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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review



Ban Chang....

01 September 2009
William R. Morledge

September's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - Where is the "Doc"?
Graffiti  -Bangkok's  Vandals - #47

         I can categorize my life as cyclic - from 'complacency' to 'wake-up call' back to 'complacency'....   Imagining myself well-informed on the Thai Night Entertainment Scene, my most recent jolt from 'complacency' was when we turned off the Sukhumvit Highway just past Utapao International Airport in the township of Ban Chang, and came across 'The Ban Chang Strip'.   (?!)
   The Camel's Toe is the 'seminal bar' - and the last-man-standing of the 'old guard' of bars that eventually grew into The Ban Chang Strip.   It 'set the tone' for what was to eventually grow into a full-blown Expat Night Entertainment Area.

         Our reason for venturing down to the old Sattahip / Samae-San / Utapao axis in the first place, was what would best be called a "nostalgia run" - hoping to check out what remained of the Viet Nam-War-Era Military bases and some of the old Nitespots we frequented in the early 1970's.

         In search of Kilo Sip (-or, 'Kilometer Ten') - with it's infamous Swan Lake Hotel (which was a favorite G.I. hang-out some thirty years ago), we instead found a nearby roadway with a full-blown Night Entertainment Area - it's neon glowing brightly in the night.


         The Ban Chang Strip is not just a couple of bars at a wide spot in the road - the main drag (Tessaban 25 Road) has 28 Expat Nitespots and a few Thai venues, making it bigger than Bangkok's Patpong I Road.   There are a few 2, and 3-shophouse-wide Night Venues; the rest being single-shophouse bars.

            My first thought was that The Ban Chang Strip was someone's "best-kept secret", but, of course, that is folly - a Night Entertainment Area of this size doesn't just pop up over night.   Which begs the questions - how old is this Night Entertainment Area, and how does it continue to maintain economic viability in this relatively remote location on the Thai map?

*Click* and Go >>>>
to see our full Ban Chang Strip Pictorial

         Depending on who you ask - the origins of The Ban Chang Strip go back about 15 years - it having attained "critical mass" about ten years ago.   The expat customer base comes mostly from nearby golf courses, along with a few local expat residents and a few expats employed with various flight services at the erstwhile international airport at Utapao.   So, then, for a considerable time, it was someone's best-kept secret - just not our best-kept secret....   

         The Expat bars in Ban Chang are well-stocked with the usual imported and local ales and other alcoholic beverages, and, of course, Thai hostesses.   While some of the one-on-one activities are in the "bar-fine / buy-out" category, the mainstay for the golfing world's drive-through dalliances is for a customer to invite the young lady upstairs to one of the bar's rental rooms (most of the bars qualify in this category).   Typical fare is three hundred baht for the rental of the room, and 700 baht for the young lady's time.   We'll resist any comments about the 'nineteenth hole'.
   The Cupid Stunts reminds us of the all-girl pygmy basketball team from Africa....

         The longer we were there, however, the more we came to understand that it was no longer a best-kept secret, our ignorance notwithstanding.   There is even a website - the Ban Chang Bars .com <link>.   We doubt that we will be making regular visits to The Ban Chang Strip, but we will definitely be making the occasional pilgrimage back to see what's going on.   If you are in the Pattaya area, you may want to do the same (see directions and the map, above).


*Click* and Go >>>>
to see our full Ban Chang Strip Pictorial





*Click* and Go >>>>
to see our full Ban Chang Strip Pictorial



          This month's Thai Smile Award goes to a lovely girl who works on the Bang Chang Strip.

? Old

Any old PHOTOS of
Bangkok's Nightlife ?

Please CLICK HERE and send to us for publication.   

Many Thanks,
William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

'Doc' Bowden

         With regards to Ken "Doc" Bowden, I am his niece and would be grateful if you could provide me with more information about his death and whereabouts after he left Thailand.   Do you know where he might be buried?   His sister, my mother, is terminally ill and would like to know what happened to him as they lost touch some time ago.   I trust that you can help or may be able to pass this on to someone who can....

Your time and assistance are appreciated.

T. Andrew

      Does anyone know anyone who knows someone?   Readers are invited to email us here, or contact Ms. Andrew directly at the email address immediately above on the whereabouts of her uncle, Ken 'Doc' Bowden.

