’s that often what you come across is just plain fun. It might be something novel and humorous, or it might be something that makes you go wow. This week one reader and one Nana bar boss sent photos and video of Optimus Prime, one of the large robots in the Transformer movies, jiggling on Soi Nana. Someone has created an elaborate Optimus Prime suit and is performing on Soi Nana for tips. It must be terribly hot and uncomfortable in that outfit but if the reaction of those who told me about it is anything to go by, it brings a smile to the faces of all who see it.

Down in Pattaya, long time bar manager Paul whose previous appointments include Misty’s and Babydolls can now be found managing the hands on bar Windmill. Funnily enough, Windmill is said to be rather less hands on than it once was. Make of that what you will.

The controversial proposal to widen Soi Cowboy – and demolish the Neon Alley’s outside bars – is not only still alive, but could begin in early November. Those charged with getting this done were out taking measurements of the street on Thursday. This is real. The timing of the highly disruptive roadwork – something residents and visitors in Pattaya know all too well – makes you scratch your head, with Soi Cowboy likely to be dug up throughout high season. But it’s also dry season, which is why so much roadwork is done during those months. The proposal – which would see Soi Cowboy doubled in width, overhead power lines and low-hanging signs removed and (finally) a modern drainage system installed – is highly controversial among bar owners. But the anger ratcheted up another notch this week when it was disclosed that patio bars on only one side of the street may fall to the bulldozers. You can just imagine the anger that will cause!



In a previous column I said that the renovations of Spanky’s in Nana Plaza were complete. In fact, there’s still quite a bit to do, the boss tells me, and likely won’t be complete for another month. Recent improvements, however, have given the bar a fresh new look. The white, all-glass bar top is now paired with a white LED-lit bar back. The shower’s plexiglass has been replaced, the shower floor now has the Spanky’s logo and its base is lit behind blue glass. More work on the bar shelving to add mirrors, new sofas and removal of other old fixtures still remains.

In a recent column I mentioned how a gogo bar owner had told me that customers doing a runner without paying was an entirely new problem his bar was facing. In many bars it would be hard to sneak out without the staff realising but there is one bar where one imagines it would not be that difficult. That bar is Dollhouse on Soi Cowboy. Dollhouse is spread over two floors but there is something of a design flaw with no bathroom downstairs. When nature calls, you have to go upstairs. And the stairs to go upstairs are right beside the one and only door in and out of the bar. So you walk from the main bar area back towards the entrance / exit but instead of leaving the bar and going out on to the soi, you take the stairs to the upper level. The staircase is concealed from the bar by a wall and, if my memory serves me right, a curtain. I can’t imagine it would be difficult to go out the door and exit the bar, instead of going up the stairs. I imagine there is a reason why there are no toilets downstairs but at the same time it’s a head-scratcher. As best I can remember, it’s always been this way – and in fairness, I have not heard anything over the years to suggest that Dollhouse has had an issue with runners.


A good deal at Kicking Donkey.


But a quick note to anyone who does successfully do a runner from any bar. Don’t go back – not just to that bar – but to that bar area. Don’t as in never, as in not in your lifetime. Thais have amazingly good memories. You will be remembered and in some bars the staff might get (quite rightfully) nasty about it. Some might even call the cops – and while you might think that it would be hard for them to prove anything, do you really want to get stuck in the spider’s web that is dealing with the Thai police.

The cool-named Kicking Donkey is located on Sukhumvit Soi 6 alongside its sibling establishment, Champs Bar. Kicking Donkey offers a burger deal every Sunday where a burger, fries and a draft beer, will set you back just 350 baht. The bar has also introduced breakfast starting from 10 AM from Wednesday through to Sunday. Live sports are shown on their big screen TVs and the bar has free pool.

The moon goes full every 28 days and that means, in August, there are two Full Moon Parties at Shark on Soi Cowboy and Red Dragon in Nana Plaza. The “blue moon” party will see the usual antics with body paint and glow-bands. At Red Dragon, Bacardi rum drinks will be 95 baht all night while at Shark, draft beer will be 95 baht all night and all drinks will be that price until 9:30 PM.


It’s that time of the month, again.


Long-time naughty boy visitors to Bangkok have their favourite hotels and many stay in the same hotel they have been staying at for decades. Some of the classic naughty boy class hotels as I like to refer to them are no longer in business. Think The Federal (closed several years ago), The Honey (also closed several years ago) and a few others. Soi Nana favourites like Dynasty Inn and the Nana Hotel remain popular. For naughty boys with class (that would be you, dear reader, and almost the entire Stickman readership), some prefer a more upmarket hotel close to the nightlife, a more plush hotel where you can come and go with a different lady each time you return to the hotel and won’t be hassled at all. For these guys, The Landmark has been a long-time favourite. But The Landmark Hotel is changing and its popularity with Caucasians may be coming to an end. Recent reports have it that the Landmark is very much on the map for our friends from the Middle East and has become a favourite place for Arabs to stay. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given it is located across the road from what I often refer to as Soi Arab. Arab guests in The Landmark is not something new but the sheer number of Arab guests has reached a point where the vibe of the hotel has changed. An email this past week from a long-time and very reliable reader who has a long history of staying at The Landmark, reported that more than 90% of hotel guests appeared to be Arabs. Entering the lobby felt like wandering around downtown Mecca. At the pool, Muslim ladies were swimming in their black Muslim garb. Whatever happened to lazy afternoons at The Landmark pool where guests relaxed with a lady they had barfined for a week? Many of the TV channels are in Arabic or in English but from that part of the world, such as Al Jazeera. How long will it be until bacon quietly disappears from the breakfast buffet? I have no doubt that The Landmark is still a very pleasant place to stay – just note that the vibe of old may be somewhat different these days.

