How we wish we could have kicked off with "Pattaya's Golden Mile", but in reality, it isn't, quite. The original Walking Street was the southern extension of Beach Road that started at South Pattaya Road and ended at Soi 16, and was almost exactly 500 meters long, or half a 'klick'. Later, when they "re-did" walking street, they extended it down to just past the Siam Bayshore Hotel, bringing it to almost exactly 800 meters total length. But having said that, it has more Nitespots than any mile of bars, discos, A Go-Go's, Clubs anywhere in the world.
The 'new' archway over the South Pattaya Rd
entrance to Walking Street.
But should we even write about Walking Street? We can't remember how many people have asked us (or how long ago they started asking) to do a write-up of Walking Street on the Midnight Hour. And we have deliberated countless times... what could we add to the story that hasn't been covered ad nauseam by countless other websites? So we combed the Web yet again, to see what was 'out there', and what was not. And after long consideration, we decided we could, in fact, do a write up covering a short-list of general interest items not adequately covered, or not previously covered at all.
The 'inclusive' Walking Street map. While we show all the Nitespots, the map does not cover the southernmost section next to the Siam Bayshore Hotel (as at this writing, this area has not been populated by Nitespots.)
First, there has never been a comprehensive map of Walking Street itself, inclusive of the bars, and the bars contiguous - which make up "the whole" of what is referred to as "Walking Street" today. Secondly, there has never been a comprehensive history (even in 'thumbnail') of Walking Street. Thirdly, (a factoidal of minutiae, we admit) - we are the first (we know of) to accurately describe the physical size of Walking Street - we have seen others' estimates of one kilometer and one mile, etc, so setting the record straight, and creating realistic expectations with future visitors seemed the appropriate way to go. (See our lead paragraph).
A typical Walking Street street scene - Nitespots shoulder-to-shoulder.
To put the Walking StreetNitescene in perspective, it is comprised of 110 bars, plus or minus, not including the several separate bar beer clusters under individual roofs. And Walking Street is only a fraction of Pattaya's unparalleled Night Entertainment behemoth. Take Soi Bua Khao - just one of many examples of other Pattaya Night Entertainment Areas : at 1.2 miles long, it is, however, not 'contiguous' enough to be considered a single Night Entertainment Area. Soi Bua Khao, and adjoining sois, is so large, it contains other Night Entertainment Areas within (most notably L.K. Metro). Woe be to the poor Nightlife blogger who tries to cover the entire Pattaya 'Scene'. The only other Night Entertainment Area in Asia comparable to Walking Street in size and density of Night Entertainment Venues is in the Philippines. Angeles City's Balibago area currently boasts 107 actual Nitespots(see Angelesbars.com <link>). Note : we refer here to all of Fields Avenue and the small streets and lanes running from it - from the 21st Street continuation to the MacArthur Highway - which, together, are generally referred to by the nightcrawling masses as 'Angeles City'.
Walking Street's version of Insomnia is still going strong.
In The Beginning.... (A thumbnail history of Walking Street).
In the mid-1970's there were five Nitespots on that southernmost stretch of Beach Road. (It was not yet called 'Walking Street'.) Starting at the South Pattaya Road end, kitty-cornered from the original Dolf Riks restaurant, out over the water was the Fantasy Club - thought by many of Thailand's longtime expat residents to be the best Pattaya ever had, or ever will have. (Nostalgia will do that to you....) Further down, at the bend in the road, on the inland side of the street, across from where the giant, heavily 'bunting-ed' Po tree still exists (and where Dang's Hot Dog used to be) - were The Harbor Light, a single-shophouse A Go-Go, then Dino's (an A Go-Go & show bar), and then Hank's Hideaway, which was a dark, mysterious mix of A Go-Go girls, lounge and eats. All the way down at the end of what would be today's Walking Street, also on the inland side, was Simon, a mostly-gay lounge. That was it - those 5 Nitespots were the 'pioneers' of south South Pattaya - at least in the Night Entertainment sense....
Those Nitespots were soon to be joined by the Marine Bar (today's Marine Disco) and the Sand Box - which was located closer to Dang's Hot Dog, and also over the water. The Sand Box was similar in format to the Fantasy Club, but with the addition of lady boxing, and later, regular boxing 'shows'. And from then on, things 'went viral' - new bars were, and still are coming on line in the area now known as Walking Street.
