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Bangla's Tiger complex: a Phuket landmark under construction

Phuket's Wild Heart: Bangla, Blingla, Bonkla

Monday, August 1, 2011
PHUKET: Another step towards determining the future of Patong's beating heart, Soi Bangla, will be taken today with the first bids for purchase or rent of 48 new bars.

The substantial addition to Phuket's beer bar supply forms part of Soi Bangla's new and rather garish Tiger complex, which will have 48 bars on the ground floor, and a disco above.

Above the disco, wink wink, nudge nudge, some sleeping accommodation will also be available.

Phuketwan has already made the point that parts of Soi Bangla now have more of a touch of an alter ego Soi Blingla about them. The glitzy gentrification process, though, does seem to have a few regressive genes.

On what we've seen so far, the new Tiger may turn out to be more Soi Bonkla than Soi Blingla.

Nearby, the contrast to the old plain no trimmings and no nonsense Bangla is evident as the large and stylish pseudo-historic retail development, the Sixth Phuket, takes shape. (We hesitate to ask what happened to the other five Phukets, but no matter.)

November is the opening date for both the retail Sixth Phuket, with 42 retail outlets for rent at 40,000 baht to 150,000 baht a month, and the Tiger complex, with its 48 bars.

Interest in the bars is likely to become plainer today. August 1 is the date set for people interested in buying or renting bars to contact the management.

Not much is being given away at this stage about the venture, except that rents are likely to vary from 10,000 baht to 40,000 baht, depending on position in the complex.

The management would not be drawn on the topic but talk along Soi Bangla has it that the key money - a deposit that is sometimes but not always refundable - will be substantial, perhaps more than five million baht.

To walk along Soi Bangla these nights is to experience the conflicting pull of the old, never-say-die Soi Bonkla and the glitz of the upwardly moving Soi Blingla.

Another new upmarket resort is said to be the next major development for what is now definitely Phuket's most pricey strip.

Such is the trajectory of rents that one veteran bar owner says Bangla-Blingla-Bonkla now only ranks behind Bangkok's Siam Paragon complex for cost per square metre.

Phuket residents tend these days to shy at the prices in Bangla, but its appeal to tourists - and its position in the array of attractions that Phuket has to offer - appears undiminished, even if visitors may wander off to less expensive parts of Patong once they have been stung 500 baht for a drink at one of the ''free'' ping-pong ball shows.

The tide moves both ways. While there are still parts of the old Bangla being resurrected, some bars along the strip now rely on alcohol and food and have dropped sex from the menu.

There's also a wilder edge, likely to draw the attention of cultural enforcers, with some bars said to be offering naked hostesses behind closed doors in the back lanes.

While the most obvious change in the old strip is towards more of the new retail Soi Blingla (along with the arrival of more and more katoey ladyboys) the spirit of Soi Bonkla, it seems, will not be easily laid to rest.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I see we are now allowed the 'pleasure' of seeing Eastern Eurpoean women gyrating in a glass booth on Bangla now, whereas before it was just happening in a side Soi. A nice bit of tea money for someone to allow this sort of thing which has unfortunately spread down from the Russian run places in Pattaya. a few more ladyboys is the least of our problems with these guys gaining influence.

Posted by Mister Ree on August 1, 2011 13:04


The best way to deal with this disgusting mess of a street would be to bulldoze it all. It brings shame to Phuket and to Thailand. At least by spring next year the bars/nightclubs will be made to close at midnight if what I've heard from one Phuket official is true. The law and order cleanup promised by Mrs. Thaksin is starting to gain momentum. One of the key parts of their approach is that Phuket is to be reclaimed as a family-friendly destination. The perverts are going to be redirected to Pattaya where they belong.

Posted by Graham on August 1, 2011 13:18


If Graham had been to pattaya lately he might see that things are changing rapidly.More high end shopping centers, more high end hotels, lots of bar complexes being pulled down. Sorry Graham the perverts have moved to Kata, Karon, Rawai, Chalong, Patong, Phuket City. In fact the whole of Phuket has been turned into a whore house if you look around you. By the way a tuk tuk in pattaya is 10 baht still after 20 years.

Posted by lord Jim on August 1, 2011 14:43

gravatar is the reason Patong is thriving..tell me ..what else does Patong have to offer?..take away the sex and whats left...nothing that will draw any kind of income....and who really cares?...If sex is what people want then give it to them...does it was here and thriving way before you arrived here and is the the backbone of Patongs economic base...People can go to other parts of the island and avoid it...But I can tell you this, there is way too much money riding on the sex industry here and you won't see it going away in your lifetime

Posted by sky on August 1, 2011 18:12

Editor Comment:

sky, are you serious? The sex industry, like testicles in a cold shower, is an ever-shrinking part of what brings people to Phuket. There are many other places where it is cheaper. Only lost and desperate souls imagine it's the prime reason for coming to Phuket. Besides, everywhere has one.


