Nana Journals

An anthology of some of the best writings, photos, and information pertaining to the Bangkok
nightlife featuring comments and highlights from the best blogs and websites on the subject.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas in Bangkok

Christmas at Soi Cowboy
I found this image in Dean Barrett's archives from last year. Hopefully, there will be some photos from this year's holiday season.
Happy Holidays to everyone.

Christmas at Nana Disco

This shot is from a couple years ago, showing the dance girls at the Angels Disco (or Nana Disco), dressed for the holidays. (Its the dance club that's found inside the Nana Hotel.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Maintaining Face

It takes a lot of courage for a Thai female to decide to enter this type of work. The one difference that sets Thailand apart from other countries is the Thai culture. It usually falls to the females to take care of the parents. The money that they make goes to support their parents and they live on the minimum amount that will sustain them. Often they live in small rooms without air conditioning and many live with another person to even further lower their costs.
The face being gained here is they are not pocketing the money for themselves but supporting their families who probably live upcountry. So if you decide to spend some time with a Thai lady who you met at a nightlife venue, keep in mind that you are making a donation to her family and not to her. By doing this she gains face with her family. Her family more than likely turns a blind eye as to how she makes her money. This is the case in the vast majority of cases.
(To read more about this, click on Dave's name.)
Dave the Rave

Monday, December 11, 2006

Songkran Festival Celebration in Pattaya

Photo from celebration in Phuket

Here is a link to Jim Suay's video on celebrating the new year in Pattaya. This takes place in April.
Check it out.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Hog's Breath - A Neighborhood Bar

Hog’s Breath is a little different than the other go-go bars in Nana Entertainment Plaza.

It’s a meeting place and hangout for old ex-pats, who often organize fishing trips and golf tournaments for its patrons. I saw the guys catch some 60 pound catfish on one of their sponsored excursions. The men gather about 5 or 6pm to drink beer and talk story, until the music starts at 8pm and then they are driven outside.

The girls spend more time mothering you, greeting the regulars with a cool damp washcloth, a smile, and your usual drink. On Sundays the manager even cooks up a pot of Texas chili for its patrons. One evening at the outside counter some of the girls showed me how to eat roasted crickets and bugs. The girls at Hogs Breath often shared their food with me, allowing me to try many exotic Thai dishes.
Later in the evening the djay plays old Thai pop and traditional songs from Thailand, and the girls will show you some of the old Thai dances. Some of the workers from other bars join in the celebration just before closing.
Its a safe haven for the ex-pats to tell stories, to relax, and to watch the tourists and katoeys walk by.

Its an old neighborhood bar in the middle of all of the excitement.

Randy Magnus

Friday, December 01, 2006


Dean Barrett Talks About His Thanksgiving

I decided I was spending waaay too much time in Bangkok's go go bars, so I decided to give myself a test, to make sure I wasn't addicted, I mean. And so I decided to go to Burriram for at least 2 1/2 days! To see if I could handle cold turkey, appropriately enough, as I was there over thanksgiving. Burriram, as you know, is where many of the most beautiful women in Bangkok come from. My Canadian friend, Dave, former master scuba diver, invited me up to his farm to relax and to take some photographs of the scenery. Somehow, when I got back to Bangkok, inserted the pictures into the computer, and looked through the shots in the computer, most of the shots turned out to be of his lovely wife, Fon, whom Dave was smart enough never to leave alone with me even when checking on the water buffalo in the barn.

Dave is so much in love with Fon that he has come up with a remarkable idea. When he dies he will be cremated and his ashes placed in a small stupa in the boundaries of the small local temple. But to ensure that Fon visits him all the time, he is going to build an ATM machine into the stupa, and if Fon wants money from his pension every month she has to type in something like "I miss you too much, Dave!". Now I ask you, is that not brilliant?
Dean Barrett

Friday, November 10, 2006

What The Girls Make....

What the girls make in the go-go clubs by Mango Sauce

Bar girls' salaries range from 2,000 to 6,000 baht (US $55 to $164) per month.

Here are some of their work rules.
* Only two days off permitted a month, or they must pay 300 baht a day for extra leave days.
* No leave permitted on Fridays, Saturdays and national holidays. Otherwise, fines range from 500 to 1,000 baht a day.
* Must go out with the clients four to 10 times a month or pay fine of 500 baht for each missed quota.
* Must sell 80-100 drinks to clients or pay 30 baht a drink for the missed quota.
* Must have health check-up every three months. If the blood test is positive for sexually transmitted diseases, they will not get the salary for that month.
* Must wear the outfits arranged by the bars or pay the fine of 100 to 200 baht.
* Must not use the clients' restrooms.
* Must not eat during work hours.
* Must buy own drinking water.

