Thailand Nightlife Roundup

Hi, again.  The purpose of this site is to offer rants, tirades, opinions and discussion about books on Thailand, give an overview of nightlife in Thailand and, yes, to provide a few news items which might not appear elsewhere.  And to have some fun.

Bar, club and restaurant owners who would like to send material on their special events, birthday bashes, anniversary parties, etc., are welcome to do so but please remember men in Thailand are a bit jaded so if you’re just going to offer the usual free gourmet food and free full band entertainment and free beautiful and eager-to-please women, well, the lads have been there, done that. So do try to offer potential patrons something special. ;-)

There is a contest every two weeks when this column appears and the first to answer the question correctly or identify a photograph correctly will receive a free book written by myself and other prizes. The prizes will build up in case anyone doesn't win it immediately so the bonanza for the eventual winner could get quite interesting.

Not quite sure why but a farang customer in Bourbon Street Café recently asked me if I know the Western equivalent of a Thai rai. I do know that the saying about a well respected Thai farmer’s daughter is that “she can plant her rai a day” but that didn’t help him much. So I called a Thai friend who said a rai is about 400 square wa. Great. But, actually, that didn’t help him much either. I’m not quite sure why this guy needs to know but I wonder why he doesn’t just forget about rice fields and open a beer bar?

Maureen Dowd, who writes witty and acerbic articles for the New York Times recently ran an article about how men just want their mommies. It was the usual garbage about how we prefer less intelligent women over more intelligent women. So I quickly dashed off this:

Dear Maureen,

I live in Bangkok and am rather fed up with the propaganda about how men like myself are socially inept buffoons who love Thai women because we are "afraid of older accomplished women." The problem in America is trying to find a woman who actually has a brain. Their idea of intelligence is on the level of the Four Bimbos in Sex and the City sitting around babbling about "relationships" while they couldn't find Afghanistan on the map if their lives depended on. Ten million American women bought the dumbest book ever written Men are From Mars.... (I'm writing one now called Men are from Lopburi, Women are from Ayudhya.) And yet women like you actually seem to think these boring bimbos are "intelligent" and "independent."

Please spare genuinely intelligent men the feminazi propaganda. Here in Thailand we much prefer the company of beautiful, young go go dancers asking for money because lightning struck their buffaloes, mother is sick, etc., than sitting around listening to the whining, and boring and and self-serving, self-indulgent American conversations about "relationships, communication, commitment."

I saw the bodies of Cambodian women piled up in a refugee camp and saw the real horrors of women around the world. I know how Muslim women are really treated. But when I visited the States again, I heard a woman complaining because some guy had referred to her as "little lady." American women have become what the feminist said: "We have become the husbands we wanted." So good on you, but if you sleep alone, don't pretend it's because men are afraid of your intelligence. Intelligent men who live abroad find most American women and their meaningless conversations BOOOORING.

Thanks for listening.

Dean Barrett


Not the best letter I’ve ever written but it was dashed off, and yes I did generalize too much about American women but when will women like Maureen Dowd get the message: It’s not your intelligence, stupid, it’s your attitude.

Everything that happens, when it has significance, is in the nature of a contradiction.”

- Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn

Ok, letter-writers, you get your wish.  You can have one more picture of the dancer I showed you before at Hollywood Strip.  Watch out, though, this 21-year-old beauty can DESTROY you!  You've been warned!  Now click on the picture, enlarge it, and fall in love.



Jason Schoonover lives both in Canada and in Bangkok and has written the novels Thai Gold and Opium Adventure. I read Thai Gold and it is a fine read and exciting plot. He has people doing their best to bring the story to the screen and I hope they do because I think it would be a good thing for all of us who write novels set in Thailand.

Most of us who have written several novels on Thailand eventually get film options for some novel – for example, over the years I had four options for Memoirs of a Bangkok Warrior – but considering that there are tens of thousands of scripts written and novels published every year and only about 400 feature-length films made in the States each year, well, you can see what the odds are.

Jason also travels about the planet and asked me the other day if I had ever climbed the Andes. I hated to do it, but I had to inform him that I seldom travel more than 20 miles from a go go bar because if I do I break out in rashes and start sweating profusely. As far as local cuisine goes though, I am proud to say I do eat anything. As long as it has a chocolate center.