Fast forward towards the new Millennium - the first Walking Street was just a matter of barricading off the roadway from 18:00 hours to 02:00 hours, and as mentioned above, extended only from South Pattaya Road down past the Nang Nual Restaurant to Soi 16. Pattaya City, finally realizing they had a tourist gold mine on their hands, allowed for the extension of Walking Street to present-day proportions, And at the same sweep of the brush, the archway at the South Pattaya Road entrance was replaced with a new, "better" one, while adding a second archway at the Siam Bayshore end. They also tiled the street, making it more navigable for pedestrians, not to mention much more appealing. Today's Walking Street hours of operation are still nominally from 18:00 to 02:00 hours (occasionally lasting later). But a note of clarification : this is just the time the roadway is closed off to motor vehicles - that is to say, 'pedestrians only'. This is not necessarily the operating hours of the individual Nitespots, some of which will open earlier, and/ or stay open later.
Walking Street'sMuzzik Cafe and Lucifer Disko Tk. Bangkok'sMuzzik still rocks, however Patpong'sLucifer died on the vine some time ago.
And now for a caveat, or two. The making of the above Walking Street map may appear to have been a straightforward exercise, however it was anything but. First on our list was to obtain a 'blank' map. Thanks to Google Maps, we obtained a reliable starting point, which we took out on our initial verification survey. We found a few errors and a few missing bits, which we added to our 'master map'. Then came the surveys - impossible to complete in a single undertaking. Over a period of time, we were able to complete the combined first draft (four separate surveys). If nothing else, at that juncture we understood why it most likely had never been done before. However, if we have learned anything in the last 23 years of map-making in the Night Entertainment environment, things change. Further, there was a delay of some weeks from the time of the first survey until the map appeared here on the Midnight Hour website, so there may be cases of bars having closed, or new bars opening. There may also be cases of bars being closed at the time of our survey of a particular 'quadrant', but were only temporarily so, and are now open, business as usual. That's the nature of Thailand's Night Entertainment Areas, and the bigger an area, the more frequently these changes come to pass. It is therefore statistically extremely likely that there will be some discrepancies on this map. Nevertheless, the above map provides a good 'snapshot in time' of a heretofore relatively undefined Night Entertainment Area. We anticipate re-surveying Walking Street this time next year, and we hope this map will provide the inspiration and source material to others, that they might update and disseminate their own maps.
This is Walking Street's version of Crazy House.
The Alcatraz is Walking Street's forerunner of Nana Plaza'sJail Birdz.
The Happy A Go Go is one of Walking Street's "Old Thai Hands" - ever popular.
While many believe this to be the Walking Street sign, it is, according to Internet sources, the sign for the Walking Street Discotheque.
The 'new' archway spanning the Southern end of Walking Street, just past the Siam Bayshore Hotel.
I hope this email gets you. I'm planning to visit Bangkok this December in one of the guest-friendly hotels. My question is whether I can bring more than one guest in a day and if I can bring non-Thai guests with me.
Looking forward to your reply.
First, guest-friendly hotels are not all the same; 'guest-friendly' is a generic term which, in the very general sense, means the registered guest can bring persons up to his room without paying (at least, not paying the hotel). Guest-friendlys are the bridge between short-time & curtain hotels and the 4 & 5-star hotels. The big chain 4 and 5-star hotels include as a service to paying guests, the 'service' of not being disturbed by outsiders.
Some guest-friendlies will allow guests into the registered person's room between certain hours of the day and night. After which, the registered person will have to pay for the extra person (guest) at double occupancy rates. Other hotels charge a single rate for a room, regardless of how many persons, (1,2, 3), but if extra bed(s) have to be brought in, then there will be an extra charge. Different hotels have their own separate rules. The onus is on the registered guest to find out in advance, or at check-in, what the hotel rules are for bringing in guests. Failure to do so could prove embarrassing, inconvenient, and cost the registered guest extra money.
There is a Thai law which requires hotels to register all guests - regardless of nationality, however this is not strictly enforced. Often, instead of registering each guest, the hotel will require the guest to leave the ID card or passport at the reception desk while visiting.
Having said that, in almost every instance, you may bring in as many guests as you please, however, you will be responsible for them while they are your guest.
The Kiss A Go-Go, closed last month when we passed by, was back to it's rock-'n-rolling ways this time around. They've obviously shaken off whatever was ailing them - business as usual.
