Stickman's Weekly Column February 18th, 2024

Stickman Weekly, February 18, 2024

 

 

Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken of the I Wanna Bangkok shop which is on Narathiwas Road, close to the Chongnonsee BTS station. It was an obscure location but still several of you got right – I’m impressed! I am told it’s a great shop to buy tourist trinkets like souvenir key-rings, bags etc. This week’s shot might look like just another office building but with that said, it’s somewhere firmly on the Stickman readers’ circuit.

 

 

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

Bar name suggestion.

He Clinic Bangkok

While traveling around Thailand this past month, I noticed many vehicle service stations named “Cockpit”. I thought that that would be a great name for a gogo bar!

Bars that value repeat business.

Apps provide a way for men  to meet ladies without any need to go out to the bars. With this in mind, bars need to provide content / an experience to stay relevant to punters. My favourite bars like Spankys & Baccara do this well and stand out. These bars are great at getting in punters and are not places where you find lady drink scams / issues. These bars value repeat business.

CBD Bangkok

Understanding Golf’s hefty commissions.

In your report, you mentioned that Golf was bought 64 lady drinks in one day. Some of those drinks were probably bought for her fellow bargirls, with Golf collecting the commission. Whatever, it is an extraordinary achievement. Though Golf is attractive, I think that buying 64 drinks was really about punters big-noting to impress their friends. In Soi Cowboy, I have seen punters ringing the bell, not because the bargirls were attractive or nice, but as a way of impressing their friends or to curry favour with the bar owner.

Packed Pattaya.

There’s been a lot of foot traffic through Soi 6 in the evenings since last October. How many stop in the bars I don’t know but the majority walking through are Indian and East Asians. The Coconut Bar stretched all the way along Beach Road last night. And I mean from the Holiday Inn to Walking Street! There are currently a lot of Chinese visitors in Terminal 21. However some may well be from Hong Kong. I’ve never heard so few Thai voices in Terminal 21. The Chinese restaurants are jam-packed. I can hardly see a seat available.

Booming Pattaya.

wonderland clinic

I’ve been back in Pattaya for over a week now, and can confirm that it’s not just Bangkok that’s still very busy. It’s the same here in Pattaya. When I arrived last week, a very busy holiday weekend was just starting. It was the peak of the Chinese New Year holiday and that was very noticeable. Many (Thai) Chinese were heading for Pattaya. It was incredibly busy, and traffic was chaos. I like Pattaya when it’s lively, but this was a bit too much for my liking. However, I knew it was most likely a peak moment and indeed, after the weekend it was a bit less busy, but I can still say it’s very busy here. All the usual suspects are around in large numbers. The biggest group are East Asians, followed by Russians, Farangs and Indians, in that order. Indians may be a minority now, but they’re still around in decent numbers.

More Readers’ Emails

The Russian invasion of Phuket.

Phuket is heaving with Russians, who I separate into three types.  1: Digital nomads. Young men (escaping the draft) who work their PC non-stop in coffee shops and even at the beach.  2: Families. Man, wife and 2 kids. They’re quiet and stay to themselves – usually shopping at Villa and cooking in rather than going to restaurants. These people formerly were found in Marbella but can’t go there now due to currency restrictions.  3: Investors. Same as 2, they can’t invest in Europe but can buy RMB and use the Chinese currency to buy property in Thailand. While the numbers may decrease slightly over time, as long as sanctions remain in place, the Russians will stay in Phuket. BTW, they’re NOT in Bangkok, as they much prefer being by the sea.

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Swedish delight at Cosmos.

A couple of decades ago I had a very pleasant early evening in Cosmos chatting to some hostesses, one of whom was visiting from Sweden. She was delightful and even had a Swedish accent, so I guess she had been there for some time. The combination of a pretty and pleasant Thai girl and the Swedish accent was a perfect combination, bearing in mind I had had a couple of Swedish girlfriends in the past. Clearly, the experience left a good impression, not only of her but the bar. I was sad when it closed.

33 years and counting.

Today, there are dating apps. But when I first came to Thailand 35 or so years ago there were only free magazines to be picked up in hotels, filled with tourist info – and adverts for introduction agencies. I visited one, and it changed my life. I chose a girl from the book of photos, met her, married her two weeks later, and this coming week we celebrate 33 years of marriage. She was a friend of the owner who arranged all the paperwork formalities, and she said she only had photos taken for fun while visiting her office. Maybe, maybe not. Doesn’t matter, does it?

Bangkok memories.

