Weekly Reports on Pattaya activities, 23rd January 2000

Dr. Allen R. Briggs



Weekly Reports on Pattaya activities

23rd January 2000


  • Icon wraps up deal, takes over Rome Club in Bangkok’s Silom Soi 4
  • Icon’s Khun Toi honored; selected to sing for HRH Princess Sirindhorn
  • Sunee Plaza’s Forest House Bar sold to foreigner; plans not disclosed
  • Pink Page Comments on Jomtien area bars, problems in Sunee Plaza
  • Mike Williams has new website; includes fiction
  • Sport Corner Bar in Sunee Plaza now a boys bar
  • Birthday greeting thanks
  • Taking the mystery out of Thai postal rates
  • Patara reports briefly on extended visit to US
  • Noise complaint on Icon the Club draws quick response
  • CheeSiong’s vacation to US ends; back at work
  • John Macur ends two week visit to Thailand; returning in March
  • Color Coding for bar boys?
  • Malaysia: Frequently Asked Questions.. and Answers


After much speculation and rumor, the mystery of Icon’s plans for an Icon–the Club in Bangkok has been resolved: Icon’s owners, with new financiers helping out, according to reports, has taken over the former Rome Club building on Silom Soi 4, the true heart of the gay scene in Bangkok. Bangkok Icon–the Club is expected to open in February; the target is February 7 or 14, but no announcement will be made until renovations have been completed. Renovations have been underway since mid-week, and the Pattaya staff has been busy constructing materials to aid in the renovation of the Bangkok site.

There will be at least two regular singers, and at least two regular dance troupes, who will alternate between Bangkok and Pattaya, beginning as soon as the Bangkok Icon opens. Plans include housing at the upper levels for the Icon employees while staying in Bangkok, with the employees I talked to seeming very enthusiastic about the site and the accommodations being prepared for them. Reports are that Khun Toi, the lead singer since opening of Icon — the Club in Pattaya, will be backed up by Khun Chris, who has been working on the staff at Pattaya, and as a “back up singer”, and another singer being recruited from Bangkok, whose name has not yet been announced.

Although initial indications were that the Bangkok club would be open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, as has been the Pattaya club for the past approximate 2 months, Khun Toi indicated that the Pattaya club is thinking seriously about starting a six day a week schedule in February, Tueday through Sunday, being closed only on Monday, in which event the same schedule would seem likely for the Bangkok club. William Ribbon, one of the owners, indicates only that such expansion of the operating days is under careful consideration, but no decision has been reached as yet.


HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

Khun Toi, lead singer at Icon–the Club, took Friday, Jan 21, “off,” in order to accept an invitation from Her Royal Highness, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, to present a musical program for her and her guests in Bangkok. Khun Toi presented his regular Thursday night program in Pattaya, and returned in time for the Saturday night presentation, but in the meantime, presented a signing program for Princess Sirindhorn, an honor for any Thai performer, and recognition of the highest order. Congratulations to Khun Toi for the presentation, and for the honor accorded him. The Princess reportedly thanked Khun Toi for the presentation, and commented that his voice had improved substantially since she had last heard him sing some time ago at Chulalongkorn University. Khun Toi felt highly honored by her comments, and by her remembering his earlier performance. At Saturday night’s show in Pattaya, Khun Toi, in honor of the Princess, sang one of the songs written by the Princess. In explaining some of the significance of this invitation, William Ribbon, one of Icon’s owners, said “For a Thai performing artist, performing on invitation before a member of the Royal Family is one of the great moments of his life.”

Khun Toi



Laurence advised me that his friend, Prasong, had gotten the details of the sale of Forest House Bar in Sunee Plaza by his pal, Dahm. Forest House is located right on the corner of Soi V.C. Hotel (sometimes called “Soi Bamboo) and the easterly-most Sunee Plaza soi, directly across the street from the magnificent new building of Top Man Bar. (See Map, Sunee Plaza, www.pattayagay.com/ Khun Dahm had held the place for less than two years, and it has made money over the months. He sold out to a Farang. Laurence says, “We don’t know what the new owner will do with the property yet. (How about another bar? Want to bet?)” Seems like an almost certainty. Laurence added: “Both parties were very happy with the deal…and it clearly illustrates that there’s dough–and a future–in this newish gay area! All things considered, the property was on the market very little time, so I guess it’s a “hot” area now, especially such a key location.” As the old saying goes about real estate values, only three things are important — location, location and location! We will advise you when we know exactly what will be done by the new owners. Laurence summed up the success of Khun Dahm at that corner, saying: “It’s interesting to see what gay money power can do. All things considered, they turned a simple street of shop-houses, with no particular merit–no key stores of any note–into a very desirable piece of real estate for nighttime entertainment.” — Laurence


