ur first, and only previous end-to-end survey of Soi Bua Khao was in September 2006 <link>, almost eleven years ago. Even at that early date we were impressed with the scope, the potential and the quality of the Night Entertainment Venues within, especially the contiguous area of L.K. Metro.
So, two years ago in April of 2015 we set out to resurvey and publish an update - however, we had not set aside enough time in Pattaya for the task at hand. Due to the vast increases in Nitespots, we ended up resurveying just L.K. Metro<link> on its own. This time around, we set aside an extra two days for the whole Bua Khao magilla - mapmaking, photography and getting the lay of the land from the denizens.
L.K. Metro went from 21 bars in 2006
to its current 37 bars - and of those original bars,
only 4 remain today...
In the intervening ten-plus years, Soi Bua Khao has gone from huge to gigantic. Some comparative figures will give an idea of the increases (not counting side-sois, but counting L.K.Metro): In 2006Soi Bua Khao had sixty (60)Night Entertainment Venues, today it has just on 170 - that's not a typo. An increase of over 280%. L.K. Metro went from 21 bars in 2006 to its current 37 bars (and it looks like another one will be opening soon). - And here's the kicker, of those 21 original L.K. Metro bars, only 4 remain today - Champagne, the Drunken Duck, Murphy's Law and Fcuk. (That might give you an insight as to whether or not bars are a good long-term investment.)
Why wouldn't holiday-makers come directly to Soi Bua Khao for the duration of their holidays?
The answer; they do....
In previous write-ups of Pattaya's Nightlife, we noted that nothing on planet Earth compares with the sheer volume of Night Entertainment available to the Pattaya tourist. As gigantic as Soi Bua Khao is on its own, we have yet to mention the side-sois running from Bua Khao to Pattaya 2 and Pattaya 3 roads (some of which appear on the map). Virtually all of these sois have multiple bar-beer clusters (covered areas with as many as 12 to 16 separate bar beers under one roof), and as-yet uncounted numbers of massage parlors of various ambiguities. These Night Entertainment Areas are certainly beyond the scope of this report - and a full accounting of these Venues would be nearly impossible without someone surveying full-time.
Of course, Soi Bua Khao is not just about Night Entertainment Venues. There are restaurants, the usual shopping outlets, banking outlets, a hospital, taxi services, beauty and barber shops, hotels, guest houses, travel agents... you get the picture. It therefore begs the question, why wouldn't a number of holiday-makers come directly to Soi Bua Khao, and settle in for the duration of their holidays? The answer; they do - in ever-increasing numbers. These tourists (and not just budget-tourists) find they rarely venture out to other areas such as Walking Street or Soi 6 or the other connecting sois (Soi Post Office, etc...) We spoke to an L.K. Metro bar manager who lives on a connecting soi to Soi Bua Khao, and walks to work every day - rarely breaking the routine to go to one of the major supermarkets in the area. Soi Bua Khao has become a satellite destination as did Jom Tien beach many years ago.
This giant, Soi Bua Khao, is just over one mile in length, and there is something going on somewhere 24/7 - which is part of the attraction. So, if you are looking for yet another 'Pattaya reality', or just an exploratory night out on the town checking out the A Go-Go bars in and around L.K. Metro, you won't find Soi Bua Khao wanting.
An early Seventies pic of some of the great bars on Patpong One - Charlie's Super Star, the Bad Apple, the Amor, and in the distance, the Grand Prix.
(Photo courtesy of Tim 'Wanchai' Young).
Subject: Charlie Superstar Bar
I am interested in the history of the Superstar Bar in Patpong.
I've read a couple of books about drug smugglers who were based in Thailand in the 70s and 80s and Superstar was mentioned as the hub of their operation. Do you know if the bar that stands there today is the original?
As your email was titled, "Charlie Superstar Bar", we should clarify that it, Charlie's Super Star, was originally located in what is now the Thigh Bar. It moved to its present location in the last half of the 70's or early 80's, (exact date not confirmed). There is currently no evidence that the original Charlie's Super Star was involved in the drug trade.
When it moved to its present location, it dropped "Charlie's" from the name. The drug bust was in 1988, while the SuperStar was at this new location. It is still at that same location today.
The SuperStar drug operation, however, was not the only one in town. See also our article, Drugs and the Nightscene in our December 2012 issue< link >
A For-The-Archives pic of the Camelot Castle bar beer, which used to be the Camelot Castle A Go-Go, which used to be the Butterfly Videotheque A Go-Go. -A 'thumbnail' of what has, and is happening to Patpong 1....
