As many of the world's governments (to include Thailand) begin to filter out the Coronaphobia (the scare-hype that went 'viral' over the last two years), and let sanity and Critical Thinking trickle back in, many of the restrictive and ineffective Covid-19 policies on travel and Entertainment are disappearing - either through cancellation of edicts, or through common-sense practices. (...cont'd below)
The Tip Top, one of Patpong 1 Road'srestaurants of several decades' seniority has 're-purposed' as a pool hall for the interim, however a meal can still be ordered. Desperate times call for desperate measures...
The Thai Government has slowly-but-surely come around to recognize that the Omicron strain of the virus, while capable of spreading rapidly to large numbers of people, it's effects -on average- are comparatively less disruptive, and therefore not a justification to lock-down and immobilize a large parts of the economy. To say the same thing another way, they have come to see what others have seen for over a year - that "Lockdowns Don't Work", and that 'crowd immunity' is the only real goal. They have (figuratively) "placed the virus in the back seat", letting the nation slowly get back on its feet - through streamlining international travel policies and widening the economic gates.
Nevertheless, the Thai Government is continuing with an aggressive testing and vaccination program, to include school-aged children, and migrant construction workers, as well as the remainder of the unvaccinated population. Due to emerging knowledge about the Virus, (such as vaccinated individuals can also contract the disease - but with generally milder symptoms) the Government is equally proactive in vaccinating for first and second boosters (3rd and 4th injections), with special emphasis on full vaccination of the elderly.
For those who have their ear to the ground, two items of interest have emerged, but are not officially addressed by the Government. First, it has recently come to be known that only the PCR tests are 100% reported as 'new cases', but that the ATK tests, which are now the overwhelmingly larger number of tests, are most often going unreported. Such talk a year ago would have sounded like 'conspiracy theory', but this has recently been confirmed in the vernacular Press. The second revelation is that many, if not most, of these ATK 'positives' -to include large numbers of self-testers - are (where symptoms are minimal), not reporting to officials and going straight to home self-isolation / self-medication. This group (including a large number of foreigners) either waits out ten days in home isolation before re-testing, or they test daily until they get two days 'clear'. Were this 2020, this would have been considered dangerous and irresponsible. Today, 2022, there is little chance this 'unofficial behavior' will change - in spite of it not being entirely epidemiologically sound. As projected by the medical community months ago, people are coming around to treating Omicron as they would the annual flu. And this, as it is working out, is not a bad thing - especially in light of the fact it minimizes the overcrowding of medical treatment facilities, and at the same time, accelerates the achievement of the 'Holy Grail' herd immunity.
For those planning to travel to Thailand, now is the time to solidify those plans and start making bookings. The requirements for entering Thailand are unchanged from last month, as described below - with one major change :The Government has gone back to the original "Test & Go", requiring only the first Covid test on arrival, eliminating the day-five retest. To make sure you incur no unanticipated problems in preparing to visit Thailand, frequent checks should be made at the at Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) website<link>. It is anticipated TAT will have a 1 March update posted by the time you read this. As an additional confirmation step to remain current, be sure to contact the Thai Consulate in your country, or nearest you for updated visa processing information.
A Summary of Current Government Guidelines on Covid-19
Bangkok, 20 January, 2022
Thailand’sCentre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) today approved the resumption of the Exemption from Quarantine (TEST & GO) entry scheme, the reopening of Pattaya and Ko Chang Sandbox destinations, and the reintroduction of the Sandbox Extension programme effective from 1 February, 2022, from 09.00 Hrs, Thailand time.
The Thailand Pass system reopens for new TEST & GO applications from 1 February, 2022, 09.00 Hrs. Thailand time, fully vaccinated travellers from any country around the world can apply for a TEST & GO Thailand Pass up to 60 days in advance. While other previous rules under the scheme remain unchanged, the CCSA approved additional requirements to ensure stringent COVID-19 precautions:
All new TEST & GO applications must submit a proof of prepayment for (2 separate nights - NOW CHANGED TO "1") of accommodation at government-approved hotel/s, such as, SHA Extra Plus (SHA++), AQ, OQ, or AHQ on Day 1 (and Day 5, DELETE) and the expenses for tests on Day 1 (and Day 5DELETE). The prepayment for Day 1 must include an accommodation, a test and a prearranged transfer from the airport to the hotel.
(Travellers can book 2 different hotels for the accommodation on Day 1 and Day 5. However, on both Day 1 and Day 5, they must stay within the room for the RT-PCR test result.
