As Thailand's3rd Wave of Coronavirus continues unabated, so remain Thailand's strict protocols for Virus 'Crisis Management'. Worst hit by current Government restrictions is Bangkok's Night Entertainment Industry, now entering it's second month of total lockdown. Combined with the inexplicably slow acquisition and distribution of vaccines, Thailand's most vibrant sector of its economy - Tourism - remains at a virtual standstill. MIDNITE HOUR continues to record for historical reference Bangkok Night Enertainment's 'darkest hour'. Readers planning to come to Thailand for tourism will possibly find the below useful.
An all-but-deserted Patpong 1 Road - the ghost of an earlier era...
Because of the unanticipated surge in new infections / deaths associated with the Coronavirus 3rd Wave, the Thai Government, in May of this year, extended the term of the ongoing Emergency Decree for another two months. Many mistakenly thought this was an extension of the restrictions now in force in the current partial lockdown. (The Decree is the legal means to take necessary actions only). At the end of May, BMA authorities had scheduled to 'loosen the reins' by 1 June, however this was almost as quickly postponed to 15 June 2021 by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) headed by the Prime Minister. The 5 groupings of 'venue types' poised to reopen are as follows:
1. Museums. Education Centers. Science Centers, Centers of Natural History. Art Galleries. (Group visits not allowed.)
2. Tattoo and body piercing salons. Finger nail salons. (If the virus is found in salons, they will have to close for 14 days.
3. 'Weight Watching' salons. Beauty clinics.
4. Spas, Health massages, Beauty Massage salons. Traditional massage. Foot Massage.
(Except: Sauna, Herbal steam, steam baths, face massage.)
5. Public Parks, Botanical Gardens, Flower Gardens. (Do not sit in groups, and bringing in food is not allowed - with the exception of water. )
Needless to say, these are "Wait-And-See" items...
" > *The below charts show that the 3rd Wave of Coronavirus-19 is fading globally, both in numbers of infections and numbers of deaths. However, Thailand's 3rd Wave occurred later than the world averages, and statistically hasn't yet begun to taper off. In 2020 (pre-vaccine), Thailand statistics were perhaps the best in the world for a country of this size. This caused authorities to develop an attitude of, "It can't happen here, as long as we keep on keeping on..." What they didn't realize, even after the initial release of vaccines in other countries, was Thailand's "isolation bubble" was dangerously fragile. Even when vaccines became available internationally, the Government's attitude on both procurement and manufacture, was, "What's the hurry?" Well, Thailand's "isolation bubble" was (as can be seen) thoroughly burst, and new cases and death numbers began shooting through the roof, comparatively speaking... But by that time, Thailand was too far behind the power curve on vaccines. While efforts are currently under way to remedy the problem, we are still in "catch-up" mode, with too little imported and manufactured vaccine available to the public.
We note that the three 'spikes' in new cases in the Thailand chart immediately below were due to the inclusion of one-off reports of 'clusters' found in the national prison system.
So, what's the prognosis, Doc? If we can take into consideration our recent past regarding the easing of restrictions, and stir in an estimate on the effects of the vaccines, our crystal ball indicates.....
.....At the current rate of vaccine distribution most of the citizens and foreigners that want to be vaccinated will have their first vaccination within 3 months from now - (the end of August). The second jabs completed by the end of September. During which time the Night Entertainment Venues will be allowed to reopen (as with the last lull in infections). However, due to the country's overly strict and overly complex protocols on letting vaccinated tourists into country, the Night Entertainment / Hotel sector will continue to suffer. Bars that do reopen will, as last time, rarely have enough custom to stay open. Many bars will not reopen because of this, and many others will go out of business (as have many already). Should the Government adopt more realistic criteria for tourism, which they must do eventually, it would be possible for tourism to return to some semblance of normalcy by the end of the year. ..And while we are prognosticating... our crystal ball tells us not to put too much faith in the Phuket Sandbox tourism sanctuary plan... it looks like an overly complicated, unmanageable house-of-cards waiting for the monsoon winds....
IF YOU'RE PLANNING TO TRAVEL...
For those trying to navigate the multitude of changing regulations, we recommend the Skyscanner link below: Once at the website , scroll down a bit and click on “View Live Map”, and you can enter your home country (or where you are now), and the destination you’re interested in. They give you all the latest information on infection rate/trend, and regulations on quarantine, testing, etc. If you give them your e-mail address, they will send you updates when there’s a change in your specific travel interest(s).
