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.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Another Nana Update

The most noticeable thing is the upstairs action at Mandarin.
For a few months now Mandarin has been the best go-go in Nana.

Good music, great girls, and now the upstairs is starting to resemble Baccara.
Black dresses, white button-up tops and yes - no underwear.
From time to time they even take off their tops and they are not wearing the obligatory stars.

Farang Speaks 2 Much

Khmer Girls

Girls in Phnom Penh - Cambodian and Vietnamese

... A word about the girls in Phnom Penh.
Of course, what I have to say is purely my personal opinion and based on a very small sample.

Khmer girls are similar to Thai girls, but with a stronger ‘ethnic’ appearance. They are generally better endowed in the breast department, though somewhat smaller of stature. Their faces seem more ‘squashed up’ and lack the elegant lines of the classic Thai face.

However, a minority were real beauties – far more beautiful than any girl I have met in the bars in Thailand in recent years. Every single girl I met seemed eager to please, even if it was just to give me a back massage while I had a drink.

Not once did I come across the disdainful attitude that seems to affect an increasing proportion of Thai bar girls. There are a few Vietnamese girls around, but they were noticeably cooler, and as a result, I had very little to do with them.

As for underage girls, I can safely say that, since the clean up, they are nowhere in evidence. All the bars employ girls of legal age, and the freelancer bars I went to had doormen checking identity cards....


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Burma Sept.2007: Aung San Suu Kyi

Where are they keeping 1991 Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi?
The voice of freedom in Burma, has been moved to a prison by the military government during these times of unrest.
And many monks have also been detained and/or beaten.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rough Times in Burma

Burma, the northern neighbor to Thailand, is experiencing civil unrest, being led by the Buddhist monks.
Click on the links below to see more.
The Burma Digest
News Desk Special

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Soi Cowboy Update

Spice Girls is close to being one of the most horrible bars right now. Girls dancing naked upstairs that you don’t want to see naked,
and to top it off a random drunk dude dancing on the stage.

That should never happen.

Farang Speaks 2 Much

More Soi Cowboy:
Soi Cowboy is doing well and is clearly the nightlife area of choice for most resident ex-pats and the reasons are obvious as soon as you set foot in the place; it really looks good. Most of the signs are large and effective, and it is a mainly busy walking street with only the odd arrogant bar owner’s SUV blocking the road. Most of the hawkers are kept out till 1 pm (when the lights go off but the bars go on), and even the growing herd (the other night there were 4) of chang (elephants) seem to add to the atmosphere.

Baron Bonk

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Riding the Rails

I used to take the train to Buriram to visit my girlfriend. The overnight trains were such a blast. Cheap and easy.

You could stock up on Leo beer and before you got out of Bangkok be pissed and ready to test out the sleeper beds with the random bargirls who happened to be on the train going home to finish the rice harvest. Back then they actually went home to tam na - make rice.

Now they go home to co-sign for a new motorcycle for their Thai boyfriend while Gunther in Munich gets another Western Union ready. Either way - Rail Time as we called it was generally 500 baht and the girls always had their own condoms.
Yeah baby!

The Farang Speaks 2 Much

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nana Plaza by Night

Nana Plaza by Night, originally uploaded by Timoluege.

photo by Timoluege

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Nana Update

I headed for Nana Plaza on a rainy night and got what I expected, a very quiet evening with some girls and guys outside bars getting more aggressive about getting people to come inside.

The midgets were still out in front of the bars, the elephants were still out in front of the Plaza, and the ladyboys were still giving everybody the eye. Some things never change, do they?
Dean Barrett

Texas Lone Star Saloon

Richard K. Diran's incredible painting of the legendary Texas Lone Star Saloon, Bangkok, Thailand. The bar is in Washington Square, Soi 22.
Dean Barrett
The artist eating at the Texas Lone Star Saloon.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tourist Surveys

TOURIST SURVEYS: Guess what? They aren’t tourist surveys at all. The black-clad youngsters with Amazing Thailand shirts who approach you on Sukhumvit Road are really promoting a hotel in the Asoke area.

They are perfectly pleasant and some are up front and ask you to complete the form so that they can get their commission.

If I have time, I fill out the form but supply false details so that I appear to the hotel’s management as their ideal target: a married brain surgeon earning more than $100,000 a year who visits Bangkok six times a year and is staying in Room 506 at the Landmark Hotel.

“Call me any time,” I say.

From "10 Things I Hate About Bangkok"
by On Nutter in The Farang Speaks 2 Much

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Raining Story by Loong Jaidee

.... I came to the Dunk it Donut, whose shop was full of happy teenage Thai boys crowded up against the front windows, and they were waving their arms and cheering with gusto.
Well, I was hungry anyhow, and after my own intrepid journey, I was ready for a hot drink, so I stepped inside the raucous scene, ordered a raspberry jelly donut and a coffee and settled in.

Just outside the shop was a high curb of about twenty inches, which was supposed to keep the sidewalks high and dry from street level, but now was covered itself with a few inches of water.
At this point, all the young women were pausing, and to keep as dry as possible, were raising their skirts before taking the plunge to step down into two feet or water and cross the small alleyway exiting from the center of the mall.

Each time a girl appeared there was high suspense, and then when the dress came up, the boys would go crazy cheering while she would blushingly cross the watery gauntlet, skirts held above the waves, trying to ignore the adolescent raspberries from inside. Ah, Bangkok.

