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01 March 2024
William R.  Morledge

March's Nitelife News
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Reader's Corner:  Farewell to a Friend
Traces of Our Past - "Entertainment From Abroad"
Graffiti In The News #210
            For the past decade, or so, we had been planning an historical visit to Khao Sarn Road, and had diligently filed away our notes and photos, putting the project on the 'back burner', full-well planning to publish it 'someday'.    But it took a reader's recent email to get us off our lazy backsides and get busy...

Khao Sarn Road at the turn of the new Millennium.            Photo may be copyrighted

            Khao Sarn Road gained its fame and notoriety in the 80's through the early 90's as the nexus of backpacking travellers in Southeast Asia.   Sure, there were other backpacker 'hotspots', Goa, Katmandu, etc., but there was only one universal convergence of those so-called "budget travellers" during those years - if you hadn't been to Thailand's Khao Sarn Road, you hadn't completed your journey.   So, asks my faithful reader, when did it cease being a mandatory bucket-list item for every backpacker exploring Asia, and transform itself into the current garish, overcrowded Night Bazaar / Night Entertainment Area?
By the turn of the Millennium email in the form of Internet Cafes had made inroads into Khao Sarn Road.                  -Reader submission.   Photo may be copyrighted.
The answer of course, is there is no one date, or year, the transmogrification occurred.   But the year 2000 would prove to be more than a transition to a new Millennium - by then, the changes in virtually every facet of the old backpacker era had already begun to manifest themselves in glaring proportion.   The number of guest houses began to drop off, moving to outlying sois and lanes, while the Internet cafes were sprouting up like summer corn, causing fewer visitors to want to "call home" (or visit the local Poste Restante to mail 'exotic' postcards to friends - or pick up a letter from home).   Khao Sarn was becoming just another crowded commercial area - with bigger, pricier restaurants, photo shops, book stores, 7-Elevens, banks, and even more tailors, silver shops and travel agents than before.   There were even a couple of air-conditioned pubs.
               By 2000, Khao Sarn Road had become another kind of bucket-list item - those who came as visitors for an afternoon or an evening, wanting to immerse themselves, however briefly, in the once-legendary "backpacker scene".   Those visitors had heard of it's "notoriety" through the ubiquitous travel guides - or were clamoring to see where The Beach was filmed, but by that late date the "scene" they sought was all but dead.   These changes were, of course, immediately apparent to the many returning to Khao Sarn Road at the Millennium - the camaraderie, the old 'vibe' and 'energy', the anticipation of future adventures that existed among backpackers of the 80's and early 90's was virtually nonextant.   For them, "The thrill had gone"...
            The below map was compiled in an Excel file by our Zootramp Publications in January / February 2000.   Backpacker accommodations of the day are in red, highlighting the beginnings of the drift of guest houses away from the main road, and into the adjoining troks and sois.
                  For those interested in a current Khao San update, see our : 'Khao San Road Today' <link>.
                  The below Khao Sarn Road narration, also written at the turn of the Millennium, was forwarded to us a little over 22 years ago (estimate).   The copy we received was a copy of a copy of a copy, but the author - whoever he may be, had a sense of humor and an eye for detail -along with an appropriate tinge of cynicism.   We don't know it's origins, but whoever wrote it, Good work, Son.   It would be a tragedy if this colorful account of Khao Sarn Road should disappear into historical oblivion.   We are therefore republishing it now, some 24 years after its original publication - in hopes it will become a part of the Bangkok fabric.
             Khao San.   Above me a fan revolves slowly, heavy blades chopping through the fetid air.   Thailand.   Far out.   This is where it starts.   Call in an air strike.   Opera blasts from some foreign jukebox.   Man, this good.   Did I tell you about the mushroom omelet on Koh Samui?   Hell, that was good.   I love the smell of banana pancakes in the morning.
Dateline: Bangkok, August, 1989.   A young traveler leans out of a cheap guesthouse looking down over a temple towards the legendary Khao San Road - backpacker central, the hub, the spiritual home of traveling.   He is smoking a joint and playing a harmonica.   He's a lean, mean traveling machine.   Three bus crashes and a scooter collision, and he's got the scars to prove it.   Surfing on Bali, lost in the jungle in Sumatra, a night in a Malaysian police cell.   Even his rucksack's holes have holes.
Apologies are due.   I was, I confess, a teenage traveler on the Southeast Asian backpacking trail.   I have eaten my share of banana pancakes and cheese toasties.   The callow youth who inflicted his atrocious musical delusions on the Friendly Guest-house and half the street outside was, as you probably guessed, me.   
   Khao San Road hasn't changed that much in the past 11 years.   Then, it was a 500 meter strip of Bangkok tarmac lined with stalls selling rip-off Versace, Gucci and Lacoste, and bootleg tapes of the Charlatans and Santana's greatest hits.   Now, it is a 500 meter strip of Bangkok tarmac lined with stalls selling rip-off Stussy, Diesel and Guess, and bootlegs of Tricky and the Charlatans and Santana's greatest hits.   
   The guesthouses are marginally more expensive (as much as Bt300) and now they all have a cyber cafe.   Otherwise, everything is much the same, Alex Garland's, The Beach (the now-canonical text of backpacking/budget traveling), opens on Khao San Road.   Richard, the protagonist, spends a night in a cheap guesthouse there before heading off in search of more adventure.   Garland accurately describes Khao San Road as a "decompression zone" between East and West.   But the transition that takes place there is not from one culture or world to another, it is from one (Western) identity to another (Western) identity.   
   You go in as a third-year economics student from Liverpool, a young lawyer from Gloucester, an administration assistant in a public relations firm in Harrow (or Haifa or Harvard) and, a few dozen dollars lighter, come out as a cross between Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Indiana Jones.   You arrive from the airport and find yourself a guesthouse.   The sounds of traffic and drunk people are sure to keep you awake.   In fact you will sleep badly enough to actually feel rather rugged and interesting.   "This is it", you think.   Traveling.   Red eyes are cool, rugged, different.   You have an early pre-banana-pancake morning cigarette and look out down the road.   A saffron-robed monk may walk past or a mildly deformed beggar.   The Far East.   Apocalypse Now and that other film with De Niro.   Opium and bar girls who shoot ping-pong balls out of their vaginas.
   Then it is time to assume your new identity.   First the hair, braided for women, cropped very short for men.    Sit on a stool by the side of the road and it'll take 10 minutes and Baht 60.   You can watch all the other westerners filing past and get an idea of what you should be wearing while you're being shorn.   Down both sides of Khao San Road are stalls with every garment the modern traveler needs.   For men, a baggy pair of cargo pant shorts - Camel or Timberland rip-offs - and a singlet or Stussy T-shirt.   For women, a sarong or pedal-pushers and a crocheted bikini top.   Fake silver wraparound shades.   Floppy hat.   Between the clothes stalls are the gadget stalls.   Here you need to get your Maglite torch (flashlight) and a complicated penknife.   Girls need to go to Boots for tampons and Soltan factor eight.   Buy some cigarettes (soft-packet of Krung Thip - the local brand), then go to the cyber cafe ! and see if your Mum has e-mailed you.   
