Pat Pong Museum Bangkok

“I’d say today everybody knows Patpong,” says Messner. “But nobody really knows what Patpong is about. People associate it with a very narrow segment today, and it would be ‘Patpong ping-pong,’ something like this. And we’ll get to ping-pong, we’ll show that too, but there is so much more.”

Bangkok (CNN) — Prostitution, the CIA, the Vietnam War and Chinese immigration are all on display in a new museum dedicated to one of Bangkok’s most famous red light nightlife zones, Patpong Road.Alongside “Triple X,” “fetish” and kinky cabaret exhibits are tamer displays highlighting David Bowie’s 1983 visit to Bangkok, as well as other bits of pop culture, including a nod to “The Deer Hunter” — a 1978 war drama starring Robert De Niro that included scenes reportedly shot in former Patpong bar Mississippi Queen.But documenting Patpong’s unofficial ties to the US Central Intelligence Agency’s deadly activities in Laos during the US-Vietnam War in the 1960s until 1974 is the museum’s most fascinating purpose.

patpong Museum Bangkok

Secrets of Bangkok red light zone laid bare in new museum

The 300-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.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.

David Bowie in Bangkok 1983
  • David Bowie’s legendary visit to Bangkok and Patpong in 1983
  • Did he get lost in Go-Go Land?
  • Patpong becomes a brand name, the “fun” place to visit while in Bangkok
  • The motto: Sex, Drugs and Rock + Roll
  • More Go-Go’s, bars, discos and clubs open in the now 3 streets of Patpong
David Bowie in Bangkok 1983