'Boge' Hartman

  • Email bangkokeyes@gmail.com and "ASK" - -   Click Here
  •           We can answer virtually any (reasonable) question on the Expat Night Entertainment Scene in Bangkok - be it Historical or very recent.   Send us an e-mail and we will do our best to answer you soonest.
    'Boge' Hartman
    Historical Research
    * Zootramp Publications

    Let the September 2009 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  
                It was almost as if the Takara Massage heard us ragging on their old new sign (last month's issue) and rushed to put this new new sign up out of sheer embarrassment.   Say.... maybe if we complained about not having yellow Kleenex in Foodland, they'd run out and get some.....    The new neon is a vast improvement, though - wouldn't you say?

                As we haven't seen any progress on the so-called 'renovations' at Radio City for several months - we are expunging them from our rolls. They came on the scene in October of '94 - having taken over from Smile Club.   Looks like they, and the joined-at-the-hip Lucifer Disco Tk (upstairs) have bought the farm.   We'll let you know when we see any signs of life at these digs...   (This, a reprint of a late addition to last month's issue.)
    - File photo      

                 The Queen's Castle is closed down yet again.   Looks like one of their typical 30-day / 60-day closures....   (This, a reprint of a late addition to last month's issue.)
    - File photo      

                The Wild Cat, a.k.a Fire Cat, closed down exactly one year ago.   We have no idea why they fired up the raggedy old neon the other night - the neon that they hadn't used since pre-Fire Cat days, but we weren't about to miss getting it on film for the archives....
    - File photo      

      PATPONG  II  
                Sisters, the Nitespot co-located with the Target 2 on the 4th floor of Cosmos Stairwell has stuffed it's last chit in the cup.   Or, more accurately, it has been absorbed into the Target 2.
      PATPONG  II  

                The Rock , located on The Ramp, has now reopened.   We thought it might.... (see last month's issue).
      PATPONG  II  

                The In Traffic Sports Man's Lounge has gone under the wrecking ball - hammers and saws a-flying.   Only time will tell if this renovation will result in a new name....   (We remain amused - bars going out of business / renovating are always most meticulous about putting up a sign saying they are urgently hiring hostesses....   Is this done, perhaps, to please the humorless nightgods, or...?)
      PATPONG  II  

                King's Lounge, upstairs on Soi Bookstore, has not only reopened, they are having a "Red Indian" night.... (don't ask...).   Welcome them back to the neon jungle.
      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
                Sad to say, Tony's has gone the way of the touchhole cannon.   They go way back, 'round about twenty years, or so - one of the old breed of single-shophouse bars.   Here's hoping they find things more to their liking a little further on down the road a piece.
      SOI  COWBOY  

                The sign wars continue to escalate - and we nightcrawlers are the benefactors....
      SOI  COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
    "G" for "Graphics"

                They say the Devil is in the detail - and the same might apply for good graphics.   A marketable trademark, to be sure.....

      SOI  KATOEY  
                In answer to several readers' questions - the real name for Soi Katoey is Silom Soi 4.   It's just around the corner from Patpong II.

                The Nursery, gutted of it's chattel, will not be returning (see last month's issue).   However, the 4 Sport's is poised to open in those premises right about....... now.

                Another upscale single-shophouse venue is about to open just across the Soi from Tapas - we'll have the details (hopefully in full) in next month's issue....

                The Hole In One Japanese Club has said it's final sayonara's this last month - but even before they switched off the lights and air conditioning, the Cyclone Club took over the reins.    Modus operandi unchanged.

    Door Art Of The Month
                   We've been threatening to do this for a couple of months, now, and we finally got the opportunity for an uncluttered pic...   This is our first posthumous award for the Door Art prize - being that of Big Shots (see our last two issues).

                Less than two months in the saddle, the Mozy has rather suddenly fallen under the jack-boot of the nightgods.   Ashes to ashes - so be it, then....

                The Simply Spa massage sounds a little artsy-phartsy, nevertheless, we welcome them to the machine.   They are located on the 3rd floor of the new Nuam Complex building on the main Soi.

                To change from M.M.S. Man Massage & Spa to just M.M.S Massage & Spa, all you have to do is get rid of all the gay male masseurs and hire female masseuses.   Oh, and paint over part of your sign...   They are quite open about the unambiguous services offered within.   Welcome the new regime.

                You really have to look if you want to see the sign for Dubliner Irish Pub, but it can be found with perseverance.   This pic just for our archives.   But sign or no sign, they remain SRO busy on the weekends.   Keep on keeping on.

                The fat lady sang quite suddenly this last month for the Queen's Park Massage however, popping up in their place, as though from a dragon's tooth, is the brand-new Mash Pool & Darts Bar.   Let's hope Fate deals them all aces and faces....