The Den Gentlemen's Club is trying for a soft opening the first week into October. And we bet you're going to like it, just you wait and see.... Located in the recently closed Lust digs.
Yes, this is the same 'The Den' as the one on Soi 12 Sukhumvit.
Yes, it is going to be the same format.
Yes, it will still have a shark tank with real sharks.
No, The Den on Soi 12 is not closing.
News of the Tokyo Girls Collection is already 'out of the bag' -the 'hog is already out of the tunnel', therefore we shall so note herein this month (admittedly slightly belatedly). It is located in the building facing Surawong Road which has entrances on both PPI and PPII. The sign will fill you in.... Let the good times roll....
(Just kidding...) This photo was taken upstairs in what will soon be a grand addition to the Black Pagoda. And we know you're going to like it - the flora and fauna at the Black Pagoda, over time, has become - by far - the best in the Patpongs. Say no more.....
The P' Beer lounge in the Rajah Hotel compound has ripped out the front wall and transformed itself into the PP'Beer & Bar pool bar. May they persevere.
The i Darts Metal has changed it's modus operandi, no longer a darts bar, it has become a bed-and-breakfast. As such, we will drop it from our Night Entertainment survey. It was located at the old Big Mango location.
Elegance Massage has opened up next door to the now defunct Naughty Girls. Welcome them to the slippery slope...
Renovations at the The Mexican appear on track for their 31 October opening. Located in the Rajah Hotel compound. Looking forward to tequilas and tex-mex....
It looks like the Chawang Massage won't be coming out for the next round. Hope they have better luck a little further on down the road a piece. Located on the 2nd floor, Rajah Hotel outbuilding.
- File photo
It looks like the Swan Live Country Music won't be coming out for the next round. They have been going downhill almost since they first opened (or more specifically, since Suzie left, leaving no one who knew how to manage the hostesses, who of course, departed shortly thereafter). The area has been reabsorbed by Swan Bar Pool/ Snooker. Once again, proving 'Management' can be it's own worst enemy....
- File photo
It looks like the Nana Hotel's frontispiece, the Golden Bar Beer is closing down as we go to press. The Golden was not a hotel outlet, it was leased from the hotel. Should there be any change, we shall duly report next round.
The Tapas Room Club has redone their facade and lighting - first class. Most pleasing on the eye. A shoe-in for the Door Art of the Month nod.
SOI KATOEY - (SILOM SOI 4)
Last month we made mention of the Fork & Cork, the new adjunct to the Sphinx. This month it looks like it is expanding - to include some new neon. Let it roll....
SOI KATOEY - (SILOM SOI 4)
Likewise, Club 4 appears to be taking off (becoming more popular) - upstairs (2nd Floor) in the For Fun. May they maintain the momentum....
SOI KATOEY - (SILOM SOI 4)
The L.L. Cafe has gone to the dogs. Literally - for the last couple months, when we passed by the place was filled with half-breed Huskies and other canine monsters. It has finally closed it's doors - not that anyone noticed.
The Ayaka Massage has sold out lock, stock and Tiger Balm to the Mo Na. 22 Thai Massage. Located deep in Soi 22 near the New Cowboy Bar. Welcome them to the Machine.
SOI 22 - (Sukhumvit)
Gone, but not gone, the Hands Of Heaven Massage & Spa completed their renovations on schedule last month, and have come back with a vengeance. Welcome them back to partytown. Located in Soi Lemongrass (just past the renovating Queen's Park Plaza Hotel).
Opening originally in Saigon, El Gaucho opened their first branch here in Bangkok on Soi 19, Sukhumvit. Then they opened this branch on Soi Ambassador. It is a steak house, to be sure (pricey but top quality), but later in the evenings, it has become a place for people to come for a quiet drink. An Entertainment Venue? Wait and see ... a revisit is in order.
SOI AMBASSADOR - SOI 11
Climax Disco, located in the Ambassador Hotel basement (off of the car park) is one of the Soi's longer-surviving Nitespots. Opens later in the evening, until.... even later.
SOI AMBASSADOR - SOI 11
The Grace Massage has heard a higher calling - they have become a beauty shop. Proof, if more proof were needed - the Nightscene is a high-stakes table.
- File photo
SOI AMBASSADOR - SOI 11
The Kawinya Massage has reopened in its same-same location - the Ambassador Hotel arcade. Welcome back to the rough-and-tumble.