Still on the topic of The Landmark Hotel, renovations have been a feature at the property recently with bars and restaurants on the ground floor, as well as the basement space that was The Huntsman, undergoing renovations. The new bar & restaurant in the basement will not be called The Huntsman. Word is it will be similar to The Huntsman.



Is the bar industry crying out for a new Nanapong dance contest? It has been far too long since the last Nanapong dance contest and a new Nanapong event would be a great way to signal that things are back to where they were. But could it happen? Big Andy who has lent ladies to many Nanapong contests no longer has Dollhouse or Electric Blue and doesn’t appear to be in that business any more and I have not heard anything since before Covid of those who used to organise / MC the Nanapong events. Are they still around or have they – like so many – moved on? Could we see another Nanapong dance contest or are they now part of Bangkok’s bar history?

Word is that there are more watch sellers than ever on Soi Cowboy. Vendors roaming the soi offering their wares bring a little colour to the soi and are hardly intrusive. The shoe-shine brigade and the flower salespeople are said to be few and far between, but my main man on Soi Cowboy tells me that in recent weeks there have been more watch sellers than he can remember in his 20 years visiting Soi Cowboy. All of the dodgy watch sellers are from the sub-continent. I guess there’s more money in knock-off watches than nuts – in the old days, Indians wandered around the nightlife area selling nuts.

In last week’s column I wrote: “Thais are getting bigger. The days when you would hardly see a fat Thai are long gone. For those who like someone on the skinnier side, get yourself along to B52 where you’ll find many slim lovelies as per the photo below. You might just find what you’re looking for. Not my style, but it might be yours.” The B52 girl featured last week was in fact a ladyboy. Not one of you sent an email to say you knew that she was a he. Did anyone make it along to B52 to meet her?



And also from last week’s column, I featured a bonus mystery photo with not just a mystery location run last week, but also a photo of a mystery device which one reader had photographed on the skytrain platform. A couple of clever readers noted that the photo showed a company logo MJ. It was tracked down online and confirmed to be a jet fan.

One bar – or to be more precise, a group of bars – appears to have a policy where they do not talk to bar industry commentators. Unfortunately, the policy is about as effective as Maxwell Smart’s cone of silence. If I want to know what is going on in bars in the group, you just ask one of many people who are friendly with management, and they spill the beans. Most bar owners are straightforward to deal with but a few are odd.

The reputation Thailand has in this part of the world has really changed. Where once bringing up Thailand would get a nudge, nudge, wink, wink reaction, these days it’s more likely to have people talking about food poisoning than neon lights, chrome poles and sexy ladies in bikinis. On that note, I was thinking about how often I used to get an upset stomach in Bangkok – whether full-on food poisoning or just a case of the trots. For the first seven years, I probably ate something I would react to perhaps once a year or so. After that, I don’t think it happened again. Did I develop an resistance to local bugs? Did hygiene standards increase? Who knows.



I don’t want to talk politics and I know you don’t tune in for anything political, but at the same time I can’t ignore the big story in Thailand this week which was the return of Thaksin Shinawatra to the country after 17 years in exile. He returned knowing he would be imprisoned, having been found guilty in three criminal cases. I note that many foreigners living in Thailand are of the view that Thaksin was a bad guy and was no good for Thailand. The period in which he was Prime Minister was one when the country seemed to be humming along, doing better economically than any other period I have known. That was a great time for Thais and foreigners living in the country. Thais have long complained about the economy but that was a time when everyone seemed to be making money. Thaksin returned to Thailand this week, and was sent to jail. Within 12 hours he was out of jail and in the Police Hospital after complaining about various medical issues including insomnia. He had not even been in jail for one night and a complaint about insomnia was considered credible? Thaksin is currently being treated in a luxurious suite in the Police Hospital with some punters predicting it won’t be long before his supposed health issues see him sent home as prison simply doesn’t have the facilities to treat someone with so many maladies. You can’t shake the feeling that this was all pre-arranged which further adds to the idea that politics in Thailand is one great charade. I don’t know what to make of the man. When he was in charge, the economy did well, while at the same time there are all sorts of stories of massive corruption and unusual wealth. While most white guys in Thailand appear to dislike – or even disdain – the man, he was pro-business and as pro-foreigner as any Prime Minister I can remember in Thailand.



Thailand-Related News Articles

Reader’s story of the week comes from Jimmy, Return To Bangkok Part 5.

The Digital Economy Minister wants to shut down Facebook in Thailand due to the platform being scam-ridden.

Finnair is increasing its Helsinki – Bangkok flights to two per day from late October as demand increases.

Tourism on Ko Samui is said to be back to pre-Covid levels.

The new Prime Minister is talking about building new airports in Phuket and Chiang Mai.

Thailand’s new Prime Minister is profiled by The Guardian.

One Nigerian and 13 Thais are arrested over romance scams in Thailand.

Could the end be coming for the outdoor bar areas outside Soi Cowboy’s gogo bars?



Closing Comments

What a crap week it’s been in New Zealand where my focus has been on the home front and not on Thailand. I spent the week serving on a jury in what I can only describe as a really icky case. Think an old man and very young female family members. I have been embroiled in a dispute with my next-door neighbours whose family members crashed their car in to the fence between our two properties. It is a tricky situation due to insurance only covering 50% of the cost of the fence and the law requiring agreement between neighbours before repairs can be made. And then yesterday morning, when I thought I’d get a reprieve from the crap and enjoy a good game of rugby, New Zealand got thumped by South Africa by a record margin. It would have been nice to be in Bangkok this week and a long way from New Zealand. I hope you had a better week than I did!


Your Bangkok commentator,


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