Stickman's Weekly Column January 7th, 2024

Stickman Weekly, January 7, 2024




Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken of Nana Burger, the burger stand in the car park of the Nana Hotel, directly opposite Nana Plaza. Very good burgers from all accounts – and excellent value. This week’s mystery photo is a well-known location – but perhaps the ultra-wide perspective might confuse you?



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

Where to find a cheap taxi ride.

He Clinic Bangkok

Another year, another opportunity to fill one’s boots down Nana Plaza. Regarding prices for the girls, I don’t know what some of your readers are playing at. Just this last week, over two nights, I took two grade A girls out of both Butterflies and Billboard respectively. The taxi fee was 3,000 baht and both girls stayed until morning, one even joining me for the hotel’s breakfast buffet. In terms of quality, let me assure you that both were very accomplished at their jobs and easily the best-looking girls I saw in Nana. If men are paying ridiculous sums for the company of these girls, then it’s on them. May I suggest the girls probably don’t want to be there.

A pimp charge.

Call it what it really is. It’s a pimp charge. Remember the days when it was cheap and a bar would get picked out and you would move on to the next. The barfine actually covered the wages of the girl and she left for the night. Anything more than her wage and shorter than all night is nothing more than a pimp taking a cut. The argument that it takes someone away from the bar who could be earning the bar money doesn’t hold water anymore as bars are never picked out and there are plenty of girls sitting around not contributing to the bottom line. Pure cancerous greed. And for those guys willing to pay top dollar for the stunner…don’t! She usually is a star fish, and hits and runs. Take the 6 or 7 who wants to get laid and will reciprocate.

CBD bangkok

The days of the purple persuader.

All those emails about prices for barfines and ladies fees in the gogo bars make me glad I am no longer a monger. I think I got married at the right time. 3,000 – 5,000 baht for short-time? I can remember 150 baht barfines and a purple persuader (500 baht) for the lady. That was in the beer bars. Happy days. My advice is only look in the gogo bars, then head off to a beer bar for the business. Who needs a model? Sex is sex. Unless you don’t mind paying the earth.

Pay again!

Went to the new Nana Nightclub around 1:30 or 2:00 AM. Have to buy drinks before you’re allowed in, probably cost me 300 – 400 baht for two of us and when I got in and got my pre-ordered and paid for drink, they tried to charge me another 300 baht so be careful, scams in the disco already. Anyways, not impressed with the number of people in there, maybe half-full, music was ok. Try it at your own risk. I am not sure it will catch on like the old Nana Disco. I truly do miss that place!

wonderland clinic

More Readers’ Emails

Farewell, Saki.

I was sorry to learn of the passing of Bangkok legend Saki. The first time I met him was in the Patpong Museum. When he found out I was American he unloaded a bunch of cool anecdotes pertaining to the Vietnam era. Seems like he knew everybody, even had a working relationship with Cowboy of Soi Cowboy. Next time I saw him was at Ad Here Blues Bar not far from his home in Banglamphu. He said the spectacular guitarist that owns that place was his nephew. What a cool old guy. It would take days and days to hear all his stories. Sad to learn I won’t be running into him again. The history he saw and was involved in over the decades was expansive.

Sukhumvit, the walk of shame.

I used to walk from Nana to Cowboy and back because of the life along the street. Now, it’s just Black drug dealer after Black drug dealer. I cannot understand why they let them operate like this, right out in the open while at the same time, they always talk about and seem so concerned about the reputation of Thailand. I guess you can say the same about the Indian fake watch sellers and the street vendors selling dildos, vapes, fake guns, brass knuckles, tasers, porn and fake Viagra.

Thais charming use of English.

Regarding your last column where you talked about Thais speaking English: I was chatting with a girl I know in Pattaya on Line and told her I was going to sleep. She replied “Rest in peace”. I let her know that we usually only use that expression for something else.

The DEA and the Africans.