The Pink Page, in its January 17 report, comments as follows:

“Down in Pattaya the tourist season has been in full swing with Boyztown, Jomtien Beach and the new gay area at Sunnee Plaza all getting loads of visitors daily. For those who follow the intimate details of life at the beach, Cocobanana has changed hands and there’s plenty of afternoon jollity and rivalry at Jomtien between the Nuttawat Cafe and the Bamboo Bar. One bar owner in Sunnee Plaza now claims that it has more go-go bars than Boyztown and also says that they are planning serious measures to deal with the few bars which have given the area a bad reputation. Another Sunnee Plaza regular claims that those few bars doing naughty shows are now on their “Final Warning” from the cops, which seems a shame since most other go-go bars in that area are very similar. The Pink Page, Internet Edition, is found at www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/5752/ The printed edition is found in the monthly “Guide of Bangkok” magazine. The reference to Boyztown in the report obviously refers to the entire Pattayaland area, sois 1, 2 and 3, not just BoyzTown, which is Soi 3 and a bit of the cross street (covering CocoBanana and Amor on the cross street, but no further north than that).


Our friend Mike Williams, has relocated his primary website to one with his own “domain”, for which he won’t have all the ads that some people find distracting. His “My Thailand” site, which has a recent addition of fiction, is now at http://www.sanuk.thaimex.com/ Added to that site is a short story he wrote about a Thai Go-Go boy having a bad day. As he expressed it, “What happened at the end? I don’t know!” It is, however, a fascinating read! The story is found at http://www.fiction.thaimex.com/bai.html, and from there, you can link back to the main “sanuk” site. I join Mike in saying, “Hope you like it.”

It is great to see people establishing their own domains, so they don’t have to put up with ads put on “their” site by the “host” server over which the site user has no control whatever.


Sport Corner Bar, situated at the central location at the corner of the westernmost (nearest the sea) Sunee Plaza soi and the cross street within the Sunee Plaza area, (see Map of the Sunee Plaza area, www.pattayagay.com ) is now a boys bar. Wayne advises that he spoke with the owner, who has operated the bar at that location for about seven years, who confirmed that it is now a boys bar, where gays are highly sought after. He told Wayne that, as his business had gone downhill, he noticed one night that his place was almost dead while around him all the gay bars seemed to be active and busy. He decided then and there to “join the crowd” and make his place a boys bar.


Although I really prefer my birthdays to go by unnoticed, which I think is about standard for guys as old as I am, it is also nice to receive birthday greetings from friends, and to have a party now and then. Thanks to all of you who sent me greetings. They are indeed appreciated — even at age 68! My birthday did get me a wonderful dinner hosted by Wayne and Bryant, at Nang Nual Restaurant, on the side away from the seashore, called “Home of the Cowboy Steak” on the Walking Street. Our food was absolutely scrumptious, –I had pad Thai –Thai style; best I have had in many, many years!!!– and, with two bottles of California red wine sacrificed to the occasion, it was really a very nice little party. Wayne and I then went out for the rest of the evening at Boys Studio Boys Club, while Bryant headed in for the night. That was followed the next night be a truly “surprise” belated birthday greeting at Icon–the Club, where Khun Toi, owner William Ribbon and many of the dancers and wait staff, got me up on center stage for a “Happy Birthday” rendition by Khun Toi, a litttle explanation about why the “party” was belated, and a nice birthday cake. And many, many personal greetings by individual staff members throughout the rest of the night at Icon. It was really a celebration for me at Icon–the Club! My thanks go out to the Icon staff, and especially to Khun Toi for his heartwarming comments, and to William, one of the owners, who really went out of his way to set this up as a great little surprise party.


Bryant reports: “Finally came up with some (AIRMAIL) postal rates, so thought I’d send you a copy. You probably won’t use it much, but I like to mail my stuff from downstairs when possible. Now if I only had a scale that measured grams, huh??