   No one is entirely sure how Khao San Road became what it is today.   When I asked about the road's history in the tourist information booth, I was informed mysteriously that "this is a very difficult thing".   But it isn't really.   Until the late 1960's, the road was part of a classic working district in old Bangkok, full of noisy workshops, Thai boxing gyms and Chinese washerwomen.   A large number of the locals were professional Thai dancers of the traditional, not exotic variety.   The area was known as Bang Lamphu, which means 'the district near the canal which has a lot of Lam Phu trees'.   There were a few hotels catering for local commercial travelers, but the legions of United States servicemen on R&R from Viet Nam largely went elsewhere.   The big change came in the early 1970's.   When the heads and the freaks dropped out of their office jobs in the West, Banglamphu was one of the places they dropped into in the East.   By the mid 1970's, Khao San Road was a nice little hippie community and a nice little earner for a few local businessmen.   By the mid-1980's, cheap international flights had turned Thailand into a mass tourist destination.   Now the road is beginning to spill over on to neighboring streets and is a multi-million pound industry.   
   Some clever accountant has worked out that the average backpacker in Thailand spends Baht 750 a day.   In neighboring Cambodia, what was only a fledgling traveler setup three years ago has now spread its wings into a well-run, dollar-soaking industry largely managed from Hong Kong.   In Thailand, the budget tourist business is largely locally owned.   Thais are also genuinely proud of Khao San Road and what it has become.   The New Year's Day picture spreads in the local press all featured big color pictures of drunken Australians sticking tongues out at the camera.   (Mind you, so did most of the papers on the planet.)   Mr. Mystery in the information booth was certainty a believer: "Look at all these people having fun," he said, pointing at the queue for the telephone booth.   
   Fun, however, is a bit of a problematic concept on the Khao San Road.   Though fun is certainly an aim of many, most are after a bit of adventure, too.   Only a lunatic would actually think that Khao San Road, with its 7-Elevens and three excellent bookshops and an air-conditioned pub is a dangerous adventure.   So that means going elsewhere.   And going elsewhere poses some difficulties.   If your tastes tend towards drug-taking then you can head off to Koh Pa-ngan or another of the 'Thailands', preferably one that no one else has yet discovered (viz The Beach).   If you are the "lost in the jungle . . . it was bad, man," type, then you may want to go further afield.   Aceh and East Timor are nice at this time of year.   But if you fall between these two; then where do you go?   One draw is the vague whiff of personal threat - like the smell of drains that permeates any proper Third World city and makes it smell like...well...a proper Third World city.   But not too much threat.   Northern Laos has the right kind of ring to it, and these days Cambodia, despite its reputation, is considerably less perilous than London's Old Kent Road on your average Saturday night.   
   Other major factors' include cost and whether a 'place is untouched'.   Somewhere is 'untouched' when there are no other Westerners (and particularly not rich Westerners) there on the day that you are, so that you can feel that you are having a unique and original traveling experience.   Happily this quality often coincides with being cheap.   There are, of course, a fabulous number of people who will try and make your choice easier.   For ridiculously low prices (Baht 300 per day for trekking), they will whisk you off almost anywhere - the northern hills of Thailand, the Mekong Delta, the Plateau of Jars in Laos, Burma, Sri Lanka, New York - by almost every means of transport - cars, pick-up trucks, buses, trains, barely functioning planes run by barely functioning airlines, shared taxis, sea canoes and elephants.   
   Once you have made your trip and are now tanned and lithe and the 'mean, lean traveling machine' referred to above, you can return to Khao San Road and make a triumphal progress down the middle of the street, remembering fondly how when you arrived, pallid and virginal and rather un-cool you kept to the anonymity of the crowds on the pavements.   Back on the road and things can get a little disorientating.   You are clearly not in Thailand, not really in Asia at all, so where exactly are you?   The answer is that you have entered Backpackerland.   Backpackerland is like some kind of parallel universe existing alongside the real world but rarely interacting with it.   It is accessed, like Narnia, through certain known portals: Katmandu, Guatemala, Goa, Cambodia, bucket shops in Earl's Court, the King's Cross area of Sydney, Sudder Street in Calcutta, the Yogi guesthouse in Varanasi, the villages of Ubud on Bali and Baltit on the Karakoram Highway.   
   There are, of course, channels of communication with the real world.   Ten years ago such contact meant mildewed letters from your grandma read amid the rubbish and beggars on the steps of a crumbling post office somewhere hot.   It had a touch of Graham Greene about it and was rather romantic.   E-mail of course, has changed that.   Phnom Penh - city of killing fields and helicopter evacuations - now has faster servers than many Western countries.   The dozen or so cyber cafes on Khao San Road have been forced to keep their serried ranks of state-of-the-art IBM's updated with the very latest technology.   Today's travelers, it seems, just will not put up with anything less than a Pentium III.   And woe betides you if your baud rate drops below 26,600 bps.   
   Backpackerland is full of odd foods eaten nowhere else and strange and fabulous creatures that exist nowhere else.   Like characters in dreams, they are often vaguely familiar.   Some you even know well, but they are all weirdly distorted.   You'll find, as I did, a shaven-headed Scouser who, having described at great length how his "army-barmy mate" wanted to beat him bloody for sleeping with his sister, disappeared into the night shouting the cryptic words "I bag fertilizer".   Or an alopeciac Russian smack addict who insists he knows your brother and wants to talk about boxing and Scrabble.   At times it feels as if the people you meet have been created by a machine that randomly selects professions, national origins, destinations and modes of transport and then compiles them to form real people.   Or that everyone has been invented during some drunken party game where people have to scribble a characteristic on bits of paper that are then jumbled up and reassembled to general hilarity.   
   There is a Russian junkie with an Israeli girlfriend who is on his way to Florida to run swamp boat tours from Miami; a Polish rock climber with an Irish teacher girlfriend aiming for Western Africa, where he hopes to find work on oil rigs; a one-armed Algerian former secret-serviceman (unlikely) who has just come from Tajikistan (more likely) and wants to go to the Indian Nicobar Islands on a yacht (impossible).   It all gets a bit confusing but you will, sooner or later, meet someone you know or, as my photographer did, the man who installed the new cat-flap in your flat.   Only now he will be looking tanned and rugged and gorgeous, not rained-on, underpaid and pale.   Which is the whole point about Khao San Road.   
   For a week, a month, a year, you are no longer Colin the Cat Flap man from Crouch End, but whoever you can possibly want to be, wherever you want to be.   Anybody else and anywhere else in the case of Colin, I should imagine.   It is easy, as you may have noticed, to mock.   Michael Herr famously wrote that Viet Nam was what his generation had instead of happy childhoods.   Viet Nam was supposed to have been the war that 1960's America created and deserved.   Khao San is what today's globalised, referential, appallingly self-aware and shrunken world has created for itself, too.   It is what the developed world's twenty and thirty-somethings have instead of Luton airport departure lounge (and Viet Nam)!   It is an experience that can be created and recreated by everyone who passes through.    What could be more 21st century than that?