Warning! Dollhouse Bar Cellphone Tragedy! Yes, cellphones are dangerous. They do explode! Take a look at what happened to this girl upstairs in the Dollhouse when she started to use her cellphone but be sure you have a strong stomach: Cellphone Disaster.

I recently made a visa run to Laos. Three nights in Vientiane. I hadn’t been there for over 30 years and, guess what? Nothing has changed. How exciting a place is Laos? Well, the headline of the Vientiane Times was “Clean Streets the Mission of All.” Wow, really great reading. Kept me up all night. And an inside headline read, “Traffic Problems for Blind Students.” Hmmm. Yeah, I can see where there might be traffic problems for blind students.

The paper is published by “the Lao Press in Foreign Languages, Ministry of Information and Culture.” I guess one thing we can say for the Vientiane Times is that independent it ain’t.

You’d like to see my pictures from Laos, right? No, I didn’t think so. OK, so I won’t scan them in. That’s right, I said “scan.” I still use an old-fashioned, non-digital camera. If you feel OK while giving your digital camera an enema and emptying its contents into your computer, so be it. It would make me feel weird.

I spent quite a bit of time at the bar inside the Settha Palace Hotel on Pang Kham Street testing out the bartender’s skill on various concoctions. Of course I didn’t stay there; it’s a top-notch place which cost some bucks. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t drink there. After drinking enough Black Russians in Laos I felt a bit like James Bond but without any available women about. Good thing they weren’t too. Because when I walked past the American Embassy I saw a notice under glass about how there is a secret law in Laos in which if the government even suspects you have been to bed with a Laotian woman who is not your wife, you can get arrested, interrogated, fined, and imprisoned. It stressed that this has happened.

I took my little camera out of my pocket to take a picture of the sign and, of course, was immediately told no pictures around there, not even of the sign. The embassy is well walled up like an old-fashioned Southeast Asian palace but I could still see the antenna, satellite dishes, etc. jutting upward. I’m not sure what they need to know there but if they want to know what is going on around the region why not just read this column. Or Stickman. Or Baron Bonk.

Although when I spoke to someone who lives there they said ten years ago one should worry about taking a Lao woman to bed, but now it is pretty much OK providing no government or police official is out to get you for something else. Exactly. Just like Thailand, China, and lots of other countries we could name.

No go-go dancing, of course, but the nightclub I ventured into had plenty of women and one sat with me for only 60 baht an hour. Lao beer (managed by the Belgians) is cheap and excellent. And all Laotians seemed to understand my Thai. I enjoyed the laid back ambiance of the club with their Laotian-style dancing and old-fashioned Western steps. It was like looking at Thailand 50 years ago. It’s the closest you’ll ever come to being a character inside Jack Reynolds’s novel, A Woman of Bangkok.

Needless to say, before the Communist victory, Vientiane was famous for the wild atmosphere of its nightclubs, such as the Purple Porpoise and especially The White Rose. But, for now, the nightlife of Vientiane seems quaint and interesting. Still, three nights in that city was plenty for me, thank you very much.

Yet another reason why Nana Plaza's Hollywood Strip appeals to me.  Not to say each bar doesn't have lovely women but somehow having fallen madly in love with several in that particular bar I tend to vegetate with a cold beer, soft feminine flesh, and great gobs of gratitude that I live in Thailand.  Just click on the picture and fall in love!



I get a kick out of reading the two Pattaya English-language papers, the Pattaya Mail and the Pattaya Today. Not just for their humorous and convoluted language (usually intentional, I think) but also for giving us the lowdown on murders and other nefarious deeds. Here are some of the headlines of a recent Pattaya Today. Just in one issue!

Foreigner Drowning Rather Mysterious – Security Staff Warn of Pool Dangers

Young Girl Raped by Two Vile Customers – She was Helping out at Relative’s Restaurant

Russian Woman Killed in Mystery Fall – Husband says she committed Suicide

400,000 baht stolen from local bank – beware customers with visors shut

Student has throat cut in grisly murder – A sex attack which went wrong

Son sees mother being raped – But it’s not quite so simple

Troubled woman crashes to her death – let down by her farang boyfriend

German man collapses in his room – told girl friend he didn’t feel well

Russian ice man arrested after tip-off

Prostitutes minders arrested by immigration – A very profitable line of business indeed

British man dies after heart attack

Motor bike thief arrested in confused circumstances”

Sounds like a fun town!