A while back I was flying back to the USA and my seatmate happened to be a DEA agent assigned to Bangkok. He was young, ex-military and flying home to see his family. He explained that his job was to investigate drug shipments headed to the USA. He told me he is often approached on Sukhumvit Soi 11 by Africans to buy drugs, as most of us have been at one time or another. I asked him how he handled that. He said that was not his job. He just says no and moves along. Drug enforcement in the LOS is up to the local authorities. I guess I have been influenced by movies and assume it is all about secrets and intrigue. He made it sound pretty bureaucratic.

Thai tax law, back to the future.

As others will probably tell you, back in the ‘80s and until the early ‘90s you did have to have a tax clearance certificate in order to renew visas. If you didn’t have one clipped in your passport they would even stop you at the airport from leaving the country. I have an old passport somewhere with one of those things still affixed. They have done it before and they can certainly do it again — if they really want to.


Bun Bun 1, Nana Plaza.


This Week’s News, Views & Gossip

Reflecting on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, some bar owners said trade wasn’t great. That it was slow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was no surprise – although bars in Nana said they got busy later on the night of the 25th. New Year’s was a disappointment for some. “It was alright,” Billboard’s owner said of New Year’s Eve, quickly adding that December 28th, 29th and 30th were among the busiest nights in the bar’s history. That, however, was due to two “whales” from Dubai who spent hundreds of thousands in the bar over those 3 nights.

Some bars were hit by a shortage of staff as many girls headed back to the provinces for New Year. At Patpong, bosses at Pink Panther and Bada Bing called New Year’s Eve a bust with Bada Bing’s owner shutting down sister bar Radio City and bringing over its girls so there were enough ladies to staff at least one bar.

Across all the bar areas, venues were allowed to remain open until 6 AM on New Year’s Eve, but it is believed not one Bangkok gogo bar did so. On Soi Cowboy, Dollhouse shut things down at 3 AM and, within minutes, the entire soi followed. Crazy House closed at 3 AM – but the staff did not go home. The doors were closed and it was party time for the staff.

I keep hearing very good things about Geisha in Nana Plaza. Word is that the bar features a great line-up of very attractive ladies. Readers are consistent in their feedback that the bar is just plain fun with lots of interaction between ladies and customers. Add Geisha to your list of must-visit bars in Nana Plaza. In fact, put it right near the top of the list!

Another Nana Plaza bar that doesn’t get as much coverage in this column as perhaps it should is Twister. Its line-up has also generated a lot of very positive feedback from readers.

The team at Tycoon in Nana Plaza are joking that their new bar, Lace Lounge, should be renamed BTNO: “Bar That Never Opens”. Work on the upstairs lounge remains sluggish. The stage was installed before Christmas but has yet to be surfaced. A deposit on the sound system was to be placed this week while the lighting has not yet been finalised, let alone installed. The January 15 soft-opening date – just 8 days away – appears awfully optimistic.

Nana Plaza’s two newest bars carved out of the remains of former short-time hotels are now open. The curiously named “Bun Bun 1” and “Bun Bun 2” are located on the top floor, with Bun Bun 2 next to Tycoon and Bun Bun 1 at the stairwell next to Butterflies. Managed by Tee, expect both bars to have plenty of attractive women. Bun Bun 1 actually opened a month ago but went mostly unnoticed until the exterior wall was covered in an LED screen. It has an interesting feature – an outside smoking area that overlooks the Nana Beer Garden / ground floor of the plaza. Bun Bun 2 opened a couple of weeks ago.


Bun Bun 2, Nana Plaza.


Few venues got guys salivating like the Eden Club of old and it is a venue I am still asked about today, despite it closing many years ago. It was so popular that the venue featured a booking system and customers booked ladies months in advance, to ensure he could see her on his next trip to Bangkok. Eden Club closed some years ago. You could never replicate the Eden Club of old, right? Hmmm, maybe it’s time to rethink that. In the very premises that were Eden Club, Red Fern opened a year or so back. Whereas Eden Club discouraged drinkers, in Red Fern you can hang about downstairs for a drink. Prices are reasonable at 120 baht for a beer and 180 for a lady drink. And if you fancy going upstairs just like in the good old Eden days, you can do that too. It’s the same format as before and similar pricing – 3,800 baht gets you two ladies for 90 minutes upstairs, all inclusive. You’re encouraged to take two ladies with you. Irrespective of whether you take one lady or two, the price is 3,800 baht. The girls have been described as pleasant-natured. Is Red Fern the new Eden Club? You tell me.