The benefits package isn't very tempting but, on the plus side, they get to meet lots of interesting new people.

(Typical income for their takeout company is 1,500 baht (US $41) for short-time and 2,000 baht (US $55) and up for all night after the barfine is paid.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Stickman's Most Popular Photo

photo by Stickman

"Without a doubt the most copied part of the my website has been this picture of a bargirl wandering down soi 8 in Pattaya with her dinner in hand. It has appeared all over the ‘net, from local discussion forums to US-based escort sites, to various Asian forums to at least two different German porn sites.
Cripes, it’s a good photo but it's not that good!"
- Stickman

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dreams Can Come True.....

photo by Randy Magnus

The best night in Bangkok this time was going to the Long Gun GoGo Bar at Soi Cowboy and paying the bar fine for this great outgoing-personality, affectionate girl from the stable for short-time. I noticed her dancing among the other girls on stage. She came down and said hi, but I didn't recognize her with her clothes on.
She moved on to this other guy, and I could see how friendly and passionate she was as she flurted with the other client. But he didn't take her out.
When she passed by I tapped her and bought the girl a drink. She quickly fell into my lap and asked if I was going to pay the bar fine for her. I told her I wanted to see her dance again. After her stint on stage, she came back and I gladly accepted. On the way back to my place we stopped by Nana Entertainment Plaza and went inside a place I knew I could photograph in.

The bar was pretty dead, the girls only sitting around. I put the Long Gun girl up on stage, and the place came alive. The other girls were enjoying her energy, everyone was dancing. She would fall into my outreached hands in front of the stage, and dance in my arms. After a little bit, she wanted back on stage so I lifted her back onto the stage. I had a hard time having her keep her bra and panties on as she performed her pole moves, saying she was hot. Five or six guys wondered in and stayed to watch her. She was a ringer, for sure.

On the way down the stairs at Nana she held tightly onto my body saying she was sorry she was so drunk. She had a great time.
We both did.
We got to my place, undressed, showered and began cuddling on the bed, rolled over to another position and she passed out, face down, right in the center of the bed. I squeezed over to one side, placed the covers over us and went to sleep myself.
As she was waking up the next morning, the girl was very affectionate and loving, the way one hopes to wake-up with being with such a beautiful creature, and continued the affair.

Later on while I was videotaping the Thai Cowboys performing their bluegrass music at the Weekend Market, I called her up and had the Blue Mountain Boys seranade her with a country version of "Happy Birthay". It was her birthday on that day.

Drugged in Bangkok......

Don't Accept Food From Strangers
by Randy Magnus

I was photographing the people leaving Nana Entertainment Plaza at closing time, and this kid said she was hungry and wanted soup. I told her I’d get her some. She looked 12, but said she was 19. What was strange was she wanted soup on Sukhumvit - not on Soi 4, where Nana Plaza is.

I’d been documenting the street food and their vendors all week long in the Nana area, and I knew there were a lot of them on the other side of Sukhumvit who set up for the closing Nana crowd. We walked down Sukhumvit to the pedestrian crossing just before the Nana skytrain stop, crossed over the road, and right there was a seafood soup place - the kind they put the charcoal right on the table, a clay pot of heated water on top of the charcoal and you cook the food right at your table [This is called Jim Jum - Bangkok Badboy].

I was taking photos of her and her friend preparing the soup, drinking only water because I’d just had a hamburger at the entrance to Nana Plaza. When the soup was ready, she prepared a small bowl for me, which I refused. I should have left then and taken photos of the other vendors on the way back to Nana. But I finally agreed to eat the bowl of soup - which she had drugged.

I woke up 12 hours later in my room at White Orchid Inn, a little boutique hotel in the alley across from the 7-11 on Soi 4 (two alleys away from Nana Plaza). She and her friend had assisted me to my hotel - only she was allowed in with me, the friend left and waited outside. Nattaya was her name on her ID, from Pattaya.

Nattaya went through all of my stuff in my room, took the cash and my two digital still cameras. She couldnt slip my video camera in her purse and get it by the receptionist, so it was saved.

The receptionist got the information from her ID card, and I went to the police, filled out a form, and talked to another policeman, who send me to a small hospital for a urine test to verify that I had been drugged.
The receptionist at White Orchid Inn said that the police don’t do much unless you slip them some money.