No sooner had the Cockwell Inn bar beer closed down, the Simple Bar opened in it's place. The prime agendum unchanged. Welcome to the bright lights, big city.
QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA - SOI 22
Status quo ante at the Rumours Bar, with the exception of some brand new neon. Looking good. Keep up the good works, ladies.
QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA - SOI 22
Last month we noted the departure of the Angel's Kiss coyote bar (see file photo). This month, in its place is the Five Star (no relation to Soi Cowboy's). We'll try to get a decent pic or two for our next issue. Wish them well as they throw their hat in the ring....
Last month, we also noted the demise of the Before After. It was never to return, but in it's place is the brand new mini-bar B & A Bistro Bar. Welcome them to the nightcircus - let's hope Fate deals them all aces and faces.
A 'For-The-Archives' pic of the Maxis Bar & Restaurant, which has proven popular these last couple of years.
OTHER NITESPOTS OF INTEREST
No red-blooded all-American boy would miss the calling to announce the arrival of Bangkok's own Hooters. Mid-pricey, not cheap, but one gets more than one's money's worth in the excellent food, drink and visual aids. Located a stone's throw down Sukhumvit Soi 15.
Bangkok Eyes goes back in time to
Who was new - And who was through
in the Expat Night Entertainment world.
How many of these old 'oases'
do you remember ?
* The 2nd floor Cicciolina Erotic Bar closed down, becoming P.P. Snooker. It was located above today's Thigh Bar. Today, there is an unnamed pay-for-show bar at that location.
* The Pussy Collections opened in the upstairs digs which was, up until the previous month, occupied by Dream Bar. Located above today's Muzzik Cafe. No Nitespot currently exists at that location.
* The The Bua Luang Classical Dance (Ramwong) opened on the 2nd floor of the stairway opposite Foodland. There is currently no Nitespot at that location.
* The (4th Floor) PP (Thai Traditional Massage) closed down. There is currently no Nitespot at that location.
* Up on The Ramp, the Spanish EyesCocktail Lounge closed. It would be a temporary closure, and would reopen soon after that. Spanish Eyes is still there today.
* The Princess Castle closed down. They were located next door to the Pink Panther. Today those digs are occupied by Screw Boy.
* The Surprise #9 A Go-Go Bar - Country 88 shortened it's name to just Country 88. It was located where Spice Girls is today.
* Slitz ! (Hollywood Strip) became Nana Plaza's first ever 3rd Floor bar. It was located where the now-closed Bubbles was.
*Rainbow Bar added a "New", becoming New Rainbow Bar. It is still there today as Rainbow Bar. Nana's other Rainbows (2, 3, 4) were to come later.
Soi Katoey(Silom Soi 4)
*Within the previous month, the previously unnamed The Blue Castle put up its sign, then immediately dropped its "Castle", becoming just The Blue. It was located on the Silom Road side of Tapas Room Club. There is no Nitespot at that location today
Buckskin Joe Village(~ October 1988 to
(Also known -originally- as Tobacco Road or Soi Rot Fai or,
'The Tracks', and later as Machim [Thai] and Soi Zero)
*Bee Jay's took over the reins of Linda Bar, which closed down.
*Lucky Touch Bar reopened. (Note: this was the time where the BMA and SRT moved Buckskin Joe Village away from the tracks and under the Expressway.
* The Havana Restaurant & Karaoke closed.
* The Butterfly Bar closed - (it didn't move over from the railroad tracks to under the Expressway.)
A tragic death ...GRAF OF MIGRANT CHILD GOES VIRAL
The single photo (inset) that brought home to the world the plight of migrants entering Europe also spawned the above graffiti - which immediately went viral on the Internet.
Oftentimes it takes but one photograph to awaken the world to the realities of an ongoing tragedy. This photo of a drowned refugee boy was flashed around the world, causing an immediate global outpouring of sympathies, along with the widespread appreciation that the migrant problem Europe now faces is about real people facing real, life-threatening hardships.
A Brazilian graffiti artist wasted no time throwing up a likeness of that photo, which, as quickly as the photograph itself, went viral. The Portuguese language, 'Abandonados Paz' translates as, 'Peace Abandoned'.
Graphic excerpts from Internet are considered 'Fair Use' under copyright law.