A recent theme in the column has been readers commenting on the ladies asking prices. No-one wants to pay more than is necessary for anything. What needs to be acknowledged is that in most cases, the price is not fixed. Why has the lady quoted so much? In some cases, a high asking price means she doesn’t want to go with that customer unless it’s really worth her while. It might be that, for whatever reason, she doesn’t like him. It could be that said fellow isn’t well presented / has a look she doesn’t like (farang and not Asian, or vice versa) / is dressed badly and or smells bad. It is quite plausible there are things about the fellow that the lady finds unappealing or perhaps even distasteful, hence she quotes more than usual. Some ladies are actually a bit choosy these days. If I can make just one suggestion, a fun-loving attitude goes a long way and might be the difference between her quoting 3,000 or 5,000 baht, or even whether she’s willing to leave the bar with you or not. Paying for a lady’s time is not like buying a can of Coke in 7 Eleven. The price varies from customer to customer, and a sale might be declined.

Thinking about the gogo bar industry, who makes the most money? Is it the bar owner? Or perhaps the landlord? What about the foreign bar manager? Or could it be the girls? It’s a tough question. For sure, it’s not the foreign bar manager! In most cases, he sits at the very bottom of the pile and only the poor cleaners and DJ earn less. What about the landlord? If we think about monthly earnings, in the low season there would be landlords who make more than some bar owners, for sure. But in high season, I’d expect most bar owners earn more in a month than the landlord. In the case of big bars, they’d make more year-round than the landlord but in smaller bars, I wouldn’t be so sure. No doubt it varies greatly from bar to bar. What about the girls? In a particularly good month, could the most popular girls make more than the bar owner or the landlord? It’s possible, if she had a particularly good month. My best guess is that the best earners make north of 200,000 baht in a good month. Could that be more than the landlord? In some cases, yes. More than the bar owner? Mmmm, most gogo bars make more than that in a month, even the smaller ones. So it’s possible, but unlikely a girl could make the most money of any interested party in a bar in any given month. There is someone we have forgotten about. Mamasans. Could it be that some months it is the mamasan who earns the most in the bar? The question must be asked as I hear more reports of mamasans clipping the ticket. In a large, Thai-owned, Thai-run gogo bar in Nana Plaza, the mamasan loves to insert herself in to deals between customers and girls. 3,000 baht is the price the mamasan quotes for a punter to spend an hour with a lady. That’s on top of the 1,000 baht barfine. Of this 3,000 baht, the mamasan pockets 1,000 baht, and 2,000 baht is given to the lady. In large bars, there can be a few mamasans. Let’s say – purely for argument’s sake – that each mamasan brokers 10 deals between ladies and customers in a night. This number is, I believe, quite plausible on a busy night. That’s 10,000 baht / night the mamasan earns in commission. Do that every night and over the course of a month, that would be 300,000 baht. Fantastic income for almost no effort at all….and in some bars that could just about make the mamasan the biggest earner in the bar.

So as a customer, what do you do when the mamasan attempts to insert herself in to the equation, putting herself between you and the lady? It’s tricky. Some mamasans are very coercive with the girls. And it can be complicated by the fact that some mamasans have loaned the girl money which she has to pay back (plus a crazy-high interest rate) – and this is one way the mamasan gets the money back. If you challenge the mamasan, don’t be surprised if she puts ideas in the girls head. She might say that you’re the type who knocks girls around in the room, putting the girl off going with you. Some mamasans will attempt to deny you access to the girl if she doesn’t get her cut. That 1,000 baht commission can turn mamasans into mamadragons. In Thai culture, younger girls look up to older Thai women which makes this very difficult for a customer to manage. This nonsense is a cancer in the industry. It should be noted that while this carry on happens in some Thai-run bars, the better Westerner-owned and run bars don’t allow this nonsense.


Is 10,000 baht needed for “bar expenses”?