March's Thai Smile brightens the evening...

BOOKS ...worth a read !

( Click on book covers for details & to order. )



Join the 'Comments' page...

      I interviewed Saki twice for my Patpong & Cowboy videos, great guy with so much knowledge.   He was there when both places started up, was friends with TG Edwards and remembers the beginnings of that street, as well as Patpong.   He discussed the early years of the bar scene in both these videos.
Best Regards,
Bangkok Pat

      In follow-up to our last month's thumbnail on Kriengsak (Saki) Khasrithong's passing, we have included for our reader's consideration, a couple of links to Bangkok Pat's YouTube channel.   For those unfamiliar with his works, Bangkok Pat is quickly becoming the town's favorite 'street historian'...

   READER :  
      Regarding your February issue, the 7-Heaven on Soi 33 isn't exactly a bar.   It's a BJ shop.   They're called pink salons in Japan.   "Pinsalons" are very popular.   One reason is they're allegedly not illegal.   They specialize in university coeds.   Girls can earn some easy pocket money while not having to disrobe or engage in honban (FS).   From what I understand, commercial penetrative ... sex is prohibited by law.   That's why pinsalons and the like can operate so openly. . .    Keep up the good work!
      Many thanks for the look behind the scenes of Bangkok's 'pink salons' of Japanese origin.   Certainly something of which we, and most of our readers would not otherwise be aware.

   READER :  
      Good to see the New Year issue and pleased that the Traces section seems to be thriving!   I can't think of Jane Russell without remembering her with Bob Hope in The Paleface (1948), especially the hilarious gunfight scene ['He crouches when he shoots so stand on your toes.'   Potter : [Outside in the street] 'He draws from the left so lean to the right.   There's a wind from the east so better aim to the west.   He crouches when he shoots so stand on your toes.' etc.].
      We are quite surprised at the popularity of our monthly "Traces" section...   At the time The Paleface was released Jane Russell was considered to be a "Hollywood sex symbol" - a term not used in today's 'gender-fluid' parlor games....
   READER :  
      Currently working on a clip about the Charoen Krung (New Road) scene, l have old pics of some of the street scenes with the bars, Oasis, Starlight, Miami, Chez Eve from the 60s.   It all seemed to die around that part in the late 70's and many shophouses were rebuilt too, except the Nana buildings from 1929 opposite the old post office.   I saw some old clippings in your archives which l would love to use, it seemed a really happening kind of scene in its time.
Best Regards,

      You are more than welcome to use material from Bkk Eyes.   Our objective is to "spread the history" by any and every means.   If appropriate, kindly request attribution.   You mentioned the Chez Eve Club which dates back to the early 50's, even before the Oriental's Bamboo opened - the above pic taken circa 1952.   In the same era was the Sea Hag (Charoen Krung Soi 47/1), the above ad dates from 1956, however it was open some time before that, and remained open through the 70's R&R era.   Note that the Sea Hag advertises being "right downtown" - which, at the time, was true - the center of commerce hadn't yet shifted away from New Road to the Silom / Suriwong area.
Thanks for reading and for writing in.
Don't hesitate to send your questions and comments - always welcome.
Note: Letters may be edited for brevity and/ or clarity.
'Reader's Corner' moderator -

'Boge' Hartman
Historical Research
*   Zootramp Publications


Dave is BACK... 


