Thai Bar Observations From The Last 3 Weeks
Just got back from Bangkok, Pattaya and Udon on my annual visit after living there for quite a few years, and I must say for being out of the loop you still have your finger on the pulse. You are on point with current observations.
Soi Cowboy, which used to be my favourite, appears worn and geared to tourists. I was not impressed with the new Country Road at all. The usual were still pumping like usual: Bacarra, Crazy House, Shark etc. but the vibe was just not like it used to be. I did make a night of it at Tilac which has fallen far from its previous form but still good for an evening.
Over in Nana was an entirely different story. I like the new build out and always have been a fan of Billboard, the Rainbows but Butterflies has to be my new favourite. The girls were friendly and very easy on the eye. The staff was attentive, not pushy and overall it was very enjoyable. Billboard was great, as usual. Erotica has not changed in years and Mandarin was solid. I did make one stop at, I believe, it was called End Game, on the top floor next to Billboard. There were some very hot girls in there however they pull the two-drink nonsense of ordering a shot and a cola which was an instant turn-off. They did have some coyotes come from outside doing some cool shows.
What has happened to the Nana pool bars? I say this with a little sarcasm. When I first came to Bangkok years ago there were only a few pool bars in Soi Nana and they were so much fun. You would walk in and could barely make it around the table there were so many people waiting to get on the table, watching all the action and all very involved. The atmosphere was just awesome. Now it seems there are so many places to play pool on Sukhumvit. It has become so diluted. I usually find myself just having a beer and not even playing. What is the fun of playing with a few old drunk guys?
I went up to Udon for a night and I have never seen the amount of girls working in the bars with a very limited number of foreigners. This is based on going to Udon for about 6 years on an annual basis. The girls were on the younger side and very attractive, possibly a sign of the times up north. If I was thinking about retiring I would definitely put Udon on my list of considerations. The air is cleaner, the prices way less and the people are overall more friendly. Day and Night and Nutty Park were pleasantly surprising and all the bars up and down Samphan Thamit were very active for a Wednesday night.
Down in Pattaya a few changes that caught my eye. The beach has been cleaned up immensely which is very nice, however the other half complained that all the food was gone and it is now just catering to tourists. I was happy, she was not.
HOLY TOURIST GROUPS! I sat on Walking Street and it was an endless stream of Chinese tourist groups following the guide’s little animal on a stick. It did not appear anyone was going into the bars and they were all just taking it all in. I have never seen so many tourist groups in all my years of travelling to Pattaya. I hope this is not going to be the new norm. <Errr, I think it already is! – Stick>
Solution to avoiding the tourist groups is to get off Walking Street. I went over to Soi LK Metro and Soi Buakhao and it was very lively. I stayed on LK Metro and that area the majority of my stay.
One place I was sad to see no longer spinning, literally, was Lucky Carousel Bar on Soi Diamond. I tell you if you look at pictures of Walking Street years back that bar stood the test of time. I wonder what happened to it…. I had a lot of great nights rotating around. The beer was always cold and the girls were always friendly.
I didn’t have any issues going through Immigration and everything else still appears the same. Traffic is horrible and the pollution was about the same as I remember. Although prices have increased, Bangkok is NOT cheap any more. Costs are about the same as most western cities and the baht is way too strong. I did stop by the Patpong Museum and that was a very pleasant surprise. I hope they can keep that going as it would be a nice asset to have in Patpong. Patpong appears untouched except for the gay bars and it’s nice to see the old Electric Blue back in business. It will always be Electric Blue to me regardless of whatever they are calling it now.