Pink Panther is generally regarded as one of the top bars in Patpong. The bar has an Instagram page and provides some basic info for visitors to the bar and the nightlife generally. The slide above is taken from Pink Panther’s Instagram and gave me a chuckle. The second suggestion, “Having smaller denominations is always wise to keep a low profile” is decent advice although I don’t think any bars will turn their noses at a 1,000 baht note being presented. It’s not like the late ’90s when a Canadian pal and I would go out for an early dinner and a few drinks on a week night and the total was less than 500 baht. But I digress. I’m not sure I agree with the suggestion that punters carry at least 10,000 baht. For sure, many wouldn’t think twice about spending that much in a night. At the same time, I don’t think dropping 10,000 baht on a night out is the norm. What would the average punter spend on a night out these days? It’s very much a how long is a piece of string question. My best guess is that a night out in the gogo bars without any intention of barfining probably runs around 2,000 – 3,000 baht. If looking for company, the sky’s the limit.

Speaking of drinks prices, a lady drink in Spanky’s now sets you back 220 baht. I’ve always taken Spanky’s as a good barometer for pricing – it’s long been a better than average bar with drinks pricing around the industry average. It’s more evidence that prices continue to creep up. (I really must get on to my old friend Dave The Rave to write an explanation about lady drink pricing and how it relates to customer drink prices. No-one explains it better than the gogo guru himself.)

Is Thailand moving in the woke direction? A local Thai user’s Tinder profile reads as follows, “I’m transgender (pre-op). Please don’t use the term “ladyboy” with me. It is offensive. I live in Bangkok. I’m a curvy girl. I speak English / Thai. I am looking for a date.”

To answer the question of whether Thailand is going woke, I’d say no. That said, there are sub-cultures in Thailand which are moving in that direction.


It’s a crazy woke world. Will Thailand be next? (Image nicked from social media.)


I’m trying hard to convince R G Gordin, author of Five Crazy Years: Memoirs Of A Go Go Bar, to write a book about the life of Patpong’s Saki. They had talked about this until Saki’s recent passing. Last week, I included a short obituary about Saki, a well-known figure at Patpong. He lived a colourful life and R G Gordin dropped me an email this week with something he wished he’d included in the obituary:

At the air base in Udon Thani, Saki worked at the munitions maintenance squadron under MSgt Edwards. Together they started a bar right outside the main gate.

Edwards retired (early 1970s) and came to Bangkok about the same time that Saki quit to attend university here. Both wanted to reprise their success in the bar business in Bangkok. However, the rents were too high when they checked out the Patpong area. They then gravitated to the Sukhumvit area where it was much cheaper and took over a bar / restaurant which Saki ran for Edwards for about a year. It was called the Cowboy Bar and the girls Saki and Edwards knew in Udon Thani would come down to work in Cowboy Bar. Other similar bars, gogos etc. came to the area in what would become Soi Cowboy.

Edwards, the black retired sergeant with his ubiquitous cowboy hat, passed away early on and Saki went on to other things. So, you could say that Saki was one of the original founders of Soi Cowboy.


Pattaya, the hansum men of high season.


Reader Tim is an amateur photographer with a great eye who has sent in some fantastic captures over the years. The two snaps above were from a collection of cracking images Tim has sent in recently. How would you caption these?

On Sukhumvit soi 8, the Queen Of Soi 8‘s new bar is still being constructed. Rumour has it that the new bar will feature a selection of around 50 craft beers.

If you are a craft beer drinker, the place to go is the appropriately named and very popular Craft on Sukhumvit soi 23, just around the corner from Soi Cowboy. Craft has a huge selection of craft beers.

After the recent reports on Africans on Sukhumvit being visited by the police, what’s the latest with these divisive characters? A friend walked Sukhumvit from soi 4 to soi 13 at midnight on Tuesday night and kept score. He counted a total of 6 Black hookers, and 13 Black dealers – which he classified as African guys who said ‘Hello’ to him. This is but a fraction of the number of Black men selling drugs as there was last month. 13 along the strip is still quite a lot!

On Soi Nana, there is still a significant contingent of African women competing with local women for the attention of foreign men.

