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From banana plantation to red light zone. Outdoor stalls fill Patpong Road every night, selling souvenirs, jewelry, luggage and handicrafts alongside counterfeit wristwatches, fake deer fashion accessories and other popular items.
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Exhibitions include this piece of anti-communist propaganda produced by the Thai government during the s. That should give pause for thought about what kind of museum might be established here. The museum recreates a slice of Patpong's former Grand Prix bar, including a 3-D projection of a bikini-clad go-go dancer.
Elsewhere, a wall-mounted "game" invites visitors to look at photos of Thai women and guess if they were born female. The legend of Tony Poe. Inside the museum, a corner is dedicated to a man who's widely considered to be the world's most macabre CIA paramilitary officer, Tony Poshepny -- "one of the most famous and controversial characters that have visited Patpong often," says Messner.
Alongside "Triple X," "fetish" and kinky cabaret exhibits are tamer displays highlighting David Bowie's visit to Bangkokas well as other bits of pop culture, including a nod to "The Deer Hunter" -- a war drama starring Robert De Niro that included scenes reportedly shot in former Patpong bar Mississippi Queen. Today's Patpong: More shopping than sleaze.
It just closed its doors this year, about three months ago, and we rescued the age outside," Messner adds, gesturing at its weather-beaten. To confirm that his Hmong rebels were killing Pathet Lao, Poe ordered them to start "cutting off people's ears and he," says Messner.
Bangkok-based journalist Tom Vater is among those expressing mixed feelings about the space. But he "visited the Civil Air Transport CAT offices in building 1 on Patpong Road as early as and was a frequent visitor throughout the years until his departure to the United States in the s," Messner says. A year of the world's Best Beaches There's a perfect beach for every week of the year. Popularly known as Tony Poe, he was based in northern Laos for several years, beginning in the early s, and reportedly led thousands of minority ethnic Hmong in bloody, scattered fighting against communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese allies.
We do not condemn or glorify Tony Poe and anyone involved in the war. Messner is well placed to open such a venue. Elsewhere a woman's silhouette has, between her thighs, an industrial-strength ping-pong training machine, which pumps white balls at viewers to catch. In response to criticism about his museum, Messner notes that the Vietnam War is an established fact in history.
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The OSS trained Udom to be a Seri Thai "Free Thai" insurgent against Japan's occupation of Thailand, according to museum information, which is supported by a three- story in Asia Magazine dated May 5, which includes an interview with Udom, and also in a obituary in London's Guardian newspaper. But the war ended before he returned home.
Patpong's seedy side. Other Patpong tenants during those years, according to museum exhibits, included the US Information Service library and "a CIA safe house" above the Madrid Bar where, in later years, retired CIA officials reportedly drank and met buddies.
A Patpong Museum would not be complete without exhibitions documenting the road's most famous attractions. It also shows how Patpong evolved over time to attract hundreds of thousands of tourists and expats, before most of the action moved across town to bars elsewhere in Bangkok -- namely Soi Cowboy and the Nana Entertainment Plaza. Poe also took "cut-off he and threw them out of helicopters at least on two occasions" at high-ranking Pathet Lao, Messner says.
Why are so many people trapped in this?
Instead of portraying a live woman, who doesn't use a machine, the museum constructed this "interactive" display. Today, Patpong's two parallel neon-drenched lanes off busy Silom Road still feature bars where women dance on stage and hustle drinks. The square-meter Patpong Museum, which opened in October, reveals why Americans fighting communists on battlefields flocked to Patpong for business, friendship and hedonistic trysts during the war. Poe didn't create such a necklace or wear one but, Messner says, the "cut-off ears are a fact established by many first hand sources, and became part of the myth around Poe.
We take the liberty to communicate that visually in a way that is impactful to the viewer.
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us on a month journey to see them all Go to the best beaches. There are many things we have been given by an ex-Air America pilot throughout the exhibition. Patpong Road's origins date back to a Chinese immigrant, Luang Patpongpanich, who purchased the land when it was a banana plantation.
Alongside these bits of info, the museum displays photos of late CIA officer Jack Shirley taken in the Madrid Bar, which is still open. Among these is a typewritten letter with an Air America logo from 3 Patpong Road telling parents their son disappeared after a plane was shot down above Laos in Anti-communist propaganda produced by the Thai government during the s is also displayed, portraying China's strident political indoctrination under Chairman Mao Zedong, juxtaposed with a depiction of Thailand's orderly, practical school lessons.
The men who frequented the bars in Patpong were, as often as not, murderers engaged in crimes against humanity. As shocking as these allegations are, Poe himself confirmed these well-known acts to this reporter during an interview in San Francisco in and others before he died in It was "psychological warfare," says Messner, pointing to photos, weapons and other items symbolizing America's war in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Glimmers of hope in the darkness
Museum souvenirs are on sale. The museum displays two heavy rice bags connected by a bamboo pole for visitors to lift, a way to experience the burden felt by laborers shouldering kilogram lo. The entrance fee includes one free beer or soft drink. Open daily, 10 a.
Masks and bikinis as red-light districts reopen with new rules
Secrets of Bangkok red light zone laid bare in new museum Richard S. Facebook Twitter. CAT became precursor to the CIA's proprietary Air America, known as " the world's most shot-at airline ," especially in Laos while transporting troops, casualties, refugees, ammunition, rice and other supplies -- all part of the US covert war against communism.
But most visitors prefer the bustling Patpong Night Bazaar. People associate it with a very narrow segment today, and it would be 'Patpong ping-pong,' something like this. That has been romanticized in movies and books -- which the CIA calls "a distorted view," blaming the image created by a film, " Air America.
At least Air America pilots and crew members died from enemy fire, according to multiple reports. A news clipping, displayed in the museum, quotes a US congressman's allegations that some pilots smuggled Lao opium for refinement into heroin for American pushers, which Air America pilots have denied.
The museum's founder and curator, Michael Messner, tells CNN Travel he founded the space to document and display the area's fascinating history up to the present day, and include the many details that no one knows have gone into creating such unusual facilities, businesses and venues. But the museum and its exhibits aren't impressing everyone -- a near certainty given the subject matter.
After managing a museum in Austria in the s, he says he turned his attention to Bangkok's nightlife, investing in entertainment venues including some in Patpong. When the American Embassy in Laos criticized Poe for his violent methods, he took some hacked-off ears, "put them in a bag, and sent that" to then-Ambassador G. McMurtrie Godley, shocking the diplomat and his staff.
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And we'll get to ping-pong, we'll show that too, but there is so much more. The lesser known side of Patpong. Other displays that may make some visitors uncomfortable include a video featuring a bar worker preparing to perform with a live goldfish during a bestiality show.