Even the monsoons bring joy and relief. Even the floods renew our love for life. If you really must have a new karma, put on a sarong and hastily change everything underneath. Or let it rain on you.
Loong Jaidee
(Stories from Thailand, 20 years ago.)

Our Place

One of the most popular bars in Soi Cowboy at this point in time is Our Place. It was not that long ago it was a place to be avoided, but it's pumping now!
The new owner brought a new design, new girls, new shows and although one or two look as though they have been copied directly from Angelwitch, it all comes together well. The atmosphere is fun, and Our Place reminds me very much of the bars in, you guessed it, the good old days.
(photo by Dean Barrett)

A Second Opinion:

Our Place feels exactly like Spanky’s in Nana Plaza. That is a bad thing since Spanky’s sucks. As a customer said the other night - if the guy would put as much money into girls as he does lights he might have a decent go-go.
The Farang Speaks 2 Much

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Everyone Loves A Good Party

Looked like the 2nd Anniversary party at The Big Mango was a success. Sorry I missed it.
You can see more photos of the gathering under new pics at
The Big Mango.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Thumbnail History of Nana Plaza

In 1981 ‘Nana Plaza’ was a mostly empty mini-mall with the standard run of Thai shops; a pharmacy, a travel agent, a beauty shop and a couple of restaurants (one of which was Lebanese). A small beer bar, Lucky Luke’s was located in the entranceway, neither on Soi 4 nor in Nana Plaza.

In that same year, in another nearby part of town, the Rachadapisek Inner Ring Road extension was pushing through the length of Soi Asoke and into the top of Soi 16, widening both to 8 lanes. Ancillary works, which commenced in 1982, included widening Sukhumvit itself to allow for turning lanes into and out of this new stretch of Rachadapisek. This latter widening along Sukhumvit caused the shops in that area of Sukhumvit to close down temporarily while they (literally) cut off the fronts of the buildings and reconstructed new fascia several meters back from the new curb.

This seemingly unrelated event was, however, the unwitting catalyst; causing immediate distress to the small group of A-Go-Go bars on Sukhumvit Road between Soi 16 and Soi 14. Some Bangkok regulars may recognize the names of these so-called “Soi 16 Bars” : Rosemary 1 , Rosemary 2 , The Three Roses , the Rainbow Bar , and the Sunshine Bar . These bars had to close almost overnight, with no guarantee as to when they might be able to reopen.

Unable to wait, in mid 1982 the Rosemarys (1&2) , The Three Roses and The Rainbow Bar moved into Nana Plaza . These bars are still in Nana Plaza today, however the Rosemarys combined as a single bar when they moved in, while The Rainbow , having gone through some minor name changes, is now back as Rainbow 1 . While it can be said Lucky Luke’s pioneered Nana Plaza , these 3 bars -as a group-, are the 'seminal bars'; they ‘made it all happen’; they brought “A-Go-Go” to what would eventually become one of the largest A-Go-Go Entertainment Areas in Thailand. ( Sunshine was the only “Soi 16 Bar” that didn’t move to Nana Plaza ; it moved to Soi Cowboy , reincarnating as Sunshine Dee Ja , eventually selling out to the Bumble Bee in mid-1994.)

Growth of Nana Plaza as a Night Entertainment Area was slow but sure; on average, less than 2 new bars a year. But despite a slow start, by the year 1990 it had found its way into the Lonely Planet-type guidebooks, and, most agree, was ‘standing on its own two feet’. It had arrived - it had reached ‘critical mass’. Many tend to forget that this was due, in no small part, to a ready-made customer base from the Nana Hotel across the street, and two always-packed-out small hotels within the premises: the Nana Guest House (while it was still really a guest house) and the Royal Siam Guest House .

As Nana Plaza completes its second decade as a Night Entertainment Area, longtime residents and returning visitors to Bangkok may still remember some of the earlier ‘landmark’ venues: the Private Dancer , the Mon Cherie , Bubble Gum , Asian Intrigue , XTC (also called for a brief period, ‘ X-tacy ’ but that spelling was frowned upon by the authorities), and Slitz! A Gogo . Some may recall Nana Plaza’s only Japanese bar -ever- Club New Fuchicho which, in early 1993, was bought out by Madison’s . ( Madison’s , also long-gone, is now the G-Spot .) The Hollywood Royal (now the Hollywood Rock) was a breakthrough bar for Nana Plaza , as it was the first Patpong-style bar with 'shows' and greater nudity, and it opened the way for further innovation within the Plaza such as; carousels, 'shower shows' and erotic performance. Some may also remember Woodstock when it was a first-rate A-Go-Go with the best sound system in the Plaza, and the Lollipop Mermaidium when it had live mermaids.

Growth at Nana Plaza has been steady since then. Ten years ago there were 19 Entertainment venues; five years ago there were 30. Today, at 39 Entertainment Venues, Nana Plaza has, for all intents and purposes, hit a physical plateau; there are very few ‘shop areas’ remaining in which to put another bar. Should it survive the current government’s form-over-substance ‘moral cleansing’, it will continue to be one of the primary A-Go-Go bar Night Entertainment Areas in Thailand for the foreseeable future.

Updated April 2002 - Richard D. Hartman

Bangkok Eyes