Let the Follies begin-

    Vol. XXXIII      No. 03
                           Bangkok,  01 March 2024                         
   Free Distribution

       The King's Castle 1 has gone 'hybrid', so to speak.   They are now serving outside on the sidewalk for those wanting to watch the parade of gawkers and shoppers.   Note : the draft beer prices are most reasonable.
       What was for decades the Tip Top (now under full renovation), promises some interesting new Venues: a new King's Castle 2 (what is to become of the existing one?), an 'Inn Hotel', and a 'Sport Bar - Restaurant'.   One might say the King's Group has definitely not given up on Patpong 1 as an Entertainment Area...
       How the mighty have fallen.... the Super Girls has reopened as a 'Ping Pong' show bar.   We note with a wry smile that there is "no cover charge", but one must buy a ticket for entry....   We are trying, however unsuccessfully, to wish them success...
       A quick look at what might be the last look at (the top of) the "Tip Top" before it disappears completely under the hammer and saw...
       Speaking of hammers and saws busily at work on Patpong 1 Road, they are once again furiously working late into the evenings to renovate (or should we say, "continuing to renovate"?) what was once Mizu's.   As of this writing, no name given to the Venue.   We'll continue to keep an ear to the ground, and get back atcha with updates...
       Last month we noted that the old Cosmos was stripped and was in the process of a full renovation.   This month we note that the large adjacent area (previously the open-sided King's Garden) is also now renovating.   But here's the kicker - the entire area is being renovated as a single unit, not separately.   It will be interesting to see what new venue or complex of venues will appear once the hammers and saws complete their tasks.   A big wait-and-see item...
       The 'on-again, off-again' Top Light is 'on again'.   Located in the strip of ground floor single-shophouse Nitespots under The Ramp.
            We note there were no changes to the Nitespot inventory last month.   As Soi Cowboy is one of the busiest Night Entertainment Areas in Thailand, we don't understand why two bars (closed circa the Covid Era) have not yet reopened....   (Lighthouse and Cactus Club.)
            The upstairs Tycoon has finally opened their long-awaited upstairs Lace Lounge, either as an adjunct to Tycoon, or as a separate Nitespot, we are not sure....   Whatever... 'Let the good times roll'...  (Thanx to contributor, JC, for the heads-up graphic.)
               We noted the opening of the Red Hog Bar a few months back, however they have now nailed up some additional signage (see lower sign in photo).   They have standardized their signage to include the Red Hog logo, which appears on the original Red Hog on Soi 8, and now the new Red Hog on Soi 11/1 (more on this later).

            Last month we noted the in-process relocation of The Stranger Bar to the old Fork 'N Cork digs at the back of the Soi.   The relocation now complete, they have "soft-opened", and looking for staff (Baht 15,000 / mo.).   We also note a hefty Baht 400 cover charge...   Considering 'location, location, location', and the longstanding lack of success of predecessor Venues, we don't get a "warm-and-fuzzy" on this arrangement....   'Time' will be the final arbiter...
 SOI  KATOEY (Silom  Soi  4)

 SOI  22  
             The Sky massage has opened on Subsoi Lemongrass, with an equally accessible entrance at the rear on Subsoi Hana.   Rub-a-dub-dub.   Located just past the Marriott Marquis Hotel.
 SOI  22  

            The Siri Massage & Spa had been a stalwart Soi 22 massage parlor since 2013, so it's sudden disappearance was a surprise.   Greener grass, ladies...
 SOI  22  

            The newest Red Hog Bar to enter the fray (we count three?) has just recently taken over the reins of the Jiew Wee Bar at the back of Soi 11/1.   Welcome to the machine...
 SOI  AMBASSADOR  (Sukhumvit Soi 11) 

            In a back Subsoi on Soi 11 is the Solitaire Hotel.   On its roof is the Cha Cha Music Lounge.   We didn't see a rush of customers.....   Wish them luck as they throw their hat in the ring...
 SOI  AMBASSADOR  (Sukhumvit Soi 11) 

            Not too many years ago (pre-Covid) the Ambassador Hotel complex sported a number of massage parlors on premises.   They disappeared rapidly during Covid, not to return.   However, we note a couple of new massage parlors have recently made their home on hotel grounds.   One of these massage parlors is the Namah Massage.   May they continue to slip 'n slide...
 SOI  AMBASSADOR  (Sukhumvit Soi 11) 

            The last two months have witnessed a number of 7 Center Point bars closing down.   This is particularly noteworthy, as we are currently still in (the end of) the high season.   Two of the bars that have recently closed are the Long Shots (Center Point's seminal bar), and the Nordic Bar (photos).   A complete list of bars closing over the two-month period can be found immediately below.
            7 Center Point bars closing January - February 2024 :

*      The One Bar

*       You And I Bar

*       Nordic Bar

*       Long Shots

*       Big B's CD Bar

*       The Wall (replaced by Secrets relocating in.)

*       Su Bar

*       Tony Bar (replaced by Sky Bar relocating from within.)

*       Make Love Bar

*       Heaven

 7  CENTER  POINT (Sukhumvit Soi 7) 

            We find it difficult to explain how a new Nitespot of this size (real estate) can pop up out of nowhere just since our last month's survey...   We are speaking of the Makkha Health & Spa and it's resident Bottomless Coffee Shop.   It has it's own parking lot and landscaped 'garden seating' large enough for a couple of tennis courts.   To put it bluntly, land on Soi Dead Artists (Soi 33) is no longer inexpensive - we have no idea how a single massage parlor / spa (and a coffee shop) on a Soi with a multitude of massage parlors will survive.   We do, however, hope they do survive - as we would like to try the bottomless coffee....   Welcome to the bright lights, big city...
 SOI  DEAD  ARTIST (Sukhumvit Soi 33) 

            After an extended closure (Covid years), what was the Mainichi Club & Karaoke has now become the Vovo.   It doesn't take any reading-between-the-lines to note Vovo is yet another Japanese style "pink salon"...   Located ground level, S 33 Compact Hotel.
 SOI  DEAD  ARTIST (Sukhumvit Soi 33) 

            We didn't notice any new Nitespots or any Nitespots going out of business this month.   We did, however, note that the end of the Soi is now much brighter (lanterns, flags, etc), and that the Soi has now become "one way" (long overdue) - traffic coming in will be making the loop and exiting Soi 9.   - Or so they say, let's see how things actually work out...
 SOI  EDEN  (Sukhumvit 7 / 1) 


Traces of Bangkok's Early Years

      The continuous wave of "Big Name" entertainers from the US and elsewhere in the '60's '70's proved to be, in retrospect, a "Golden Age" of entertainment in Bangkok's nightclubs.   While local entertainment is once again on the increase (clubs, pubs), the "Big Name" entertainment scene has long faded into history.   Meanwhile, we note the slow, but steady increase in A Go-Go "shows" throughout the late 60's, as the Bangkok entertainment world started to take notice of it's potential.