I sent a letter to her and her parents to the address in Pattaya (assuming it was a valid ID), and had the receptionist at White Orchid translate the letter to Thai, asking them to return my cameras and telling them that what she did was wrong.

We’ll see what happens, if anything. She probably sold the cameras down Sukhumvit at the night market…

Footnote: Got word from my hotel that the ID was stolen from a university girl.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Behavior Tips While in Southeast Asia

Excerpts and Comments on Bangkok's Nightlife by Stickman, Bangkok Bad Boy, and Mango Sauce

1. Don't touch anyone's head in public, it's considered offensive.
2. Do not sit back and put your feet up in public. They don't like having feet being pointed at them.
3. Smile. Be happy that you are in such a wonderful place.
4. Honor the Royal Family with respect. They love their King.
5. Look both ways before crossing any part of the street. (You will find traffic going in either direction at any time in any lane, and motorcycles often drive on the sidewalks. People have no right of way.)
6. Roll up your pants legs before entering the bathroom. (The bathroom floor doubles as the floor of the shower stall.)
7. Remember that the girls think of you as an ATM machine, and they want to withdraw as much money as possible.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Englishmen and Their Viagra

Excerpts and Comments on Bangkok’s Nightlife By Stickman, Bangkok Bad Boy, and Dave the Rave

Some guys get a bit carried away and consume the Viagra too soon for my liking. One Englishman consumed not one but two Viagra doses whilst he was still in the go-go bar. Without question I made sure I was facing him at all times. I tried to no avail to persuade him that it is best to be with his teelak (sweetheart) and preferably be in a bedroom at the time. If he could not find his teelak in time, being very short he could well have been doing an impression of a human tripod.
Dave the Rave

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Katoeys of Nana

Photographs by Randy Magnus

This is a land where the boys are often prettier than the girls.
Someone told me that if it looks too good to be real, its a Katoey (Ladyboy.)
These girls are from Nana Plaza clubs Temptation, Cascade, Obsession, and Casanova.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pattaya, and Girls with Cameras

Excerpts and Comments on Bangkok’s Nightlife By Stickman, Bangkok Bad Boy, and Dave the Rave

It’s not that the town has attracted an influx of good-looking expats; just the opposite. With the seasonal downswing in tourism and the departure of US Navy personnel a week ago, working girls opine, “Farang law law”. In other words, those fat, balding, older expats who are still around are again being beckoned with such endearing terms as, “Hello, sexy man”, “Come inside, handsome man.” That pretty much sums up the Pattaya scene of late. Few tourists. Hungry working girls. Little business at all but the most popular bars and nightspots in town.

Girls with cameras:

Since digital cameras have become very popular, many punters have started their own collection of photos of some of the pretty ladies whose company they have enjoyed. But don't think it's only the guys who do this. There is one lady in Worldwide A Gogo on Beach Road who has a collection of photos of guys that must number in excess of 50. She joked to me that she wanted to put them online like guys do with pictures of the girls. So, if you want your Pattaya activities to remain anonymous, be careful of girls with camera phones.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Stickman Estimates The Number In Thailand

Outside of the most well-known spots - Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, there are the "secondary areas" like Ko Samui, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai. Naughty bars with girls can be found in other touristy areas like Ko Samet and Ko Chang. And then you get into the places where relatively small numbers of Western holidaymakers venture, but where there are enough Western guys living locally to sustain a few naughty bars. This would include Songkhla, Udon Thani and Khon Kaen.

Nana Plaza has 32 bars, but only 28 of them have women available. Remember, Nana Plaza is katoey central and there are four bars where all you'll find are transsexuals. My best guess is that there is an average of perhaps 45 girls per bar in Nana. That is 1,260 girls. In the past the number would have been a fair bit higher. A lot of the bars seem to have fewer girls now than they did say 5 years ago. This is probably best explained by the fact that there are many more bars in Bangkok these days meaning more options in terms of places to work.

Soi Cowboy has a similar number of bars, but there would have to be fewer girls there than Nana. There are not so many big bars, and a couple of hole in the wall types. With the number of bars on Soi Cowboy totaling 30, I estimate an average of about 35 girls per bar, although that is perhaps a little on the high side when you factor in the likes of the tiny Pam's Bar. Assuming 35 girls per bar, that would make a total of about 1,050 girls. That's got to be in the ball park.