As the Rajah Hotel renovations are nearing (partial) completion, one of the first Nitespots to reopen on the Soi 4-side was the Hillary 1. It is now 'inside-outside', and bigger and better than ever. Note : they seem to be doing a lot more business outside than inside. Welcome them back to the night-follies...
Also returning to the fold (in virtually its identical location in the Rajah Hotel outbuilding) is the You Again! Bar. Welcome them back to the vicissitudes.... By the way... it looks like the four Rajah Hotel Nitespots opening/reopening this month are just the beginning - the adjacent areas, comprising an even larger area, continue with renovations....
Likewise, the Rest Hub Pub & Bar has returned to the Rajah Hotel compound, again, in their original location. Their Rest Hub 2, located out on the main Soi Nana seems to be busier than they are - at least for the time being. Welcome home.
The most prominent Nitespot to appear this last month under the Rajah Hotel's giant sala is The Night Witch Bangkok The format is "large"; a lounge-pub. They are already starting to get busy... Welcome them as they cast their dice against the pockmarked wall of Fate.
The Night Witch may be Bangkok's first see-through Night Entertainment Venue. Well appointed, original in design, and impossible to miss, they are our nominee for this month's "Door Art Of The Month".
The Cave Club, located in the Holiday Inn at the top of Soi 22, has popped out of its crypt and is now back in operation, full throttle....
SOI 22 (Sukhumvit)
The Candy Massage has opened newly at the back of what we used to refer to as Soi Lemongrass. It is up against some real competition - before you get to it, you pass 9 other massage parlors in the same small soi. Nevertheless, welcome them to the slippery slopes....
SOI 22 (Sukhumvit)
The Malaiseeda Massage 1, located at the top of 'Soi Lemongrass', appears to be closed temporarily. We'll keep an eyeball peeled and give all a come-back. Their Malaiseeda 2 on the next sub-soi down the road is still in operation.
Virtually out of sight from foot-traffic on Soi Ambassador, in a small lane leading back to a part of the Ambassador Hotel are 4 massage parlors: the Nuan Massage, the Sawasdee Krap Massage, the Smile Massage and the Very Good Massage. If not for the masseuses out on the main Soi touting their wares, potential customers would not know they existed. We will endeavor to provide additional photo coverage in our next issue.
SOI AMBASSADOR (Sukhumvit 11)
The mostly-outdoor Zanzibar, while suffering from the early Southeast Monsoon rains of late, still manages to hold its own with a live band most nights. May they keep on keeping on.
SOI AMBASSADOR (Sukhumvit 11)
The now-closed Climax Disco in the Ambassador Hotel compound has recently (and after-the-fact !?) posted the below sign. -Which seems a rather pointless gesture - until we read between the lines a bit.... They now indicate that they are closed "temporarily" and that they hope to be back real soon. They didn't indicate how soon, or where.... We'll see it when we see it.
A For-The-Archives photo of the So Ra Japanese Karaoke, located in Sub-Soi 4. May they find satisfaction....
SOI DEAD ARTISTS (Sukhumvit 33)
If the "Footjoy Massage" seems somewhat familiar, you may recall them most recently from Soi Ambassador. They have just relocated from the "Cheap Charlie" area redevelopment. May they continue to slip and slide. Located next to the Pan Pan Italian Restaurant.
The cry of the now extinct National Lampoon rings in our ears, "Is nothing sacred?" Apparently not where Mauro Pallotta ( "Maupal") and Barcelona's "TVboy", and a number of other graffiti artists are concerned.
In recent years, in and amongst Rome's other unauthorized wall augmentations, there has been a number of graffiti featuring the Pope himself. While none of these graffiti has been outright insulting to the Pope or the Church, Rome's Municipal leaders have deemed them to be less than appropriate.
The Municipality has formed a SWAT team of sorts, which rises to these occasions of extreme inappropriateness with buckets of soapy water and stiff brushes. They usually manage to remove the offending graffiti within 24 hours, earning themselves the nickname, "The Decorum Squad".
Rome's populace is not sure what upsets them the most - the removal of the colorful "street art", or the fact that they don't also remove all the other offending graffiti. No one is happy.... except of course, the graffiti artists, who revel in the publicity...
Graphic excerpts above are from Internet sources, and are, under current legal precedents and prevailing interpretations considered 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law.