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Nightlife in Patong could face the Bangkok early closing treatment

Bangkok, Phuket Nightspots Could Face Big Fines, 1am Closing

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
PHUKET: A push to close Bangkok bars at 1am could flow on to Phuket and lead to the closure of both illegal and legal nightspots in both cities, according to people in the industry.

Reports today quoting Bangkok deputy police chief, Adul Narongsak, say this new Bangkok crackdown is the result of a ''complete disregard'' shown by venue owners for the present laws on out of hours opening.

Phuket establishments in the west coast hub of Patong are known to have an extension to 2am and some go well beyond that.

Under proposed new legislation, reports one Bangkok news outlet, much more severe fines for late night opening, ranging from 60,000 to 200,000 baht, would be issued to venue owners who are caught breaking the rules.

While the police action targets illegal bars and nightclubs especially, legal establishments are likely to suffer as well.

After-hours trading often triggers an increase of brawls and other crimes, according to Bangkok police.

Increased numbers of security cameras and implementation of the Patong Safety Zone, where police network with local residents, appears to have reduced Phuket's serious crime.

Bar owners Phuketwan has spoken to lately are feeling the pinch of alcohol sales bans over several weekends already this year because of national and local elections.

Patong faces two more nights with little revenue with alcohol banned in the Kathu municipality from 6pm on Friday to midnight on Saturday for a local election.

Friday is also Anzac Day, celebrated as a holiday in remembrance of fallen soldiers and victims of war in Australia and New Zealand. Imbibing alcoholic beverages is considered to be a long-standing tradition among Aussies and Kiwis and this is the 99th anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli.

More generally, overseas tourists with an affinity for fun and frivolity tend to enjoy a drink. The ban also coincides with Phuket Pride week, a boon for many venues on Phuket as the event usually attracts big spenders.

The thought of pressure being applied in Bangkok will strike terror into the hearts of barkeeps in Patong, Karon, Kamala and all along the west coast of Phuket, where some barely earn a living.

New punitive fines and a fixation on 1am closing would cause havoc among the ''girlie'' bars of Bangkok, where customers are increasingly difficult to find in numbers.

While Pattaya remains the undisputed Sin City in Thailand, Bangkok ''girlie'' bars are reported to have fallen on hard times.

The site, which chronicles change in the red light entertainment zones of Bangkok and Pattaya, reports nothing but grim tidings in Bangkok.

The sex industry that once brought visitors from around the globe appears to be on its knees in the Thai capital, according to some reports.

In Patpong ''the bars have the same decor as when the Hueys were flying across to Vietnam,'' one experienced and successful bar owner recently confessed on ''It's the same chairs, the same stage - they're stuck in a time warp.''

Drinks now cost as much in Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy, Bangkok's other notorious zones, as in Europe. Rents continue to spiral and the women who join the industry demand much higher fees and are no longer ''dirt poor.''

''Now every girl has got two telephones,'' the bar owner said. ''Every girl is on Facebook and dating sites. They've all got Line, Skype and WhatsApp.

''Guys can contact them through so many means. They're doing their own business with no need to be in a bar.''

According to one report, police estimate that there are more than 2000 unlicensed entertainment venues in Bangkok. This compares to the 198 legal venues located in designated entertainment zones and 480 licensed venues located outside those areas.

It's not clear how many unlicensed entertainment venues operate on Phuket, but over the years police have been reported to run some of them.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


There could be many takes on this article. They haven't moved with the times. They've got greedy. They've been usurped by other destinations. Or simply time has caught up with this sort of bar trade & it isn't needed any more for the reasons stated. People meet & socialise other ways.

Posted by Logic on April 22, 2014 09:31


"Bangkok deputy police chief, Adul Narongsak, say this new Bangkok crackdown is the result of a 'complete disregard' shown by venue owners for the present laws on out of hours opening"

In my humble opinion, I would say this shows a 'complete disregard' of existing law enforcement for reasons well known.

Threats for higher fines, a change of law on opening times etc. will only generate more income opportunities for certain authorities, higher drink prices and less tourists.

Posted by Mr. K on April 22, 2014 10:28


Deputy will have to start paying his policemen, bars will not be able to.

Posted by Anonymous on April 22, 2014 10:52


Not difficult- go out earlier- plenty of time for fun. When I lived in Patong there was no point going out before 2230 as Bangla was dead.It's a viscous cycle- girls go out later so customers go out later, so girls go out later, so customers go out late. I knew some ladies in Patong that don't even go out til 0130. About the only attraction of Pattaya is that you can be tucked up in bed by the 1am closing (if applied) as the whole town gears up for fun a lot earlier.

We've had promises of crackdowns before (about once every 2 years) and it never comes to fruition anyway. Party on Wayne.

Posted by Mister Ree on April 22, 2014 11:31



Posted by Bjorn Ronningen on April 22, 2014 13:15


A viscous cycle !! Got that right !!

Posted by The Night Mare on April 22, 2014 16:56


Then, who will pay for the new iPhone or Galaxy or new car or etc....?

Posted by jbaemm on April 23, 2014 10:19


The sex industry no longer attracts the numbers that it used to and certainly Thailand needs to adapt to changing times. Frankly, I would be very happy if most bars were closed, the attention that these places attract is questionable, and surely cannot be the main reason why tourists come here. I see more than ever couples, retirees, and families, visiting Thailand, surely we should be accommodating them more than the seemingly seedy nightlife ? The country has a lot of other interesting attractions, and so tourism must focus on these more.

Posted by reader on April 23, 2014 14:40

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