For the third month in a row new cases of Coronavirus in Thailand have continued to subside, creating a sense of optimism in the Government, the Entertainment Industry and business owners in general. The Government has substantially reduced the partial lockdown restrictions as well as international travel restrictions, effective 1 November (details below). While a number of naysayers in influential positions have been saying the current partial reopening is premature and dangerous, official sources are predicting as many as 1 million tourists are to reach Thailand's shores by the end of this year. While we believe this is on the high side, current changes will definitely result in an increase in tourism.
While the bars in Bangkok remain closed under the current partial Night Entertainment lockdown, lights are coming back on at Nana Plaza Night Entertainment Area in anticipation of additional governmental easings of restrictions.
The current guidelines for activities within the Kingdom as promulgated on 27 October are found below:
Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation (CCSA) has decided to ease lockdown restrictions further by lifting the night-time curfew and the ban on serving alcoholic drinks in restaurants in Bangkok and some other provinces, effective November 1st.
The CCSA has also significantly reduced the number of the provinces in the “maximum and strict controlled areas” or the so-called “dark red” zone. The change includes Bangkok from November 1st, which coincides with the reopening of Thai borders to foreign arrivals.
Only in the new “dark red” zone, which now includes Chanthaburi, Tak, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla, where COVID-19 infections are still surging, the curfew from 11 pm to 3 am will remain in place, as the restriction has been lifted in Thailand’s remaining 70 provinces.
In this new “dark red” zone, half of state employees are required to work from home, while any gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Sports venues can open until 10 pm, with no more than 25% of spectators allowed. Malls, markets and supermarkets can also open until 10pm.
According to the CCSA, Bangkok, Krabi, Phang-Nga and Phuket are the only provinces where alcoholic drinks may be served in eateries.
In provinces categorized as “under watch”, and in tourism “sandbox” provinces, most restrictions have been lifted. Businesses, entertainment, recreational activities and schools can resume as normal.
No pubs and bars in Thailand can reopen at this time.
(Note from us: The above is valid 'until further notice'. If you are planning to be out touring, please check for updates.)
For those planning to travel to Thailand in the near future, the current guidance (at the time of publication) is below.
The Certificate of Entry (COE) previously required by the Thai Government (https://tp.consular.go.th/) - which was issued by your nearest Thai Embassy or Consulate - has been replaced by a shortened checklist shown below as of the beginning of November 2021 :
Exemption from Quarantine (Test and Go) - Thailand Pass Registration System (for air travel only).
FOR NON-THAI NATIONALS
* Travellers from eligible countries / territories only. (See below listing.)
* Exempted from quarantine after testing negative for COVID-19 (RT-PCR) after arrival in Thailand.
* Travel from a port of departure in eligible country / territory and have stayed in eligible countries / territories for at least 21 consecutive days.
(Check for any updates to the list of eligible countries / territories at the time you plan to travel').
* Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no less than 14 days before travelling.
* Obtain a negative COVID-19 test result (RT-PCR), issued within 72 hours before travelling.
* Thai Visa
* Certificate of Vaccination
* Paid AQ / SHA+ hotel reservation confirmation (for the duration of 1 day and including the fee for one RT-PCR test)
* Insurance with minimum coverage of 50,000 USD
Eligible Countries Listing
Note: We have received a report from expats arriving in Thailand on Non-Immigrant-O visas for Retirement that the requirement for quarantine was for 1 day, and the only insurance required was Covid insurance, which cost Baht 3,000 for the duration of the visa. The single test for Covid was still required, however arrivals were allowed to proceed directly to their apartments/ condos/ hotels immediately after the one-day quarantine. This abbreviated procedure is not to be found in published documents. We will continue to attempt to confirm if this is the new policy for this type of visa-holder, and report back as we hear of any official change in policy.
Here we note an 'unintended consequence' of the current easing of the Coronavirus restrictions - the current more liberal international travel regulations have essentially obliterated a need for the "Sandboxes".
As the new cases of Coronavirus in Thailand continue to subside, we update our "purely chartist" estimate of when we can expect the number of daily cases will drop to below "Third Wave" levels. Based on the above, we can reasonably expect a "safe" level of viral infections (below 2,000) to be attained by end of January or early February 2022. Remembering, of course, this estimate is based on current trending only, and as there is always the possibility of another surge, future projections could vary. Careful management must continue, to include universal vaccinations - including 'booster' re-vaccination, and social hygiene.