10 grams = 19 baht

20 grams = 28 baht

30 grams = 37 baht

40 grams = 46 baht

50 grams = 55 baht


10 grams = 14 baht

20 grams = 19 baht

30 grams = 24 baht

40 grams = 29 baht

50 grams = 34 baht


10 grams = 17 baht

20 grams = 24 baht

30 grams = 31 baht

40 grams = 38 baht

50 grams = 55 baht

They also have “surface mail rates” (NOT AIRMAIL , I GUESS) which are to ANYWHERE:

up to 20 grams = 12 baht

up to 100 grams = 30 baht

up to 250 grams = 80 baht

up to 500 grams = 140 baht

upto 260 grams = 260 baht


“I was away from home for 44 days travelling in USA. I visited Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, a small town in Pennsylvania called Lancaster to meet a pen pal, Fort Lauderdale and South Florida, Seattle and Los Angeles again to take a flight home. I had a great time visiting USA. No problem whatsoever with the flu epidemic in USA in spite of having sick people around me or the winter weather. I wasn’t fascinated with the Amish’s horse drawn carts on the highways around Lancaster. But I was with the gas-powered refrigerators in an Amish store at Bird-in-Hand. The Amish-made quilts were very pretty”.

About his visit to the Seattle area, he commented; “Dennis Regan was very kind to pick me from the Sea-Tac airport and took me around and outside Seattle for a day. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to show me his home in Kent. Dennis couldn’t get his car out of his house due to a heavy snowfall the night earlier to deliver me to Sea–Tac airport. I do appreciate Dennis’ kindness.”

Patara also reported: “On January 8, 2000, I attended the Seattle’s Long Yang Club’s monthly meeting held in a restaurant on the Capitol Hill. To my surprise, the number of Asian(Chinese) guys outnumbered the number of Caucasian guys. It was unusual, my friend who attended the meeting regularly said.

“I just read the Pattaya’s Weekly Report dated 28th November 1999 and found a minor mistake on the pronunciation of a word in the heading “John D. is in Town”. The Thai curry John prepared is called “Gang Gari” Gari comes from ” curry”. Mispronunciation of ‘R’ wasn’t allowed when I was a school student.” (Note from Allen: I am delighted to stand corrected on the pronunciation and spelling of this wonderful Thai stew!!!!!! Well worth remembering!)


After I advised William and David, owners of Icon Boutique Hotel and Icon — the Club, of what I considered unreasonably loud music a week ago, I got this response from William: “Also for your updated weekly report lets monitor this sound problem. The boys must learn that blasting people out of their seat may be fun for them but not for the audience.”

What a welcome change from the usual response we get to noise complaints here in the Pattaya area. I sent a copy of William’s r esponse to Dennis, and his comments, it seems to me, bear publicizing;

“Allen, that is so thoughtful of him. You know, how many other managers of such places would give a damn what one of their customers think? I believe it shows good business sense and seems to me to be one of the reasons he and David are so successful. And I surely hope that success continues.” Dennis also commented that he is seriously thinking of staying at Icon Boutique Hotel on his next trip, saying: ” I will probably stay at the Icon or at the Serene next time. I don’t like the Icon’s location, but on the other hand it may cause me to get out and walk more.” (I encouraged him to think of that magnificent swimming pool which I could use if my good friend stayed there!!!!!)” Think of your friends, Dennis!!!!!


Our friend CheeSiong in Singapore recently finished about a month-long visit to upstate New York State in the U.S., despite early winter-like weather, and is back teaching school now. His comments about his kids indicate a really truly concerned teacher who thrives on helping his students do well, and he appears to be enjoying teaching again. He recently commented about a new member of the teaching staff there …an apparently openly gay athletic (aerobics) instructor on campus, who is really causing heads to turn, and toward whom the principal seems to be very stoic…and tolerant.


John Macur, the Reno, Nevada businessman who recently took over the Reno area’s oldest, largest and best known gay bar, the 5 Star Saloon, and hopes to update its entertainment offerings, finished his two week stay in Thailand, leaving for the U.S. earlier today. He should be home in Reno by Sunday afternoon, if he makes connections with the Reno flight not too long after his arrival in L.A. He has promised a report on his experiences here, but since he is heading back to the “end of the month” pile of work, we may have to wait a little while for that report. John was especially helpful this trip in helping me respond to an inquiry on the www.pattayagay.com Conference Board, wherein a correspondent inquired about how an admirer would go about meeting and possibly dating one of the “girls” from the transvestite shows at Alcazar and Tiffany. John went to Tiffany the night I spoke to him about the issue, and had a nice report for me the next day, so I could write up a knowledgeable response to the guy asking about it … a topic I couldn’t have touched “with a ten-foot pole” on my own! That’s one of the great things about the guys who are on the mailing list! Everyone seems willing to help provide information of interest to others, and that makes heading up the www.pattayagay.com web site so much easier … and that much better for everyone! Since then, I note that a man using the name of “Peter” responded further about the issue — and I think that was probably “our” Peter. All such input really helps the board keep its freshness and helps provide truly meaningful information to people genuinely wanting information.