The mix of international visitors to Thailand is changing. The Chinese didn’t make up the biggest group of visitors by nationality in 2023. The five biggest groups of visitors to Thailand by nationality in 2023 were, in this order: Malaysians, Chinese, South Koreans, Indians and Russians.


Pattaya’s Beach Road at the peak of high season, January, 2024.


Down in Pattaya, it may be high season but don’t go thinking that City Hall has the city looking pristine. Quite the opposite would be true. Across from Royal Garden, Beach Road is still a disaster with no pavement on the beach side of the road. (See photo above.)

Back a block, Second Road has been torn up again. It was demolished, and was a complete mess for months but, amazingly, they didn’t lay the electrical wires while the street was open, so it has been dug up again! (See photo below.)

Soi LK Metro is seeing something of a change of the guard. Hopes for Champagne and Rise to reopen are dead. And Bachelor Club is gone too.

At the other end of Soi LK Metro are Fever & Top Gun. Fever has been rocking and when a friend from Bangkok stopped by on Friday night there was not a free seat to be had. A glance at the girls on stage revealed why it’s popular. Word is the line-up of ladies will put a smile on most people’s faces.

Top Gun is in the space that was previously Pulse A Gogo. Pulse had a unique design, comfy seating and some cute ladies. The old design has given way to a venue which is said to feel more like a warehouse. There are tinny speakers and girls who look like they could be Yakuza. But it’s not all bad – drinks are said to be reasonably priced.


Pattaya’s Second Road at the peak of high season, January 2024.


I’ve commented on airfares from this part of the world to Thailand which remain high, around twice what they were pre-Covid. It’s not just airfares which are up, so too are hotel room rates. Some hotels have hiked prices by an even higher percentage than airfares. At the same time, some hotels, especially some older properties, price rooms at or about the same level as 5 years ago. I guess it’s demand and supply with some hotels more popular than others. If you don’t have your heart set on staying in a particular property, it pays to shop around.

I asked the other half when she wants to visit Thailand next, pointing out that airfares feel rather like the old days and booking well in advance appears to be the way to get the best price. She surprised me and said she is in no hurry to get back to Thailand. For her, she doesn’t miss all the drama that she feels is a constant in the lives of so many Thais. She has become used to what she describes as the more harmonious and laid-back way of life in New Zealand and she just doesn’t want to face all the dramas of Thailand. She feels that irrespective of who you hang out with, dramas are a constant in the lives of so many Thais. I told her no problem, you wait, but I plan to get back soon!

Thailand-Related News Articles

Thailand and China are going to waive visas for each other’s citizens from March

Will a cut in excise tax on wine and some other spirits see the price of alcohol drop?

E-commerce in Thailand is going to get a major shake-up as the tax department seeks information about merchants’ earnings.

Malaysia has passed China to be Thailand’s largest visitor market.

Dave The Rave took an in-depth look at the newest bars in Nana Plaza, Bun Bun 1 and Bun Bun 2.

Closing Comments

Thinking back to the slide from Pink Panther highlighted earlier in the column made me think about the cost of a night out in Bangkok. What do you spend on a typical night out in Bangkok (or Pattaya, or Phuket, for that matter)? I’ve never been a big drinker and have never been one to buy lady drinks willy-nilly. I tend to be more focused on enjoying a good meal than spending in the bars and the cost of a night out (meeting a friend for dinner and then a few drinks in a few bars and home well before midnight) averages around 1,500 baht. That would be the total spent on food, drinks and a taxi home. What about you? What’s the cost of a typical night out for you? Not the most you’ve ever spent in a night, but what you spend on a typical night out. (As an aside, the biggest bar bill I ever ran up was a relatively paltry 2,600 baht at Livingstone’s. It’s the one and only time I have spent more than 2,000 baht in a bar. I am guessing that was 15+ years ago.) I’d love to hear how much you spend on a typical night out and a rough breakdown of what the money is spent on. I’ll run your responses in the Emails To Stick section in next week’s column.


Your Bangkok commentator,



Stick can be contacted at :


nana plaza