In summation, global herd immunity is the sole way the Coronavirus will be brought under control - the only way the planet will return to 'normal'. There are only two methods to gain immunity: through vaccination and through contraction of the disease (- and then surviving). This is the immutable fact. Our 'take-away from this is, while requirements like masks and insurance and 'social distancing' will continue to fade, it will be a very, very long time before the nations of the world do away with the requirement to have recent Coronavirus vaccinations prior to allowing entry. Anti-Vaxers take note - this is not about politics or your personal right to choose - if you are planning to travel to Thailand, to enjoy its resurgent Nightlife, you will need to be immunized.
You had a mention of 'The Cowboy'. First Thailand trip ('85). ..... First (we visited) the Wagon Wheel owned by a Yank named Bowman ... .... Then on to Cowboy's on Washington Square, which at the time had a couple of platforms for "walking to music girls". We settled ourselves to drinking with the Cowboy. A nice looking Thai lady came in, pulled Cowboy aside and spoke. He nodded his head. The Thai lady then told us that she owned the Alaskan Bar down the street and she had asked the Cowboy if we could come down and play (a few games of darts) against her customers, being "Farangs"....... The Alaskan became Outlaw (where I spent a memorable birthday so well that when I landed in Japan the next day, they weren't going to let me into the county as I looked unwell. I was.) The Outlaw became part of Bourbon Street.
Great column this month. Cheers
This is the only first-hand account we have come across of the relocated Cowboy Bar in Washington Square. Many thanks. Fortunately for us, your memory is intact after all these decades... We didn't include Washington Square in our regular Nightlife surveys until 1999, as we didn't believe they would reach 'Critical Mass' as a Night Entertainment Area (a grave tactical error on our part). As a result, we had to depend on the surviving Nitespot owners and managers (you know who you are) to compile a thumbnail history of "The Square". Part of that history follows:
The Bourbon St. opened in 1986 after changing names more than once. Originally, what was the main dining room & bar area opened as the Expat’s Retreat. Not long after that it was reborn as the Texxan, before finally becoming Bourbon St. At that time, there were two bars next door to it: the Hole-In-One and The Alaskan -which later changed to the Outlaws Bar. But even this was not to be for very long; both bars were absorbed by Bourbon St., bringing it to its final configuration - before relocating to Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekamai).
P.S. Kind thanks to our regular contrubutor for helping us with "walking to music girls'. A term used to describe "A Go-Go girls" who walk back and forth on the stage at a casual pace, regardless of the music being played...
If my memory serves me okay, you turn left out of Patpong Road into Surawong Road. The Green Palms Bar & Restaurant was about half a mile down on the right-hand side of the road. It was mainly noted for its Taxi Dance. The Green Apples was also a Taxi Dance place. I think they were the last remaining ones in Bangkok.
Many thanks for responding to our "Traces" inquiry (last month) on the Green Palms. New to us is the Green Apples...! We will continue to try to get more info on these two venues... Apparently the Taxi Dance Venues were more popular than most remember - we had previously reported on the Prasitipol, The Sida, the Rex Night Club, Lolita (no, not the current Lolita on Soi 8), Suzie Wong (no, not the current Suzie Wong on Cowboy) and a couple places on New Road (mostly Thai). Perhaps when we get deeper into our clippings and photos, we will have enough to do a feature on Bangkok's "Taxi Dance" scene.
Your Traces section is becoming my favorite read. But as you guys said yourselves, more history than nostalgia, as there aren't that many old Bangkok hands still around. 'Keep on keeping on,' as you guys also say...
GREAT. I especially like the "old time Bangkok entertainment scene posters". Kind of wish I had been there then.
Thanks for the kind words. If general correspondence is any indicator, more people are reading our Traces section, to include a few "old Bangkok hands" - (see the above on Green Palms). The 'unintended consequences' of compiling these photos and clippings is that we are now able to form a clearer picture of now-extinct expat Night Entertainment Areas at New Petchburi Road (The Golden Mile), New Road and Gaysorn. We plan to do in-depth write-ups of these 3 areas individually in the near future.
The Patpong 1 Night Entertainment Area is by far the hardest hit of Bangkok's Expat Nitespot Areas and the slowest to prepare for reopening - not a healthy sign...
The only 'lights-on' in Patpong 1 (except a couple of tourist-goods places near Surawong) was the barber shop we mentioned a couple months back. They have recently reopened - and have now put up some signage, becoming 'Wong Barber shop'.
