A museum dedicated to Bangkok's most infamous street has opened on Patpong 2.
Called the Patpong Museum, it features memorabilia, maps, photos and neon signs, along with cuttings from newspapers and magazines dating as far back as the days when this part of town was rice fields. There’s even a giant model of the area as it is today.
The museum is the brainchild of Patpong aficionado Michael E. Messner, an Austrian whose passion for the street dates was ignited some 20 years ago when he opened his first bar in the neighbourhood.
Michael, 41, who hails from a family of museum curators, has converted an empty first floor lot in the building opposite Foodland into a walk-through exhibition, complete with teasers, videos and a bar reminiscent of the legendary Grand Prix go-go bar whose owner Rick Menard appears on a giant photograph. Grand Prix’s distinctive outdoor sign is one many that have been rescued and now hang in the museum.
Three walls are covered in pages from old issues of the Bangkok Post featuring stories about the special delights of Patpong written by ‘Nite Owl’ Bernard Trink.
Famous visitors to the bars like David Bowie, Roman Polanski and Robert de Niro are mentioned, together with photos of Patpong ‘regulars’, some of whom still frequent the area. Its role as a centre of CIA activity during the Vietnam War is also highlighted.
The number of exhibits is bound to increase, believes Michael, as old Patpong hands visit the museum and wish to contribute to the collection with memorabilia from their own experiences in Southeast Asia’s best known street.
Patpong Museum is open daily and a guided tour costs 300 baht per person.