The second RT-PCR test will not be required if the traveller’s length of stay is less than 5 nights, or his/ her scheduled international departure date out of Thailand is on Day 5 or before. For example if the traveller plans to stay in Thailand for 3 days, then he/she does not have to undergo the second RT-PCR test, but he/she must leave for another country immediately. However, whether the traveller will be required to take another RT-PCR test depends on the airline and the final international destination. SUPERCEDED)
(Meanwhile, travellers who have applied/ obtained their Thailand Pass QR code before 22 December, 2021, with scheduled arrival dates in Thailand from 24 December, 2021, onwards, are still required to undergo their second COVID-19 test using the RT-PCR technique at government-designated facilities on Day 5-6 of their stay in Thailand, or when they experience respiratory symptoms (no additional cost). SUPERCEDED)
The Covid-19 Certificate of Vaccination for International Travel
(Reprinted by request.)
For Thais and foreigners living in, or otherwise vaccinated against Covid-19 in Thailand, your records have automatically been maintained at the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health. Your records can be accessed by you at any time by downloading the Moh Phrom app on your smart phone, and filling in the data - exactly as recorded on your hard copy vaccination certificate given to you at the time of vaccination.
Should you be planning to obtain your "International Certificate" (yellow booklet below) to travel outside of Thailand, open your Moh Prom app and scroll down to the International Certificate box - and click-and-apply. Note: foreigners are given a 13 digit ID number in lieu of the Thai National ID number, which you will find on your hard-copy certificate, and you will be required to use it when applying. You will be able to book an online appointment to obtain your Covid-19 Certification of Vaccination on the app - which, when completed, will usually involve a wait of approximately one week to ten days. When you go to pick up your certificate, bring your passport and hard copy vaccination certificate(s) for verification purposes. The pick up point is at the Bang Rak Hospital Building next to the new Saint Louis BTS station on Sathorn Road. The fee is fifty (50) Baht.. The earlier requirement to present your onward travel documents / airline tickets is no longer in effect, all are welcome to process for the new yellow booklet. We recommend all expats process for this certificate, as the rules and regulations on the international scene are in flux, and you may be required to show the certificate at many and various points of entry, etc, to include getting back into Thailand.
The relative surge, and then 'plateau' in new cases this month has not triggered panic in Government or medical circles, due to the fact that most cases are of the Omicron strain - which generally does not cause serious symptoms, provides a high degree of immunity, and can be home-treated, much as the winter flu. There has been no concomitant rise in death rates or urgent medical treatments at hospitals this month.
In summation : Bangkok Eyes will continue our efforts to encourage tourism by providing updated information on travel and entertainment which could be useful to those wishing to visit Thailand. Travellers to the Kingdom, once through the entry drill for testing, etc, currently have a great amount of leeway in travelling in-country, and visiting Night Entertainment Venues. However there are current regulations for wearing masks in most circumstances - public transportation, public and commercial buildings and other locations accessible to the public. However when in restaurants and pubs, bars, etc, there is no requirement to keep masks in place once seated. Social Distancing is technically still 'on the books' but virtually entirely ignored. Foreigners in Thailand must keep their vaccinations up to date, and should keep proof of vaccination with them when out and about.
READER : Sirs,
I tried to link to Stickman through this site, but was not successful. Is he back, or is there more to the saga?
We are pleased to say that Stickman <link> is back. He noted that while his revived site was getting geared up, there might be some downtime, however last we checked, he had just released his third weekly installment - good reading, status quo ante. Let the good times roll.
I see in the Feb issue you celebrate your 20th. Clever Easter egg... Congrats in order. Hv seen the many changes, not only in Bangkok's Nightlife, but in the website. Good works, keep them up.
Sure seems like more than 20 years that Eyes has been in digital print. ..... Keep on pitching as you swing into your next 20 year landmark! MIDNITE HOUR:
We appreciate the several congratulatory messages received on our 20th Anniversary Issue (two of which appear above). Thank you, one and all... Here, once again, if we live long enough, is to the next twenty...
Always enjoy the column, I enjoy the history parts the most, the bar news of 20 years ago, and now in the Traces section. Really hoping you can reconstruct the old entertainment area on New Road, it seems you have found a number of old places there already. Was fascinated by your Chez Eve Club photo from 1956, however I have recently heard of what could be the oldest bar on New Road, going back to at least 1946, called simply the Charoen Krung Bar. Have you ever heard anything about this bar?