Venues in transition or active on or before 1 November2021 :
*Unnamed massage parlor - (Last known name: "Thai Lady".) - REMAINS OPEN - Upstairs above Thigh Bar
Yet another clip of Soi Cowboy, further documenting the plight of the once thriving Night Entertainment Center - hopefully this will be for the last time, as we now see some Venues in other areas start to reopen...(Filmed 01 November 2021 / 20:10 hours.)
The Kazy Kozy, while closed inside, has an ongoing 'sreet scene' where local food can be ordered and beverages in paper cups can be enjoyed with the staff. Shake it, don't break it, gang...
Lights, as well as optimism, are being turned back on at Nana Plaza, as owner/ managers return to their bars to take stock of the cobwebs and dust. In the photo below, the Stumble Inn and the Morning Night have not only turned on the lights and swept up, they are making sure the sports televisions are functioning and the beer can still be iced down in the refrigerators. The only thing stopping customers from wandering in and sitting down is the row of traffic cones barring the entrance stairs.
By the time you read this, The Blarney Stone will likely have opened fully (currently a soft opening.) Should any of you be sign-readers, the below Cead Mile Failte translates as '100,000 Welcomes'. Located in the long-closed (due to Covid) Heidelberg. The historic Heidelberg was not only the first stand-alone Night Entertainment Venue on Soi 4(both Rajah and Nana hotels had Nitespots since the mid '60's), it was the one of the last holdouts of the 'German Invasion' of Night Entertainment Venues that opened in the mid-late '70's (Soi 7 Bier Garten now being the last).
File Photo - April 2009
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
A couple of months ago we noted that the Champs had taken over from the long-standing Jersey Pub, but that they couldn't open because of the Covid lockdown. But that was then, this is now. Welcome them to the piranha pool... Located at the juncture of Soi 4 and Soi 6.
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
Why Not Bangkok, a mostly-katoeyNitespot, has somewhat tentatively reopened...
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
Venues that have re-opened or before 1 November 2021. (Not inclusive of those Venues reopened last month / previously.) No Venues closed last month on Soi 4 Nana. :
Opening in the Covid-closed Eat, Drink, Man, Women (EDMW) is the brand-new Silver Sand, a mixed straight-gay Venue - at least for the present. Drinks served 'by the book' ...at least for the present.... May they be dealt only aces and faces. Located on the corner of Silom and Soi 4.
SOI KATOEY (Silom Soi 4)
The below a pic from mid-Soi looking toward Silom, showing a number of Venues newly reopened. Back on line this month (in addiiton to those listed last month), are Hugs, the Balcony and Bas Living Room.
The Hillary 11 remains open, and has taken up the slack from the other "Instagram Girl" Nitespots on the Soi that remain closed (Oskar Bistro, Sugar, Insanity, Bafros, Havana Social). The Hillary 11 was the busiest place we saw in Bangkok - with a number of freelancers coming and going...
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
A short clip at the very back of Soi Ambassador, where only 'action' is the recently reopened single-shophouse massage parlors.
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
Venues open on or before 1 November 2021 (Not inclusive of those shown as 'open' last month, all of which remain open) :
*Tewly Cocktail group (Corrected to 5 active bar beers) - STILL OPEN
Soi 7 Plaza was roaring along as per usual on 1 November, when they rather abruptly closed very early. Being Bangkok's first night free of curfew, a number of Soi 7 Plaza's customers' eyebrows were not surprisingly raised... The staff from the bars were crowding out into the Soi, and into the street-stall seating. One might come to the conclusion as to why they closed early that night.... something to do with not staying below the radar....? How long before they get back to their free-wheeling ways? Shake it, don't break it, guys (and ladies). The one bar that remained open was Players, which had only recently reopened (pic below). Welcome them back to the neon circus. ...But can we expect a name-change at Players? We'll keep an ear to the ground and get back atcha...
SOI 7 PLAZA
A quick pan of the street bars outside Soi 7 Plaza along the Soi. They have regularly been staying open until there were no more customers - the recently lifted curfew has made no difference to their activities.
Propaganda, a new bar at the back end of Soi Pan Pan, actually opened a month earlier, but when we passed by at that time (rather close to curfew) it was closed, so we were unable to determine if it had, in fact, opened. We went back again on 1 November, but it had already closed for the evening. Many positive reports. Welcome them to the bright lights, big city...