General Information for Travelers to Thailand From the USA.
The following procedure / documents are required. Note: These procedures / guidelines are subject to change, so periodic coordination with the Thai Consulate nearest you is recommended. Those arriving in Thailand from other countries may find variations to these guidelines.
1. Negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for Covid-19 Virus within 72 hours of boarding their flight to BKK or HKT [Phuket] airports.
2. Covid-19 vaccination certificate, dated within 14 days to 1 year prior to their arrival.
3. If the traveler is hoping to be in the 14-day Phuket 'sandbox program', then they can only fly directly into Phuket, no transfers in Bangkok allowed. Tourists will need to spend 7 nights in Phuket before being allowed to travel elsewhere in the Kingdom.
4. COE ( = Certificate of Entry) from a local Thai embassy.. https://coethailand.mfa.go.th . Fill in the online application for COE at least 15 working days before the intend date of travel. Please note, the following documents are required to be uploaded to the COE website prior to issuing the COE:
- Valid Visa and/ or re-entry permit.
- Certificate of Residence. [if you have one]
- Covid-19 medical insurance coverage of US$100,000.. The insurance should have the following information :
* Medical costs that cover COVID-19 treatment in Thailand;
* Period of the insurance policy ( start … / end … ) and cover the period of stay in Thailand;
* Minimum coverage of 100,000 USD of medical costs.
* ASQ – Confirmation of a 14-day booking of an ASQ hotel [ = Alternative State Quarantine hotel].
Note: the traveler must stay at an officially approved hotel, certified by the Amazing Thailand Safely & Health Administration. [called an ALQ?]
- A copy of flight confirmation/ reservation, showing going from US to Thailand. (The name of the applicant must be indicated clearly)
- Please note: use the “arrow” button to be sure the document is uploaded properly.
5. All arrivals will need to download the contact-tracing app, Thailand Plus.
6. For the 14 days in Phuket, the traveler must download this app and turn on while in Phuket. https://www.gophuget.com.
With regard to the insurance requirement mentioned above, travellers to Thailand from the USA have found the below Insurance Company was able to provide them with the proper insurance.
The Vaccine - Something Special for all you Crybabies
When your parents (and perhaps you) were growing up, virtually everyone got vaccinated for Smallpox. There were no hordes of 'individualists' refusing to get vaccinated, claiming their Constitutional rights were being violated. It was required for everyone. Smallpox is now virtually relegated to the history books, no longer is it necessary to continue global immunization programs. During the Polio epidemic of the 1950s, when the Salk and Sabin vaccines were developed, virtually everyone was clamoring to get inoculated, including all the children. Again, there were no hordes of 'individualists' insisting their personal freedoms and 'right to choose' were being infringed upon. Polio was eliminated in the Americas in 1994, (vaccinations are now 'recommended' only).
Remember, by being vaccinated against Covid, the protection you receive is not for you, it is for everyone else - as protection from you. Yet another case of adjusting one's perspective: 'It's not about you'. So, unless your doctor has specifically told you not to get vaccinated, get your Covid vaccination as soon as you are able...
Currently Thailand requires locals and foreigners to wear masks under most conditions. Also, as can be seen above, those coming to Thailand are now required to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19. So if you are one of those Dear Spoiled Babies who feels you are being 'forced' to wear a mask, and are being 'forced' to carry a 'Covid Passport' because these things infringe on your First Amendment Rights or 'personal choice', or even your 'political beliefs', then, fine. Stay home - do not come to Thailand...
READER : Dear Sir,
When I go to Bangkok, I usually stay on Soi 11 as I have always loved the atmosphere on that soi. However, in looking at it lately on google maps, it looks completely different. Almost all of the old shops are gone and the character has completely changed. I suppose the word for it is gentrification. It almost seems planned, as though it is being directed and happening all at once. To your knowledge, is the government behind this rapid change? And sadly, it's not change for the better in my opinion. If I want to stay on a road full of Starbucks, 7-11s and burger joints, I can stay at home.
Any suggestions for a new Soi to stay at with the festive atmosphere of old Bangkok?