But to find out how easily your heart can be broken in Fun City by the Sea, read this heart-rending tale by JL, Our Man in Pattaya.


The Filipinos are getting kinky again. A news article says that those who jaywalk will no longer get a slap on the wrist; they may get smacked with a wet blanket. About 20 trucks will patrol Manila with wooden poles attached to damp blankets emblazoned with the warning: “No walking or standing in the streets.” The guys (or gals?) in the trucks apparently smack disobedient types with the poles covered in blankets. So if you’re a masochist, be sure to visit Manila and stand in the street. Happy times for you for sure. Of course, if you’re a sadist, maybe you could apply for a job on board one of the trucks.

I did manage to catch the show at Angel Witch the other night. Or as it seems to be presented in three acts with dancing in between, I should say I caught the first two acts. Some nice S&M action with ladies in black leather, etc., and considering the crackdown on Thailand’s (farang-owned) nightlife establishments, the show is a bit on the daring side and definitely worth seeing. My only complaint is if you are seated in the front rows, the place fills up with insensitive and often inebriated farangs who stand in front of you so it’s hard to see who is whipping whom. And as I said of other go go bars, during the regular dancing, there are simply too many women on stage leaving them no room to dance, and so they barely shuffle, ensuring that boredom will ensue – both on stage and in the audience. Why don’t bars thin out the crowd on stage and allow those who can dance, dance? Too logical for Thailand, no doubt.

Some Nana Plaza bars have trouble getting women, others seem to have too many. As for how business is doing, according to bar owners, ever since Christmas last year it has been like a yo-yo, way up for ten days and way down the next ten and then up again. I asked a dancer if she thought next month would be up or down. She looked thoughtful and then said: “If you can look into the seeds of time and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear your favor nor your hate.” Okaaaaaaaaaaay. Fortunately, the maid sweeping outside the door woke me up before it got any worse.

I know what I want my next novel to be like, whatever it is. Exactly the way Henry Miller described his Tropic of Capricorn: “…A prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty…”


The Nigerians never give up. I won’t reprint the whole thing but the point is now they don’t ask if we want to get involved in their nefarious schemes, now they tell me I already am!

Dear Sir,

Sequel to the secretive arrangement in regards of the shipment of your contract sum, I wish to inform you that all necessary modalities have been automatically concluded and have left Nigeria to London via your Country today by Express Cargo Flight.

You gotta love the language, though. “Sequel to…” He couldn’t possibly mean “subsequent to,” could he? And dig the “all necessary modalities.” Whatever they are, I’m glad they’ve been concluded. I’ll be keeping an eye out for that Express Cargo Flight as well. But this guy needs to get a life.

I was getting a bit drunk at the Londoner the other night (so what’s new?) and I wanted to say something romantic to the Tiger Beer girl in Thai. Like something Cyrano de Bergerac might have said. So I asked Nick, another regular, how to say in Thai, “Take my heart, I shall have it all the more. For by plucking the bud we but keep the plant in bloom. Your name is like a golden bell hung in my heart and when I think of you it swings and rings and cries out: Khun Lek!”

He looked thoughtful for several seconds and then said, “Ow boom-boom, mai?” Okaaaaaaaaaaay.

Contest for this nightlife roundup:

Here are not one but two quotes from the same novel. Just be the first to send me the name of the writer and the name of the novel and you win 500 baht worth of food/drink at the Londoner Pub & 500 baht worth of food/drink at Bourbon Street Cafe & a Dean Barrett novel. That simple. Here they are:


    A telephone-bell rang in darkness. When it had rung three times bed-springs creaked, fingers fumbled on wood, something small and hard thudded on a carpeted floor, the springs creaked again, and a man’s voice said: “Hello…Yes, speaking…Dead?…Yes?…Fifteen minutes. Thanks.”


    (He) set the edges of his teeth together and said through them: “I won’t play the sap for you.”   

    She put her mouth to his, slowly, her arms around him, and came into his arms. She was in his arms when the door-bell rang.

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Got feedback to this column?  Got information on Thailand you would like to share?  Happy as a dung beetle to be living in Paradise?  Been ripped off?  Just write me at

That's all for this fortnightly column.  Drop by again.  Meanwhile, as the girls used to tell me during the 1960's: "I no lie, you, GI, you number one!"

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