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Patong by night: Now 4am closing wins a powerful supporter

Phuket Pushes for Special 4am Nightlife Zone

Friday, February 5, 2010
PHUKET GOVERNOR Wichai Praisa-ngob wants to extend the opening hours of nightlife venues in Patong to 4am and is seeking advice from Bangkok as to whether this might be possible.

Depending on the advice, Governor Wichai may formally ask Cabinet to permit the extension of time.

Governor Wichai also confirmed today that he is seeking an extension of his own time in Phuket's key administrative position, beyond the normal age of compulsory retirement.

Both revelations came as Governor Wichai met and spoke with a delegation who visited Provincial Hall in Phuket City this afternoon to provide an update on Phuket Bike Week, scheduled to be held April 9-13.

''If I am still here, I will go for sure,'' said the governor, who is due to retire in March.

Both extensions have yet to win approval in Bangkok.

Extending the opening hours of bars and nightclubs has been sought several times previously by venue owners, but Governor Wichai appears to be more sympathetic than his predecessors.

Nightlife venues on Phuket are currently allowed to stay open until 2am, although all venues throughout Thailand formally close at 1am.

Governor Wichai said that sailors from the US Navy on shore leave and cruise ship visitors were among many tourists who expected to find international standards at Phuket's nighttime venues.

He said there were 30 charter flights from China arriving on the island each week now and more would come if the island was appealing in every way.

On parts of Phuket and in neighboring holiday spots, including the island of Phi Phi, 2am closure is not always enforced.

Closing time is a contentious issue, though, in places where entertainment areas mix with residential zones.

Today the governor was upbeat about the prospects of making a special exception to the closing law in part of Patong, where an entertainment zone could be clearly defined.

''Many visitors like to spend their time enjoying Phuket's nightlife,'' he said. ''A holiday for them begins after 6pm.

''If Phuket is to compete with other destinations for holidaymakers who enjoy nightlife, we need to extend closing until 4am.''

Most bar owners say their money-making window is extremely narrow at present, with bars only really beginning to hum after 10pm.

Agreeing on where the special zone began and ended might prove difficult as Patong already has several zones.

Holidaymakers are mostly familiar with the bars and nightclubs around Soi Bangla, while expat residents and Thai nightlife workers also have their own preferred places to unwind.

Deputy mayor of Patong, Chairat Sukban, was a member of today's Bike Week delegation.

The Bike Week group told the governor that popular singer Carabao was returning this year An invitation had also been sent to Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister, Suthep Thaugsuban.

Tourism Authority of Thailand deputy director Nongnit Tengmaneewan, who was part of the Bike Week delegation, is heading to Phetchaburi where she will be province director from February 16.
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Comments

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Significant losses for the 90 percent who now close at 6-7am. But seriously, it would be good to have Governor Wichai for much longer. He is very proactive, sensible and, it seems, independent.

Posted by donm on February 5, 2010 18:36

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There's no need for an extension, people just need to go out earlier. At the moment its a vicious circle. BGs don't go out til late so guys don't go out til late, so BGs go out later, so guys go out later, and so on. Put down the som tam and strap the stilettos on at 8 instead of 11, then get back to bed earlier girls!!!! Even with 1am closing in Bangkok and 2am in Pattaya the 'desperate' still find places to drink. I hate having to wait for a nightlife that doesn't really kick off until 11 pm. According to Peter though i suppose if I don't like it I could always leave!!

Editor: If you try waking up at sunrise you'll be asleep by 8pm and a much richer man.

Posted by Mister Ree on February 6, 2010 11:02

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Please, no extensions. My condo is in the Patong Tower and the noise at 2am is pretty bad. If they want to stay open until 4am, then how about a compromise of reducing the music levels so that I don't need to hear the same song for fifth time in a night. In respect to the bar workers, it is a pretty grim life as it is. Some of them are obliged to show up at 6pm to clean the place up and if they have to stay until 6am the next day cleaning, it's really unfair.

Posted by brendan on February 6, 2010 11:23

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what they talking about? they never go out at night? discotheques are already open till 6 am

Posted by jp on February 6, 2010 11:59

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I live here and am against extending the hours. It is to loud as it is. If hours are extended, I will move from Patong and they will get no more of my money.

Posted by Jim PWSDTK] on February 7, 2010 08:33

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how about bars open in non-zoned areas? There is an open-air beach bar karaoke in Naithon, where the sign says open till 6am, and another open-air bar next to it open till the last guest leaves.

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2010 10:13


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