We have recently come to believe that any discussion on "the oldest bar" in any given area or district might only rarely (if ever) be conclusively resolved. Nevertheless, we've come across an old clipping which advertises the Charoen Krung Bar from that year (April 1946). From what we are to understand it might have been quite far down Charoen Krung Road (New Road) near the Charoen Krung Theater. This tends to make sense, as immediately after WWII, much of the business / entertainment district (foreign and Thai) was in that region (Charoen Krung - Rajdamnoern) - such as newspapers, theaters and movie houses. From reading the ad, it appears the Charoen Krung Bar functioned somewhat as a British pub, serving lunches during the day. There appears to be much more to be learned about this Venue, so we will continue to research further.
The Pink (Panther) is the outdoor (on 'The Island') bar beer extension to the Pink Panther. It has remained open since the end of December. A photo for the Archives...
The group of Patpong 2 Nitespots that has grown out of the original Black Pagoda celebrated Mardi Gras on 1 March this year with free flowing drinks in all their Venues. The group's most interesting hand-out (below) used the English "Fat Tuesday" translation, which some readers didn't pick up on. -Note to the History Buffs among us: The famous young lady appearing in the hand-out - who managed to outrage the modesty of millions posing in her 'banana skirt' - is none other than Josephine Baker. She left America for France in 1925, dancing at the Folies Bergère and elsewhere. Her sensational erotic dancing garnered her a number of 'stage names', among them, 'The Cajun Goddess'. When World War II broke out she became an agent in the French Resistance, and was eventually awarded, among other, the Croix de Guerre, and named a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by de Gaulle. One wonders if she knew Mata Hari....ahennnh... Worth a Google...
Venues in transition February through 1 March 2022 :
The underground Thermae Coffee House reopened 8 February in the Ruam Chit Hotel basement, status quo ante. (In spite of the rampant gossip from idle old men that it had closed...) Our visit last weekend spotted just over 50 customers, one third of which were freelancers. -They got the 'fire down below'... ...(with a bow to Bob Seger...).
THERMAE ANNEX -
NEAR SOI 15 SUKHUMVIT RD
The Bush Garden has likewise reopened at the Ruam Chit Hotel. Now the long wait for more customers.... Welcome back to the fray...
Spankys and the New Lollipop continue to romp, while they wait for the 'green light' from the Authorities to resume dancing...
Last month, we noted the impending opening of the new The Jungle in the previous Hillary 4 digs. And open they did. May fate deal The Jungle only aces and faces... In answer to a query, the bars fronting on Nana Plaza will be keeping their back doors into the courtyard closed until such time as the (absolutely useless) security / Covid checks are removed.
We note that the 3rd level of Nana Plaza is once again in total darkness. (Note: Taxi Bar -almost 3rd level- remains open.) Last month's reopening of the Billboard was short-lived. (We anticipate the bars on the 3rd level to reopen as tourism increases.)
A quick peek at a rather busy Nana Plaza. Optimism trumps Coronaphobia... -Video filmed 28 February 2022.
Venues in Nana Plaza that have transitioned in February 2022 through 1 March 2022:
Last month we included a pic of two bars being renovated at the Soi Nana - Soi 6 junction. Renovations are now almost complete and we have a preview of what they will be named: the Kicking Donkey (new), and the Bangcockney Pub (a reopening, expanded). We suspect that by the time you read this they will be up and running, full-steam-ahead...
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
Venues that transitioned February through 1 March 2022. The several Nitespots - reported OPEN last month - remain open this month.
The Soi's smallest hideaway, the Sugarbowl was closed when we passed by on 28 February. They have been known to close from time to time - a wait and see item... We'll keep an ear to the ground, and get back atcha... -File photo
SOI KATOEY (Silom Soi 4)
Venues that have transitioned in February 2022 through 1 March 2022.
The single-shophouse Bee Bee Bar has opened brand-new in the long-closed Stronger Bar & Restaurant. Located in Sub-soi Starlight. Welcome them as they lunge for the brass ring...
Last issue we noted our oversight (We don't make mistrakes) - at not properly reporting the Pak Wan Bar & Restaurant and the upstairs (relocated) Hip Bangkok Massage. Below are new photos. May they keep on keeping on...
The La Coquine massage has opened in the long-closed Kiss Bangkok 3 Massage & Bar at the back of Soi Lemongrass (just past the Marriott). Rub-a-dub-dub....
Venues in transition February through 1 March 2022. Nitespots reported OPEN last month remain open.
Last month we announced the opening of Juicy in the old The Australian pub (Covid-closed March 2020). This precipitated a couple of inquiries from our readers, not sure of the relationship & location of old-vs-new bars. As 'the Devil is in the detail', we take a moment to clarify from our maps, photos & monthly surveys...