Being an older chap with many a visit under my belt since too many years gone by, I noted with interest and concurrence the delights expressed about Sexy Night bar, an all-time favourite of mine with many a great night spent there. Also meeting Saki at the Patpong Museum, what a character, such an interesting guy. I have a question. Does anyone remember a couple of places I recall visiting in the early years around Patpong, The Gaslight Club and Bobby’s Bar or something similar located in a multi-storey car park? Both were very much local farang hang-outs, I recall, popular with the after-work brigade. These were early experiences in Bangkok so perhaps time has distorted  them into better memories than they should be! <I remember Bobby’s Arms which was a pub located, as you say, in the car park on Patpong soi 2. Gaslight Club I don’t remember and that bar might date back to before my time Stick>

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Taxi issues.

I’ve just returned from 3 weeks in Bangkok and while I enjoyed myself greatly, I have to say that it is now almost impossible to get a taxi that will use the meter. The latest trend seems to be to cover the meter with either a hat or a cloth, no doubt to lead tourists to believe there is no meter. I tried speaking in Thai and being polite but firm that the meter was to be used, but to no avail. Some wouldn’t even unlock the door until I had agreed to the fare, one quote being 200 baht from Soi Cowboy to Nana! I also observed taxis with the green available light on treating Thais the same way. I wish the authorities would take some action to address this as the taxi from the airport refusing to use the meter is not a great welcome to Thailand. I had one driver get irate when I gently insisted he use the meter and in the end I just got out of the car as he was getting quite angry.

 

 

This Week’s News, Views & Gossip

Everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet – Bangkok and Pattaya are rocking on with crowds in the hot spots and almost every business owner who has been in touch confirms that business continues to be great.

One bar that hasn’t had any press in the column but which sounds like it is absolutely worth visiting is Lusty Lady, near the top of Sukhumvit soi 11. Described as a drinks and pool bar with sexy ladies, word from those who have stopped by is that the ladies really know how to dance and the shows are well-choreographed – not something you see so often these days. (Once upon a time, quite a few gogo bars actually employed a choreographer – but you don’t hear much about that these days). Word is that the dancers at Lusty Lady put on quite a show. Sounds like it’s worth stopping by.

Ladies lingering on the pavement outside Thermae have a new sales pitch. They hold up the screen of their mobile phone and wave it at single men passing by who see naked photos of themselves, some with the crudest pose of all, with the lady sitting with her legs spread wide open. What a way to start up a conversation! But is there more to it? Are they trying to “prove” that they are ladies. And are they really ladies? Let’s try and unpick this. First of all, while I have heard the odd story over the years of ladies trying to close a sale by showing nude photos of themselves to a punter, despite the line of work they are in, this is very unusual behaviour for a Thai woman. It’s hard for me to get my head around Thai ladies doing this. What we need to factor in is that the footpath immediately outside the Thermae attracts a number of ladyboys. Ladyboys are very strictly not allowed inside Thermae while at the same time they know Japanese men love to visit and, for whatever reason (and no, I am not being racist here), many Japanese men dig ladyboys. Could it be that these ladyboys are cut and are masquerading as ladies and this is part of their sales pitch? But then that would be unusual because the vast majority of ladyboys are not cut and as I understand it, those in to ladyboys prefer them to be fully intact. It’s hard to get your head around what is going on. Anyone have any thoughts?

A star-studded party hits Nana Plaza this coming Thursday, February 22nd, when Billboard, on Nana Plaza’s top floor, hosts the after-party for two-time UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, who is appearing at a meet-and-greet / VIP party at EmQuartier earlier that day. Billboard is one of the official sponsors of the event. After that wraps about 10 PM, it’s off to Nana Plaza for a late-night after party. Only those who purchase the VIP package will get to meet the champ, but you can expect plenty of looky-loos and a packed house.

How long has the Nana Hotel offered rooms for short time? I don’t mean a guest at the hotel taking a lady to their room for a short-time, but a punter off the street renting a room for just an hour. Word is that there is a small block of rooms in the Nana Hotel which are available for a short-time, at 500 baht. Check-in upstairs in the hallway, separate from the hotel’s main lobby check-in. My best guess is that this is relatively recent and the hotel is cashing in on the demand for short-time rooms in the area after Nana Plaza closed down all such facilities in the complex some time ago. It would seem that rooms being available for a short-time is not yet widely known, even amongst those who are regular guests at the Nana Hotel. But the girls in the area know about it – and will be delighted to lead you there.

In Nana Plaza, Lace Lounge is inching closer to opening. The stage is finished – it’s covered with protective paper in the photo below – and the lights and sound system are in. Fans need to go up and other final touches are needed. No opening date has been announced yet, but it can’t be long now.