                A few months ago, we were asked how the Cockwell Inn was getting along.   In our usual overly-cautious style, we said to give them a few months - and we would see....   Well, we are happy to report they are doing well - and the new batch of hostesses isn't hurting the scenery there, either.   Continue to march, then, gentlemen.

      SOI  EDEN  
                True to it's beginnings, more than one in three Nitespots on Soi Eden is a massage parlor of one species or another.   Also, a good number of bars in this Night Entertainment Area offer massage on the side.
      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

                Bangkok Massage has nailed up some new neon.   It remains a gay massage.

    ! ORDER NOW !


    *Click Here*
    -read ALL About it....


















































    Bangkok Nightlife














    Bangkok Eyes jumps back in time to have a look at who was new - and who was through.   We'll be willing to bet that many of you "Old Bangkok Hands" will be reminded of some bars you'd almost forgotten.   (We also will be willing to bet you WON'T EVEN REMEMBER an even greater number....)

    10 YEARS AGO  :
          The Suzie Wong bar beer opened up on Patpong II in "The Island".   The Horse Shoes bar beer currently occupies those digs.
    PATPONG  II  -  1999

          The Monica's bar opened ten years ago this last month in Clinton Plaza.   Named after Monica Lewinski to be in keeping with the "Clinton" theme, it was one of the more popular bars at Clinton Plaza, lasting up until the end.
    CLINTON  PLAZA  -  1999

          A decade ago, a previously unnamed bar beer got some new neon nailed up - Charlie's On Sukhumvit (Exhibition) - and started having live music.   It was opened by one of the founders of Clinton Plaza.
    CLINTON  PLAZA  -  1999

          The Porn Tory bar beer closed down 10 years ago.
    CLINTON  PLAZA  -  1999

          The Rib Shack bar beer and restaurant opened up next door to Clinton Plaza a decade ago in what was then a newly forming Night Entertainment Area called 13 Night Market (atop the ruins of the old Thermae). The 13 Night Market would outlast Clinton Plaza, eventually absorbing some of Clinton Plaza's Nitespots.   It also disappeared - the area occupied by the now-defunct "13" remains a vacant lot today.
    13 NIGHT  MARKET  -  1999

          The Last Stand Bar bar beer opened up in Buckskin Joe Village (Soi Zero) in a previously unoccupied loc.   Soi Zero is no longer a Night Entertainment Area.
    TOBACCO  ROAD  -  1999

          The No Problem Cocktail Lounge closed down this last month, 10 years ago, for renovations.   It would soon reopen as The Cat's Meow.   The Cat's Meow is still there today.

          The monolithic 'empire' of the straight/ gay Rome Club began to crumble a decade ago.   The Rome Club had, at that time, recently expanded - having large Venues opposing each other on opposite sides of Soi Katoey.   The original venue on the Patpong side of the street was the first to close it's doors - that month, 10 years ago.   That venue remains unoccupied - its sidewalk and outdoor area being used temporarily by The Balcony.
    SOI  KATOEY  -  1999

          The White Latin opened it's doors for the first time ten years ago.   There is no Nitespot in the White Latin digs presently.   It was located near the entrance to Soi Katoey, opposite the still-thriving Tapas.   
    SOI  KATOEY  -  1999

          The Sphinx split off it's upstairs to form the Pharoah's Karaoke ten years ago this month.   Pharoah's is no longer there (due to legal-name difficulties), having been reabsorbed by the Sphinx only last year.
    SOI  KATOEY  -  1999

          The oddly named - and long-lived Film Mix closed down a decade ago.   It relocated out of Soi Katoey to a nearby soi.
    SOI  KATOEY  -  1999



    [ Check out Bangkok's own source of evil spraycans, etc, at Montana Land <link>. ]

    - And now to Bangkok's own brand of Graffiti....

    Graffiti #323
    The Fonzex
    7 ft. high x 12 ft..

    Graffiti #324
    Great Shades
    7 ft. high x 12 ft.

    Graffiti #325
    System Aye
    7 ft. high x 5 ft.

    Graffiti #326
    Zop Out
    7 ft. high x 12 ft.

    Graffiti #327
    Dial It In
    7 ft. high x 16 ft.

    Graffiti #328
    7 ft. high x 16 ft.

    Graffiti #329
    Metal Fingers
    7 ft. high x 18 ft.

    Graffiti, Graffiti , and more Graffiti - Bangkok's original and ONLY graffiti Site !

       The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman.

    (Boge's photo, above, is not a graffiti per-se, although there are those who have insinuated....   - Ed)

     --- Datzit Fernow

    William R. Morledge

    Copyright 2002 - 2009, BANGKOK EYES / bangkokeyes.com

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