Even before the closure of the The Australian, the Bafros Bar & Lounge moved in upstairs (replacing the not-so-popular Spice Bar & Restaurant). During the "Covid years" the upstairs Bafros opened and closed periodically, finally apparently closing permanently. This left both upstairs and downstairs of the old The Australian digs vacant. (At the time of the closure of the The Australian, the next-door Sugar was still called Wax Late Night - more on this later.)
The original Juicy unsuccessfully tried to open at the Holiday Inn at the top of Soi 22 in April of 2019 (photo below). The current Juicy bided it's time until they were able to reopen in the old The Australian digs last month. This month - a surprise to many - the Bafros Bar & Lounge reopened upstairs at it's old (and newly-renovated) location - see their new joint-signage below.
By this time the Wax Late Night had become Sugar, and judging by the ongoing renovations therein, we are likely to see Sugar reopening in their old digs shortly.
The Juicy Club at the Holiday Inn, 2019
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
Venues that transitioned from February through 1 March 2022. Other venues previously reported as OPEN remain open.
The Soi 7 Plaza, as anticipated last month, is somewhat quieter than it was a month ago. The most likely reason is, as previously stated, a number of the customers are returning to the resurgent activity on Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza and to a lesser extent, Patpong 2. Another reason might have been our survey was on a Monday night, and Soi 7 Plaza, being an 'expat' destination, rather than a 'tourist' destination, would be expected to be quieter. Nevertheless, it was still the most active Expat Night Entertainment Area in Bangkok. We note that while a number of young ladies have also returned to Cowboy and Nana, etc, they are being replaced by fresh faces from up-country, now that the word is out the bars are, in general, busier...
Two months ago, the Big B's Bar attempted to expand into the failed Phu Quoc Famous Vietnamese restaurant digs, but things didn't work out with the owner. Another bar has recently taken over the reins, and, not having signage of their own, are using the "Phu Quoc Famous" sign. We expect this will change soon. Another thing we noticed was the installation of Soi 7 Plaza's first chrome "A Go-Go" pole... Shake it, don't break it, ladies...
SOI 7 PLAZA
We note Big B's Bar is now wisely using, 'Restaurant & Bar', and they have some new signage up to prove it... - A pic for the Archives...
SOI 7 PLAZA
The Lips, last month came up with some signage - for all the world to see. This month, they are closed, for all the world to see. We'll keep an eyeball peeled, and if there is more on this, we'll get back atcha next 'round..
SOI 7 PLAZA
Soi 7 Plaza Venues that transitioned in January 2022 through 1 March 2022
GONE SINCE FEBRUARY REPORT *Safety Bar - (no sign)
*The Lips - (Was open only 1 month - a Wait & See item.)
NEW / REOPENED THIS MONTH *Grand Class (Part 2) - REOPEN
The Honey, a Japanese specialty massage, born in the Covid years (2020-2021) never really had a chance. It had been closed for several months before the 'For Rent' sign was put up this last month... Located in Sub-soi 4.
SOI DEAD ARTIST
(Sukhumvit Soi 33)
The Akane Fashion Massage was closed to the public on 1 March, no sign(s) posted to indicate 'permanent closure' or 'reopen date'. A wait-and-see item. Should they in fact be closed, we shall update next issue... -File photo
SOI DEAD ARTIST
(Sukhumvit Soi 33)
Venues transitioning February through 1 March 2022 :
What were you doing after the War? (No, not the one in Viet Nam, we're referring to World War II.) Contrary to a commonly held belief, the years immediately after the war were not filled with Victory parades, the joyous popping of champagne corks and reveling in the streets. To the contrary, Asia, including Thailand, was reeling from the likes of cholera outbreaks, and the problematic, often tragic repatriation of more than 300,000 Japanese soldiers. And things you don't read about today, such as retribution against many of the Japanese soldiers, massacres, war trials, and the hoarding of goods (Influential Thais were openly accused of hoarding sugar, etc). Trading houses were willing to pay cash or barter "anything" to get their hands on imported staples such as textiles, etc, etc. The US diplomatic mission in Thailand was rushing to upgrade itself from a 'diplomatic representation' back to an "Embassy", and elements such as USIS were scrambling to locate and put to good use printing presses for English language newspapers. ....And one such fledgling newspaper to appear on the Bangkok scene was the Liberty, which was up and running a mere 22 days after V-J Day (Victory over Japan).