Another inquirer on the Conference board recently posted the following, which I thought was an interesting observation and suggestion:

“On my recent visits to Albury Mens Club in Bangkok I was given a photo album with photos of the massage boys working that day. Under every photo there was some letters namely A,P and O, when I asked the captain the meaning of this he explained that this was a indication of what the boys are willing to do. The letter A stands for Active, the letter P means Passive and the letter O stands for Oral many of the boys listed all three letters. I found this to be a very good system as one does not have to ask or trust for luck that the boy you like will do what you want him to do. I was wondering if the same system could not be used in the Commercial Bars, if a boy wore a green number disk for instance this would mean he was an A, P and O, whereas a yellow disk would mean the boy was an A and O only etc. This is just a suggestion and I am sure that some system like this would help to make our selection easier. I for one find it somewhat embarrassing to have to ask the boy or mamasan what (a particular boy) will or will not do. I look forward to read some of your comments.

Again, a guy named “Peter” responded quickly, and I assume again it is “our” Peter:

“To my knowledge, Albury’s is the ONLY place where they have ratings for what the masseurs will do, and I must admit that I haven’t found them to be completely accurate. Almost everyone is listed as AOP, but most of them have preferences for one activity over another. I think it would be the same with the bar boyz. Most would opt to wear a badge that says they will do everything, but what they will do back in the room is another thing. Still, it is an interesting idea, but I really doubt it would catch on.

Although you may find it a bit embarrassing, I think that it is much better to find a bar where you feel comfortable and check with the mamasan first. The mamasans are the ones who get the customer feedback on their hosts. A good one will put you at ease, find out what you want, and either answer your questions about what a host will do or steer you to the right person. While mamasans differ, when I find a mamasan I like, I tend to go back to that bar. I think there is less confusion doing this than colored badges. I generally assume that the smaller or more effeminate ones are likely to be bottoms and the larger or more macho ones prefer to be tops, but check with the mamasan to make sure that my assumptions are correct. I have found that almost all of them will do oral, but ability and enthusiam is a crap shoot (tho the mamasan can usually tell you how good their reputation is).

Again, well said! A really quality response.


Larry of San Francisco and Dennis have put together a “Q & A” session on being gay in Malaysia, and Malaysia as a gay tourist site, which I think everyone will find of interest. Since so many of us living in Thailand plan periodic “visa runs” and those living elsewhere often want to stop somewhere else immediately before or after a trip to Thailand, and Malaysia is so convenient, I thought this report would be of interest.

Questions by Dennis; Answers by Larry:

Q. 1 – I know that Malaysia is primarily a Muslim country. Does that mean that it is dangerous to be gay there? Is it legal?

Answer: I will quote Spartacus (International Gay Guide): “According to our information, homosexuality as such is no longer punishable by law. We were not able to determine the exact legal regulations. but we expect that only sex in public toilets and cruising can lead to problems.” It goes on about Islam being the state religion and asserts, “For this reason, one should behave with extreme caution.” Then the paragraph extols the virtues of Penang (pearl of the east), Langkawi, and Pangkor for the most beautiful beaches in the far east. I’ve been to Penang and Langkawi and am able to attest to this statement! The Spartacus listings for Malaysia take up LESS than a single page – so….so much for that country!! This is what I know…if one is willing to work in the vineyards of “pen pal ship” and meet individuals via snail mail and/or e-mail, there are many ripe fruits to be picked and devoured. You may trust me on this one!! I would never, ever recommend anyone to just go to Malaysia for a “gay old time” – but if one is circumspect (not necessarily circumcised!) the men are romantic, horny as all get out…..and a delight to spend time with! To respond to the “is it dangerous to be gay” – I can tell you this. Most gays in Malaysia are very closeted – however if a Malaysian gay figures out that you are gay – and you are not flamboyant (obvious / swishy) they will reveal themselves to you in a quiet way.

Q. 2 – Have you met gay men in Malaysia?

Answer: All the gay men I have met have been through either “snail mail” pen pal clubs or through the Internet. I have ads on the Internet, some with my photo, and individuals in Malaysia respond to them – that’s the easiest way to meet someone. In Kuala Lumpur there are a couple gay bars and a couple steam baths where one can meet gays but I have not been to them. In Penang there is a gay bar which is 1/2 gay and 1/2 straight. So, there are possibilities.