SOI DEAD ARTIST
(Sukhumvit Soi 33)
Aurora Nuru Gel & Aromatherapy has opened in the previous digs of the Dream Connection. Their signage is quite telling. Note the word "Massage" has been blacked out. This due to now-longtime local regulations prohibiting those venues not providing traditional massage from claiming to be massage parlors. Note the expanded use of credit card payment - largely (but not exclusively) an appeal to Japanese customers. Note also, they are offering the ever-more-popular 24 hour call out service, indicative of 'masseuses' on premises - thereby further blurring the line between "special massage" and "escort service". May they continue to slip 'n slide...
We visited Soi Eden late on 1 November, further confirming that even though the curfew had been lifted, Night Entertainment Venues were not, in many cases, taking advantage of the additional opening hours. This is not surprising, however - no customers, no need to stay open. The one exception was the ever-open Good Time Massage & Salon.
This month Midnite Hour looks back at Bangkok in 1964 as the year comes to a close. We emphasize that in those early years, a major share of the Night Entertainment happened in the Hotel lounges, bars and dinner-dance venues. It should be noted, however, that these hotel venues attracted 'couples' more than 'singles' - the likelihood of finding a 'partner for the evening' was considerably less (but not impossible), than in the separate bars, lounges and the few remaining taxi-dance halls.
An unusual story of intrigue and murder at the famed Oriental Hotel
The Oriental Hotel needs no intro, but Maurice Rocco (originally Rockhold) probably does - at least to the current generation. This American entertainer wasn't just another 'nobody' taking any booking his agent could find for him. A concert pianist and renown jazz pianist (who worked with the greats, Cozy Cole, Mack Stuart, etc), Rocco headed up The Three Roccos from an early age at the popular Kit Kat Club in New York. He went on to record for Decca Records (14 sides) before going over to RCA Victor, all the while appearing in two Hollywood films (Vogues, and 52nd Street - 1938). During the Second World War, he entertained the troops in person and on AFN (as he was near sighted, and could not join the service). After the war, he was in the film, Incendiary Blonde (1945)- playing his most well-known pieces. He also, later, formed his own band, which included the well-known jazz artists Alton Moore, Arville Harris, and Bobby Holmes.
He early on adopted a style of piano playing while standing up (without a stool), often ending up with one foot on the piano. This style was emulated shortly afterward by Little Richard, intentionally, or by coincidence. Many of Rocco's video clips now appear on the Internet<link>.
It is not fully understood why he suddenly left his 'comfort zone' in the US to perform in Europe and Southeast Asia. -Not that many of us don't find Southeast Asia a 'comfort zone'... He finally settled in Bangkok, Thailand for the last 15 years of his life, where he had a residency at the Bamboo Bar in the Oriental Hotel. He died here (March 24, 1976) under mysterious circumstances, murdered in his apartment - slashed with his own Malay knife by, allegedly, a homosexual partner.
For the 1964-1965 New Year's Eve, Max's Place on Patpong Road geared up for an all-night seeing-in of the New Year. (Check out those operating hours...)
A rare photo from the mid-'60's of the Plaza Hotel entrance and the Thai Room Restaurant. The hotel didn't provide Night Entertainment, however it provided other conveniences to the Patpong / Surawong revellers in the early years. The hotel would play an even bigger role in the approaching "R&R era"... The Thai Room was the original Patpong 2'after hours' meeting place once the bars had closed... (Note the ongoing construction of the Montien Hotel can be seen in the upper left corner.)
This extracted photograph may be from a copyrighted source.
The Rama Hotel'sRamayana Lounge Bar was yet another of the popular Venues of the day providing an ongoing assortment of live entertainment from abroad. In this instance (December 1964), the duo of Gino and Franco, in Bangkok directly from Italy.
This month we provide an 'update' to the Domino, located at Gaysorn Night Entertainment Area. We previously noted that Domino was more than just a restaurant, however in the above clipping, they are apparently advertising that fact openly.
The 'Carltonate' in the Carlton Hotel (previously at the Silom-Convent intersection) was another popular Nitespot in it's day. In later years, it faded to a 'karaoke-dinner lounge', and as the evening wore on, it was usually taken over by drunk Thai patrons (the kiss-of-death to any Nitespot) - driving all other custom away.
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 ?