 

Lace Lounge is coming along nicely.

 

Lace Lounge’s sister – or is that parent? – bar, Tycoon has rolled out a new menu. With beer at 180 baht and spirits priced at 200 – 220 baht, Tycoon’s prices are neither cheaper nor more expensive than the majority of bars, but the experience the bar offers is said to be premium. Thursday night saw 30 slim girls on stage with all some of the well-rounded brigade having departed. After being hit and miss for so long, Tycoon is worth stopping by and checking out.

Downstairs, Essence “2.0” is starting to generate some buzz. You know a bar is on the way up when competing bar managers whisper, as one did on Thursday night, “Essence has some really cute girls now.” New management has brought energy to the place and, along with lighting and design changes, more girls are coming in to work there. You can see more on Essence’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels.

Following on from recent columns where I gave Shark, Red Dragon and Mandarin a hard time after readers had been horribly confused by the 3 bars’ lady drink policy, I can confirm that this group of bars has followed through as they said they would and printed a new set of menus which spells out the price of a lady drink (220 baht) and also spells out the 2 drinks policy at the bottom of the menu. The info is in English, Japanese, Korean and one of the Chinese languages. This should improve things markedly and lead to less confusion. They’ve also made a significant improvement regarding how they serve the first order of two drinks. In the past, they combined two beverages into a single, larger glass, which confused some customers who argued, ‘Why are you charging me for two drinks when there’s only one glass?’ Now, they serve each drink in a separate glass for clarity. All staff have been briefed on these updates so with a bit of luck, any misunderstandings should be cleared up. It’s great to see bars respond positively to customer criticism and actually do something about it.

Down in Phuket, the centre of the island’s nightlife, Bangla Road, is said to be heaving. Visitor numbers on Bangla after dark appear to be back to pre-Covid levels although the mix of punters has changed with more Indians and Arabs these days, as well as more couples, families and a whole heap more Russians! Gogo dancers are back on the main street, and Tiger Disco has reopened after 3 years, renamed as Poseidon. Phuket has long been one of the dearer places to party in Thailand and in many bars a lady drink will now set you back 250 baht. And if you’re looking to take away, expect to pay 1,000 baht for a barfine. One reader reports that he was quoted 6,000 baht for short-time, for an average looker. The bartender who he cheekily said was a 3/10 offered to go for the same 6,000 baht. Some may disagree but I have never thought Phuket’s nightlife was a patch on Bangkok or Pattaya.

 

Staggering towards the ferry to Ko Larn, a big bottle of Heineken in hand!

 

Have some of the African hookers who have been a feature of Soi Nana in recent months spread their wings and headed down the line? I’m now getting reports of black beauties offering themselves to all and sundry in Sin City. Ace photographer Tim captured some African ladies who were dressed and acting like hookers, heading for an early ferry over to Ko Larn, Heineken being swilled from large bottles as they ambled along the pier.

Following on from last week’s column where two foreigners fell to their death from condos / hotels in Pattaya, this week a Chinese fellow fell to his death in Sin City. I firmly believe that most likely these are accidents, but let the conspiracy theories begin!

The new Las Vegas beer complex on Soi Diana, opposite Soi LK Metro, hopes to open on March 1st.

Bronx Pizza on Soi Buakhao has established itself as a popular spot for late-night eats. Make no mistake, Bronx is not the best pizza in Pattaya. It’s not even the second-best. But the thin, New York style slices are cheap, hot, available at stupid o’clock and are said to go well after a night on the beer. With its new sign, it’s hard to miss even from the far end of Soi LK Metro.

Reader Tim’s lens caught some commotion early one morning on Soi Buakhao. Around 9:00 AM, the boys in brown were called after a foreigner was doing his best mad man impersonation, screaming like a lunatic. Said fellow was escorted to his room above the bar.

 

The boys in brown are called to deal with a screaming foreigner on Soi Buakhao.

 

With Pattaya booming, some prefer to stay in the relative quiet of Jomtien – but even that is said to be busy. The sheer numbers of tourists in town means that getting a baht bus from Jomtien over the hill to Pattaya is becoming a pain, even at 8.30 AM – when much of the wider Pattaya region you expect to still be asleep. Word from agents who manage condo rentals in Jomtien is that they have had an unprecedented number of inquiries from people who wish to find a one-month rental for January or February.

The American evangelical preachers are back. Or did they ever go? With a microphone and speakers, they’re spreading the good word on Beach Road, Jomtien.