MIDNITE HOUR: First of all, due to the current 3rd wave of Covid-19, Soi 11, (Soi Ambassador) is virtually completely closed, with only a couple of restaurants (with restaurant licenses) open until 9:00 p.m. (no alcohol served). As is the case with the rest of Bangkok. As the Emergency Decree was recently extended for another two months, it is entirely possible the partial lockdown will also remain in effect for that long (-this includes Bangkok's places of entertainment).
We note that a large section of Soi 11 has been "under redevelopment" for several months, with the old structures already removed (inclusive of several of the old Night Entertainment Venues). Currently the land is not being redeveloped, having become home to lean-to shacks operating as outdoor restaurants and under-the-radar beer bars. The redevelopment on Soi 11 Sukhumvit is not due to a Government initiative. It is happening there, and at several places in Bangkok through various commercial (and some private) ventures. Another example is Soi Dead Artists (Sukhumvit Soi 33), where much of the old venues have been demolished for commercial and private redevelopment.
Also, a number of the venues closed in Soi 11 and throughout Bangkok -due to the lockdown- are now posting "For Sale" or "For Lease" signs. In other words, they are no longer just temporarily closed, they have gone out of business. The longer the lockdown continues, the more Entertainment Venues will go out of business. As a result, there is no way to accurately predict how much of Soi 11's (or any other soi's) Entertainment Scene will still be around once the lockdown ceases and tourism once again returns.
Thanks for writing in. Please feel free to contact us periodically for updates on the situation. Also, we will be posting our monthly updates on The Midnite Hour.
An ongoing history
of Bangkok's Expat
Vol. XXX No. 06
Bangkok, 01 June 2021
On our end-of-month survey this last month we began to see what everyone was predicting - Night Entertainment Venues that had closed temporarily due to the lockdown, would start to close permanently. The number of "For Rent" and "For Sale" signs increasing significantly. Where we are aware, we have reported these permanent closures below. But we have no way to determine how many Nitespots have already gone out of business - as it is most likely many of those bars will not have bothered to put out signs. Bangkok's Nightscene is far from being "back to normal", and it is very likely a great number of Nightlife Venues will have disappeared by the time Thailand opens its doors to tourism once again".
The Kiss, lit only by the new, rather harsh street lighting, may -or may not- be reopening once tourism returns to Thailand. The Tip Top Restaurant (left) remains in total darkness.
An anomaly of sorts... an (unnamed barber shop) has opened up in the darkness that is Patpong 1... Although not in the 'realm of Night Entertainment', we wish them 'sunshine on both sides of the street'.
The one bright spark on Soi 22 was in Soi Starlight - the Flower Cafe has reopened - with new neon, and all. Khun Ying remains at the helm. If you want anything other than kwei tiew, you need to order it in a coffee cup...
Soi Ambassador (Sukhumvit Soi 11) remains a virtual ghost town. With the exception of the temporary lighting of the couple of bar beers (the previous Tewly Cocktail group) and sidewalk eateries (far right in photo), the soi remains grave-yard dead.
The Soi 7 Bier Garten is back in operation. Lights out in front, and dim lighting inside, once the young lady lets you in the front gate, its back to deja vu all over again... We assume, but do not profess to know, they are ostensibly able to keep operating as a 'restaurant'...
Soi 7 Bier Garten - 31 May 2021
A cold San Mig Light...
SOI 7 PLAZA
The Moonshine Pub 22, a Soi 7 Plaza mainstay, is closed down - as are the rest of the Night Entertainment Area venues...
SOI 7 PLAZA
The Day & Nice Bar, closed, is still offering 'Happy Hour'. Hopefully their optimism will be rewarded in the near future...
SOI 7 PLAZA
The only one making any money in Soi 7 Plaza is the land owner - his popular (or at least well-used) 'jailhouse' toilet continues to eat 10 Baht coins from the girls working outside in the Soi 7 street bars.
SOI 7 PLAZA
The Soi 7 street bars and noodle vendors line both sides of the soi from Sukhumvit Road to the Soi 7 Bier Garten. As business is virtually nonexistent, the ladies-of-the-evening -normally huddling around the street bars- have taken to sitting ...and waiting ...in the plastic chairs lining the sidewalk.
Soi Dead Artists remains dark and dreary - no Night Entertainment Venues were open, not even 'speakeasy-style'. The usual convenience stores remained open, as did some of the restaurants, but other than that, a very depressing Nightscene...
