Are These Three Pop Songs About Sex Tourism?

“Pattaya Wonderland” / Barry Upton…“One Night in Bangkok” / Murray Head…“Pattaya Pattaya Pattaya” Lou Depryck (Deprijck)

Is Pattaya full of liars, knaves, deceivers, fibbers, authorised con-artists, gloss-merchants and truth-mutilators? The answer is NO. Pattaya is full of alcoholics and sexaholics not liars, knaves, deceivers, fibbers, authorised con-artists, gloss-merchants and truth-mutilators. It also has its fair share of egoists, poseurs and people after a very good time. (It even has a minority-percentage of tourists willing to cheat tourists, so you can get your double-whammy – be cheated by a Thai and then by a guy or gal similar to you, hailing from your own continent with your own culture and your own values whatever they may be!) Here, in Pattaya, you will also find the seven deadly sins masquerading as fun and guess what? They have big smiles on their faces, this being a city in the Land of Smiles. I had better remind you of those sins, seven in all, because you may have forgotten them. They are avarice, envy, wrath, sloth, gluttony, lust and pride, and you can see them dancing in red-light areas throughout the Land of Smiles. They will foot it hand in hand with saffron-robed delusion, aversion and greed, the roots of suffering, the big three problems Buddhism talks about.

Now, I am sure some of you know and may even like “One Night in Bangkok”, and yes, I do know that my article here is about pop songs and Pattaya but that popular song is not just about chess in the City of Angels; it is also about sex tourism:

“One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster.

The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free.

You’ll find a god in every golden cloister

And if you’re lucky then the god’s a she.

I can feel an angel sliding up to me.


One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble

Not much between despair and ecstasy.

One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble,

Can’t be too careful with your company.

I can feel the devil walking next to me.”

(“One Night…” C21 Murray Head)

I hope you will agree with me when I say that Bangkok could be replaced by Pattaya but of course the metre goes out of the window. Sorry about that but here I am concentrating on thought not lyrics. And my thought is that cities of sex tourism are extreme and make a hard man humble (if he’s prepared to think), and that the angel of the first stanza is replaceable with the devil of the second, and woe betide anyone who ignores this extreme possibility. At your peril, mate. Sex tourism is sex tourism and not every beautiful girl is there because she loves you. She may be there because she’s out to get you.

And for me, “One Night…” is NOT lying. It’s asking us to think. Whether you like or dislike its repetitive melody, mull over its words.

So far so good.

But of course I know there are songs, pop songs, specifically about Pattaya, and as I go around the bars I often hear them.

“Pattaya, Pattaya,

Pattaya, Pattaya,

Took a trip to Thailand,
The land of million smiles,
Made a stop in Bangkok, so easy so nice,
It’s too far for Phuket, with my money pocket…
I’ll go to Pattaya,

Pattaya, Pattaya, Phuuying love you mak mak,
Go Tony, Hollywood, Marine Bar Disco,
Get excited at X-Zite, welcome in Buffalo,
When it’s raining Phuket,

Spend the day on the beach,
The night is the night,
Handsome man, very chic,
I like you, very big, sexy man, Pattaya,

Pattaya, Pattaya,
Pattaya, Pattaya, Phuuying love you mak mak,

Go Tony, Hollywood, Marine Bar Disco,
Get excited on X-Zite, welcome in Buffalo,

Handsome man, very chic,
I like you, very big,
sexy man, Pattaya,

Pattaya, Pattaya, Phuuying love you mak mak,
Pattaya, Pattaya, Phuuying love you mak mak,

Mr. Sexy man in Pattaya
Pattaya, Pattaya, Pattaya, Pattaya,”

(“Pattaya Pattaya Song” Lou Depryck)


For me, a long-timer in Pattaya, those words are not lying. Coupled with the tribal rhythm of the song, they tell a story of delusional grandeur, exaggeration and a drug-sex-high that gets it right for me. Of course, I am well aware that you need to come to Pattaya and try the experience (and experiences) for yourself. Nothing like trying to understand an experience first-hand but the attempt is never infallible.

Now, for Mr. Barry Upton. Why does he write and sing of a Pattaya full of romance, smiles, sunshine and love? Does he really believe his art or is he writing propaganda, and if so why? When we are little children we like to believe in Santa Claus but when we are adults we need to temper that belief with reality. But what is reality?

“A boy and a girl, deliciously fit….Sunshine in a Land of Smiles….Pattaya Pattaya…. Daytime, nighttime anytime’s a good time loving to love in Pattaya!….” / “Aloi, aloi…… Suai, suai ….” / “He tells her how she looks; it makes her feel so wonderful…..”

(“Pattaya Wonderland” Barry Upton)

Please come to Pattaya and experience its flesh pots and its deceptive ways first hand. Weigh up the three songs I am writing about.

Only this morning an ex-pat was telling me about a farang who couldn’t get rid of his lady. She was an alcoholic who locked herself in a room and refused to leave. When arrested by security she attacked them. There are plenty of similar stories. If Pattaya is a wonderland of love as Barry Upton sings it, it is full of a very odd wonder. (Pattaya is a playground of sex where love is very difficult to find or achieve. That is what I’ve heard and lived through. And I just don’t meet punters who reflect Barry Upton’s vision.)

I sincerely believe there are people out to tell us what Pattaya is really like, and then there seem to be people romanticising, painting Pattaya’s attractions whether those attractions are delusional, whether they lead to good times, bad times or inbetween times, people who also decide to dream, and Mr. Upton is one of the latter. Only problem is he doesn’t tell us that. If he had done so he wouldn’t be a poseur helping me to conclude this piece on three pop songs about sex tourism. Indeed, if I want to get grim, Mr. Upton would not even agree he has written a pop song about sex tourism and that is as serious as it gets here in Pattaya when its well- known citizens do not acknowledge these things!

I was asked by an interviewer on Pattaya People Television to mention just one thing of utmost importance to a tourist and I mistakenly said, “Wear a condom.” (I should have said never ride a motorbike.) None the less, I was trying to help and search for something relevant to say to a tourist about Pattaya. And so I close this blog saying, “Don’t think Pattaya is sunshine in a land of smiles.” Pattaya is a hard city. It is not wonderland. With all due respects to Barry Upton for trying it on.

Walking Street Pattaya

Walking Street, Pattaya’s most famous red-light street – a setting for Barry Upton’s song “Pattaya Wonderland”

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