I said Patong ...not Phuket...its one of many attractions in a section of the island

Posted by sky on August 1, 2011 18:53


To sky and lordjim: In Patong I see mostly families with kids and youngish couples. However, in Bangla Road I see middle-aged to elderly, creepy tattoed pervs with their hands all over Thai girls (and boys) young enough to be their daughter/son or granddaughter/son and those are exactly the kind of people Patong DOESN'T need to support its economy. Sex tourists are almost always shabbily dressed, unwashed single men, staying in cheap guesthouses, who seemingly have little urge to spend on anything other than girls/boys and cheap beer, so how much do they contribute to the economy of Phuket and more specifically Patong? Answer: Very little, compared to genuine tourists who actually take tours, instead of just sitting in bars ogling teenagers. A family of four spends a lot more than four times as much as one sex tourist. The only people who want to attract sex tourists are bar owners and fellow pervs who would like to feel, due to increased numbers, that their deviancy is the norm rather the exception.

Posted by Graham on August 1, 2011 19:16


Graham...why do you put pervs in the same class as sex tourists....??...Personally I enjoy having the option available when I am in Patong..If that makes me a sex tourist, so be it but I'm no perv and don't condone pervs...lady bars, go go bars, discos with women ready to negotiate their whats wrong with that?...does that make me a perv??..what is your definition of a perv?...and do I like younger women?...your damn right I do. I've been attracted to them my whole life and now because I'm a little older means I'm supposed to change my taste and settle for old out of shape women???..Don't kid yourself Graham..Patong has been built on and is still thriving on many sex related attractions...Take that factor away and you have nothing here but a sewage ridden beach and endless worthless souvineer shops...what other attraction is their in Patong?....Why is it that you and many others like you are so quick to criticise?...If you don't like that form of entertainment then don't's that simple.

Posted by sky on August 1, 2011 20:37


sky, I expected you to trot out the line "If the girl is over 16, you're not a perv". Well, I'm glad you think you're such a fine upstanding citizen and feel the need to defend yourself here. That just about says it all.

Posted by Graham on August 2, 2011 11:30


in my book, as long as she is over 21, then whats the problem.?...It's two consenting adults, Graham...whats the problem?

Posted by sky on August 2, 2011 11:56


The problem? Sounds like you're just another sexpat import from Pattaya - some advice - Flies spread disease - keep yours zipped. That's your problem.

Posted by Pete on August 2, 2011 13:26


Pete...what exactly is a sexpat?....Do I enjoy sex?...yes I do... 100%! and let me also make a point of saying that I do not engage in anything illegal or immorral...I have a very healthy sexual appetite and enjoy sharing it with a woman over the age of 21 who is willing to share her passion with me in a safe way. I also enjoy the fact that Soi Bangla offers options for me to indulge in these pleasures....Tell me ...what turns you on?

Posted by sky on August 2, 2011 16:16


#Sky: - Cached
Sexpat (noun), a compound of sex and expat or expatriate. A sexpat is one who participates in tourism with the express intention of having sex.

Fits you like a glove, yes?

What turns me on? My beautiful wife.

Posted by Pete on August 2, 2011 18:03


sky, the passion those girls have is a passion for the contents of your wallet. You're pathetic and yes, you're very definitely a perv too. Please leave Thailand.

Posted by Nick on August 3, 2011 00:27


You're absolutely right Nick, the bloke wouldn't even know the meaning of passion because he's never been loved and has to resort to buying his version of it. The Bangla girls are busybodies, the more they sell their bodies the more money they make. Sky is being scammed all the time but is too thick to work it out, lays himself wide open to disease and passes it on to others. Yes, he should leave Thailand.

Posted by Pete on August 3, 2011 06:57


Some one posted regards some of the types of tourists visiting Bangla as if these Thai based 'businesses' were not just begging for the drunken/sex seeking tourist they had to put up with. Thailand in general, and places like Bangla in particular, seriously need to take a long hard look at themselves.

Oh that's right, I forgot. If (predominantly) men did not come to this notoriously mammoth brothel, the prostitution would evaporate over night.

Posted by tamsin on August 3, 2011 13:36

Editor Comment:

Prostitution would only evaporate in Thailand overnight if all the Thai men left the country as well. Come to think of it, all the Thai women would have to leave, too. Do you know a country without prostitution, tamsin? North Korea, maybe?


Sorry ed, there is most certainly prostitution in NK although it is practiced in the more discrete Asian style.

Posted by Martin on August 3, 2011 15:07

Editor Comment:

It's hard to be tongue-in-cheek in text.


Yes, I know since my post was meant with humor as well.

Posted by Martin on August 3, 2011 18:51


I have read several studies saying that, depending on the study, 95-97% of all thai prostitutes have NEVER had a foreign customer..This is not a Farang "problem" and most thais DO NOT view this as an urgent problem in need of solving. Its been a part of the local culture for hundreds of years, and it didnt become an official "problem" before the thais imported victorian ideals at the end of the 19th century. But its still VERY common everywhere in Thailand, its almost a non issue for the locals. There are always some "shocked" westerners that tend to think its all our fault and want to act as some sort of Morality Police. Ridiculous.

Posted by christian on August 4, 2011 02:02

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