It goes without saying that in those early post-war years, Night Entertainment was sparse. Bangkok's surviving movie houses were straining to get back on their feet - to once again get movies from abroad in hopes of filling their seats. Fortunately for us, the Liberty left an historical record of those surviving theaters - and a curious hodge-podge listing of the day's 'diversions'... A footnote: The Liberty would become the Bangkok World in 1957.
The Thien Gwa Thien Theatre was located in "Jawarat" (Yawarat) Chinatown
* The V.R. Bar - CLOSED in the 'Lolita's Corner' 6-Pak.
*The Run Amok Bar - CLOSED also in the 'Lolita's Corner' 6-Pak.
* The Lucky Bar - OPENED in the 8-Pak, - Asoke Corner side.
* The Ban Rim Chong Rest. - REOPENED - on the right side of Asoke Corner side.
* The Powell Pub - CLOSED - also on the right side of Asoke Corner side.
* An 'unnamed Bar Beer' - OPENED - in the new 4-Pak, Asoke Corner side.
(Total Nitespots that month: 42 )
Nana Plaza March 2002
* The Cascade, up on the 3rd levelOPENED softly. Those digs are currently still Covid-closed.
* The 2nd level Nana Guest House - CLOSED. It was located at the current Rainbow 5 digs.
(Total Nitespots that month: 40 )
Soi Katoey ( Silom Soi 4 )
*White Bar - REOPENED after a 1-month closure. It was located in what is now the Covid-closedWelcome Bar.
*Play - UNDER CONSTRUCTION It was located in the current Bas Living Room digs.
(Total Nitespots that month: 10 )
Soi Dead Artists ( Sukhumvit Soi 33 )
* - No changes that month / year.
(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] )
* - No changes that month / year.
(Total Nitespots that month: 15 )
Washington Square (~ April 1999 to April 2014)
* - No changes that month / year.
(Total Nitespots that month: 18 )
(Originally ''Entertainment Plaza'')
[ ~February 1999to June 2003 ]
* Wind Mill (Kangaroo) - REOPENED after a 1-month closure. - Located against rear of main building.
* Sun Dog Diner - NEW. - Located in the main building, at the previous Tivoli.
(Total Nitespots that month: 18 )
''13 Night Market'' Entertainment Area
(Originally 'Old Thermae Compound')
[ April 2000 - March 2005 ]
* All Nitespots - CLOSED during renovations.
(Total Nitespots that month: 0 )
[ February 2002 - 26 January 2003 ]
* In February 2002 there were a few temporary Venues and shops scattered about on the open land at the corner of Sukhumvit Road and Soi 10 - which had been called 'Thai Help Thai' by locals - (a long-repeated sentiment - encouraging economic recovery from the 'Crash of '97'). Although that open area would quickly become "Sukhumvit Square", it was, at that juncture, far from reaching Critical Mass as a stand-alone Night Entertainment Area.
By March of that year (on the completion of the 'Happy Today' 8-Pak at the front), the newly born Sukhumvit Square was on its way to become the fastest growing, largest Night Entertainment Area in Bangkok. Below is the original March 2002Midnite Hour survey of the then-newly created Sukhumvit Square Night Entertainment Area:
* Sweet Home Bar - PRE-EXISTING. - Facing Sukhumvit Rd.- (The seminal bar.)
* A-10 Bar & Pool - PRE-EXISTING. - Located at the rear.
* Brownie - PRE-EXISTING. - Located at the rear.
* Casablanca - PRE-EXISTING. - Located at the rear.
* Tippler's Tavern - PRE-EXISTING. - Located at the rear.
* (Lighthouse) - UNDER CONSTRUCTION. - Facing Sukhumvit Rd.
* Jo Jo's Bar - NEW . - Facing Sukhumvit Rd.
* Chemo Bar - NEW . - in the Happy Today 8-Pak
* Ying's Corner - NEW . - in the Happy Today 8-Pak - (From Asoke Plaza)
On the night of 21 February 2022 three New York police officers on foot patrol spotted two persons spray-painting graffiti in a Bronx suburb. They approached the two men, who attempted to flee. They chased, and caught one of the men, who drew a pistol and fired three shots at the police. The police returned fire, wounding the man. That individual is currently in serious condition at a local hospital. The second graffiti artist has not been located. No police officer was injured in the incident.
The scene of the Bronx shoot-out with a graffiti artist.
The graffiti artist's weapon damaged in the shoot-out.
Rise of the Grasshoppers
7 ft high x 12 ft
Hidden Dragon, Hidden Dragon
5 ft high x 6 ft
30 ft high x 30 ft (Center section)
7 ft high x 14 ft
8 ft high x 12 ft
8 ft high x 16 ft
7 ft high x 16 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....