*The Girl Friend Bar, located on the 2nd level above the Safari closed its doors. It was the last of a number of bars that occupied that upstairs location. No Nitespot currently exists upstairs.
(Total Nitespots that month: 31 )
* On 'The Island' Horse Shoes opened where once stood Hot Shoes, (taking back real estate that was temporarily occupied by an expanded Chicken Divine, next door). Should it reopen after Covidrestrictions, it will resume being the relatively new Midnight Bar Beer.
(Total Nitespots that month: 57 )
* The New Hare & Hound Pub & Restaurant closed permanenty. Renovations started immediately on what would become Dollhouse (which was in the process of transitioning out of Clinton Plaza). Dollhouse still exists, and we hope for an early reopening after Covidrestrictions are lifted.
*"Snooker Room" - REOPENED. It was located at the side fence - 'Plaza side'.
*Luke's Bar - became Luc's Bar. (Rename only.) It was located at the back fence - 'Plaza side'.
* An 'Unnamed Bar Beer' - NEW. It was located in the Asoke Corner, right side.
*Your Friend (no sign) - NEW - in what was 'My Dear" now CLOSED. It was located on the Asoke Corner , right fence.
*Internet @ Route 23 - NEW - - It was located on the Asoke Corner, right side. An Internet bar (new at the time), it was one of the first to have webcams so the girls could better communicate with their 'offshore' sugar daddys...
*Nu Jun - NEW - Replaced Meow? - CLOSED. It was located on the Asoke Corner, left side.
*Anne - NEWLY NAMED - Previously opened, but no signage... Asoke Corner side, on the right.
*Nong Kwan - NEW - - Asoke Corner side, on the right.
*Oasis II - NEW - Next door to Oasis. - Ex: B-52 - CLOSED - Asoke Corner in the "8-Pak".
(Total Nitespots that month: 43 )
Nana Plaza November 2001
* The Cat House - NEW - took over from Pool Boxers - CLOSED - up on the second level. Should the existing Nitespot reopen after Covidrestrictions, it will resume being Straps.
(Total Nitespots that month: 40 )
Soi Katoey ( Silom Soi 4 )
*G-4 - NEW - It took over from "420" and Icy Hot, both CLOSED.
(Total Nitespots that month: 10 )
Soi Dead Artists ( Sukhumvit Soi 33 )
* The Takemura - NEW Located downstairs in the Peep In Park (Now S 33 Compact Hotel) . No Nitespot currently occupies that real estate.
* The Blue Sky Club up on the 2nd level CLOSED for renovations. Located in the Peep In Park (Now S 33 Compact Hotel) . No Nitespot currently occupies that real estate.
* The Sanjusan Bangkan opened NEW in the back of the 33 Complex (now demolished to make way for eventual redevelopment).
(Total Nitespots that month: 33 )
Buckskin Joe Village (~ December 1988 to 9 June 2006)
(Also called 'Tobacco Road', 'Soi Rot Fai', 'The Tracks', 'Soi Zero' & 'Machim' [Thai] )
*Honey Bar Drink & Food - REOPENED. - On the left side.
(Total Nitespots that month: 16 )
Washington Square (~ April 1999 to April 2014)
* The Sunflower Traditional & Foot Massage - NEW. They were located three doors past Bourbon Street.
(Total Nitespots that month: 18 )
(Originally ''Entertainment Plaza'')
[ ~February 1999to June 2003 ]
* Tivoli (surprisingly) REOPENED. - Located in the main building.
* O.K. Beer Bar - CLOSED. Located outside against outer wall.
* Hollywood A Go Go EastREOPENED. - Located outside against outer wall..
* The Candy StoreA Go-GoREOPENED. - Located outside against outer wall..
(Total Nitespots that month: 18 )
''13 Night Market'' Entertainment Area
(Originally 'Old Thermae Compound')
[ April 2000 - March 2005 ]
In perusing my tech sites I came across a most unusual article on Graffiti. The Internet publicationHackaday <link> had an article about a contraption that automatically painted graffiti. It was called the Graffomat by the creator, Nicolas Roy.
Although the article didn't have any examples or imbedded video, they did provide a link to the YouTube clip - which we provide
Below is a selection of 'video grabs' from that YouTube clip for your viewing.
Strangers On The Shore
8 ft high x 17 ft
6 ft high x 10 ft
5 ft high x 5 ft
Note To Self
5 ft high x 3 ft
A Maze Rising
6 ft high x 9 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....