ARTISTS (Sukhumvit 33)
The Akane and the Demonia, two 'Specialty' Venues, remained closed. More and more of the venues on Soi Dead Artists are putting out "For Lease" signs - they won't be coming back after the eventual lifting of the ongoing 'Entertainment Dark Ages'.
ARTISTS (Sukhumvit 33)
The Survey Entertainment is yet another of the growing number of Nitespots that has fallen to the Coronavirus / Coronaphobia double-whammy. Note the "For Rent" sign in the pic below. Survey was a great lounge for quiet conversation and a cool drink. Here's hoping they will spring back to life at some future time...
The Kawinya Massage, the Good Time Massage & Salon and the next-door 'unnamed bar beer' are openly 'open'. Obviously the authorities don't check.... or do they? Ahennnh.... Further into the Soi, the Dalah Massage and the Bangkok Beer Cafe are, as was the case last month, open speakeasy-style (or do they, somehow, qualify as 'restaurants'?).
Once again, Midnite Hour digs deep into the dust-laden cupboards in our attic, and discovers a few clippings and pics of Nitespots from December 1964 - back when 'Night Clubs' (with Philippine bands) outnumbered the 'bars'...
The Monte Carlo Night Club is not only long gone, but the "New Rajprasong Shopping Center" in which it stood has also long ago gone to major redevelopments.
The Moulin RougeNight Club was located at the "circle" at Rachdamnern Klang Road. In the early years there were a few Nitespots and movie theaters in that part of town.
The Sri Phan Massage was located in the Rachdamri / Rachprasong roads area, and was typical of the smaller massage parlors of the day, and preceded the big steam-and-cream massage parlors that were just getting off the ground in 1964.
The Little Home Bakery, while having 3 branches in 1964, the more popular location was at Gaysorn Night Entertainment Area, where expats hitting the Nitespots could get a good 'European' meal most any time of the day.
Bangkok Eyes goes back in time to see
Who was New - And Who was Through
in the Expat Night Entertainment World
How many of these old 'Oases'
Do you remember ?
*- No changes that month / year.
(Total Nitespots that month: 33 )
*The Eden Garden Kama Sutra - closed permanently, however in August 2001 it would open temporarily as a bar beer. The Dream Boy Bangkok is the last to occupy that real estate, - and is currently closed during Covid Pandemic.
*Up on the 2nd Level in Soi Bookstore, the King's Palace closed its doors. No Nitespot currently occupies those digs.
*Up on the The Ramp, the Royal Salute Cocktail Lounge reopened after a brief closure.. No Nitespot currently occupies those digs.
(Total Nitespots that month: 56 )
*Las Vegas opened newly - (we bet not many remember that bar...). It took over from J.B.'s Bar. Those digs would eventually become part of Cowboy 2, which today, remains closed due to the Covid Pandemic.
*Shirtz became Shirtz 'n Flirtz (modus operandi unchanged). Those digs were most recently occupied by Fanny's (now closed).
*'Snooker Room' closed. It was located at the side fence - 'Plaza side'.
*Choke Dee opened newly, taking over from Boomerang. It was located at the side fence - 'Plaza side'.
*Je T'Aime closed. It was located at the side fence - 'Plaza side'.
*Crazy Girls opened newly. Ex: Tree of Green. It was located at the left side.
*Meow (Thai sign) opened newly. It was located at the left side.
*Love Scene opened newly. It was located at the left side.
*Oraphin opened newly. It was located at the left side.
*Spanky's opened newly. (The original Spanky's...) It was located at the left side.
*Lolita's Snooker opened newly. It was located at the left side.
(Total Nitespots that month: 30 )
Nana Plaza June 2001
* Up on the 2nd level, the Angel Witch moved across to occupy the then-recently closed Ferang Connection (-which it will continue to occupy, should it survive Covid). The Silver Dragon then opened newly in the just-vacated Angel Witch digs - those premises most recently occupied by Mercury Lady Boy - now closed.
(Total Nitespots that month: 40 )
Soi Katoey ( Silom Soi 4 )
*The 420 closed after being open only one month.. It replaced 401 which had just opened a month before that.
*Exposure closed it's doors. Those premises are most recently occupied by 4 Sport's, currently closed - Covid Pandemic.
*The Underground Music Bar closed it's doors. Those premises are most recently occupied by Bas Living Room, currently closed - Covid Pandemic.