      We're not sure if this is Brenda Lee's second visit, or if the original visit was postponed until September 67.   We note she played at Sani Chateau only one night, and none of the other big nightclubs had her scheduled.   Sani Chateau was located in the Gaysorn Night Entertainment Area, and one of three venues bringing in big name entertainers from the U.S. and other countries.   We take note the now-seldom-used expression, "She carries her spotlight like a lady", which meant she was able to hold the attention of the audience.
September 1967

      This advertisement for the Cat's Eye immediately caught our eye - advertising a "Tea Dance".   The tea dance as found in Thailand in the 60's and 70's was a sort-of soiree, where drinks and slow dancing were the order of the afternoon.   Usually held at a dine/dance club or one of the larger hotel function rooms or lobby bar, the concept of the tea dance eventually faded into historical oblivion.   Today, some of the large hotels have an "Afternoon Tea", but this is something entirely different - a British import, where tea, coffee and pastries (and no dancing) are the entrées.
September 1967
      The Club 99 was probably the most popular of the "Off-Patpong" bars on Silom Road.   They lasted there until 92, when they closed down on Silom, partnering with a Sukhumvit Road bar called Check Inn Garden (previously the Copacabana).   The combination of the two bar names resulted in the 'Check Inn 99', which, after relocating twice, lasted until May 2019.
September 1967

   Roy Hamilton had a full one-week gig at the Cafe de Paris in September.   In the 50's and 60's he had a number of charted hits.   He is noted for being one of the first black singers to transition to popular music, his Unchained Melody being his biggest selling record.
September 1967

   The Oriental's 'Bamboo Bar' may be the longest running Night Entertainment Venue in Bangkok, and still in operation today.
September 1967
   in addition to the two Nitespots that introduced A Go-Go as a regular feature to Bangkok in 1966, a number of other Venues were 'testing the waters" with A Go-Go shows.   Among their other acts, the Honey Night Club presented a five-girl A Go-Go show in September 67.
  September 1967

   Sam Scott, proprietor and raconteur at the Yard Of Ale on Silom (opposite Patpong) had a (temporary) lunch-time side-hustle at the Ramayana.
September 1967

   ;Although the Patpongs and nearby areas on Silom and Surawong Roads were continuing to grow comparatively rapidly, New Road was still going strong as one of Bangkok's major Night Entertainment Areas featuring a number of smaller Venues and a handful of large Nitespots like the Garden Cafe.   It of course, was a Nite Club, not a 'cafe'.
September 1967

   We know of only three Venues that fit into the category "Night Entertainment" that have been open continuously since the 1960's : The Bamboo Bar at the Oriental Hotel, the Old Other Office Bar on Patpong 2, and the Takara (originally PP2, now on PP1).   For whatever reason, the Spaceline Saunamatic machine did not make it to the future.   Go figure...
September 1967

   Allan originally opened Allan's Place in the Plaza Hotel (Patpong 2) in June of that year.   It didn't work out, so he opened the Allan's Sportsman's Lounge at the New Road end of Suriwong Road in the then-recently failed Another-Max's (across from the Trokadero).   But that wouldn't be the final location for the 'Sportsman' - we would be hearing more in the near future...
September 1967


Once Upon
A Time

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Christopher G. Moore















































But is it ....ART ?

Check out Bangkok's dedicated page at "BKK" <link>


Dateline Los Angeles:
The 27 storey Oceanwide Plaza, a 1 billion dollar high rise on Figueroa Street, ceased all construction after having gone into bankruptcy in 2019.   The building has become low-hanging-fruit for graffiti artists.   To date, half of the building has been covered in graffiti, and more is being added as time goes on.   Not that the authorities haven't tried to put a stop to it - what else could they do, complaints to municipal authorities and news channel coverage have made it stick out like a sore thumb.   Police have placed the structure under full time guard, arresting two graffers to date - but it has not slowed the continual addition of new graffiti.   (The two arrested individuals have since been released.)
For a more complete report and other graf items of interest, visit Infamy Art at

   Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered, under current legal precedents and prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law.   Copyright of any original photographs or artwork resides exclusively with the creators.

With thanks to Cool

Graffiti #1479
Sea Dragon
6 ft high x 29 ft

Graffiti #1480
8 ft high x 16 ft

Graffiti #1481
6 ft high x 15 ft

Graffiti #1482
6 ft high x 22 ft

Graffiti #1483
6 ft high x 27 ft

Graffiti #1484
Trial by Trail
6 ft high x 17 ft

Graffiti #1485
6 ft high x 20 ft

Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered, under current legal precedents and prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law.   Copyright of any original artwork resides exclusively with the creators.

Bangkok's original site !

SINCE  2005

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


"The Archives" - All Our Back Issues Here

- 2024 -
01 JAN -   Soi 8 - Changing With The Times
01 FEB -   Bangkok Movies - March 1967
01 MAR -   A Khao Sarn Retro - (Millennium 2000)
01 APR -    -
- 2023 -
01 JAN -   2022 - The Awakening
01 FEB -   2022 - A Go-Go AI (Is You Is?)
01 MAR -   2022 - Movies 1966
01 APR -    Khao San Road Today
01 MAY -    Bangkok's Temporary Bars
01 JUN -    The Blues
01 JUL -    7 Center Point
01 AUG -    Soi 7 Bier Garten Gone
01 SEP -    Bua Luang - We Hardly Knew Ye
01 OCT -    Trendy Plaza Revisit
01 NOV -    7 Center Point - Doubling Down
01 DEC -    - Patpong 1988 - 1989