Patpong is perhaps the easiest bar area in Bangkok to estimate numbers. Most of the gogo bars are medium in size and have a similar number of girls employed. You do not have a lot of really big bars but there are a few of the smaller bars on the second Patpong Soi, which have only a small number of girls. There are about 50 bars spread over the two Patpong sois and the average number of available girls would again be around 35 in each bar, meaning a total of perhaps 1,750 girls, making it the most populous of Bangkok's major bar areas.

So Stickman estimates the number is as follows:
Nana Plaza 1,260
Soi Cowboy 900
Patpong 1,750
Sukhumvit Soi33 675
Bangkok beer bars combined 1,200
Bangkok freelancers 1,500
Phuket 2,500
Pattaya 17,000
Ko Samui 500
Hua Hin 300
Others (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Udon + everywhere else) 1,500
TOTAL 29,265

(Estimates 7,285 in Bangkok alone)

Hanging Out with Dean Barrett at Nana

Dean’s Favorite bar?
Any bar in which there is a beautiful woman who will refer to me as “hansum man.” I love to sit outside bar areas when the girls are arriving for work and watch the action. It has a charm to it that you find nowhere else in the world.

Mind you trying to have a conversation with Dean Barrett is not easy with so many lovely girls around. I have lost count how many times Dean has wandered off into fantasy land because yet another young dolly bird fluttered his heart. But, before stupid thoughts like marriage proposals begin to emerge, Dean snaps right out of it like the seasoned veteran that he is.
Dave the Rave

Dean Barrett comments later on:
The story of my life: Sitting on a stool in the Texas Lone Star Saloon. A pretty young thing (by Lone Star standards) sitting next to me stroking me a bit. Finally, I say: “Hey! Don’t get me excited. You know what would happen then.”

She responds with, “Yes. We walk to ATM.”
Wisdom out of the mouth of "babes."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bangkok Go-Go Clubs

Excerpts and Comments on Bangkok’s Nightlife By Stickman, Bangkok Bad Boy, and Dave the Rave

Bangkok has three main “go-go” nightlife areas - Nana Plaza, Patpong and Soi Cowboy.

Nana Entertainment Plaza (or NEP), located on Sukhumvit Soi 4, is a tourist’s haven of beer bars and go-gos. Possibly Bangkok’s most popular centre of adult entertainment, it consists of three floors of bars.
The ground floor, once you’ve negotiated the narrow entrance (filled with takeaway food stalls, freelance hookers, ladboys and possibly an elephant), has a number of beer bars in the middle, interspersed with commissioned reps who will physically drag you into their bars if you hesitate for too long! Around the sides of this arena are the entrances to several go-go bars - first-time visitors might like to know that Obsession is a ladyboy bar.
The first floor (in the British sense – ie. the floor above the ground floor!) consists of more go-go bars (including two more ladyboy-only bars – Casanova and Temptations), and can be reached by escalator if you’re fortunate enough to visit on an occasion when it’s actually working! The second floor has four more go-go bars (Cascade is the ladyboy one here), as well as a cheeky short-time hotel.
Beer bars offer the cheaper drinks, expect to pay less than ฿100 for a beer in these. The go-go bars all seem to charge about ฿110-฿130 (US $2.95-$3.48), although there are a few slightly cheaper exceptions. Average drink prices are slightly higher than on Soi Cowboy, but there’s more choice here and it’s a far better location. As for the girls themselves, it really does depend on who you are – and when you visit. A handsome twenty-something entering a desolate bar (Fantasia, for example) will probably find a girl willing to go with him for a lot less than the price quoted to a fat drunken pensioner in Angelwitch.

Those two bars probably illustrate opposite ends of the spectrum (very bad and very good, respectively), the general mix is pretty good though with a wide variety of choice.

Sandwiched between Fantasia and Rainbow 4, Temptations is Nana Plaza’s smallest ladyboy bar. The ladyboys are less intimidating than those at Casanova, but they’re still out to get you - even if it means “converting” you!

I was eventually able to convince them that this wouldn’t be happening - at least with me, and kicked back on a comfy couch with a cold Heineken. Long couches line the sides of this bar, with a long stage in between on which the ladyboys shuffle, gyrate and generally show off those surgically enhanced curves.