(Total Nitespots that month: 10 )
Soi Dead Artists ( Sukhumvit Soi 33 )
* The Bar Za Bar (Est Cuba 1862) opened newly next door to the then-existing Shoku Sai Rest. No Nitespot currently occupies that space.
(Total Nitespots that month: 32 )
Buckskin Joe Village (~ December 1988 to 9 June 2006)
(Also called 'Tobacco Road', 'Soi Rot Fai', 'The Tracks', 'Soi Zero' & 'Machim' [Thai] )
*Sidetrack Bar Beer closed. (The last bar on the right, going in.)
(Total Nitespots that month: 19 )
Washington Square (~ April 1999 to April 2014)
* - No changes that month / year.
(Total Nitespots that month: 17 )
(Originally ''Entertainment Plaza'')
[ ~February 1999to June 2003 ]
* The New York Pizza closed. (Outside, against the main building.)
(Total Nitespots that month: 22 )
''13 Night Market'' Entertainment Area
(Originally 'Old Thermae Compound')
[ April 2000 - March 2005 ]
According to reports in Artnet News<link>, by way of Ars Technica, "chemists" and "scientists" have come up with environmentally-friendly solvents (they didn't name any) which are able to 'remove vandalism from street art' - their phraseology... In plain, un-spun language, these 'miracle' solvents can remove layers of graffiti .... from graffiti. WTF? -Or more to the point, 'WHY'? .....
Photo excerpt from Artnet News - link above Copyright to owner.
When in doubt, follow the money. When there's real money to be made, we don't just run around town with our ethylene glycol spray tanks and wash everything away. Graffiti "conservators" and "restorers" exist (oh, yes, they really do exist) for only one reason - to make money through the further commercialization of graffiti. And, all of a sudden, we find there is "good graffiti" and "bad graffiti"... 'Good graffiti' is now spun as "street art" or "murals", while "bad graffiti" remains with it's old stigmata : 'vandalism', 'tags', or just plain 'graffiti' - and all its negative connotations. The 'conservators' / 'restorers', are of course, interested in only the 'good graffiti'. -And here's where the mental gymnastics comes in - when the artists (or sellers) want to boost marketability, they call it "graffiti", giving it that edgy, 'street-cred' sound. When they are presenting graffiti in its 'respectability cloak', it is 'street art', 'art brut', or 'murals'. Sometimes in the same sentence.... New game, new rules. Play along and make money...
Photo excerpt from Artnet News - link above. Copyright to owner.
"Researchers" responsible for developing the low-toxicity concoctions (and their application procedures) can now claim their 'cleaning agents', when properly applied, will remove graffiti one layer at a time - without disturbing the layer below. Their 'nanostructured' solvents are embedded in a hydrogel, which can then be made into micro-thin layers. These solvent-impregnated layers are then placed on the offending graffiti by the conservators / restorers who allow the layers to work their magic for the 'correct' amount of time - allowing the removal of only the top layer of paint. (This is possible only because -and when- the layers of paint are similar, but not exactly the same.)
A number of 'established' graffiti artists were interviewed about this new process, and were less than thrilled. While the old-school graf artists do not appreciate their pieces being over-painted, they still see graffiti as a temporary art form, and over time, all inevitably will be lost to the weather, over-painting or outright removal - the 'natural order' of things... This is why they keep their sketch-books and (now digital) 'portfolios' (- and why they will on occasion go out and retouch an earlier throw-up). While they will undertake commercial projects, they are able to differentiate between the two : graffiti being 'unauthorized markings on others' property', all else not being 'graffiti'....
Bangkok Eyes adheres to a single, comprehensive definition of Graffiti :
"Unauthorized, often illegal markings on another's property."
Bangkok Eyes does not support or advocate any illegal activity. Content herein showcases the ongoing controversy over Graffiti in our Society and is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only.
7 ft high x 3 ft - (door only)
8 ft high x 15 ft
5 ft high x 6 ft
6 ft high x 13 ft
6 ft high x 9 ft
Too Many Cooks 788
12ft high x 12 ft
Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered, under current legal precedents and
prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law. Copyright of any original artwork resides exclusively with the artists.
Bangkok's original site !
The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman.
(Boge's photo, above, is not a graffitiper-se, although there are those who have insinuated....