- 2022 -
01 JAN -   Omicron - a "Big Deal" ?
01 FEB -   Omicron Milder, Stable
01 MAR -   Bangkok Nitelife rebounds
01 APR -    Covid High amid Reopenings
01 MAY -    Pub Crawl - In The Time of Covid
01 JUN -    Nitespots Fully Open
01 JUL -    Thailand Reopens
01 AUG -    Nitespot Maps Update - Post Covid
01 SEP -    Royal City Avenue on the Mend
01 OCT -    W District - After COVID
01 NOV -    Talat Noi - Chinatown Graffiti
01 DEC -    The Godfather Crucible
- 2021 -
01 JAN -   Covid surges - Nitespots hit
01 FEB -    CoV-19 Vaccine Delay - Bars in Tatters
01 MAR -   CoV-19 Vaccine here - Bars reopen
01 APR -    Covid stable - Travel eases
01 MAY -    Covid 3rd Wave bashes Nitelife
01 JUN -    Nightlife Dark Ages Continue
01 JUL -    Covid Worsens - Lockdown widens
01 AUG -    Covid-19 Skyrockets - Blanket Testing
01 SEP -    Covid-19 Cases down - Nitelife ailing...
01 OCT -    Covid Cases Down 60%
01 NOV -    Covid Eases, Hopes Rise
01 DEC -    Covid Eases Again - Nitelife Restarts

- 2020 -
01 JAN -   Soi 7 "On The Map"
01 FEB -   Soi 33's Dead Artists - RIP
01 MAR -    Queen's Park Plaza gone
01 APR -    Coronavirus Crunch
01 MAY -    Coronavirus Ebbs
01 JUN -    Coronavirus is killing bars
01 JUL -    Coronavirus now rare
01 AUG -    Thais curb Coronavirus
01 SEP -    Covid blockade foils 2nd Wave
01 OCT -    Coronavirus vs Coronaphobia
01 NOV -    Trink Passes On
01 DEC -    Soi 8 Survives
- 2019 -
01 JAN -   Soi 71 + "W District"
01 FEB -    Back to Soi 26
01 MAR -   Soi 1 & Soi 3
01 APR -    Mizu's of Patpong
01 MAY -    Mississippi Twins
01 JUN -    Gay Patpong ? -Twilight Gone
01 JUL -    Bars - 50 Years On
01 AUG -    Soi 8 Reviste
01 SEP -    Copyright & the 'Net
01 OCT -    Historic Honolulu - Chinatown
01 NOV -    The Patpong Museum
01 DEC -    Queen's Park Fades - Soi 7 Opens

- 2018 -
01 JAN -   The Pub Crawl
01 FEB -   Bobby Passes On
01 MAR -    Nana - The Plaza - The Soi
01 APR -    Soi Dead Artists - Downsizing?
01 MAY -    Soi's 5, 7, 7/1 Eden
01 JUN -    Soi 24 - Going Nowhere
01 JUL -    Street Bars - They're Back
01 AUG -    Udorn in the 60's & 70's
01 SEP -    Potpourri - Odds 'N Ends
01 OCT -    Khao San + Rambutri Rds.
01 NOV -    Night Market Sri Nakarin
01 DEC -    Soi 23 - Running Hot
- 2017 -
01 JAN -   Soi 22 - the Survivor
01 FEB -    Hua Hin Nights
01 MAR -   Hooking-Up
01 APR -    Soi Than Tawan
01 MAY -    Our Saloon-Count Surveys
01 JUN -    Soi Bua Khao
01 JUL -    Soi 8 - Work In Progress
01 AUG -    NO PHOTO (more or less)
01 SEP -    Stickman Calls 'Time'
01 OCT -    Sweet Black Angel
01 NOV -    Thai King At Rest
01 DEC -    The Dark Arts

- 2016 -
01 JAN -   Railway Bazaar
01 FEB -   Sukhumvit Square Justice
01 MAR -    Paint the Neon Night
01 APR -    Udom Suk Reviste
01 MAY -    Soi Thaniya
01 JUN -    Soi Thonglor Re-up
01 JUL -    Massage Parlor Row
01 AUG -    Check Inn 99
01 SEP -    Pattaya A Go-Go
01 OCT -    Bangkok's Nitelife Maps
01 NOV -    Nitespot Demographics
01 DEC -    Pattaya's Soi 6

- 2015 -
01 JAN -    A Go-Go Bar Ratings
01 FEB -    Are Cops Gouging Nitelifers?
01 MAR -   Bad Company
01 APR -    LK Metro - Pattaya
01 MAY -    Soi 33 goes East
01 JUN -    Rachada Fades
01 JUL -    Freelancers
01 AUG -    Nana Plaza Map 2015
01 SEP -    Soi Nana Map 2015
01 OCT -    Walking Street - Pattaya
01 NOV -    Rachada - The Giant
01 DEC -    A Go-Go's Story

- 2014 -
01 JAN -   Bangkok's Got The Blues
01 FEB -   Soi 26 - Stayin' Alive
01 MAR -    Nightscene rues Mob
01 APR -    My Friend owns a Bar...
01 MAY -    Soi's 3, 5 and 7
01 JUN -    Curfew's Costly Cut
01 JUL -    Soi 13 Makes It's Move
01 AUG -    Pattaya Does The Twist
01 SEP -    Soi's 18 & 20 - Quieter is Better
01 OCT -    Soi's 10 & 14 - Lesser known Sois
01 NOV -    A Good Old Boy...
01 DEC -    Lang Suan & Sarasin

- 2013 -
01 JAN -    Not Fade Away - The Survivors
01 FEB -    Rare Old Photos
01 MAR -   Copa Reprise
01 APR -    Arise, Soi 22
01 MAY -    Where to Next ?
01 JUN -    Bangkok Noir
01 JUL -    MAPS - The Major Update
01 AUG -    Lamai Lamai Lamai
01 SEP -    Tim 'Wanchai' Young
01 OCT -    Soi Wall Street
01 NOV -    Little Thonglor - Soi 11
01 DEC -    Mississippi Queen