Q. 3 – Kuala Lumpur is a huge city, but what is the rest of Malaysia like?

Answer: I have been to Penang, the Cameron Highlands and Langkawi Islands as well as Kuala Lumpur. The Cameron Highlands is up in the mountains – takes a good 4 hours or so on very winding roads by bus to get there. But if you’re the outdoors type and love to do things like hiking there are about 10 incredible trails to do that on. I like it because there are very short (easy) trails and very long (difficult terrain) ones – but you can do a small piece of even the longer ones and have a wonderful time. Penang is a very Chinese place (Georgetown) – and I have mainly stayed out on the golden beaches at a wonderful resort. Individuals may e-mail me privately for added info: asiahappy@earthlink.net

The Langkawi Islands are a dream come true – quiet, very tropical and, if you love swimming, lots of that. I would like to caution everyone – these are not places where you’ll easily find a kindred soul. Take the man (men?) of your choice with you!!

Q. 4 – I have heard something about Sarawak. Have you been there?

Answer: No I have not – this in in Borneo and the island is split between Malaysia and Indonesia, with Malaysia being the smaller political subdivision. I do have a Malaysian pen pal there (Internet) and I’d be happy to provide that e-mail address to any interested party.

Q. 5 – Can you tell me a little about Penang, especially from a gay perspective. And does it have an airport or is it reached via Kuala Lumpur and cars?

Answer: The easiest way to get to Penang, from either Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok is by airplane. There is actually an INTERNATIONAL airport at Penang – very, very efficient. Penang, from a gay perspective, is very low key. Once again I have a marvelous Chinese/Malay friend in Penang who is very, very open and welcomes guests with OPEN ARMS. This guy knows everything there is to know….and would be a perfect companion (contact: asiahappy@earthlink.net for added info.). I caution that this guy does NOT have a computer and you must write to him “snail mail.” If you’d like to call him on the telephone I’d have to call first so he isn’t shocked out of his mind!! My friend is 42 years young and hotter and a firecracker!! Also a delightful man on many levels.

Q. 6 – Malaysia and Thailand are neighbors. Are they therefore very much alike in culture? That is, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen the other?

Answer: Thailand and Malaysia are as different as night and day. I would call Thailand very open and wild in many respects. The exact opposite is true for Malaysia. Malaysia is a very different, but unique experience.

Q. 7 – Do you recommend Malaysia as a good destination for a gay vacation?

Answer: I only recommend Malaysia as a good destination for a gay visitor (notice I did not say, “gay vacation”) if you (a) take a companion with you or (b) take the time to meet someone via the different methods I suggest here. My friend in Penang is waiting…..!! To answer your question – if one goes to Malaysia looking for a “gay Thai” experience FORGET IT!! There are no “boy clubs” – there are no “off” from anywhere. One of the wonderful experiences about Malaysia is that NO ONE EVER ASKED ME FOR ANY MONEY…..EVER….IN MALAYSIA. All Malay gays work for a living and are proud of it. Naturally, since you will be the “rich” person -treating your companion to meals, and other essentials is essential!!

Q. 8 – Most of us are aware of how polluted the beaches are in Pattaya. Have you found it the same in Penang?

Answer: NO….the beaches in Penang and Langkawi Islands are pristine – and wonderful and……with patience you may find the dream of your life hanging out on one of them (Penang).

Q. 9 – I am interested in photographing wild flowers and wild animals. Are there national parks in Malaysia? Does sufficient jungle remain for tours and photography?

Answer: YES……my suggestion would be Cameron Highland or the Langkawi Islands – I have friends in Malaysia (Penang and Melaka) who can direct you and provide a wealth of information for this activity. I am certain there are many venues they could suggest that I’m completely unaware of.

Q. 10 – What is the Pink Triangle in Kuala Lumpur?

Answer: The Pink Triangle is the gay organization in Kuala Lumpur. I have a friend in KL who is a member and would be happy to put you in contact with him via e-mail. The Internet address of the Pink Triangle is isham@pop7.jaring.my

NOTE: Larry and Dennis are willing to do similar “Q and A” write-ups on some of the other places Larry has visited or plans to visit soon, including Vietnam, China, and Hong Kong, all of which Larry expects to visit this spring. I would appreciate feedback on whether this type of report is of interest to you! Larry came up with the idea as a way of helping me with some of the writing of this Weekly Report, and that is greatly appreciated. Other contributions are always welcome on any matter of interest to the gay public. I love to hear and read of these other place, although Pattaya remains foremost in my mind! Allen

That’s it for this week, guys!


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