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Soi Bangla in Patong by night: a quiet 48 hours expected across Phuket

Phuket Bars to Close Tuesday, Wednesday

Monday, July 6, 2009
ALL PATONG bars and clubs throughout Phuket are expected to close for 48 hours from tonight to respect two significant Buddhist holidays.

Some tourists are expected to be surprised to find that Soi Bangla in Patong is not operating as usual, although resorts and some restaurants are likely to have alcohol available for guests.

One Soi Bangla proprietor, Steve Wood of the Aussie Bar, told Phuketwan today that the actual closure was for one day only, Asamha Bucha Day on Tuesday.

But there was little point in bars opening on Buddhist Lent on Wednesday because the serving of alcohol was prohibited.

Mr Wood said he was contend to abide by Thailand's customs, laws and traditions. ''I think pretty much everyone else is, too,'' he said.

Bangkok bars had been formally notified to shut, he said. Patong would follow suit, mostly on a voluntary basis.

Buddhist ceremonies and holiday activities not involving alcohol are planned for Patong.

Ninety-nine monks will take part in a merit-making ceremony in the early morning along Soi Bangla on Tuesday.

Football and beach volleyball events will be held later in the day.

The decision to ban alcohol was made at a meeting last month of the Patong Entertainment Association.

Somped Moosopon, president fo the Patong Entertainment Association, said: ''We would like to have everyone involved in this activity.''

Various sois and bar areas in the holiday resort will take part in male and female volleyball teams, three-legged races, tugs-of-war and other games, wearing one of nine distinct colors.

Alcohol is not normally sold on election days and the call from senior Buddhist monks to have alcohol banned on key religious holidays has grown stronger this year.

The lead of the Patong Association is likely to be followed all over Phuket and will probably be nationwide this year.

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