- 2012 -
01 JAN -    Mama-San
01 FEB -    Our 10th Anniversary Issue !
01 MAR -    How Gay Nana ?
01 APR -    Sukhumvit' Soi 23 - The Big Picture
01 MAY -    Khao San Road - Unique Bazaar
01 JUN -    Ekamai - It Used To Be Too Far
01 JUL -    Nightlife Pioneers
01 AUG -    The New Puritans
01 SEP -    Nana - On It's Own
01 OCT -    FAIL - War on Nitespot Drugs
01 NOV -    Patpong Unbroken
01 DEC -    Drugs & the Nightscene in History
- 2011 -
01 JAN -    Patpong's 'Glory Days'
01 FEB -    Nightlife In A Digital Age
01 MAR -    Co-Co Walk Plaza
01 APR -    Soi 33 Marches On
01 MAY -    Nightlife Permissiveness
01 JUN -    Ghosts of Nitelife Past
01 JUL -    STATE - The Cinema, Soi & Area
01 AUG -    Soi Darling
01 SEP -    Sri Nakarin South
01 OCT -    Soi 8 Reprise
01 NOV -    Floodless in Bangkok
01 DEC -    Soi Udomsuk

- 2010 -
01 JAN -    Street Bars II - The Triple-Dip
01 FEB -    Our Kind Of Art - II    - Chris Coles
01 MAR -    The Dead Artist Bars - Soi 33
01 APR -    "Soi Ginza" - Thaniya Road
01 MAY -    Night Scene Blues (Red Shirts 1)
01 JUN -    Nitespots Recover Slowly (Reds 2)
01 JUL -    World Cup Special
01 AUG -    Those Old Photos
01 SEP -    The German Invasion
01 OCT -    Racism & Prejudice
01 NOV -    Soi 11 Revisited
01 DEC -    Soi 22 Updater

- 2009 -
01 JAN -    The Santika Fire
01 FEB -    Salt & Pepper
01 MAR -    Nana Plaza - Update & Maps
01 APR -    Soi Nana Update
01 MAY -    The Nightscene & The Riots
01 JUN -    "19" Re-Focus
01 JUL -    Rain Dogs - The Underground
01 AUG -    Soi Thonglor - A bridge-too-far
01 SEP -    Ban Chang - Our Little Secret
01 OCT -    The "Ginza Effect'
01 NOV -    Royal City Avenue (RCA)
01 DEC -    Sutthisan & The Inthamara's

- 2008 -
01 JAN -    2007 - Looking Back
01 FEB -    Owning A Bar
01 MAR -    Expat's Bangkok
01 APR -    Nude Dancing
01 MAY -    After Midnite
01 JUN -    Night Scene In Flux
01 JUL -    Our Kind Of Art
01 AUG -    Trendy Plaza Reprise
01 SEP -    The Elephants Are ....Back
01 OCT -    Grand Prix Intro
01 NOV -    Grand Prix - Rick's Story
01 DEC -    "Old Bangkok Hand"

- 2007 -
01 JAN -    Bombs Blast Bangkok
01 FEB -    Bangkok's Nightscene Websites
01 MAR -    Prasitipol Dance Bar To Fall
01 APR -    Soi 5 Neon Review
01 MAY -    A Go-Go Bangkok
01 JUN -    Arise ! Soi 11
01 JUL -    Anatomy Of A Bar Area
01 AUG -    Soi 26 - Too Far ?
01 SEP -    Chuwit Guilty
01 OCT -    Daytime Nana Plaza
01 NOV -    Cowboy - All Of It
01 DEC -    Another Nitespot Area Falls

- 2006 -
01 JAN -    Pattaya Ascending
01 FEB -    A Go-Go Then & Now
01 MAR -    ' Madrid '
01 APR -    White Heat
01 MAY -    Politics & Nightlife
01 JUN -    Fagin's Bratpack
01 JUL -    King Bhumibol's 60th Anniversary
01 AUG -    Soi 10 - The Final Shaft
01 SEP -    Pattaya's Soi Bua Khow
01 OCT -    Rachada's Other Face
01 NOV -    Soi 22s Other Bars
01 DEC -    Soi Eden Goes A Go-Go

- 2005 -
01 JAN -    Asoke Plaza Crushed
01 FEB -    The 'Nana Scene'
01 MAR -    Asoke Plaza Smashed Again
01 APR -    Sukhumvit 1 Plaza 'Arrives'
01 MAY -    Welcome 'Soi Eden'
01 JUN -    Bangkok's Bareback Riders
01 JUL -    Soi 22 - A Macro View
01 AUG -    Nana's Slide
01 SEP -    Cowboy Street Scene
01 OCT -    The Pattaya Run
01 NOV -    Soi 19 In Focus
01 DEC -    Bad Girls

- 2004 -
01 JAN -    Bangkok's Darkest Year
01 FEB -    Where Is Trink ?
01 MAR -    Soi 33 Just Won't Stop
01 APR -    Cracks In The Crackdown
01 MAY -    In The Zone
01 JUN -    "Night-Scene Jumbos
01 JUL -    Easy Square 'On The Map'
01 AUG -    Soi 1 Entertainment Plaza
01 SEP -    Khlong Toey Revisited
01 OCT -    Koh Samui's Night Scene
01 NOV -    Soi 1 Opens
01 DEC -   The Bangkok Pub Scene

- 2003 -
01 JAN -    Cowboy Crackdown
01 FEB -    Sukhumvit Square Smashed
01 MAR -    Soi 10 Survivors
01 APR -    War & The Night Scene
01 MAY -    Entertainment Blues
01 JUN -    '13 Night Market' Reborn
01 JUL -    Clinton Plaza Falls
01 AUG -    Soi 24 Nightscene Review
01 SEP -    Does Soi Nana Measure Up?
01 OCT -    Patpong - Legend & Myth
01 NOV -    Easy Square 'Launched'
01 DEC -    Soi Cowboy Urine-Swoop