Friday marked the grand opening of the new Maggie May Jomtien. Promoting themselves as pouring the “best pint of Guinness in Pattaya”, the new GentsClubs.com-owned bar on Thappraya Road brings the quality Black Stuff to Jomtien Beach. The gentlemen’s club opened fully stocked with not only Guinness but ladies, as HQ permanently closed its Eden Gents Club in Tree Town and moved all the girls over to Jomtien. More info on promotions can be found on its new Facebook page and the Google Maps listing is now online so you can find the new place.

One of The Sportsman’s partners in December opened the Pattaya Sports Hub on Soi Buakhao at Soi Boomerang and, in just two months, has remade Pattaya’s sports pub scene by bringing The Sportsman’s many viewing options and quality pool tables to Sin City. Don’t forget the food. There’s a large menu including some big breakfast offerings like the one below.

 

Breakfast at Pattaya Sports Hub on Soi Buakhao at Soi Boomerang.

 

Mamasans are not your friend! The primary duty of mamasans is to look after the girls. There is a notion amongst some punters that mamasans are there to help the punters deal with the ladies and help smooth over any issues and, yes, indirectly they are – but their first priority is to look after the girls. Let’s not forget that many mamasans are former working girls who have been around the industry for a long time. Make of that what you will.

There has been some progress on Soi 23 where the sidewalk is still a shambles. It’s not finished, but the footpath is walkable from Sukhumvit to Twins. After that, watch your step.

Speaking of sidewalks, Africans continue to proposition white guys with no appreciable change in their number. Some of the African men have relocated from the main Sukhumvit Road to Soi 11 (perhaps they feel they’re a little less visible there?) and continue to offer drugs, while the women have found Soi Nana to be a happy hunting ground.

Quote of the week comes from Dave The Rave, “Regarding bargirls, it is a matter of demand and supply – bargirls always demand a constant supply of cash!

Are more businesses in Thailand showing a preference for customers to pay by card or electronic means? I hear reports of some outlets struggling to have enough small banknotes and coins to give customers the right change. It would be easy to be cynical and think that some are trying it on in the hope they can keep the difference as a tip. It does seem that more and more businesses actually prefer that payment is made by electronic means. While I pretty much pay for everything in New Zealand by electronic means – and I can’t remember when I last paid for something here with cash (a year or more ago, at a guess), for whatever reason I am not entirely comfortable using a card in Thailand. I’ll continue to use cash in Thailand, thank you!

In last week’s column I wrote about some of the things that a premium Bangkok match-making service said Thai women who use their service look for in a man. A few of you disputed this and I get the impression some of you don’t like / struggle to get your head around the idea that many Thai women these days prefer East Asians over the white men. You really don’t have to look very hard to understand why this is the way things are today. Many Thai women are keen fans of Korean TV series on Netflix and other streaming services. There is also a growing interest in similar series from China. Korean music has been popular in Thailand for 20 odd years. And Thai females love to visit South Korea for the shopping, the wide range of cosmetics and beauty services, as well as the food. Many Thai females are crazy about Korea, Korean culture and Korean men. I note that there appears to be less interest in the Japanese these days. Not long after I arrived in Bangkok, this same demographic – middle-class, urban Thai females – were crazy about Japan, Japanese culture and young Japanese men. One gets the feeling that Japanese men are about as popular as Western men in Thailand today i.e. somewhat popular but hardly the top of the pops. Today, for many middle-class, urban Thai women it’s all about South Korea – and keep an eye on China which is trending.

Thailand-Related News Articles

Thai Airways is reported to have ordered 45 Dreamliners from Boeing.

Bangkok Police are seeking two Scots in connection with the theft of 5 million baht from a Myanmar businessman who was murdered.

Bangkokians are encouraged to work from home after pollution hit high levels in Bangkok this week.

A Russian in Pattaya wanted by Interpol is finally found and arrested after overstaying for 10 years.

As expected, a visa policy change and more flights is seeing more Chinese visitors flock to Thailand.

A 35-year-old Brit who punched cabin crew on a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok is arrested on arrival at Heathrow.

A 24-year-old Welshman dies after a kayaking incident in Southern Thailand.

Closing Comments

I had hoped to get the first of a few opening pieces published this week but the Pattaya article I have been working on is still not done. I have been going through old hard-drives trying to find photos to use. I became so frustrated using slow, old hard-drives that I have ordered a couple of external SSD drives which have yet to arrive. I’ll dump photos from my old drives on to the new drives which are so much faster and that should make it easier to find the shots I am looking for. It’s nice to have a large archive of shots to be able to go through, but I had forgotten how slow old hard-drives are. An opening piece next week…..hopefully!

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

 

Stick can be contacted at : stickmanbangkok@gmail.com

 

nana plaza