Two Japanese guys sat across from me looked utterly wasted, and were either incapable or unwilling to resist - both were promptly undressed and, um, “examined” by a couple of the bar’s more assertive ladyboys (and they all are)…

When one of the “girls” who’d been talking to me started to cry as I told “her” that I was leaving, I made my excuses and made a mental note to steer clear of this part of the Plaza for a while. There’s nothing quite like an emotionally unstable ladyboy to ruin your night…
Bangkok Bad Boy

Nana: Angelwitch Update

Excerpts and Comments on Bangkok's Nightlife by
Bangkok Bad Boy, Dave the Rave, and Stickman

Angelwitch is located on the middle floor of Nana Plaza - if you go up the staircase on your left as you enter the Plaza, it’s the third bar or so on your right.
Currently Nana’s most expensive place to drink, bottled beer sells for a depressing ฿130 (US $3.50), almost as much as back in Blighty! However, the bar is also one of the best go-gos in Bangkok - at least in this author’s opinion.
Whilst there’s not as much bare flesh on display as in Soi Cowboy, this is the same for all of Nana’s bars (at least, all the ones I’ve visited recently). What Angelwitch does offer, however, is decent rock music (a refreshing change from the usual techno-crap), and some of the best choreographed shows in Bangkok. We’re not talking the gynaecological shows of Patpong, but well-produced flashy (not to mention arousing!) dance routines.
The bar can get pretty crowded - a victim of its own success I guess, but like so many things it really depends on when you visit. The girls range in quality, there are certainly a few stunners here but also a few at least approaching their sell-by date. Still, everyone’s taste is different! Barfine is ฿600 (US $16.08), the girls’ prices vary wildly - some have quoted me almost double what others have wanted.
Overall, very much recommended - but perhaps not somewhere to drink the whole night , unless you want to spend top dollar!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Nana: Hollywood Carousel & Pretty Lady

Excerpts and Comments on Bangkok’s Nightlife
By Stickman, Bangkok Bad Boy, and Dave the Rave

Hollywood Carousel:
Located on the top floor of Nana Plaza, directly above Angelwitch, this is one of the larger gogo bars I’ve seen. Part of the Hollywood chain, the Carousel part of the name comes from the two large circular rotating stages - alternately featuring either masses of girls doing the chrome-pole-shuffle, or a couple of girls performing racy shows.
Whilst the girls weren’t on the level, attractiveness-wise, of say Angelwitch, the shows were still pretty impressive. One began with a girl throwing a bucket of ice cubes over the stage, with two girls then waltzing onto the stage to play with them. In bikinis. They must have been very cold, is all I’m saying.
There’s a third stage above the bar, where four or so girls dance in a narrow cage. Chang was just ฿95 (US $2.55) a bottle, very agreeable. Other beers were ฿125 (US $3.35) though, with lady-drinks priced about the same.
If you can haul yourself up two flights of stairs in one evening, then it’s certainly worth a visit - the quality of girls was very decent overall, although both ends of the scale were certainly covered! Cheap beer, entertaining shows, and the bar’s big enough that you’ll rarely struggle to find a seat.

Pretty Lady (formerly Bottoms Up) at Nana:
(Closed again. No word on when it'll re-open.)
Located on the ground floor of Nana Plaza, about half-way along the left-hand side, Pretty Lady has apparently just re-opened. I wandered in for the first time last night, found a free table in the corner, and ordered a Singh (฿120)(US $3.22). Within seconds I had a rather attractive girl sat in my lap trying to put her tongue in my mouth. Which was nice, if a little startling.
Seconds later she was, of course, demanding a lady-drink, and as this was strictly a research mission I had to shoo her away. She was replaced by a colleague within seconds. This girl asked whether I had been to the bar before - I told her I hadn’t. She laughed at me, picked up my drink, cigarettes, bar bill, and beckoned me towards the centre stage. “You need to sit by the stage”, she said. Confused, I did so.
And then I understood. The girls here dance in very short, loose skirts. The surface around the stage is mirrored. A few of the girls wear underwear, but most do not. Now I understood why none of the men sat around the stage were looking up at the girls - they were all admiring the view in the mirror. And there was me thinking they were all staring into their beer like miserable pubgoers in the UK…

There are actually two stages - one along the left-hand wall and one in the centre of the bar. The girls dancing on the centre stage seemed far more lively to me, so this is the place to sit.
The music was lively dance rather than the all-too-common techno dirge, the beer price high but average for Nana, and the quality of the girls was very good indeed. The only downside is the immediate hassle for lady-drinks, but this is hardly the only bar in Bangkok where that’s a problem.
Overall, if you’ve got the willpower to say no to attractive but pushy girls (at least until you’ve found the one you want), you can have a great time here - recommended.