- 2002 -
01 FEB -    January: Big Changes In Bar Scene
09 JUN -    Sukhumvit Square 'Explosion'

20 JUN -    Soi 22's Queen's Park Plaza
01 JUL -    Clinton Plaza - Already Dead?
01 AUG -    Bar Beers Now "Major Players"
16 AUG -    July: Bar Beers Gaining Ground
01 SEP -    A Go-Gos A-building
17 SEP -    Virtual Bars
01 OCT -    A History In The Making
01 NOV -    Pool Bars Come Of Age
01 DEC -    November's Night Follies
15 DEC -    Genesis: Sukhumvit's Night Scene

01 JAN -    Seminal Survey -Paradisio Closes
- 2001 -

01 JAN -    Baccara opens in Cowboy
01 FEB -    Club Habanos Closes - PP1
01 MAR -    farang Connection Closes - Nana
01 APR -    Rock Hard BB Open - Clinton Pl.
01 MAY -    Las Vegas Opens - Cowboy
01 JUN -    'Wall Street' Opens - Soi 33
01 JUL -    Vixens Closes - Nana
01 AUG -    6 A Go-Go's Shut - Clinton Pl.
01 SEP -    Pussy Collection Opens - PP1
01 OCT -    Girl Friend Closes - PP1
01 NOV -    Rainbow III Opens - Nana
01 DEC -    White House Reopens - Clinton Pl.

- 2000 -

JAN -    'Cowboy Annex' Starts Up
FEB -    Agogo 2000 new at Nana
MAR -    Flowers - Clinton's 1st A Go-Go
APR -    Angel Witch new at Nana
MAY -    Dubliner now at Washington Sq
JUN -    Coco Loco opens at Clinton Pl.
JUL -    Bottoms Up new at Nana
AUG -    Crack House opens at Clinton Pl.
SEP -    Doll House / White House open at Clinton
OCT -    Rock Hard to open at Clinton Pl.
NOV -    Big Dogs opens at Nana
DEC -    Lolita opens in Cowboy Annex

- 1999 -

JAN -    Masquerade Closes @ Nana
FEB -    "Entertainment Plaza" Start-Up
MAR -    SuperStar is PP SuperBar !
APR -    Washington Square goes Critical
MAY-    New Klymaxx closes (Cowboy)
JUN -    'Wet Lips opens (Cowboy)
JUL -    Sam 2000 opens (Cowboy)
AUG -    Monica's opens (Clinton Plaza)
SEP -    Muzzik Cafe open on PP1
OCT -    No Probl'm now Cat's Meow
NOV -    Titty Twisters opens at Nana
DEC -    Londoner Brew Pub new on Soi 33
- 1998 -
JAN -    Nancy Bar opens on Floor 2, Nana
FEB -    Tabasco Charlies opens - (NEP)
MAR -    Cowboy 2 is a 'Pizzaria' - Soi Cowboy
APR -    New A Go Go Duck opens - Cowboy
MAY -    Raw Hide opens on Cowboy
JUN -    Para Disio opens - Floors 2 & 3 - NEP
JUL -    Patpong Cafe opens - PP2
AUG -    'Funny Girls' becomes 'Girlfriend' - PP1
SEP -    Masquerade opens on 3rd Floor - NEP
OCT -    Virgo opens on Cowboy
NOV -    Obsession, Beverly Hills, Red Lips open
DEC -    Lucifer Disko Tk opens atop Radio City

- 1997 -
JAN -    'Hot Rods' opens @ Nana
FEB -    Crazy Lady closes (Nana)
MAR -    3 Lounges closed - 'The Ramp'
APR -    Blue Sky Bar closes - PP1
MAY -    Crackdown at Nana
JUN -    Crystal Palace opens - PP2
JUL -    Limelight closes - PP1
AUG -    Rainbow II opens @ Nana
SEP -    Cowboy's Butterfly Gone
OCT -    Shadow drops Crazy Jack (Cowboy)
NOV -    Hollywood 2 now on 3rd Floor (NEP)
DEC -    Susies opens @ Buckskin Joe Village
- 1996 -
JAN -    Shooters opens on 3rd Floor (NEP)
FEB -    XTC Closes, then Reopens (NEP)
MAR -    Tapas back on line (Soi Katoey)
APR -    Long Gun expands (2X) [Cowboy]
MAY -    Apache reopens on 'The Boy'
JUN -    Pink Panther "upstairs" closes
JUL -    Iconic Mike's Place gone...
AUG -    Upstairs Touch Bar closes (PP1)
SEP -    Pharaoh opens in NEP carpark
OCT -    Spirit House opens in NEP
NOV -    Crazy Lady opens in NEP
DEC -    Long Gun 2 opens (now Rawhide)

- 1995 -
JAN -    PP1 Butterfly Closed
FEB -    Camelot Castle Opens
MAR -    NEPs Bubble Gum gone...
APR -    Tiny 'Imagine' Closed
MAY -    (Quietest month on record)
JUN -    NEPs Mon Cherie axed
JUL -    Play Skool opens (NEP)
AUG -    Opium Club new on The Ramp
SEP -    D.L Irish Pub (ex: Bamboo's)
OCT -    NEP 3rd Floor Opens
NOV -    Klymaxx 2 opens on Cowboy
DEC -    Chick's opens upstairs (PP1)
- 1994 -
- 1993 -
JAN -       -
FEB -       -
MAR -   Saloons - More Areas Added
APR -    Saloons -Adding "Nana"
MAY -    Red Diamond Closed
JUN -    Saloons - Tomatohead Closes
JUL -    Pretty Lady A Go Go
AUG -    Mars Party House closed
SEP -    Matterhorn & Star Pub
OCT -    Sawasdee Cocktail Lounge - New
NOV -    Thigh Bar name change
DEC -    Smile Club to open...
- 1990 -
JUN -   Buckskin Joe - Initial Survey

- 1989 -
01 JAN -    Patpong 1 Map 1988-89
Copyright 1989 - 2024    BANGKOK EYES -